Newsletter 002 - July 2000

Newsletter No.2 July 2000

Such a lot has happened since the last newsletter it is difficult to know where to start, ah well here goes. We now have members all over the country London, Luton, Sussex all over Essex and one member in the U.S. yes wonderful news our first Boxted Airfield veteran as a member so a very special welcome to James Miller. A full list of members to date is included this time.

I have also been corresponding recently with Marty Stanton who was an armourer with the 62nd fighter squadron of the 56th, his job was to clean and arm the guns, he has been very helpful and his photo will be included in the Exhibition when we open again on Sep. 10th, he has reached the wonderful age of 87 years.

On Remembrance Day 1999 we had the honour to lay a wreath at the Memorial on the airfield, the Memorial is currently being improved by the village, your committee had a whip round we were very happy to make a donation towards two large urns which will be planted up for everyone to enjoy. I have received a Thank you note from Mrs. Scholfield Chairperson of the parish council and informing us a working party is about to complete the improvements.

As you are probably aware our ultimate aim is to have a permanent museum dedicated to the airfields history, as part of the planning for this we are compiling an archive and would welcome any donations relevant to any aspect of the airfields life. At this point we must thank Steve, Derek, Michael and Howell for there very kind donations of material for this.

Preparations continue for the historical evening on July 7th and we look forward to seeing you and having a very enjoyable evening.

I gave a talk to the Ipswich Historical Transport Society on June 13th which I very much enjoyed and I met a few new contacts which could help us in the future.

Members list as of 1/07/2000

Richard Turner Colchester (Chairman)

Steve Ball 1/ (Treasurer)

Dave Chabel 1/ (Archivist)

Michael Heath fI (Archivist)

Derek Blowers "

Mary Fenner

Robin Gooding

Roy Henson

Marion Heath

Peter Lyes

James Miller

Howell Morris

John Norman

R Riddleston

Philip Stock

Robert 'Trimnell

Norman Trimnell

Geoff Wright

Michael 0'Sullivan

There is still time to put your name down for the guided tour of Parham museum and airlield on the 13th August at 1 pm transport induded in cost full details were in last newsletter.

Do not forget Exhibitions start again on September 10th, and as usual there will be something new to see and interesting people to meet.

We are currently organising our next social evening, it win be during October and we are arranging date and time with a suitable speaker. full details in next newsletter due out in September.

Michael O’ Sullivan A recent new member from London, who has been to the Exhibition on a couple of occasions and is also a keen aircraft modeller has sent us some excellent photos for the archive for which we thank him very much and he is hoping to be with us all at the film evening, there is enthusiasm for you, Well done Michael.

PILOT PROFILES: Richard Turner (An ace of the 354th)

Richard was in college in Dec 1941 when Pearl Harbour was attacked, he was 21 years old and this horror had a dramatic effect on him and he decided to do his bit to help, he had already flown solo after taking flying lessons in 1939 so it was natural to volunteer as a pilot. After training at several different bases on various different aircraft Richard was assigned to the 354th Fighter Group at Tonopah Nevada and shortly after left for England and Boxted.1st December 1943 and the first combat mission which was uneventful, Richard saw his first action on Jan 5th 1944 when he shot down an Me 109, not a bad start. At this time Jim Howard was C.O. of the 354th and Richard commented that he was the greatest leader he ever flew with and quickly had the squadrons using the right tactics to ensure success. Later Major Howard went to Ninth airforce H.Q. and George Bickell became the new C. O. and to his surprise Richard was appointed Squadron Commander of the 356th Squadron.

After lots of escort missions and lots of action, the targets began to change to more strafing missions, perhaps indicating missions over the continent. Richard celebrated his 24th birthday at Boxted on April 8th 1944.

On 15th April the group prepared to move to Lashenden in Kent, this was done without interruption to missions so they took off from Boxted on a fighter sweep to Germany and landed in Kent. Richard then moved airfields a couple more times, this time to landing strips on the continent and took part in patrols as part of D.Day. Shortly after this Richard had completed his combat tour having flown 96 combat missions spending 294 hours and 40 minutes in the air, he had submitted claims for 20 aerial victories and 12 as a result of strafing. The only injuries Richard received was the loss of a tooth when he banged his mouth on the cowling, the other was when landing after shooting down two enemy he was so excited to tell his groundcrew that he slipped on the grass and hurt his back, (ten years later this injury forced his retirement from the airforce through arthritis in his back).On 10th November Richard was promoted to Lt Col and had confirmed 12 kills with his mustangs always called " Short Fuse Sallee". On returning to the States Richard completed his college degree and married Patricia Ann Hayes. He volunteered and served with the air reserve. When the Korean war started he pestered until he was allowed to retrain for jets and saw action flying the F86, until he had to retire.

Boxted Airfield The History

The 386th arrived in June 1943, one of our members (Derek Blowers) remembers as a lad, lining the runway with several other local people on the day they arrived, watching in awe as the Marauders came into land in twos and threes.The base was still being prepared and several tents were still being used as accommodation, there was very little protection from attack, until one day the base was bombed resulting in

two men kil1ed and 29 injured, subsequently ack ack guns were installed and slit trenches dug.

First mission was 30 July 1943 to attack the Luftwaffe fighter airfield at Woensdretch, Holland, 24 Marauders took off, unfortunately "Two Way Ticket" crash landed after losing power in one engine, the pilot Lt Williamson skilfully put the plane down, all the crew survived. The group were escorted by spitfires and were attacked by Focke Wulf 190s, and one marauder was shot down. Less than half the group were able to drop their bombs on the target due to ground haze.