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RAF Steeple Morden: Wikis

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Royal Air Force Station Steeple Morden
USAAF Station 122

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Patch 8thUSAAF.png

Located Near Royston, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Steeplemorden-13apr47.jpg
Steeple Morden Airfield - 13 April 1947
Type Military Airfield
Coordinates 52°03′40″N 000°06′18″W / 52.06111°N 0.105°W / 52.06111; -0.105
Location code KR
Built 1940
In use 1940-1946
Controlled by Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Garrison RAF Bomber Command
Eighth Air Force
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
RAF Steeple Morden is located in Cambridgeshire
Map showing the location of RAF Steeple Morden within Cambridgeshire.
Lockheed F-4-1-LO Lightning Serial 41-2135 of the 3d Photo Recon Group. This aircraft crashed on 23 October 1942.

RAF Steeple Morden is a former World War II airfield in England. The field was located 3½ miles W of Royston in Cambridgeshire, near the village of Steeple Morden.

Contents

RAF Bomber Command use

Between 1940 to September 1942, Steeple Morden was a grass satellite dispersal airfield used by No. 11 Squadron of RAF Bomber Command flying Vickers Wellingtons from RAF Bassingbourn.

USAAF use

When the airfield was turned over for American use, Steeple Morden was assigned USAAF designation Station 122. Hard-surface runways were laid down, along with concrete hardstands and a permanent T-2 hangar.

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3d Photographic Reconnaissance Group

Although not planned for use until 1943 Steeple Morden was first used by the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force 3d Photographic Reconnaissance Group, arriving from RAF Membury on 16 October 1942. The 3d consisted of the 5th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 23d squadrons and only stayed at the airfield until 10 December, departing for La Senia Algeria as part of Operation Torch. During the stay of the 3d PRG, Lieutenant-Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, son of Franklin D. Roosevelt served as commander and also flew an F-4 "Lightning".

355th Fighter Group

With the departure of the photo-recon squadrons, the 355th Fighter Group, arrived from Philadelphia Municipal Airport on 9 July 1943. The group was under the command of the 65th Fighter Wing of the VIII Fighter Command. Aircraft of the group were identified by white around their cowling and tail.

The group consisted of the following squadrons:

The 355th FG flew its first combat mission, a fighter sweep over Belgium, on 14 September 1943 and afterwards served primarily as escort for B-17/B-24 bombers that attacked industrial areas of Berlin, marshalling yards at Karlsruhe, an airfield at Neuberg, oil refineries at Misburg, synthetic oil plants at Gelsenkirchen, locks at Minden, and other objectives. The group also flew fighter sweeps, area patrols, and bombing missions, striking such targets as air parks, locomotives, bridges, radio stations, and armoured cars.

On 5 April 1944, shortly after converting from P-47's to P-51's, the group successfully bombed and strafed German airfields during a snow squall, a mission for which the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.

The group provided fighter cover for Allied forces landing in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and afterwards hit transportation facilities to cut enemy supply lines. Hit fuel dumps, locomotives, and other targets in support of ground forces during the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July.

The 355th Fighter Group flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945. On 3 July the group transferred to Gablingen, Germany for duty with United States Air Forces in Europe as part of the army of occupation. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to Mitchel Field New York on 1 August 1946, and was inactivated on 20 November.

North American P-51D-25-NA Mustang Serial 44-73294 "Ole VIII" of the 357th Fighter Squadron.
Republic P-47D-4-RA Thunderbolt Serial 42-22784 of the 357th Fighter Squadron.
North American P-51B-15-NA Mustang Serial 42-106950 "The Iowa Beaut" of the 354th Fighter Squadron. This aircraft was lost on 11 September 1944 - Capt Kevin G Rafferty KIA.

4th Fighter Group

The 4th Fighter Group transferred to Steeple Morden in July 1945 replacing the 355th FG. The unit stayed until November when it returned to Camp Kilmer New Jersey and was inactivated.

Postwar use

With the departure of the Americans, Steeple Morden was closed down on 1 September 1946 and abandoned. It was sold to private interests during 1960/61 and largely returned to agriculture.

Civil Use

With the end of military control, Steeple Morden was returned to agricultural use. The former airfield is virtually unrecognizable. A few single-width concrete farm roads, which are remnants of the perimeter track and runways are all that remains.

See also

References

External links

Coordinates: 52°03′40″N 000°06′18″W / 52.06111°N 0.105°W / 52.06111; -0.105


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