Cranfield (Greencastle) Aerodrome

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Brian
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Cranfield (Greencastle) Aerodrome

#1 Post by Brian » Sun May 20, 2007 11:38 am

There are a number of web sites that mention the air fields at Cranfield, (officially known then as the Greencastle Aerodrome, as there already was a Cranfield in England)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/yo ... 0310.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stor ... 1996.shtml

http://www.ulster.ac.uk/thisisland/modu ... ences.html

I have taken a couple of pictures from one of those sites, This one shows the area from the air,

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and it seems the Germans knew about it as well...

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and these couple of screen grabs show what it looks like to day (thanks to Google earth)

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Memories!

#2 Post by Bornandbred1 » Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:43 pm

Brian, this brought back memories for me, although nothing to do with the original purpose of the airfield!
My mother, God rest her, decided to take some driving lessons & her cousin duly obliged by taking her out to Cranfield in his battered Riley - I think it was an Elf, not sure though. This was before the runways were demolished but after they had fallen into a state of disrepair, weed strewn & with lots of concrete chunks here & there - a bit of an obstacle course actually! The only thing appealing to a novice driver was it's emptiness & long straight roads, but I'm afraid my Mum just wasn't cut out to be a driver - either that or her cousin was a very bad teacher! Either way, she gave up after 2 or 3 lessons, & later used to say it was all the fault of the "Kangaroo petrol" & the complaints of feeling sick from the back-seat passenger (me!)

I haven't thought about this for a long time - thanks for the memories!

(BTW I'm surprised just how much of the runways are visible on the Google Earth image, thought they were all gone)

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#3 Post by StLouisGuy » Fri Sep 14, 2007 4:19 am

Thought this might be informative for those interested.

"Article: Greencastle airfield - US Combat Crew Replacement Centre
Along with six other airfields in Northern Ireland, Greencastle airfield near Kilkeel, Co Down, was acquired on 3 August, 1943, by the 8th Air Force Composite Command, a subordinate of the 8th US Army Air Force and opened as Army Air Force Station 237.

Built by the British during 1942, the 350 acre base had four T2 hangars; the main runway ran NE-SW parallel to the sea and was about 1.5 miles in length and 150ft wide. Concrete was no less than 6’’ thick, at places 9’’.

Like the other Combat Crew Replacement Centres, Greencastle was a training base, giving skills to new crews in gunnery and bombing techniques, and making up replacement for crews lost in action. From Greencastle, Cluntoe, Toome and Mullaghmore, crews would leave Ireland and join combat squadrons in East Anglia and Norfolk. For many aircrew straight from the States, a Northern Ireland CCRC would be their first step on European soil.

By December 1943, the primary AAF units at Greencastle were 4th Replacement and Training Sqn. (Bomb); 4th Gunnery and TT Flight (SP); 5th Airdrome Sqn.; 8th Air Force Anti-Aircraft Machine Gunnery School; 65th Airdrome Sqn.; 84th Station Complement Sqn.; Det. A. 1262nd Military Police Company (AVN); Det. A. 1730th Ordnance Sqn. Company (AVN); Det D1056th Q.M. Company Service Group (AVN) and Det. 237, 18th Weather Sqn.

Aircraft stationed at and flying into Greencastle at the time included the B-17, B-24, B-26, P-47, A-20 and A-28. Aircraft carried out gunnery practice near Dundrum Bay, also bombing practice and air to air firing off Annalong and Ballymartin. It was Greencastle that generals Eisenhower and Patton flew into, in the months leading up to D-Day, to inspect troops of the US 5th Infantry Division stationed throughout Co Down with their HQ at Donard Lodge in Newcastle.

After D-Day, Greencastle began a rundown, but joined the other CCRCs in becoming storage and replacement depots for hundreds of aircraft. It finally closed in 1945, and the rumble and rushing air noise of aircraft left Greencastle forever.

Although in the 1960s the runways were all broken up and used by farmers in walls, Greencastle has one of the best preserved instructional sites in Northern Ireland, through usage by private ownership and light industry. The motor pool shed is in very good order, although the tower is fast decaying and no hangars remain. Nevertheless, Greencastle still holds an atmosphere of those past gone days."

By John Quinn
This article first appeared on the CultureNorthernIreland website.

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#4 Post by conororeilly » Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:05 am

I happened to be speaking to a gentelman called Willie McNeill (believe thats correct) from bridge street in Rostrevor recently, he told me a wonderfull story of how he built the Nissan huts out on the airfields ! he said that he was shouted at by someone who said his hammering was interupting the drills ! when the man turned away Willie made a jesture with his hammer which made the entire crew laugh and as a result where all placed on report !! I believe Willie said he is 90 odd years old. Just though that might be of some relevance here..
Conor O'Reilly

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#5 Post by Brian » Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:23 pm

Just looking back on google earth again today, and remembered you can tilt the pictures so...

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I also spoke to a couple of people around Cranfield that were a bit annoyed that the old control tower had been demolished.

you can see some pictures of it from a few years back here:

http://www.controltowers.co.uk/G/Greencastle.htm

There is very little left of the airfields down there now, and its a shame that somebody did not think to save something.

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Re: Cranfield (Greencastle) Aerodrome

#6 Post by 16vrs » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:06 am

Has anyone got some photos of the base it's self or Greencastle from this time... ?

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