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RAF Goxhill
USAAF Station 345

Ensign of the Royal Air Force Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II) Patch9thusaaf

Located Near Goxhill, Lincolnshire, England
Goxhill-092146
RAF Goxhill - September 1946
Type Military airfield
Coordinates Latitude:
Longitude:
Location code GX
Built 1940
In use 1940-1953
Controlled by Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Garrison RAF Bomber Command
RAF Fighter Command
Eighth Air Force
Ninth Air Force
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
Lincolnshire UK location map
Red pog.svg
RAF Goxhill shown within Lincolnshire (grid reference TA110210)
P 47d 44 33240 358fg toul 0145

Republic P-47D-30-RA Thunderbolt Serial No. 44-33240 of the 358th Fighter Group

RAF Goxhill is a former Royal Air Force station in England. It is located just to the east of the village of Goxhill, on the south bank of the Humber estuary, opposite the city of Kingston upon Hull, in north Lincolnshire.

OriginsEdit

During World War I a Royal Flying Corps landing ground existed near the Lincolnshire village of Goxhill. In 1940 the Air Ministry returned to survey the land once again for its suitability as an airfield.

RAF useEdit

Goxhill was originally used as a barrage balloon site to protect the port of Hull and the River Humber. In 1940, Goxhill was transferred to RAF Bomber Command and was planned and rebuilt as a Class-A bomber airfield. The base was equipped with three intersecting runways, the main runway at 1600 yards and two secondary runways of 1100 yards. Three hangars were built - two T-2's, one J-Type and four blisters and fifty aircraft hardstands. Temporary accommodation was provided for 1700+ personnel.

Its location, however, was too close to the air defences of Hull to be used for that purpose. Its first occupant was No. 1 Group that took up residence on 26 June 1941. The mission of No. 1 Group was towing practice targets with Lysander bombers, its first operation beginning on 25 October.

In December 1941, RAF Fighter Command replaced the Bomber Command training unit with No. 12 Group, flying Spitfires from No. 616 Squadron at RAF Kirton in Lindsey. Fighter Command operated the base until May 1942.

USAAF useEdit

The airfield was relegated to satellite field use by RAF Kirmington until August 1942, when it was taken over by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). The transfer ceremony was attended by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. During World War II it was known as USAAF Station 345.

The facilities at Goxhill, however, had a lot to be desired. Three wooden barracks were supplemented by a number of metal fabricated buildings (aka: tin cans) for living quarters. Typical of the temporary RAF station of that period, living quarters and mess facilities were 1 – 2 miles from the hangars and flight operations area because of safety.

The station was unofficially known by the USAAF units based here as "GoatHill".

The USAAF used Goxhill as a training airfield though the balance of the war, with several squadrons using it after their initial deployment to the UK, then moving on to a permanent facility for their operational missions.

Both the USAAF 8th and 9th Air Force utilized Goxhill. Units which trained here were:

GroupAircraftDate ArrivedDate Departed
1st Fighter GroupP-38 Lightning10 June 194224 August 1942
52d Fighter GroupP-39 Airacobra26 August 19429 November 1942
78th Fighter GroupP-38 Lightning
P-47 Thunderbolt
1 December 19426 April 1943
353d Fighter GroupP-47 Thunderbolt7 June 19433 August 1943
356th Fighter GroupP-47 Thunderbolt27 August 19435 October 1943
358th Fighter GroupP-47 Thunderbolt20 October 194329 November 1943
496th Fighter Training GroupP-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning25 December 194315 February 1945

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The 496th Fighter Group was a Combat Crew Replacement Center for 8th and 9th USAAF units. It consisted of the 554th Fighter Squadron with P-38s and the 555th Fighter Squadron with P-51s. The group trained over 2,400 fighter pilots during its existence. The 78th Fighter Group came to England equipped with P-38's but had all of its aircraft and most of its pilots sent to the Twelfth Air Force in February 1943, after which it flew P-47 Thunderbolts.

Postwar military useEdit

Goxhill Airfield Memorial

Memorial

On 20 January 1945, the USAAF returned Goxhill to RAF control, and it was assigned as a satellite to RAF Kirton In Lindsey. On 27 May 1945 it was assigned to RAF Maintenance Command for storage of excess munitions. RAF Goxhill remained a storage depot until it was deactivated on 14 December 1953.

Goxhill airfield was leased to farmers for agricultural use until 29 January 1962, when it was finally sold by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The technical site and the hangars, however, were retained by the MoD for storage uses. In July 1977, the MoD sold off the remaining parts of Goxhill to private owners for agricultural use.

Agricultural useEdit

Since the end of its military use, Goxhill airfield has remained remarkably intact with a 'Marie Celeste' feel about it. All the buildings on the technical site, with the sad exception of the control tower which was somehow partly demolished despite the owner's objection in 2002, are still standing. The three hangars, two T.2s and a J type also are there, albeit in a state of disrepair. The perimeter track is almost complete and a large part of the main runway is still in place. To the northwest corner of the site is a memorial incorporating a propeller blade from a crashed P-38. Fortunately the remains of the control tower were later acquired by an aviation museum in America where the building is now due to be faithfully reconstructed.

Perhaps of its relative inaccessibility, Goxhill still looks very much like it did during the war years.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

CitationsEdit

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

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