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Mart
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2007/08/10 11:20:25 (permalink)
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base picture

Hi All
 
Can anyone tell me if the buildings in the background of this picture were anything attached to the base?
 
thanks
mart 

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    shooshoobaby
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    RE: base picture 2007/08/10 12:03:05 (permalink)
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    Mart - Tough to tell.
    2 Books that might help
    Airfields of the Eighth Then and Now - Roger Freeman
    One last Look - Phil Kaplan
    Also -    www.controltowers.co.uk
                www.airfield-research-group.co.uk 
    Mike
    post edited by shooshoobaby - 2007/08/10 12:08:03
    dakota
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    RE: base picture 2007/08/11 04:46:06 (permalink)
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      Hi Mart    I think they are farm buildings in the village of Caldecote which almost joind the airfield.
     
    dakota
    Ian White
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    RE: base picture 2007/08/11 08:57:46 (permalink)
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    Hi Martin
     
    I can may be help...
     
    It looks as though you (?) have taken the picture from the roadside, which today leads to no where, and is blocked off. You have stood by what would have been the original WW2 main gate along that small stretch of surviving road (This road originally in WW2 would have taken people down to Yelden, but in the 1950's it was severed to make way for the extended runway for the B-47's, EB-47's and RB-66's).
     
    What you have in the near distance is part of a metal shed, measured approx 60 ft by 20ft. It was original built in the 1950's when SAC returned, and used as the fire engine shed. As a point of interest next time you stand at that gate again, you will see in the centre of the gateway, the foot print of the original WW2 MP's box. This remained post war and was there when the base finally shut in 1965.
     
    Over in the far distance you could see the outline of what looks like buildings on horizon. Well, that is the metal fence panels erected by the farmer, which now surrounds the footprint of the original main 'J' Hangar. The farmer has ringed the concrete floor, its remaining base, so he can occassionally keep herd of cattle inside!! There is also a number of farm machines, hay bales etc stored there from time to time. From a distance in certain weather conditions it may look like buildings.
     
    There is nothing left on the main base, apart from:-
     
    The motor pool building - number 102. That is up to the left of where you strood, behind the microwave tower that still stands, again from post war activities. This is still connected to RAF Molesworth.
     
    Alongside the motorpool building, are the two concrete bases, the floors that would have had the two T2 Hangars, both of which were taken away post war.
     
    Way away and out of sight to everybody, are the arming sheds down at the original WW2 bomb dump, towards the Shelton end of the base. Good number of Nissan huts, with blast walls etc. Also the furrows and mounds which had line after line of bombs in storage in the open. The concrete road network is a fascinating feature down at the dump, all pretty much intacked. Spectacle junctions, cross overs, to allow inward and outward tractors towing trolleys full of bombs.
     
    Outside there are few signs.
     
    Communal site 'A' beside the Caldecott-Newton Bromswold road has a few, now poor and derelict small buildings, and a number of air raid shelters. It was used recently as a shooting gun club. It is here you can find the remains of the original Newton-Chelveston road that existed in WW2, and went beside the Officers Club, with its famous Bairnsfather murals. No longer there, all that site and the road was remoddlled in the 1950's. All gone...
     
    Across the road is the 366th site, last sight on right hand side as you head towards Newton. Cant see anything, all over grown, no entrance now, no buildings, no concrete, nothing to show its past.
     
    The 422nd sqn site, just above, does have a gateway, used by farmer. Had a couple of air raid shelters, hidden from view in summer by shrubs-trees. The road is chippings-stone, laid by the 305th to take personnel into the site and onwards to site 6, where the 413th ASG people lived, that site is within a large wooden copse area, way off into the fields. No buildings there, but a very neat concrete road system, and a large number of surviving air raid shelters. This is used for game bird rearing and shooting takes place in season, be warned and do not attempt to wander in this direction unless you want to be shot!
     
    Back at the cross roads, which turns towards Higham Ferrers, you pass the Cummnal site B the larger and main complex that housed in WW2 the mess halls, cinema, PX, Gym and all kinds of stuff. Some buildings survive, most demolished. This is private property, no access.
     
