USAAF Langford Lodge - Base Air Depot 3   1942 - 1945

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AIRCRAFT SERVICE UNITS

5th Airdrome Squadron - May 1944 - November 1944

Above, the 5th Airdrome Squadron orderly room at Langford Lodge. D.C. Hildreth Collection.
Above, a 5th Airdrome Squadron enlisted man stands in front of a Northrop P-61 Black Widow aircraft, in storage at Langford Lodge. D.C.Hildreth Collection.
Above, Major Moir L. Shockley, Commanding Officer of the 5th Airdrome Squadron.
D.C. Hildreth Collection.

325th Air Service Group - 11th May 1944 - 2nd July 1945





Officers of the 325th Service Group, taken at Burtonwood
Air Depot, prior to the move to Langford Lodge.





Enlisted men of the 325th Air Service Group, taken at Langford Lodge in 1944.



At Langford Lodge on the flight test strip, War-Weary Aircraft B-24 Liberator 41-29459 "Bonnie", awaiting refurbishment - late 1944
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At Langford Lodge on the flight test strip, 41-29459 after refurbishment by the 325th ASG




A-20s being salvaged at Burtonwood Air Depot, August 1945,

The 5th Airdrome Squadron was initially based at the Combat Crew Replacement Center located at AAF 236, Toome. The training of replcement aircrew on the A-20 Havoc and B-26 Marauder took place at this station. When the Lockheed Overseas Corporation vacated Langford Lodge In May 1944, the 5th Airdrome Squadron, commanded by Moir L. Shockley, recieved orders that they were to vacate Toome, and relocate to AAF station 597, Langford Lodge. Moving on 3 May 1944, the squadron was given an Orderly Room and eight barracks at Gortnagallon, site 4. A small detachment of men and vehicles stayed behind at AAF 236. Gradually the squadron replaced LOC personnel and took over their duties, assigned to salvage aircraft, the 5th Airdrome Squadron were in charge of all perimeter service and first and second echelon maintenance. This included handling of refuelling units, dispersal of aircraft, and taxiing and towing of all aircraft on the base. In August 1944, the squadron  was maintaining approximately 500 aircraft daily, doing the job with only fifty men. The squadron had its own Softball team, winning the Northern Ireland championship. Around the first of November, the squadron recieved orders to leave the comforts of Langford Lodge, to take over the new Storage Station at AAF 237, Greencastle, located at Kilkeel. A large detatchment  of men remained at Langford Lodge, known as detachment "A", this detachment set up their own organization and orderly room located on the airfield at site 2, this detachment was commanded by Lt. R.F. Kenney. At AAF 237, under the command of Major Shockley, the squadron was assigned to essentially run the base, with the aid of several small detachments. Setting up a Motor Pool, Mess, Communications, Signal, and Quartermaster. In January 1945, detachment "A" left Langford Lodge and arrived at AAF Station 237, bringing the squadron upto almost full strength. The 5th Airdrome Squadron were assigned to store a large amount of aircraft in January 1945, maintaining over 350 aircraft in various storage stages with less than 250 men. In March 1945, a deadline was set for clearing the Station of all aircraft, this placed a tremendous strain on the squadron and working hours were increased. In the Engineering section, with one Officer and ninety-five enlisted men, a commendable amount of work was performed on the various types of aircraft on the station: an average 281 aircraft were worked on each day, de-inhibiting 151 aircraft and delivering 127 aircraft, throughout the month. In May 1945, the squadron continued work in clearing all aircraft from the station. The deadline for clearing all aircraft was set at 15 May 1945. Working from 07:00hrs to 21:30hrs six nights a week,by the 15th four aircraft were left on the station due to poor flying conditions and VE-Day celebrations. On the morning of 21 May 1945, the 5th Airdrome Squadron departed Northern Ireland, destined for AAF Station 169, Stansted, England.


