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RAF Bovingdon - USAAF Station No 112 in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- RAF Bovingdon - USAAF Station No 112 during the Second World War -


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RAF Bovingdon - USAAF Station No 112



   Situated 7 miles west of Watford in Hertfordshire, RAF Bovingdon was originally built as an R.A.F. Bomber Station. In April 1943 the station transferred to USAAF Command as a B-17 operational training base. USAAF Station No 112, home to the 92nd BG, B-17 Combat Crew Replacement Unit (CCRU), 11th CCRU, and 8th USAAF HQ Squadron. 154 Aircraft took off from Bovingdon never to return.

In 1946 the RAF resumed control, handing the base back to the USAAF in 1951 until its closure in 1961. The base was used for filming: 'The War Lover', '633 Squadron' and 'Mosquito Squadron' in the 1960's. Military flying ceased 1969 and the site was sold in 1976. Part of the site is now used as a prison, 'The Mount' which was built on technical site and hangar area. The remainder of airfield is used for agriculture, landfill and part of the runway is used for Saturday market. One runway remains in flying use and the current owners have plans to build a Museum and a Memorial to remember the brave servicemen who flew from Bovingdon on bombing missions over Europe during WW2, never to return.

Squadrons stationed at Bovington

  • 326th Bombardment Squadron.
  • 327th Bombardment Squadron.
  • B-17 Combat Crew Replacement Unit (CCRU) 11th CCRC
  • 92nd Bombardment Group (Heavy) "Fame's Favoured Few" August 1942 to January 1943


 


If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.



Those known to have served at

RAF Bovingdon - USAAF Station No 112

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Anderson. Ralph W. . S/Sgt.
  • Berry. Jack P. .
  • Bird Clement W..
  • Buford. James D. .
  • Cash. Don . (d.11th April 1944 )
  • Davidson. Kenneth C. .
  • Douglas. Robert W. .
  • Egar. William J. .
  • Fieg. Walter E. .
  • Gordon. Michael J. .
  • Hale. George C. . 2nd Lt.
  • Hanclosky William.
  • Hermance. Alan E..
  • Holcomb Bill. Lt,
  • Hough. Cass . Deputy Cmdr Col.
  • Hudson. Joe L. .
  • Hughes. Paul H.. 2nd Lt.
  • Jackson. Herbert W. .
  • Kelly. James M. . 2nd Lt.
  • Knowles William L. .
  • Leigh-Clare Howard Harry John. Fl/Lt (d.9th December 1943)
  • Lichtenberger. Charles W. .
  • Lilienthal. William C. . S/Sgt.
  • Lockman. Frank C. . S/Sgt.
  • Lutska. . S/Sgt.
  • Madison. Louis B. . Sgt
  • Meness. Ralph W. .
  • Neigler. Forrest C. .
  • Osborne MiD. Jack Herbert. Wing Co.
  • Paulick John.
  • Quarles. Loyd C. . S/Sgt.
  • Ritchie. Neil . Lt.
  • Sherer. Ramon F. .
  • Skare. Alvin B. .
  • Sloop. . S/Sgt.
  • Smith. Everett D. . 1st Lt.
  • Smith. Melvin C. .
  • Stewart. Leigh E . 2nd Lt.
  • Thompson. Harry J..
  • Turner. William T..
  • Unknown Bill. Sgt.
  • Walter. Edward L. . Cpt.
  • Wilson. Donald L. . Sgt
  • Winget Francis E. .

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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William Hanclosky

I am looking for anyone that served with William Hanclosky in the USAAF at Bovingdon in 1944

Edwin Reeve



S/Sgt. Lutska.

Served as a Gunner Instructor




John Paulick 327th Bomb Sqd.

I believe this might be a photo from Bovingdon 1942/43 when my father

My father John Paulick was a radio operator of Lt. Neil Ritchie's B-17 crew of 92nd Bomb Group, 327th Bomb Squadron stationed at Bovingdon Aug to Dec 1942.In early 1943 he joined the newly formed 1/11 CCRC (Combat Crew Replacement Center) at Bovingdon as a radio instructor.

