|Royal Air Force Station Saltby
USAAF Station AAF-538
|Located Near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, United Kingdom|
Saltby Airfield, photographed on 18 April 1944 oriented with west upwards, taken while hosting the 314th Troop Carrier Group about two months before D-Day. Note the technical site and station on the northwest side of the airfield, with two additional T-2 hangars on the southwest south of the 07 runway, and one on the northeast side, just south of the 25 runway end.
Map showing the location of RAF Saltby within Leicestershire.
|Controlled by||United States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
|Battles/wars||European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
|Garrison||Ninth Air Force
RAF Bomber Command
|Occupants||314th Troop Carrier Group|
Opened in 1942, it was used by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces. During the war it was used primarily as a transport airfield. After the war it was closed in 1945 and kept in reserve until 1955.
Today the remains of the airfield are located on private property and, now known as Saltby Airfield, is used primarily for gliding.
Saltby was known as USAAF Station AAF-538 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location. It's USAAF Station Code was "SY".
314th Troop Carrier Group
Although a US ground party arrived in December 1943, it was not until the following February that a C-47 group moved in. This was the 314th Troop Carrier Group with Douglas C-47 and C-53 Skytrain transports which flew in from Sicily. Having earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its operations in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations since May 1943 with Twelfth Air Force. Operational squadrons and fuselage codes of the 314th were:
- 32d Troop Carrier Squadron (S2)
- 50th Troop Carrier Squadron (2R)
- 61st Troop Carrier Squadron (Q9)
- 62d Troop Carrier Squadron (E5)
At the end of February 1945, a move was made to the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Poix, France (ALG B-44), the squadrons leaving Saltby in early March.
349th Troop Carrier Group
The USAAF returned to Saltby in May 1945 when a detachment of 349th Troop Carrier Group from RAF Barkston Heath with Curtiss C-46 Commandoes to carry British paratroops to Norway. These aircraft remained until the end of the month.
RAF Bomber Command use
Activities were gradually run down and the airfield was disposed of in 1955.
Upon its release from military use, much of the airfield was returned to agriculture, although today, a large amount of the airfield still exists. Almost the entire main runway remains, along with the south-west (20) half of the 02/20 secondary runway. Only a small section of the NW/SE 31/13 runway remains, although the runway is clearly visible as disturbed earth in aerial photography where it is being used for agriculture. The perimeter track and loop dispersal pads are all removed, with some of the track being used as single-lane agricultural road. The technical site and associated buildings has long since been dismantled, although evidence of its existence remains with some single lane roads.
Flying continues today as Buckminster Gliding Club operates 7 days a week from Saltby Airfield using about half of the main runway (07/25) The club specializes in gliding, motor gliding and glider aerobatics.
- Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-80-0
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
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