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Camp Griffiss

Military site : non-airfield

Named Camp Griffiss after Colonel Townsend Griffiss, the first US casualty of the war, killed when his aircraft was downed by friendly fire.
Map location based on the position of General Eisenhower's office (known as SHAEF – Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force). The general and his staff moved here on March 2nd 1944.

Detailed history

A group of temporary buildings in the northeast of Bushy Park became the official headquarters of the US Eighth Air Force (8AF) in August 1942 – under the codename 'Widewing' (also known as AAF-586).

In practice, the location name caused some confusion among servicemen and servicewomen, not least because 8AF's fighter aircraft were controlled by VIII Fighter Command HQ some 25 miles north at the differently spelled Bushey Hall, near Watford, Hertfordshire.

In turn, VIII Bomber Command HQ (in effect the operational control centre for 8AF) at High Wycombe (codename 'Pinetree') was similarly remote from Bushy Park.

In 1942/43, Brig General Ira Eaker, VIII BC's first commander, spent planning time at both High Wycombe and 'Widewing', meeting his own commander, Lt General Carl Spaatz, at the latter.

Eaker's residence, a house allocated by the British called Castle Combe, was close to both Bushy Park and Allied supremo General Eisenhower's own residence.

Eaker's receptions, dinners and card parties at Castle Combe featured a punch bowl and nine cups which have since become heraldic symbols for the Eighth Air Force.

In January 1944, 'Widewing' at Bushy Park was elevated to become HQ of the newly formed USSTAF (US Strategic Air Forces in Europe) under Spaatz. At the same time, High Wycombe (codenamed 'Pinetree') became HQ Eighth Air Force under Lt General James Doolittle.

General Eisenhower and his SHAEF staff (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) moved to Bushy Park on March 2nd 1944, before relocating closer to Portsmouth just before D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • VIII Ground Air Support Command

    VIII Ground Air Support Command

    Command
    Constituted as VIII Ground Air Support Command on 24 April 1942, activated 28 April 1942 at Bolling Field, DC under the command of Brig Gen Robert C. Candee. Assigned to the Eighth US Army Air Force. Moved to England, without tactical components, in...

  • 2192nd Quartermaster Truck Company

People

  • Peter Beasley

    Military | Colonel | Chief of Supply
    Beasley was one of 6 staff officers to accompany General Eaker to England in February 1942. He was commissioned into the military after working as an executive of Lockheed Aircraft Company. ...

  • Charles Garrette

    Military | Captain | Post Engineer; Station Utilities Officer | 379th Bomb Group
    Closed the base July 6, 1945 on transfer to Casablanca. To ATC. Assigned to Benghazi, Libya and to Cairo, Egypt after closing Benghazi air base November 1945. Was on 'Rubberneck' tour and over Cologne when end of hostilities was declared. September...

  • Townsend Griffiss

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Aide de Camp
    Lieutenant Colonel Townsend Griffiss, aide to Major General James E Chaney, was killed when the aircraft in which he was a passenger was mistakenly shot down. He was the first US airman to die in the line of duty in Europe after the USA entered the war...

  • Joseph Kiely

    Military | Colonel | Auto Maintenance Officer; Platoon Leader
    We ran the express truck service from Hurst Park racecourse hauling parts, supplies, munitions, etc. to 8th AF bases throughout England and supported the HQ at Bushy Park. Unit history avail. in the National Archives. ...

  • Frank Ladky

    Military | Captain | Chemical Warfare Officer
    Was attached to 8th AF Hdqtrs at Lungford Lodge, Ireland; Bushy Park, Teddington; St Germaine En Laye, France and Weisbaden, Germany also Commendation Medal ETO;Amer Theater Medal, European Theater Medal, Victory medal,Army of Occupation Medal

  • Mack Mashburn

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Supply Division Duty Supervisor
    Was in Quartermaster Corps, served as Supervisor both at Bushy Park and Burtonwood and was also sent into France to open a BAD for parts for the 8thAAF

  • Theodore Oman

    Military | Private First Class | Photographic Laboratory Technician
    Worked as photo lab technician at various bases and also 8th Hqdrs. at Bushy Park. Worked on US Strategic Bombing Survey in the ETO EAME medal, WW II Victory Medal

  • Joseph Roundhill

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner, Togglier | 379th Bomb Group
    JW was born in Seattle, August 1, 1923, of English parents. In 1933, during the world wide depression, his Mother decided to take JW and his two siblings to England and the comfort of her family until normalcy returned. ...

  • James Shields

    Military | Private
    Dishonourably Discharged from the USAAF on 1 March 1944 for raping a nurse, Frances Jane Grayson of the 305th Station hospital at a party at Grovely Wood on 15 January 1944.

  • Frank Sussex-Loasby

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade)
    Sussex-Loasby was British, he emigrated to the US in 1935. In 1943 he enlisted into the US Armed Forces in London, and was naturalized as a US citizen in May 1943. ...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 August 2020 11:17:41 SavvyGA Changes to description and history
Sources

Eisenhower's arrival date added

Date Contributor Update
18 August 2020 10:30:01 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Mighty Eighth Museum, Savannah, via Lt Gen EG Shuler Jr, USAF (Ret.)

Date Contributor Update
09 October 2017 22:14:38 jreynolds1948 Changes to history
Sources

added codename for High Wycombe HQ

Date Contributor Update
29 December 2016 17:15:22 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Corrected generals' ranks, according to period.

Date Contributor Update
29 December 2016 17:12:49 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Corrected Doolittle's rank

Date Contributor Update
11 December 2016 09:23:21 SavvyGA Changes to usaaf from date
Sources

Dates added

Date Contributor Update
11 December 2016 09:20:49 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Dates added

Date Contributor Update
11 December 2016 08:48:45 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Addendum sourced from:
www.af.mil/News/Features/Display/tabid/273/Article/143430/castle-coombe-...

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 17:36:01 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Text change

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 17:35:01 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Correction

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 17:28:20 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Correction to text

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 17:26:15 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Addenda

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 17:22:33 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Addenda

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 17:07:43 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Text edit (of my own wording)

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 17:05:39 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Punctuation change

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 17:02:06 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Punctuation change

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2016 16:59:58 SavvyGA Changes to history
Sources

Ira Eaker biography: 'Air Force Spoken Here' (James Parton);
Mighty Eighth (various titles –Freeman);
USAF Combat Units (Maurer 1983)

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

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17011105

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