I believe this might be a photo from Bovingdon 1942/43 when my father was stationed there. Any leads will be most appreciated.

A history of the CCRC is available on microfilm.

Microfilm # B0797 (Unclassified) the history of 1st Combat Crew Replacement Center Group (covering the period Aug 42 - Nov 44) Bovingdon

Available from:

Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) Maxwell AFB, Alabama

HQ AFHRA/RSA (microfilm order)

600 Chennault Circle

Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6424

It contains very useful information for any person who is interested in first hand accounts. Teh following is a transcription from that microfilm.

Relationship of 92nd group to Combat Crew Replacement and Training Center

To tell accurately the story of the Combat Crew Replacement and Training Center reference must be made here, at the beginning, to the 92nd Heavy Bomb Group from which came most of the personnel for the school. This unit arrived in England during August of 1942, being the third American Heavy Bomb Group to be assigned to the European Theater of Operations. As a result of its flight to England the 92nd Bomb Group became the first complete organization to fly the non-stop, transoceanic route from Gander, Newfoundland to Prestwick, Scotland. The flight was made without loss and had a great deal to do with the general acceptance of this route for heavy bomber travel. The organization was led on this flight by Colonel James A. Sutton, Commanding Officer of the Group, and it was his brilliant leadership which was undoubtedly responsible for the successful completion of this mission. The unit was personally congratulated by General H. H. Arnold for this flight.

War Department

Headquarters of the Army Air Force

Washington

31 August 1942

Subject: Commendation

To: Colonel James A. Sutton

Commanding Officer

92nd Bomb Group (H)

Through Commanding General

U.S. Army Forces in the British Isles

1. I have just received the report that all airplanes of the 92nd Bomb Group have successfully completed their movement to England today.

2. I wish to commend you and all of the officers and men of the 92nd Bomb Group for your remarkable demonstration and accomplishment.

3. The safe execution of such a lengthy and hazardous crossing over a route previously unflown by any of the personnel of your group is indeed meritorious. The effort, hard work, and thought put forth by everyone of the 92nd Bomb Group in accomplishing this mission are indeed appreciated. I heartily congratulate you and your men.

H.H. ARNOLD

LT. GENERAL U.S.A.

COMMADING GENERAL

ARMY AIR FORCE

The aircraft flown to this theatre by the group were B-17Fs, the first of this type to be brought to this country. The B-17E was then being used by the 97th Bombardment Group. The 92nd had worked hard on these ships, fitting them for the long flight and for the combat they were to eventually face. Many original modifications were made, several of which later appeared as standard equipment on the B-17G. Two changes of particular importance were: nose gun to fire directly forward (this later modified itself into the present "chin" turret), and radio guns fed from flexible bolts of 25 or 50 round ammunition cans.

The 92nd Bomb Group came to this country at the completion of its training in the United States expecting one thing: OPERATIONS-the chance to take on the enemy in the skies over Europe and to fight it out with him. It was with this single purpose in mind that the Group carried on its day to day existence; but upon arrival at this station, the unit was immediately ordered to exchange its new ships for the battle damaged ones of the gallant 97th Group. The personnel were then told by Lt. General Ira C. Eaker (then Major General), who was at that time Commanding general of the 8th Air Force, that they were to staff a training center for heavy bombardment crews. The loss of their planes was by the group taken more or less in stride, and repair and modification work began at once on the "beat up Es" inherited from the 97th. The men could see the obvious logic behind the exchange of planes, though of course they were not exactly happy about the idea; but to be taken out of the big fight without even hearing the sound of the bell was nearly a mortal blow to the morale of the organization.

"Why the 92nd Group?" Was The question in everyone's mind. The comments ran something like this: "We are not trained for this job!" "We don't know anything about combat yet!" "Why had we not been told before?" And even "What did we do wrong to draw this detail?" Some of the reasons "Why the 92nd?" later revealed themselves, but not all of them.