    365th Sqn site is directly opposite across road, used for the seasonal Point to Point horse races. There are no buildings surviving, but you can see easily the concrete ribbon of road networks that threaded between the tar and paper huts, all of which were lined up along the side of the hedgerow.
     
    Lastly, the 364th site further along road on the right. It is very similar to the 365th today, no buildings, a few airraidshelters hidden in undergrowth, and the concrete roads that passed between the huts.
     
    Yelden has nothing left. The last complex of the NCO club, and 1632nd Ord Companny buildings were demolished just a few years ago. There is a new housing estate now, called Philips Way, in memory of Keith and Monica Philips killed when a B-17 from the 422nd crash on take off on their Parents house in 1944.
     
    Chelveston sadly has very few visible signs left. Partly due to rebuilding which the USAF and SAC did in the 1950's. Many WW2 sites were either rebuilt or totally destroyed.....
     
    Hope I've cleared up your questions!!
     
    Regards Ian W

    Ian White - 1st VP 2012-2013, 305th BGMA Hon. Life Associate, UK-European Contact and 305th BGMA Historian  

    Mart
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    RE: base picture 2007/08/12 13:04:00 (permalink)
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    Hi Ian

    thanks for your detailed reply, plenty of info there!

    A couple of times i have parked up on the caldecott/newton rd and heard the gun club so know of the dangers!

    Is there ever any public access to the former base? I have old site plans of the base with communial sites marked but find it difficult to locate because of the road layout changes you have mentioned. Also as you travel to the base from caldecott do you pass the former sick quarter on your right? there seems to be the outline of buildings there.

    sorry for so many questions, i find this place so interesting.

    thanks and regards

    mart
    post edited by Mart - 2007/08/12 13:06:25
    Ian White
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    RE: base picture 2007/08/12 15:35:14 (permalink)
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    Hi Martin
     
    Glad to be of help.
     
    Yes, when you drive from Caldecott, as you take the second bend, before you reach the entrance on left for Base Housing (Present day US Military housing), there is a gate which would have led into the Hospital site. The concrete road remains, as with many of the original WW2 sites. No huts of buildings survive. This is private land, and permission is hard to get. Having said this, there is litttle to see now on this site.
     
    You obviously know about the gun club at Airfield Farm, once a communal site opposite the crossroads.
     
    Yes you will find WW2 road layouts have been changed, 1950's, to accomodate the lengthed runways system which was constructed in 1952-55. For safety sake, the road between Caldecott and Newton, at the section beside what has recently been that gun club, was re sighted, away from where the end of the new runway would effectively come. This caused the demolition of the Officers Club and most of the Communal site at that point. However, in the trees you can still find a large section of the original road, which was never removed at the time, its all densely overgrown, the hedgerows have taken over both sides, but in winter the road reappears!!! And you can just about walk along it for several dozen yards, before it reaches the fringes of that same gun club..
     
    HOWEVER I cant emphasis enough the current situation regards access to the former Chelveston base.. A new owner has taken over the main base area, and he is not very receptive to visitors at this time. Bill Donald and myself as UK contacts are trying to cultivate a new friendship there with him as the new owner for the sake of our 305th BGMA and its veterans, associates etc. We wish to visit when we can, especially when our veterans and their next of kin are in the UK, but obviously need his co-operation. Anything that might create a problem (ie well meaning individuals wandering about unannounced)  inturn causes us an even bigger one! The sites outside the main base area, again are mostly privately owned. Whilst they are are a little more relaxed about things( not much admittedly), they too have issues if not approached in the right way. This has to be said because as UK contacts, any confrontation reflects directly upon us for any future wishes to visit.
     
    Attaching a post war picture showing the main gate, the place you stood at when you took the picture across vacant green pasture. You'll see in this photo the MP sentry box, this is the original gate layout, not changed since WW2 and as seen in use in 1955. It stayed that way till 1965 when the base finally closed.
     
