Built for the RAF in 1942 as an Operational Training Unit, it was handed over to the Eighth Air Force in 1942, and was the 51st Troop Carrier Wing's HQ in 1942. Greenham Common became a Ninth Air Force base in 1943, and was then home to a series of fighter and troop carrier units, including the HQs of the 70th, 100th and 71st Fighter Wings, and the 438th, 439th, 442nd and 316th Troop Carrier Groups 1944. The base owes its fame to the United States Air Forces Europe presence in the Cold War, when cruise missiles were deployed there. It was closed in 1993, and has been administered by the Greenham Common Trust and Greenham Business Park from 1997-date.
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A World War Two and Cold War military airfield. Prior to 1938, Greenham Common was part of the Greenham Lodge estate, it was purchased by Newbury Council in 1939 and was requisitioned by the Air Ministry in 1941, when the site was first opened as an airfield. Three concrete runways were constructed at this time along with a number of support and administrative buildings. Typically wartime construction methods involved the use of "temporary materials" During 1943-1945 it became a United States Army Air Force base and was involved in the preparations for the D-Day landings in June 1944. The main phases of building on the site occurred between 1951-62 and 1982-92 which included extensive refurbishment and expansion. Between 1951 and 1983, the base was used for a variety of roles until selection in 1980 as one of six sites in Europe for Ground Launched Cruise Missiles. In November 1983 the first 16 cruise missiles arrived and the base became a focus for anti-nuclear protests with a women's peace camp being established outside the gates. The missiles were removed from the site between 1989 and 1991, and it closed in 1992.
The Group moved to England in the autumn of 1943 and was assigned to the Ninth Air Force in December 1943. The Group were the first to fly P-51 Mustangs operationally and in their bomber escort missions pushed to find the long-range limits of the...
The 368th Fighter Group flew P-47s in combat from England from March 1944. In the days after D-Day the Group supported Allied ground troops fighting in the Cherbourg penisula and then around St. Lo. The Group received a DUC for flying seven missions in...
Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 438th Troop Carrier Group
Assigned to 87TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Piloted C-47A 42-100745 from US to ETO. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.
Military | Captain | Pilot
Norman L Aigner served as a co-pilot with the Headquarters Squadron of the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing. On D-Day, 6 June 1944, he was shot down in Horsa LJ161 over Normandy, France and killed. He is buried in Normandy American Cemetery.
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | fighter pilot | 368th Fighter Group
Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 438th Troop Carrier Group
Assigned to 89TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. On mission to Denain / Pouvry, France went into an inverted dive and crashed into the ground at Jacobs Well, Guildford. It seemed the 5,000lb of cargo had shifted, disrupting the aircraft's Centre of Gravity. 25...
Military | Brigadier General | Commanding Officer 53rd Troop Carrier Wing
Maurice Beach's Headquarters for the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing was set up at Greenham Common, England which was near London. It was from there that he commanded his troops in training for the upcoming invasion of Normandy, France on D-Day-June 6, 1944....
Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 438th Troop Carrier Group
Co-Pilot of C-47 Skytrain 42-92847 'That's All Brother' of 87th Troop Carrier Squadron, 438th Troop Carrier Group, 9th AF. Lead ship of Mission Albany the air dropping of 6600 US paratroops into Normandy, France on the eve of D-Day.
Military | Captain | Glider Pilot | 438th Troop Carrier Group
Assigned to 88TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Under tow by C-47A 42-100756, broke through overcast and tow rope released prematurely, in manoeuvring cut wing tip off on adjacent A/C's tow rope. Lost control and span in 6 miles NW Bruges. Killed in Action (KIA)...
Military | Second Lieutenant | Glider pilot | 438th Troop Carrier Group
Assigned to 90th TCS, 438th TCG, 9AF USAAF. Crashed structural failure 1/2 mile W of Newbury/Sta 486, Died non Battle (DNB), 12-Dec-44. Awards: AM (OLC), EAME (2 x bronze stars), PH.
Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 438th Troop Carrier Group
Assigned to 89TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) glider tow mission to Eindhoven, Holland. Hit by flak in port engine and wing, left formation released glider from tow and went into dive from which it did not recover. Crashed Retie, Belgium...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio operator | 438th Troop Carrier Group
Assigned to 88TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) re-supply mission to Bastogne, on run in to DZ, for reasons unknown, A/C went into a power dive and crashed. 23-Dec-44. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 11024 Awards: AM (OLC), PH.
Belonged to the 89th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 438th Troop Carriers Group that was at the start of the D-Day invasion, dropping the 101st Airborne at Drop Zone A near St. Mere-Eglise. Later took part in the Southern France invasion and Operation...
Assigned to 88TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Operation Varsity [Rhine crossing]. A/C was taking small arms and anti aircraft fire over DZ, paratroopers dispatched, A/C still intact. Seen to veer away from the formation and dive,...
Assigned to 88TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Under tow by C-47A 42-100756, broke through overcast and tow rope released prematurely, in manoeuvring cut wing tip off on adjacent A/C's tow rope. Lost control and span in 6 miles NW Bruges. 7 x Killed in Action ...
Assigned to 88TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) re-supply mission to Bastogne, on run in to DZ, for reasons unknown, A/C went into a power dive and crashed with the loss of the crew. 23-Dec-44. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 11024. ...
Assigned to 90TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) St Dizier Over the Channel and on approach to French coast on instruments and in icing conditions crashed 15 miles SE of Saint-Valery-en-Caux. 3-Dec-44. 4 x Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 10533...
Assigned to 88TCS, 438TCG, 9AF USAAF. Whilst landing in field in LZ, took small arms fire, no one emerged from glider. 3 x Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 6269. ...
Airspeed Horsa glider. Assigned to 83rd Troop Carrier Squadron, 437th Troop Carrier Group, 9th Air Force. A/C lost 6-Jun-44, last seen Blosville, France under heavy machine gun fire en route to LZ. 2 x crew, 2 x passengers [82nd Airborne] [Cargo on...
Lead aircraft of Mission Albany the US airborne drop on the eve of D-Day. Led 432 aircraft dropping 6,600 paratroopers behind enemy lines on the Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy. ...
Airspeed Horsa glider LJ132, assigned to 90th TCS, 438th TCG, 9AF USAAF. Crashed 1/2mile W of Newbury/Sta 486. Structural failure, port elevator tore loose from the horizontal stabilizer, pilot 2Lt A C Buckner and copilot 2Lt H R Croke Died non Battle...
Supermarine Spitfire W3718 Mk Vb Const #1935, Built at High Post. ...
|03 September 2019 13:33:06||Emily||Changes to english heritage description|
Historic England National Monument Record SU 56 SW 15
|27 September 2014 18:02:16||AAM||AAM ingest|
Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Roger Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Manual (London, 2001)
Roger Freeman, Airfields of the Ninth Then and Now (London, 1994)
Chris Ashworth, Action Stations 9: Military Airfields of the Central South and South-East (Cambridge, 1985)