The airdrome to which the Group was assigned is located at Bovingdon, Hertfordshire and was designated as AAF Station 112. The field, which had been designed by RAF engineers as an operational base, was partially completed. With discontent everywhere the men of the group went about this work of completing the field, setting up equipment for maintenance, organizing the system of supply, and generally solving the 'mud' problem. In their leisure time the discontented men fortunately had something very big to occupy their minds: a new country and a new people. There were things to find out: "How far was it to London?""What was a 'pub'?""Where was the nearest'cinema?""Just what were the English people like?" "Did the sun ever shine?" "How much did a bike cost?" "How much was that in real money?" "Can I get up to .... and back on a forty-eight hour pass?" "I've got relatives up there that I have never seen". And so the queries ran. But despite the fascination of the new country, and the amount of hard work that was necessary to get the field going, the big thought in mind was still "Why the 92nd?" with its brother thought "What can we do to make them change their minds?" Colonel Sutton pledged himself to work unceasingly to have the organization reinstated for combat.

Permission was granted in September for the 92nd to take part in several combat missions in the interest of gathering necessary battle information to be taught in the school. Targets attacked by the Group were:

DATE TARGET LOSSES

4 September 1942 Meault, France 1

26 September 1942 Cherbourg, France 0 (diversion-airdrome)

DATE TARGET LOSSES

2 October 1942 Meault, France 0

9 October 1942 Lille, France 1

21 October 1942 Cherbourg, France 0 (diversion-airdrome)

Other groups flying on these raids included the 97th, 91st, and 301st bombardment Groups.

These five missions flown by the 92nd plus others being made at that time in which the 92nd did not participate were, however, bringing home to the group with great force, the seriousness of daylight high-altitude bombing. The missions also revealed dangerous weaknesses in the Group's combat technique. For example: they found their formations looked good to the eye of a camera, but did not permit maximum firepower for self defense. The aiming technique of the gunners was alright according to existing classroom ideas, but the enemy planes were not being hit. Navigation, because of radio aids and different weather conditions was full of new problems. The bombing technique proved itself to have an outstanding weakness, the pilots, through no fault of their own, found it nearly impossible to hold the plane level and true in the midst of fighter attacks and bursting flak. The bombardiers, bombing from an unstable platform, were not able to hit targets with true accuracy. These combat weaknesses and many others showed themselves on those first missions, proving to the group the necessity for futher training, training to cover the gap between the generalization of the OUT schooling in the U.S and combat in the European Theatre of Operations. It was this advanced, fine-grain training that had been anticipated by General Eaker, and the assignment to set up the school for carrying out this training had been given to the 92nd Group. The assignment did not just concern itself with the training of the 92nd personnel, but rather with all combat crew replacements for the entire 8th Air Force.

It was a big assignment, worthy of the best efforts of a fine organization. The need for the school was then apparent to all, still the Group balked at the idea. The Combat anticipating hearts and minds of these men could not be reconciled to the monotonous duties of school teaching no matter what accompanying circumstances existed. It was decided, therefore, after much discussion within the organization and between representatives of the Group and General Eaker, that the Unit would be divided in two. Those interested in the school and necessary to the school would be assigned to it; those interested in combat and indispensable to the Group's operation as such a unit would be assigned to the Group. [Unsigned and No date shown]

This was transcribed from microfilm # B0797 (Unclassified) the history of 1st Combat Crew Replacement Center Group (covering Aug 42 - Nov 44) Bovingdon

Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) -Maxwell AFB, Alabama HQ AFHRA/RSA (microfilm order) 600 Chennault Circle Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6424

Portions of the microfilm are difficult to read.

Mike Paulick



S/Sgt. Sloop.