    Regards Ian W
     
     
     

    Ian White - 1st VP 2012-2013, 305th BGMA Hon. Life Associate, UK-European Contact and 305th BGMA Historian  

    Mart
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    RE: base picture 2007/08/12 16:43:40 (permalink)
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    Hi Ian
     
    I respect the fact that the land is private property and will not jepordise any relationship you and Bill are trying to build with the current land owner. I sincerley hope that in the future easier access is gained especially for the veterans and their families.
     
    do you mind me asking how you became so involved with the 305th?
     
    I cant explain why i am so fascinated with learning about the 305th and chelveston even though living where I do there are a number of former 8th AF bases around.
     
    regards
     
    mart
     
     
    Mart
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    RE: base picture 2007/08/13 14:30:01 (permalink)
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    Thanks for the PM Ian...have replied.
     
    Regards
     
    mart
    dkp
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/12 04:57:32 (permalink)
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    Does anyone recall, or  have a picture of the paintings of sleeping Mexicans which were all around one of the brick huts at Chelveston.
    Each one was sat leaning on a buttress.
    Thank you
    Ian White
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/12 15:47:22 (permalink)
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    Hello Derek
    You may not have seen an earlier posting, some time back now, in which I posted a picture of the EM Mess Hall, in which you can indeed see the painted figures sleeping on the walls, of Mexicans. The walls also have a number of three pronged Cactus, very much a image of Arizona and the old west.
    I'll have to search it out and re-post it here again...
     
    I may have also mentioned the fact that it was you that had recalled seeing those painted figures, after the war when the base was derelict. You were working for a company that used the buildings for storage, and you walked in one day, and was surprised by the Mexicans sleeping, so life like that for a second you thought they were actually real people!!!
     
    I'll see if I can post that photo again.
    Ian W

    Ian White - 1st VP 2012-2013, 305th BGMA Hon. Life Associate, UK-European Contact and 305th BGMA Historian  

    dkp
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/12 18:24:31 (permalink)
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    Thank you Ian.
    Would like to get a pic of those Mexicans. I walked in the hut and stopped dead in my tracks. really startled me..
    Such a shame they and the New York harbour pics were destroyed.
    Cheers,
    Derek.
     
    PS Still searching for "Thar she Blows"
    Ian White
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/13 09:40:07 (permalink)
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    Good afternoon Derek.
    I certainly remember our conversations about that visit you made, as you say, it startled you to walk in to that building and see what at first appeared to be people sleeping up against the walls!
     
    You mentioned that plane, you say you saw landing at Chelveston across the old Yelden Road end, called THAR SHE BLOWS. I sent you a copy of the inside pages of a HMSO published booklet, from 1944 era, titles TARGET GERMANY. A lot of people on this site will know of it or indeed have a copy. The inside back pages are made up of a collection of nose art photos, all stitched together to form a patchwork inside cover. Amongst the many names, you will see THAR SHE BLOWS. Sadly it is just the image of the artwork, words, which were painted upon the nose of that plane. Nearly all of those shown can be figured out as belonging to either a B-17 or B-24. However, if memory serves me, the one you wanted to find, and the one actually shown in that shot, is near impossible to say for sure if its on a '17 or '24!!! So, it may not be the same one you saw and want to find. There may have been several planes with that name, as with many names used in WW2.
     
    Hope you still have that picture I sent?
     
    I'll dig out the photo of the EM's Mess Hall, the Mexicans in the walls, and get it posted again. You will find it in the back archives on the 305th BG section on AAF, it was way back several months ago, but it is still there....
     
    Regards Ian

    Ian White - 1st VP 2012-2013, 305th BGMA Hon. Life Associate, UK-European Contact and 305th BGMA Historian  

    Greg
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/13 09:49:38 (permalink)
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    Page 12, third from the top.

