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Headcorn

Military site : airfield

Built as an RAF Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), work on the airfield began in early 1943. It was improved and made ready for USAAF use by adding more aircraft standings and temporary buildings. Accommodation was provided in the form of tents and requisitioned local buildings. The first American unit to be based there was the 362nd Fighter Group, equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts. It arrived in April, and flew from the base until July, when it moved to France to support the Allied liberation of Europe. The temporary airfield was returned to its civilian owners in September 1944, and the land returned to agriculture.

Service

Units

  • 362nd Fighter Group

    362nd Fighter Group

    Group
    The Group trained in P-47s and moved to England in November 1943. Arriving earlier than many other Ninth Air Force fighter groups, the pilots main occupation was escort work for heavy bombers. The Group's first mission on 8 February 1944 was one...

People

  • Donald Clark

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot | 362nd Fighter Group
    Don Clark, retired (age 93 as of 20 February 2016), was an original member of the 362nd Fighter Group, 377th Fighter Squadron (the Maulers). ...

  • Richard Hoff

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 362nd Fighter Group
    Richard Hoff served as a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot with the 377th Fighter Squadron of the 362nd Fighter Group. On 14 June 1944, he was Killed in Action (KIA) flying a mission in P-47 42-26148 from Headcorn, Kent. He is buried in Epinal American Cemetery.

  • John Larkin

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 362nd Fighter Group
    John C. Larkin was a P-47 pilot in the 362nd Fighter Bomber Group / 377th Fighter Bomber Squadron based at Headcorn. On a strafing mission to Bueil, France, on 14 June 1944, he was shot down by a German Fw190 piloted by Ofhr Günther Zilling of 9./JG54....

  • Sebastian Ramaci

    Military | Private First Class | Armorer | 362nd Fighter Group
    Sebastian (Ben) Ramaci was an armorer on P-47s in the 379th Fighter Squadron while the Fighter Group was stationed first in Wormingford, then Headcorn, England, before heading to France after the D-Day invasion.

  • George Rarey

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 362nd Fighter Group
    George Rarey served as a fighter pilot with the 379th Fighter Squadron of the 362nd Fighter Group. He was a popular pilot who painted nose art on up to 30 different aircraft of the squadron. On 27 June 1944, he was Killed in Action when flak exploded...

  • James Stone

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 362nd Fighter Group
    James Stone served as a fighter pilot with the 378th Fighter Squadron of the 362nd Fighter Group, flying missions out of Headcorn, Kent. On 21 May 1944, he was Killed in Action flying a fighter sweep over France. Bad weather caused him to crash near...

  • Irwin Taylor

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 362nd Fighter Group

Aircraft

  • 42-75583

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D 42-75583 - 362nd Fighter Bomber Group / 377th Fighter Bomber Squadron. Shot down 14 June 1944 over Saint-André-de-L'Eure, France by Ofhr Günther Zilling of 9./JG54 on a strafing mission to Bueil, Yvelines, France. Pilot 2nd Lt John C. Larkin...

  • 42-75465 "Damon's Demon", "Archie and Mehatibel"

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Personal aircraft of George "Dad" Rarey, 379th Squadron's main nose art artist until his death (KIA in another aircraft, P-47 42-75042). Aircraft was lost in a collision on June 17th, 1944 while being flown by Lt. Richard Gordon.

  • 42-75042

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Shot down by flak during ground attack on German vehicles near Villers-Bocage, WSW of Caen, while on armed reconnaissance of Granville, Villedieu-les-Poêles, Vire, Percy and Gavray on June 27th, 1944. Pilot, Captain George Rarey, KIA.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:16 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Roger Freeman, Airfields of the Ninth Then and Now (London, 1994)

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