Served as a Gunner Instructor




Sgt. Bill Unknown 326th Squadron 92nd Bomber Group

My story is identical to many who have lived a life of not knowing their father as a result of the effects of war. Many would have been in this situation due to the loss of their father in combat. They would have been told the facts surrounding his loss. Killed in action, Missing in Combat, Prisoner of War. Others may know that their existence was due to a period of time when it was important to grab a moment of happiness when they could.

One day, at junior school, my teacher asked the class to say what their mother and father did at work. I knew my mother worked in an office but I did not have a father. I asked my mother and she told me that he was killed in the war. At that time in London children played in streets where bomb sites were normal. We knew about the war so there was no reason to ask further questions. My mother found a partner when I was 9 years old and after several years he became my step-father. My name was changed by deed poll when I moved to Secondary school.

At various times in my childhood and early teenage years I had occasions to question my fathers demise. My Grand-mother (my mothers mother) once told me that my mother had the opportunity to move to America but had decided not to. I remembered being carried on the shoulders of soldier in Trafalgar Square with my mother. At this time I had been given a toy car which I now realise was an american model convertible. It was fantastic, with a steering wheel that worked and individual suspension. In my early teens I became interested in who my Father was. My Mother would not tell me of any detail other then he was killed in a battle at Caen, France. My Grandmother told me that he was an American who my mother had met whilst working as a bus conductress in Bushy. My grandmother asked me not to discuss this any further and especially not with my mother as she had been warned not to tell me the truth. I had already been threatened by my step father with being put in a children’s home if I was disobedient so decided to give up the questioning.

In 1998 my step-father died leaving my widowed mother living on her own and subsequently relying on me as the only child with few other relatives. To my surprise, one day she produced a photograph of a British army soldier and informed me that this was my father. She gave me the details of his regiment and service number and I was able to confirm he was killed in action in Caen following the D Day invasion. I decided to tell her that her mother had told me that my father was an American serviceman. My grandmother had died many years before. She looked shocked and then denied that the story was true. There was little point in pursuing the subject and nothing more was said.

Following my mothers death I dealt with the disposal of her belongings and was surprised to find a photograph of an American Airforce Sergeant signed on the reverse, Love from Bill, 13033949, 92nd Bomber Group, 326th Squadron USAAF 11th November 1942. My wife, on viewing the photo, said, 'you have his eyes and smile. That's your father'. My only other relative, a cousin, when told of my discovery, said, 'We were told that your father was an American'

I carried out a search on the internet and confirmed that the bomber squadron were on active service from Bovingdon Airfield during the relevant time My birth date also coincided with the possibility that Bill was my father. I discovered that there was a veterans association for the 92nd Bomber Group in the USA. I made contact and was informed that without a surname and the State in which Bill had been recruited it would not be possible to identify him. According to the archivist for the Vets Association each State in America issued the service number. Therefore it could not be used in isolation as a means of identification. I had to accept this as a fact and gave up on the quest.

I reasoned that such time had passed that it was probable that Bill was dead. I had to assume there was a surviving family in the USA and that they would be unaware of my mothers brief encounter during the war. Let sleeping dogs lie…..

Tony Dockerill



Lt, Bill Holcomb

On 9 December 1943, a B-17G crashed at Bovingdon, England killing all ten crew members. My uncle, Lt. Bill Holcomb, was the co-pilot. On that plane were two RAF officers, Jack H. Osborne (43866) and John Leigh-Clare (73973). I have important and personal information for their family members regarding the crash. Please contact me.

John Taylor



Wing Co. Jack Herbert Osborne MiD 517 Sqdn.

Jack Osborne was killed when a B-17G crashed at Bovingdon on 9th December 1943. He is buried in Sec B. Grave 114, Ipplepen (St Andrew) Churchyard.

John Taylor



Fl/Lt Howard Harry John "John" Leigh-Clare 517 Sqdn. (d.9th December 1943)

Fl/Lt Leigh-Clare was killed when a B-17G crashed at Bovingdon on 9th December 1943. He is buried in Square 138, Grave 35639 at Nunhead (All Saints) Cemetery.

John Taylor







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