USAAF Station 345
|Located Near Goxhill, Lincolnshire, England|
RAF Goxhill - September 1946
Royal Air Force|
United States Army Air Forces
RAF Bomber Command|
RAF Fighter Command
Eighth Air Force
Ninth Air Force
European Theatre of World War II|
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
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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.
Origins[edit | edit source]
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 use[edit | edit source]
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 use[edit | edit source]
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.
|Group||Aircraft||Date Arrived||Date Departed|
|1st Fighter Group||P-38 Lightning||10 June 1942||24 August 1942|
|52d Fighter Group||P-39 Airacobra||26 August 1942||9 November 1942|
|78th Fighter Group||P-38 Lightning|
|1 December 1942||6 April 1943|
|353d Fighter Group||P-47 Thunderbolt||7 June 1943||3 August 1943|
|356th Fighter Group||P-47 Thunderbolt||27 August 1943||5 October 1943|
|358th Fighter Group||P-47 Thunderbolt||20 October 1943||29 November 1943|
|496th Fighter Training Group||P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning||25 December 1943||15 February 1945|
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 use[edit | edit source]
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 use[edit | edit source]
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 also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Citations[edit | edit source]
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Bruce Barrymore Halpenny Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 (ISBN 978-0850594843)
- Freeman, Roger A., Airfields Of The Eighth, Then And Now, 1978
- Maurer Maurer, Air Force Combat Units Of World War II, Office of Air Force History, 1983
- Parker, Ron Goxhill At War, 1994
- Parker, Ron A Village At War Goxhill, 1996
- USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present
[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to RAF Goxhill.|
- 496th Fighter Training Group—This opens up a pdf file and not a web page. (i.e. html)
- United States Army Air Forces - Goxhill
- Historic Goxhill photo gallery
- Historic Goxhill photo gallery 2
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