Bovingdon Airfield was constructed between 1941 and 1942 as an operational aircraft base for RAF Bomber Command who flew operation missions from the site until the United States Army Airforce took over the base a few months later.
Although some combat missions were initially flown from the base during the second world War Bovingdon Airfield became a training base for B-17 crews. The 8th US Airforce (92nd Bomber Group) arrived at the base in 1942 and was assigned the role of a B-17 Combat Crew Replacement Unit (CCRC) training other Bomber units arriving in Britain. General Eisenhower’s personal B-17 was even housed at the base.
The CCRC remained at the base until 1944 when the airfield became the base for the European Air Transport Service and many thousands of GI’s returned to the States via the Bovingdon Air Terminal. The RAF took control of the airfield back in April 1946 but a few years later, in 1951 the Americans returned to the Airfiled in the form of the 7431st Air Base Squadron, operating side-by-side with the RAF and Foreign Service Organisations.
During the 1960’s. after the Airfield was selected to close, it was used in the production of several World War II films including The War Lover starring Steve McQueen and 633 Squadron. Flying ceased in 1969 and the airfield was fully shut down in 1972 although some flying scenes for Hanover Street, starring Harrison Ford, were shot there in 1978.
Today, the former airfield contains the HM Prison The Mount and what remains of the site is used for a Saturday market.
Why not watch one of the movies filmed at Bovingdon Airfield and see if you can recognise the locations?
Looking for aircraft related activities?
Colour in one of these World War II planes. Are you going to make them brightly coloured and wasy to spot, or hide them from enemy fire with camouflage colours?
Design a pilot uniform for the plane you coloured in. Draw your pilot saluting and share the picture on social media with the hashtag #SaluteOurForces to pay tribute to the British Armed Forces community.
See how many words you can find in this Bovingdon Airfield themed wordsearch
Make some paper aeroplanes – design your own or take inspiration from the Fold ‘N Fly website . Experiment with different materials and see which plane flies furthest (paper, cardboard, tinfoil). Which design works best with which material?