The 325th Service Group was activated on 5th August 1942. 0n 20th December 1943, commanded by Major Fred A. Deyo, the group was reorganized at BAD1 USAAF Burtonwood, in England. Assigned to the group were two Service Squadrons, the 328th & 343rd Service Squadron. In May 1944, along with its two service squadrons, the group was assigned to BAD3 USAAF Langford Lodge, in Northern Ireland, to essentially replace personnel of the Lockheed Overseas Corporation, and undertake their former tasks, work which was of a third and fourth echelon nature. Assigned to repair and reassemble aircraft, the 325th Service Group in conjunction with the Modification and Technical Control Section Unit (M&TCS - Experimental) carried out the engineering aspect of work, with regards to aircraft modification at Langford Lodge. The group arrived in Northern Ireland on 11th May 1944. The groups accomodation was located at Site 5, furthest away from the airfield and now home to a well known pharmaceutical company. On the 13th August 1944, the group photographed the famous band leader Glenn Miller and his band, at the base theatre, the Proj-Ma-Hall. Some well known modificaitons that were carried out at Langford by the 325th and its assigned Squadrons was the P-38 Dive Flap, and P-38 Droopsnoot modification, that allowed a bombardier to be placed in the nose of the aircraft. This work was taken over by the 325th ASG, when the LOC vacated the base. Other modifications carried out  by the group under the direction of M&TCS, was the conversion of a B-24 into a cargo ship. Assigned to M&TCS for experimental purposes was an aircraft of each type, B-17, B-24, P-38, A-20 and a B-26. As the war progressed, after the D-Day landings, the 325th Air Service Group took possession of hundreds of War-Weary aircraft, these were placed in storage around the airfield, or "pickled" was the term used. A large majority of these aircraft were run up daily and kept in an "as ready" state, in case they were required to replace damaged or lost aircraft. Many of these aircraft, classed as War-Weary, were salvaged at Langford Lodge, suprisingly though, a large amount were also refurbished and flown back to the United States. This was a big undertaking, and the results are impressive, as can be seen by the photographs to the left. Many ex-combat pilots were assigned to the Group to ferry and flight test these war-weary and newly refurbished aircraft, they were Lt. Harold B. Reichert, Lt. William G. Brown, and Lt. Fred A. Barton. This was no easy task, and unfortunately a few pilots assigned to undertake this flight test work, were killed in the closing months of Langford Lodge. They were not to be the only losses the group suffered. On 20th October 1944, an enlisted man, Pvt. Wallace J. Demery, was enroute to AAF Greencastle in a weapons carrier truck to deliver a much needed aircraft part, unfortuantely the truck hit an embankment, and overturned, injuring Pvt . Demery, he was taken to the 36th Station Hospital where he sadly succumbed to his injuries on the same day. His military funeral was held at Lisnabreeny Cemetery on on 22nd October, 30 Officers and enlisted men were in attendance. The second incident involving a 325th Man occurred  In May 1945. Sgt. Frank M. Seitz, a welder, was working on the wing of a salvaged aircraft, using his cutting torch, suddenly without warning there was a huge explosion and sadly Sgt. Seitz was killed instantly. In the weeks leading up to the closing of Langford Lodge, the Group was working increased hours to meet deadlines of getting aircraft completed and flown out of the airfield, any essential items, consisting of engnes and machinery, were crated, and shipped either to the U.S. or over to England, any non essential items and documents were "disposed of ", according to the unit history. On the 2nd July 1945, with heavy hearts, the group bid a final farewell to Langford Lodge and Northern Ireland, as they made their way to the railway station at Site 4. Their destination was Larne and finally back to Burtonwood Air Depot in England. Sadly one member of the group would not be joining them, Lt. Fred A. Barton, a test pilot, had been killed the previous day in an aircraft accident, all who knew and came into contact with him were deeply moved by the news. Upon arriving back at Burtonwood Air Depot, some personnel had earned their points to return back to the States, while others stayed on. In August 1945, a new project was started at Burtonwood by the 325th, titled the A-20 Project, the group was assigned to salvage a large amount of A-20 Havoc type aircraft, of which, was heavily documented in photographs.

AIRCRAFT FERRY UNITS

With the influx of United States Army Air Force aircraft service personnel at Langford Lodge in May 1944, two squadrons of the 27th Air Transport Group also arrived on the airfield. The 311th and 312th Ferrying Squadrons, which had previously been based at Maghaberry, were assigned to Langford Lodge to ferry aircraft from this base, to operational units in England. Many of these aircraft had either been reassembled or overhauled, requiring the services of the Ferry Units to deliver these aircraft to their assigned units. Many of the ferrying squadron pilots were ex-combat veterans who had completed their allocated missions. There were four C-47 aircraft that arrived from Maghaberry with the 27th ATG, which were used for the evacuation of patients from local hospitals, and various cargo shuttle flights, these were also undertaken by personnel of the assigned Ferry Units.
Army Air Corps Song
Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band (V-Disc-264A)
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