USAAF Station 597 - Langford Lodge - 1942 - 1945
Museum Collection

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Amidst the peaceful countryside of County Antrim, on the shores of Lough Neagh, a huge construction effort began to take shape in 1942. Off ships at the ports of Larne and Belfast, disembarked hundreds of the USA’s most highly skilled aircraft technicians. Arriving at Langford Lodge, they found an air base that was far from completion. Of necessity therefore, they were initially put to work digging ditches, building huts and laying concrete, until construction was sufficiently far advanced to enable them to commence the work for which they had been contracted before leaving the USA.
The central feature of the airfield, was the Manor House, former home to the Packenham family. This house and its dwellings were modernized and re-decorated for the accommodation of high-ranking officers and personnel. - LOC.

Above, local civilian employees disembark a GNR train at the Gortnagallon marshaling yard, located at site 4. This railway line was purpose built for this Air Depot - LOC.

Above,a variety of vehicles used for the operation of the base,in the vehicle technical area.
Above, Site 3 accommodation, consisting of prefabricated SECO huts, the brick building with the tower housed the toilet block and washing facilities, the flat roof brick building adjacent was the decontamination block and air raid shelter. These two types of buildings were spaced 4 huts apart, considering there were at least 10 men assigned to each hut. To determine each site, each hut started with the site number prefix, hut number one would have been labelled as "301", and so forth for the other living sites.
Upon completion, Langford Lodge Air Depot comprised of two runways, a North-South (over a mile long), and East-West runway.  A large technical area was constructed which housed 11 large hangars of various types, the largest of which, was known as the "Super Hangar" consisting of two T2 Hangars joined together, located at the flight test strip area of the airfield. In the main technical area, additionally there was also a purpose built Lockheed Hangar, used for propeller refurbishment, sand blasting, and x-ray facilities. The center of the Technical Area housed a small Church, known locally as Gartree. The vehicle MT area had a variety of Robins hangars erected for vehicle maintenance and repair. A variety of Butler Buildings were also scattered around the various sites used for a variety of tasks such as warehouse storage, laundry, and for housing various machinery used in the operation of aircraft repair. The odd Nissen-Quonset hut also made a scarce appearance as a mess hall for locally employed civilian personnel. There were 6 designated sites for accommodation and recreation. Sites 1, 2, and 6, were located on the airfield, Site 3 was situated across the road from the railway marshaling yards which was Site 4, this was strictly a U.S. Army site, located at Gortnagallon. Site 5 was located to the East of Site 4, which is now used as premises for a local pharmaceutical company. Sites 1-5 were used for living accommodation and were dispersed to avoid mass casualties in the event of a Luftwaffe air raid. Site 6 was the location of the Army Headquarters building, telephone exchange and the base theater known as the "Proj-ma-hall".

Initially run by the Lockheed Overseas Corporation in conjunction with a small number of United States Army Air Force personnel, Langford Lodge Air Depot would become one of four base air depots in the UK. Designated Base Air Depot No 3, AAF Station 597, it was allocated responsibility for the assembly, modification and repair of American aircraft operated by both American and British forces. Prior to the entry of the United States into the war, the U.S. Government and the Lockheed Aircraft Company had already begun to draw up plans for a civilian operated Air Depot at Langford Lodge, although at that time, the planned purpose of the air depot was to support American built aircraft in British use.
Above, LOC technicians work on the vertical stabilizer of a B-24 Liberator aircraft at Langford Lodge. This aircraft was named "SWEET ADELINE II. It was assigned to the 565th BS 389th Bomb Group, and took part in the well known low level Ploesti air raid, targeting Romanian Oil Fields. - LOC.
The airfield had its' own hospital and dental unit, situated close to the grounds of the Manor House. It was one of the most technologically advanced units of its type in the ETO. Under LOC control, the hospital was staffed by American civilian doctors, technicians and nurses. On-hand day or night, 24 hours, for personnel of the base. There were various dispensaries, operating theaters and wards for rest and recuperation. It was constructed in the shape of a "H".
Above, the base theater - LOC.
Above,a patient recuperates while a doctor and nurses do the rounds of the ward -LOC.
The Lockheed Overseas Corporation spared no expense when it came to providing entertainment and comfort for their civilian employees at Langford Lodge. The base sported the best facilities in the whole of the ETO. A Bowling alley, rifle range, tennis court, basketball court baseball pitch, and purpose built cinema-theater were constructed for personnel to use.
In addition to these facilities, the base featured ice-cream making facilities, and its own radio show which was piped into the Linoleum floored, steam heated prefabricated SECO accommodation huts throughout the dispersed living sites. The "Nit-Wit" network provided the latest musical hits of the time and goings on around the base. A newspaper was also created to keep everyone up to date on base happenings and local news, this was called "The Daily Magnet".

