RAF Gosfield photographed in March 1945

RAF Gosfield is a former World War II airfield in England located near Gosfield Village in Essex, approximately 4 miles from Braintree and 2 miles from Halstead. During the war it was used by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force Ninth Air Force as USAAF station 154.

Gosfield had been utilised as a landing ground during World War I but it is not known if this was a factor in the Air Ministry surveyor’s visit to the area during the winter of 1941-42 when selecting locations for Class A bomber airfields. The site was eventually included in the grouping of 15 such airfields in August 1942 that were allocated for the USAAF Eighth Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress groups then training in the United States.

Gosfield was also one of the airfields where the main construction work was carried out by US Army engineers. The 816th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) arrived at Gosfield on 16 August 1942 where they began setting up tented accommodation. Shortages of construction equipment and other problems caused delays in the early months. By December 1942, the overall airfield building program was in crisis and falling further behind schedule due to the lack of labour and resources. By March 1943, most of the 816th’s men were transferred to the more advanced site at RAF Andrews Field. Full-scale construction of Gosfield was resumed in August and by mid-October 1943 the main elements of the landing area had been completed. The 833rd Engineer Aviation Battalion arrived in October 1943 and helped complete Gosfield, including buildings and the drainage system. However, by the time it was completed the Eighth Air Force no longer required the airfield and it was passed to the control of the US Ninth Air Force.

On December 10, 1943 the airfield was bombed by the Luftwaffe. Four men of the 833rd EAB, Stacy J. Lindsey, George E. Reilly, Norman Shotnakoff Jr., and Fred Svensson, were killed when one of the raiders sprayed their hut with cannon fire; and fifteen others were wounded.

The airfield consisted of three runways of 6,000 ft (14-32), 4,200 ft (02-20), and 4,000 ft (08-26). 50 “Loop” and 1 “Frying Pan” hardstands were constructed. Two T-2 hangars were constructed along with accommodations for 3,278 personnel.


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