3rd Strategic Air Depot (Watton); 1942-1945; Watton and Griston, Norfolk

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3rd Strategic Air Depot (Watton); 1942-1945; Watton and Griston, Norfolk

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The 3rd Strategic Air Depot was one of four depots established under the Bradley Plan (a report by Maj. Gen. Follett Bradley on the build-up of the Army Air Force in Britain, which advocated that Eighth Bomber Command should be built-up to maximum strength to pursue the strategic bombardment of Germany). Initially, it was based at RAF Watton, which it shared with the RAF. In October 1943, as more American personnel arrived, the RAF handed over the base to the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) and it became Army Air Force Station no. 505. Later, a large complex was built at Griston to accommodate the influx of American personnel in the Depot and the main Watton site was then used by the 25th Bomb Group (a reconnaissance unit). The 3rd Strategic Air Depot contained about 4, 800 officers and men. It was responsible for servicing, repairing and modifying all B-24 Liberator aeroplanes in the 2nd Air Division. The Depot also recovered crashed B-24s from any location in the United Kingdom and ran other supply functions for the 2nd Air Division.
Field Engineering was a division of the 3rd Strategic Air Depot located at RAF Watton (Army Air Force Station no. 505). Whenever a B-24 crashed, or made an emergency landing away from its home station, it was turned over to Eighth Air Force Service Command and a trained inspector was sent to inspect the aircraft. Aircraft could be classified by Field Engineering as repairable, E1 (salvage for parts) or E2 (complete salvage). If an aircraft was classified as repairable, a crew of eight to ten trained men were sent to the crash site to get the aircraft airworthy. An aircraft had to be repaired within 30 days. Of the 1318 aircraft inspected, 602 were salvaged and 716 repaired.


Watton, Norfolk; Griston, Norfolk

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Created on: 02/03/2011 by Drohj




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