Above, at Langford Lodge, the "Nit-Wit" network - LOC.

Above, "The Jive Bombers" on stage in Belfast, - LOC.
Langford Lodge was home to a variety of baseball teams that played in the Northern Ireland league against similar U.S. teams. Additionally, the base had its' own Jazz band, made up from L.O.C. civil service employees, known as "The Jive Bombers". The Jive bombers played on stage with a variety of famous acts during USO and ENSA shows. They entertained many in the city of Belfast, and also performed live nationwide on various BBC radio broadcasts from late 1942 onwards.
From 1942 to 1945, many famous faces passed through Langford Lodge, the most famous was Captain Glenn Miller and his band, who played at the base theater on 13th August 1944 to a packed out crowd. Other famous celebrities to name a few were Bob Hope, Al Jolson, Francis Langford, Carol Landis and the famous boxer "Joe Lewis". A number of noteworthy modifications where also developed and engineered at Langford Lodge by the LOC, such as the P-38 Droopsnoot Project, the P-38 Dive-Brake modification, and the conversion of a WACO Glider into a mobile aircraft repair shop, known as "Mechanikite". Of note, the base also possessed the title of having the worlds largest amount of Linoleum flooring in the world..
13th August 1944, Glenn Miller poses for a quick photograph on the roof of the site theater-cinema, located at site 6.
Above, a LOC technician works on the fuselage of an aircraft, note the LOC shoulder patch sewn on-to his military issue M41 Jacket - LOC.
Above, newly re-assembled P-38F type aircraft are lined up outside the main assembly hangars, hangar 4 can be seen to the right, with a Butler building behind. In the background can be seen the four spires of Gartree Church in the trees - LOC.

Above, B-17's undergo service and repair work in Hangar 3 - LOC.

Considerable aircraft service, repair, and re-assembly work took place at Langford Lodge during its' time under LOC control. A large amount of Lockheed P-38's were received and re-assembled, as-well as fly in and fly away aircraft arriving for aircraft service, repair, and modification work. Initially, the base was run under L.O.C. control, with a similar amount of U.S. Army personnel who undertook various guard and station keeping duties. In May 1944, there was a total of 6673 personnel on the base, of which 3227 were U.S. Army personnel, 1906 were Local Lockheed civilian employees, and 1540 were U.S.  Lockheed contracted employees. In May 1944, the USAAF cancelled the contract with the L.O.C.. The base was then taken over by Army Air Force personnel. A small contingent of L.O.C. employees decided to stay on and were employed as U.S. Civil Servants. It was around this time that Langford Lodge AAF Station 597 was designated as a Storage and Experimental station, attached to the Base Air Depot Area, BADA.

Assigned to undertake the former duties that L.O.C. personnel undertook, two service squadrons, the 328th and the 343rd Service Squadron, were assigned at the air depot from May 1944, attached to the 325th Service Group, these units carried out 3rd and 4th Echelon repairs on aircraft. The 5th Airdrome Squadron was also assigned to Langford Lodge for a short period at this time, undertaking similar duties to the above mentioned units, with the exception of being a 1st and 2nd Echelon unit. Additionally, a large contingent of U.S. Army personnel where already on the base, prior to the arrival of the aircraft service units, many where assigned to Headquarters Squadron, AAF Station 597, of which supplied the various sections needed to run an air depot, such as Control Tower personnel, Signal Corps Engineers and men of Quartermaster and Transportation sections.

Above, an enlisted man of the 5th Airdrome Squadron poses for a photograph outside the Squadron orderly room, located at Site 2, next to the Mess Hall.
Above, B-17 42-97673 at Langford Lodge, presumably in early 1945. Note the WW prefix on the tail, this denotes this aircraft had been classed as War-Weary, as evidenced from the large amount of mission tally markers painted on its nose. This aircraft was later flown back to the USA to await the scrapman at the huge boneyard at AAF Kingman in Arizona.

