The 463rd Sub Depot had its roots in the 79th Service Squadron of the Air Force Service Command. The officers and men of the 79th left the U.S. Air Force Airbase in Rapid City, South Dakota, May 16, 1943, on a troop train bound for Camp Shanks, New York. They bid farewell to America on June 1, 1943, departing Hudson River Harbor on the Queen Mary, and arrived at the Port of Glasgow, Scotland, on June 6. Their first assignment was to the 1st Bomb Wing (which later became the 1st Bomb Division), stationed at Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire, England; they had not even settled in when, on June 18, 1943, they pulled up stakes again and moved to the station that would become their “home in the ETO” for the next two years. The 79th was assigned to AAF Station 114 at Hethel.
As the number of combat units and planes assigned to the 8th Air Force was growing exponentially at this time, the Air Force Service Command decided to restructure the operations of service squadrons like the 79th. It was determined that local agencies were needed for each combat unit to provide better control of supplies and equipment. Thus the many Sub Depots assigned to combat groups were constituted. The one that would serve the 389th was the 463rd Sub Depot, activated on November 26, 1943. The majority of the 79th Service Squadron personnel were transferred into the 463rd, while a small cadre was transferred to another station in the U.K.
The 463rd Sub Depot was the largest non-combat unit on the Hethel station, with six officers and 231 men at its maximum strength as of May 31, 1944. Even then, it had less officers and men than authorized by its Table of Organization – a condition which never changed throughout its history. From a simple point of view, the Sub Depot was composed of three areas: the engineering specialists, the supply managers, and the administration over all. Sounds simple, but the reality of this organizational structure was large and complex, with many sections and subsections composed of men with a wide range of skills and responsibilities.
Source: Kelsey McMillan, 389th Bomb Group historian
Military | Sheet Metal Worker | 389th Bomb Group
Military | Master Sergeant | 389th Bomb Group
Military | Sergeant | Cable Hydraulics | 389th Bomb Group
Major battle damage and overhaul
Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Bombsight Mechanic (689); NCOIC, 463rd Sub Depot AFCE (Automatic Flight Control Equipment) Section, 389th Bombardment Group, USAAF | 389th Bomb Group
Military | Bombsight Mechanic | 389th Bomb Group
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Short history of the 463rd Sub Group by Kelsey McMillan, 389th Bomb Group historian
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The 463rd AFCE (Automatic Flight Control Equipment) Section was also incorporated with the 389th Bomb Group's AFCE Section. This section designed and built all of its test equipment and mock-ups (with the aid of Sub Depot Engineering). A few of these items include a Gyro Tester, Amplifier Tester, Inverter Tester, and various Control Panels. This group also set up a pilot training program to help improve the bombing accuracy of the group, receiving a letter of commendation from the 389th Commanding Officer. Hethel’s AFCE shop was considered the best of its kind in the 2nd Bomb Division. Members of the AFCE included Warren J. Dart, Edward N. Deck, John N. Durrell, William J. Fitzgerald, John F. Nelson (NCOIC), and Francis M. Pfeffer. W/O Walter K. Schwing was the 463rd’s Assistant Supply Officer.
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Units in the UK from ETOUSA Station List, as transcribed by Lt. Col. Philip Grinton (US Army, Retired) and extracted by IWM; air division data from L.D. Underwood, based on the 8th Air Force Strength Report of 6th August 1944, as published in 'The 8th Air Force Yearbook' by Lt. Col. John H Woolnough (1980)