Cheddington Airfield opened March 1942 as a satellite station to Wing, with 26 Operational Training Unit, Vickers Wellington bombers (these had the codes "EU" on the aircraft sides). In September 1942 the airfield was transferred to the USAAF but within weeks had transferred back to the RAF, again with 26 OTU. It was again transferred to the USAAF in August 1943 to become station 113, with Consolidated B24 D Liberator bombers of the Combat Crew Reinforcement Centre, 8th Air Force. Late 1944 saw the arrival of specialist USAAF units arrive with Boeing B17 Flying Fortress bombers, believed to include Night Leaflet Units.
After the war the British Army took use of the airfield and the site eventually closed in 1952.
There is an excellent book that tells the story of the war years at the airfield. Pat Carty, who has given many talks in the area about the airfield, wrote a book "Secret Squadrons of the Eighth" published by Ian Allan. There are many fine illustrations from the time and details of the use made of the airfield by the Americans in particular.
(In October 2008 a correspondent John Locke gave this information:
"In your web page giving information & history about Cheddington airfield, you claim that Malc Kennard claims that the airfield might have operationally ceased aviation activity. But the Americans remained in active presence & control of part of the airfield until the Great Train Robbery. This was for a CIA/MI6 co-sponsored secret NATO operation, code named Operation Gladio. This function was eventually confirmed by a senior USAF General in the NATO administration structure in the late Sixties or Early Seventies. (Source:- Evening Post-Echo newspaper)".
The History Society is not able to verify the information but it felt this ought to be posted here. Operation Gladio did exist - there is a lot of information on the web, includsing a very detailed resolution of the European Commission condemning its activities. Whether or not our airfield was involved is not clear, we have as yet found no evidence to confirm its involvement.
Click here for the recollections of an American airman based at Cheddington in 1944.
Information about US undercover operations during World War II, including Cheddington, can be found in the book The Bedford Triangle: US Undercover Operations from Britain in World War 2 by Martin W Bowman
Useful links also include:
Thanks to Malc Kennard for providing much of this information.
In 1982 a memorial was erected just outside the airfield.
Videos of a recent additional memorial and commemoration ceremony at the airfield can be found at:
Thanks to Chas Jellis for these video links
V E Day Memorial 2011
Check out this News item for details of a memorial to WWII airmen killed at Cheddington airfield planned for 7th May 2011 - click here