    SON OF TOP TURRET GUNNER/FLIGHT ENGINEER
    384TH/546TH AND 305TH/422ND
    Ian White
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/13 10:53:07 (permalink)
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    Thanks Greg! Its been too many years since I picked up that booklet and read it, so had forgotten about the page 12..... I did recall seeing it amongst a whole gaggle of nose art views on the inside back cover.
    Ian W

    Ian White - 1st VP 2012-2013, 305th BGMA Hon. Life Associate, UK-European Contact and 305th BGMA Historian  

    Ian White
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/14 11:14:44 (permalink)
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    Hello Derek...
    If you clock upon the link below to long past posting, you will find the picture and some information concerning the Enlisted Mens Mess Hall, and those painted Mexican figures you saw personally just after WW2.
     
    Regards Ian
     






    showArrow("9/20/2005 3:59:35 PM",81970,29,false)
    EM's mess hall, scented flowers and sleeping Mexican's at the 305thBG  

    Ian White - 1st VP 2012-2013, 305th BGMA Hon. Life Associate, UK-European Contact and 305th BGMA Historian  

    dkp
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/16 18:27:01 (permalink)
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    Hi Ian,
    Thank you for the photo, pity the side wall was not shown, i saw it when it was empty, what a sight.
    Must have been a decent camera as i have blown it up 20 times. Bit fuzzy now but a Mexican can be plainly seen.
    Thank you,
    Derek
    dkp
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/20 05:02:07 (permalink)
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    Hi Ian,
     
    Yes, I have the booklet mentioned. The pic of Thar she Blows does not look like the one i saw. The girl was in white and facing the other way,( the front) with no explosion below.
    I am puzzled by the ref to page 12???.
     
    Have you any info re the mid air at chowns mill one snowy morning. Remember that well.
    Cheers Derek.
    Greg
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    RE: base picture 2007/09/20 08:02:01 (permalink)
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    PAGE 12 OF THIS FORUM AS MENTIONED BY IAN IN HIS POST OF 9/10 ON THIS PAGE.

    SON OF TOP TURRET GUNNER/FLIGHT ENGINEER
    384TH/546TH AND 305TH/422ND
    KBB68
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    RE: base picture 2007/10/01 21:55:37 (permalink)
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    Hey all,
     
    Just spent time with Dick Heiler,  365th LInk trainer, and he provided me with some pictures.  I thought this might be the guard post that Ian was referring to.
     
     

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    Kevin Brower
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    T-Sgt Carl Leidel-305th/365th
    Grandfather
    Ian White
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    RE: base picture 2007/10/03 14:37:44 (permalink)
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    Hi Kevin and all...
     
    Thanks to Kevin, and of course the late Bob Lister who worked in the Link Trainer building with Dick Heiler, the picture shared is indeed the main gate, with the MP's post in the centre of the entrance. The concrete base I mentioned for this small box, is still in place at Chelveston. The gate is not really used now, apart from some occssional comings and goings by the farmer who tends cattle and sheep on the pasture on that part of the former airfield. There is one remaining medium sized metalised hut, previously mentioned above in postings, which was built post war for the Fire Dept on the base during SAC era 1950's and 1960's.
     
    This is a great picture from Kevin. Thank you!
     
    I'm attaching a post war photo dated 1955, which shows the very same gate-entrance and the very same MP's guard post-sentry box. This time with an AP standing outside guarding against vistors without business to be there!!
     
    The base was not quite rebuilt at that date, the runways having been remodelled out of all recognition from their wartime 1942-45 layout. The first B-47 Straojet would not actually land till 1956. (Although unofficially the first actually aircraft to use the fresh new runway was a British training plane with a instructor and one student Pilot aboard. They got into difficulties and saw a big wide runway beneath. Of course, in an emergency they did what most Pilots would do, they used it!!!!! Needless to say, the then US Commander of Chelveston, was beside himself with rage. How dare someone just drop out the sky and land on HIS runway .....)
     
    Anyway
     
    Photo of main gate circa 1955 attached.
     
    Ian W

    Ian White - 1st VP 2012-2013, 305th BGMA Hon. Life Associate, UK-European Contact and 305th BGMA Historian  

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