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RAF Goxhill

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RAF Goxhill

RAF Goxhill
USAAF Station 345
Located Near Goxhill, Lincolnshire, England
RAF Goxhill - September 1946
RAF Goxhill is located in Lincolnshire
RAF Goxhill
RAF Goxhill
RAF Goxhill shown within Lincolnshire (grid reference TA110210)
Coordinates
Type Military airfield
Code GX
Site information
Controlled by Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Site history
Built 1940
In use 1940-1953
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
Garrison information
Garrison RAF Bomber Command
RAF Fighter Command
Eighth Air Force
Ninth Air Force
Republic P-47D-30-RA Thunderbolt Serial No. 44-33240 of the 358th Fighter Group

Royal Air Force Goxhill or more simply RAF Goxhill is a former Royal Air Force station in England. It is located just to the east of the village of Goxhill, on the south bank of the Humber estuary, opposite the city of Kingston upon Hull, in north Lincolnshire.

Origins

During World War I a Royal Flying Corps landing ground existed near the Lincolnshire village of Goxhill. In 1940 the Air Ministry returned to survey the land once again for its suitability as an airfield.

RAF use

Goxhill was originally used as a barrage balloon site to protect the port of Hull and the River Humber. In 1940, Goxhill was transferred to RAF Bomber Command and was planned and rebuilt as a Class-A bomber airfield. The base was equipped with three intersecting runways, the main runway at 1600 yards and two secondary runways of 1100 yards. Three hangars were built - two T-2's, one J-Type and four blisters and fifty aircraft hardstands. Temporary accommodation was provided for 1700+ personnel.

Its location, however, was too close to the air defences of Hull to be used for that purpose. Its first occupant was No. 1 Group that took up residence on 26 June 1941. The mission of No. 1 Group was towing practice targets with Westland Lysanders, its first operation beginning on 25 October.

In December 1941, RAF Fighter Command replaced the Bomber Command training unit with No. 12 Group, flying Supermarine Spitfires from No. 616 Squadron at RAF Kirton in Lindsey. Fighter Command operated the base until May 1942.

USAAF use

The airfield was relegated to satellite field use by RAF Kirmington until August 1942, when it was taken over by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). The transfer ceremony was attended by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. During World War II it was known as USAAF Station 345.

The facilities at Goxhill, however, had a lot to be desired. Three wooden barracks were supplemented by a number of metal fabricated buildings (aka: tin cans) for living quarters. Typical of the temporary RAF station of that period, living quarters and mess facilities were 1 – 2 miles from the hangars and flight operations area because of safety.

The station was unofficially known by the USAAF units based here as "GoatHill".

The USAAF used Goxhill as a training airfield though the balance of the war, with several squadrons using it after their initial deployment to the UK, then moving on to a permanent facility for their operational missions.

Both the USAAF 8th and 9th Air Force utilized Goxhill. Units which trained here were:

Group Aircraft Date Arrived Date Departed
1st Fighter Group P-38 Lightning 10 June 1942 24 August 1942
52d Fighter Group P-39 Airacobra 26 August 1942 9 November 1942
78th Fighter Group P-38 Lightning
P-47 Thunderbolt
1 December 1942 6 April 1943
353d Fighter Group Republic P-47 Thunderbolt 7 June 1943 3 August 1943
356th Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolt 27 August 1943 5 October 1943
358th Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolt 20 October 1943 29 November 1943
496th Fighter Training Group North American P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning 25 December 1943 15 February 1945

The 496th Fighter Group was a Combat Crew Replacement Center for 8th and 9th USAAF units. It consisted of the 554th Fighter Squadron with P-38s and the 555th Fighter Squadron with North American P-51 Mustangs. The group trained over 2,400 fighter pilots during its existence. The 78th Fighter Group came to England equipped with P-38's but had all of its aircraft and most of its pilots sent to the Twelfth Air Force in February 1943, after which it flew P-47 Thunderbolts.

Postwar military use

Memorial

On 20 January 1945, the USAAF returned Goxhill to RAF control, and it was assigned as a satellite to RAF Kirton In Lindsey. On 27 May 1945 it was assigned to RAF Maintenance Command for storage of excess munitions. RAF Goxhill remained a storage depot until it was deactivated on 14 December 1953.

Goxhill airfield was leased to farmers for agricultural use until 29 January 1962, when it was finally sold by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The technical site and the hangars, however, were retained by the MoD for storage uses. In July 1977, the MoD sold off the remaining parts of Goxhill to private owners for agricultural use.

Agricultural use

Since the end of its military use, Goxhill airfield has remained remarkably intact with a 'Marie Celeste' feel about it. All the buildings on the technical site, with the sad exception of the control tower which was partly demolished (despite the owner's objection) in 2002, are still standing. The three hangars -- two T.2s and a J type -- are also there, albeit in a state of disrepair. The perimeter track is almost complete, and a large part of the main runway is still in place. In the northwest corner of the site is a memorial incorporating a propeller blade from a crashed P-38. Fortunately, the remains of the control tower were acquired by the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo, Virginia, USA, and after careful dis-assembly and cataloging, the components were shipped to America where the tower awaits reconstruction for use as an aircraft control tower once again.

Perhaps due to its relative inaccessibility, Goxhill still looks very much like it did during the war years.

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Citations

Bibliography

  • Bruce Barrymore Halpenny Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 (ISBN 978-0850594843)
  • Freeman, Roger A., Airfields Of The Eighth, Then And Now, 1978
  • Maurer Maurer, Air Force Combat Units Of World War II, Office of Air Force History, 1983
  • Parker, Ron Goxhill At War, 1994
  • Parker, Ron A Village At War Goxhill, 1996
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present

External links

  • 496th Fighter Training Group -- This opens up a pdf file and not a web page. (i.e. html)
  • United States Army Air Forces - Goxhill
  • Historic Goxhill photo gallery
  • Historic Goxhill photo gallery 2
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