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RAF Alconbury in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- RAF Alconbury during the Second World War -

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RAF Alconbury

   RAF Alconbury opened as satellite to Upwood, home to 63 Sqn before the war, control transfering to Wyton in September 1939. The site was used by 15, 40 and 156 Sqns Bomber Command. In August 1942 control was transferred to 8th USAAF. The first of the Americans were the 93rd BG the 'Travelling Circus' with B-24's who left in November 1942. In December 1942 the 92nd BG moved to Alconbury from Bovingdon with B-17's as a CCRU. Reformed 1943 as a combat group, first operational missions flown in May 1943. The unit moved to North Africa. From the 15th April 1943 to June 43 the 95th BG flew B-17's from the base. September 1943 saw the arrival of the 482nd BG a Pathfinder unit with B-17 and B-24's, becoming an operational radar development unit in March 1944. The unit left Alconbury in June 1945. The base became home to 264 Maintainance Unit on the 26th November 1945 until closure on the30th September 1948.

The base was modernised and reopened in 1951 and became USAF Primary Installation with USAF units arriving in June 1953. The base finally closed 15 April 95.

Today the site is being redeveloped. After intervention by the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, planning permission has now been granted for the development of the former RAF Alconbury as a freight depot. The East Coast main railway line will be connected and road access will be established to allow the site to be developed as a freight interchange depot.

Squadrons stationed at Alconbury during World War Two

  • No.15 Squadron Apr 1940 to May 1940
  • No. 40 Squadron.
  • No. 156 Squadron
  • 93rd Bomb group
  • 482nd Bomb Group


7th September 1939   No. 52 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Hounslow, Middlesex in 1916, serving as an army co-operation squadron on the Western Front. Disbanded in 1919, it re-formed at Abingdon from a nucleus provided by No 15 Squadron as a bomber squadron in January 1937. In November/December 1937 it was equipped with Fairey Battles and for special training purposes, Avro Ansons. In February 1939, the squadron became a group pool squadron tasked with training crews for the other units in its group. At the outbreak of war it was based at RAF Alconbury in Huntingdonshire, but four days later it moved to RAF Upwood.  More info.

7th September 1939 

10th May 1940 First bombing sortie

12th May 1940 Losses on Bombing missions

15th May 1940 Escorted attack

24th May 1940 Crash landing

2nd Feb 1941 

12th Mar 1941 Aircraft Lost

23rd Mar 1941 Bomber Command on Ops

11th April 1941 Aircraft Lost

2nd Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

12th Jun 1941 40 Squadron Wellington lost

14th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

15th Aug 1941 15 Squadron Stirling lost

3rd Sep 1941 35 Squadron Halifax lost

Oct 1941  

12th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

17th Oct 1941 40 Squadron Wellington lost

14th Feb 1942 Reorganisation

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

Those known to have served at

RAF Alconbury

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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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Henry L. Flower 5th Depot Repair Squad RAF Alconbury

I was stationed at Abbots Ripton/Alconbury during the war in the 5th Depot Repair Squad. I played a lot of craps while I was there. I remember walking out of a bomb shelter after an air raid with $700. Back then it was a lot of moola. I was on a roll. Bombs were dropping but the dice were hopping.

Henry L. Flower

Sgt. Charles Samuel Moose 482nd Bomb Group

My Dad was Charlie Moose. He was in the 482nd Bomber Group pathfinders at Alconbury for most of the war. He was born on 29th May 1915 and died in Orono, Maine, USA on 21st November 2005, of a stroke at the kitchen table in my presence on my 59th birthday. (I am John Charles (Jack) Moose, now living in Georgia his only child.

We have a few letters my mother, Eleanor, sent to Dad when at Alconbury, which he brought back home with him, including envelopes. We do not know what happened to his side of the communication. We did see one which he had signed Charles. They had been going together and decided while he was gone to get engaged. She was seven years older than he was, and married at age 36, being 37 when I was born. Dad did over 32 raids over Europe - more than the allowed amount, because he was in the war before the Airforce was official (army) and the ones before the airforce were not counted in the allowed amount. He was the engineer and landed a plane twice at the base when the pilot and copilot were out of commission (once the pilot was out cold and the co-pilot were dead. He had to crawl down under the plane to do repairs at times and did many jobs on the plane. Charlie did not talk much about his time in England, except that he liked it. He was sensitive about the war because of a lot of the things he saw. He started to talk about it more when he got into his 80s. He was of German decent (PA Dutch) and so felt more than normally bad about bombing (Moose used to be Muth).

He did tell about being over there with Clark Gable, and how Clark came over with them and was very friendly with the soldiers. Charlie was one chosen to take the staff car to do errands and sometimes went to London with Clark. One time, they were an American club and had just eaten, and they both liked a red-headed waitress. Clark said to Charlie to not pay the bill, but to step outside, so that she would follow them. While they were out in the street talking, the place was hit by a bomb and many were killed. She probably lived because they had her outside. Another time he was on a bus and he made a pass at a red-headed girl. She slapped him. Charlie knew firsthand that Jimmy Stewart - who was there at the same time - was not friendly to the soldiers. He felt he was above that, Charlie said.

After the war, he lived in Orono, Maine, near a 1940s-1950s air force base in Bangor, and he saw a red-headed girl get off a bus, and went up to her and asked her if she had been in England, and she said yes, and you are the serviceman that I slapped. Apparently they had been introduced and had met over there more than once, so recognised each other. They had a laugh. She had married an American and lived nearby.

Eleanor, my mother, had black hair, as did Dad, not red. Being German, Charlie liked beer and told about going to Peterborough to a particular bar or pub and to Cambridge. He did not smoke, so he traded his rations meant for those in the bars for candy bars and other things. He brought back post cards of Cambridge, which he had toured. He had a substitute mother over there, on a special plan, and went to a family wedding, taking part in it, which he had a picture of. He had the little guide to British manners and expressions and a map of England and Scotland he had carried there. He told a little about the weather there, but did not really complain. He was usually quite quiet and was older than some of the soldiers, so he had more freedom to go in the car into the countryside on some special errands, and really enjoyed that, he said. He thought Cambridge was really beautiful and hated the North Sea and English Channel. England reminded him some of the areas of Pennsylvania he was from.

When the Schwienfurt bombing took place, there was too much cloud cover and they had to go back again to mark it. The incendiary markers would not go off sometimes and they would have to do it again. He would have tears in his eyes when he told about the bombings and marking the targets.

On D-Day they flew over taking pictures and dropping leaflets and, having left with a new plane, they got back full of holes so that the plane had to be scrapped. In the beginning, they did not even have fire cover because the range of the fighter planes was not far enough to cover them, so they went in and got back out as soon as they could! The percentage of deaths in their unit was so high, Charlie never really expected to return home. He had one award (now at least temporarily lost either in the flood of the basement in 2002 or in our move) that he would not tell about. He kidded that it was for bed making. It was a presidential citation, it turns out. He did once meet the then queen in a small group presented to her and was really teary eyed about it. He did have the special patch that showed him on the bomb. Several times their plane just barely made it back and he had to bail out more than once - once in Europe.

He never travelled much, but would have liked to have go back and visit. He was near Exeter, either before or after this, and took the tour of the cathedral. We just do not know very much since he would only talk about the co-social things usually when he did talk. He once met another serviceman in Maine, who had been in a bomber squad. He found out that Charlie had been in the pathfinders. He asked him why the targets were not marked at Schweinfurt and Charlie told him about the markers not going off and having to go back and do it again. Then the serviceman finally knew.

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