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Atcham

Major
Also known as: Atcham Aerodrome / Atcham Business Park / Atcham Field / Atcham Industrial Estate / RAF Atcham / USAAF Station 342
County: Shropshire
Current Status: Industry / Open land / Public road
Date: 20 August 1941 - 22 October 1946
Current Use: Disused
Used By: RAF / RAF (Belgian) / USAAF
Aircraft Roles: Fighter / Trainer

Atcham opened on 20 August 1941 under the control of No 9 Group of Fighter Command to become an important Sector station until the by now official RAF detachment finally left in late 1943. The first aircraft to arrive were Supermarine Spitfires of No 131 Squadron from nearby Tern Hill the following month. For five months they carried out patrol and scramble missions from Atcham, although rarely had any contact with enemy aircraft. This unit was joined by a few other Spitfire squadrons that briefly passed through, including the Belgian No 350 Squadron.

On 15 June 1942 Atcham was handed to the American 8th Air Force, becoming Station 342 for the 31st Fighter Group. Its Spitfires, also based at High Ercall, were replaced by the 14th Fighter Group when the former element moved to Westhampnett around two months later. They flew two squadrons of Lockheed P-38 Lightnings until moving to North Africa during the turn of October and November.

Atcham’s primary role then changed to focus on training as a Combat Crew Replacement Centre (CCRC). This eventually became the 495th Fighter Training Group for the rest of the war. The Group had a variety of aircraft, including Spitfires and especially Republic P-47 Thunderbolts. As with most training units, the Group became very busy providing conversion and operational theatre training until moving to Cheddington in February 1945.

From the summer of 1944 the RAF’s No 5 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit from Tern Hill had been using Atcham as a Relief Landing Ground. A detachment from No 577 Squadron, an anti-aircraft co-operation unit, also used Atcham for a period of time but the airfield closed to flying in April 1946 and completely six months later. The site was returned to agriculture by the 1950s, after a period of storing vehicles, and the technical area is now an industrial estate. Part of the north-east/south-west runway has separately become a public road.

 

The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):

  • AAD Logistics Ltd
  • Acute Sales Ltd
  • Amdega Brands Ltd
  • Atcham Parish Council - name only
  • Autoclimate
  • B.T.F. Polymers Ltd
  • Boxall & Edmiston
  • Central England Vehicle Logistics Ltd (CEVL)
  • Chillogic Ltd
  • Churchill Enviromental Engineering
  • Dalgety Arable Ltd
  • Direct Engines Ltd
  • Don't Dream It Drive It Ltd
  • Ferco Seating Systems
  • Fire Safe International
  • Fuel Additive Science Technologies Limited
  • Funky Feet Fashions Ltd
  • Grow Hydro
  • Haynes Tigges Holdings Ltd
  • Hodges & Moss
  • Initial Cleaning Services
  • Jeeparts
  • KDS Solutions Ltd
  • Masco Ltd
  • MIDDAS
  • Modern Fire Extinguisher Services Ltd
  • Original Limited
  • Parcelforce Worldwide Shrewsbury Depot
  • Polarstat Ltd
  • Precision Cut Textiles Ltd
  • Proauto Ltd
  • Progroup Services Ltd
  • Provq Ltd
  • Prysmian Cables
  • Rapid Envelopes Ltd
  • Roofrite
  • Salop Lead Ltd
  • Scooters4Hire Ltd
  • Shropshire Vending Services
  • Singular Ltd
  • St. Eata's Church, Atcham
  • The Loft Stairs Company Ltd
  • Trading Honestly Ltd.
  • Tudor Driveways
  • Whittall Group/Hereford Storage Ltd
  • Window & Door Security Systems Ltd
  • Wroxeter & Uppington Parish Council

Main unit(s) present:

  • 1st Gunnery & Tow Target Flight
  • No 5 (P) AFU

  • No 5 SFTS

  • 6th Fighter Wing

  • 14th FG

  • 31st FG

  • 48th FS
  • 49th FS
  • 50th FS
  • No 74 Sqn

  • 93rd FS

  • No 131 Sqn

  • No 232 Sqn

  • 307th FS
  • 308th FS
  • 309th FS
  • No 350 Sqn

  • No 452 Sqn
  • 495th FTG

  • 551st FS
  • 552nd FS
  • No 577 Sqn

  • No 2815 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2820 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • 2906th Observation Training Group
001US Public Domain (FRE 6907).jpg

A Republic P-47 Thunderbolt at Atcham during the Second World War. US Public Domain (FRE 6907)

002geograph-47581-by-Bob-Bowyer.jpg

Atcham Industrial Estate, part of the airfield, 1 September 2005.

002geograph-47581-by-Bob-Bowyer.jpg

Atcham Industrial Estate, part of the airfield, 1 September 2005.

002geograph-47581-by-Bob-Bowyer.jpg

Atcham Industrial Estate, part of the airfield, 1 September 2005.

002geograph-47581-by-Bob-Bowyer.jpg

Atcham Industrial Estate, part of the airfield, 1 September 2005.

003Looking east from the runway 10 threshold - 31 May 2008.png

Looking east from the runway 10 threshold, 31 May 2008. © Richard Flagg

004Callendar-Hamilton Type Aircraft Shed - 31 May 2008.png

Callendar-Hamilton Type Aircraft Shed at Atcham, 31 May 2008. © Richard Flagg

005geograph-3248074-by-Mike-White.jpg

An air raid shelter at Atcham, 4 December 2012.

006geograph-3275439-by-Mike-White.jpg

Looking across Atcham, including part of a runway, 30 December 2012.

006geograph-3275439-by-Mike-White.jpg

Looking across Atcham, including part of a runway, 30 December 2012.

006geograph-3275439-by-Mike-White.jpg

Looking across Atcham, including part of a runway, 30 December 2012.

006geograph-3275439-by-Mike-White.jpg

Looking across Atcham, including part of a runway, 30 December 2012.

007geograph-3275443-by-Mike-White.jpg

Looking across Atcham, including part of a runway, 30 December 2012.

Parent(s)/HQ Airfields(s):

Tern Hill

Decoy Airfield(s):

Cressage

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