In July 1945, with the War in Europe at a close for a number of weeks, the majority of American personnel bid farewell to Langford Lodge. The base had accomplished its task, and played its part in winning air superiority over the skies of Europe. Many of the Service Squadrons were stationed back in England, at the huge Burtonwood Base Air Depot 1, with personnel awaiting orders to return home to the States. At Langford Lodge, a small group of personnel stayed behind to wrap up the closing of the base under American control and the handing over to the RAF. This was completed in August 1945.

In the Summer of 1944, the airfield was home to a large amount of aircraft that were placed in storage around the base. Many of these had been brought in due to overflow issues at BAD1 and BAD2, a large majority of these aircraft were categorized as War-Weary. In August, over 500 aircraft were in storage, consisting of various types such as A-20s, B-17s and B-24s of the US 8th and 9th Army Air Forces. Many of these War-Weary aircraft were either; refurbished at Langford Lodge, or broken up for salvageable parts and materials. The assigned Service Squadrons undertook these tasks.

The early days, U.S. Officers' in the Langford Lodge Manor House - LOC

325th Air Service Group, 343rd Air Service Squadron, 328th Air Service Squadron, 403rd Air Depot Group, Station 597, AAF 597, AAF Station 597, Langford Lodge, USAAF, AAF, USAAC, Air Depot, 3rd Base Air Depot, Base Air Depot 3, BAD 3, Burtonwood, Warton, BAD 1, BAD 2, 5th Airdrome Squadron,  Station Complement Squadron Base Air Depot #3, 7th Air Depot Group, 37th Station Complement Squadron,38th Signal Company, Service Group, 311th Ferrying Squadron,312th Ferrying Squadron,321st Air Transport Squadron, Station Complement Squadron Army Air Force Station 597, 597th Station Complement Squadron, 694th Quartermaster Company, 1694th Ordnance Company,1694th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company, 759th Quartermaster Truck Company (Colored),1647th Quartermaster Company (Colored), 769th Ordnance Company, 897th Military Police Company, 984th Military Police Company, 1145th Military Police Company, 1195th Military Police Company, 1694th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company, 1947th Quartermaster Truck Company (Colored), 2211th Quartermaster Truck Company, 310th Ferrying Squadron, 27th Air Transport Group, 325th Service Group, 328th Service Squadron, 343rd Service Squadron, Gartree Church, Gartree, Largy Road, Gortnagallon, Jive Bombers, Packenham family, Packenham's, Modification and Technical Control Section, M&TCS, Lockheed Overseas Corporation, Henry Ogden, Hank Ogden, Photographer Bob Drury, Photographer Joe Henley, Langford Lodge Control Tower, Lough Neagh, County Antrim, Crumlin, Walter Bernier, LOC Assistant Base Manager J. Kenneth Hull, Langford Lodge North Ireland, Colonel Fred A Deyo, Lt. Robert T. Hill, Lt. John W. Bergin Jr., First Sergeant Maurice A. Liptow, 325th Service Group Photographer T/Sgt. Thorup, Lt. W.B. Hamner, Major Frederick B. Johnson, Major L.A. Britten, Lt. P.N.Wick, Captain E.W. Lamb, Lt. E.A.Womack, Lt. J.G. Rock, Captain J.E. Keyes, Captain A.J. Carlson, Lt. J.W. McBride, Captain B.H.Harding, Lt. R.A. Greenberg, Lt. V.J. Pietrobon, Lt. A.J. Marx, Lt. R.T. Hill, Captain R.C. Stowers, Lt. J.E. Bellanca, Lt. J.B. Fleming, Lt W.A. Fitzpatrick, Lt E.N. Lessman, Medical Officer Lt. F.C. Wagenseller, Lt. Chester W. Gulczynski, Lt G.F. Ostroski, Lt. Max Miller, CWO O.S. Connor, Lt. C.W. Blankenship, Lt. W. Baron, WOJG W.N. Adams, WOJG M.R. Cory, Lt. J.S. Riccio, Lt. E.F.Hilgner, Lt. W.J.Casey, Lt. P.F.Schwaller, Lt. R.W. Van Cott, Lt. C.A. Cleveland Jr., Lt. W.H. Ayers, Captain Richard C. Batley Jr., WOJG S.R. Delfel, Sgt.Frank M. Seitz Jr., 325th Service Group Photographer Sgt. Arhdt, 325th Service Group Photographer Cpl. Friedman, 325th Service Group Photographer Sgt. O'Brien, 1st Lt. John B. Fleming, Lt. Francis E. Turner, Lt. Vincent J. Pietrobon, Pvt. Wallace J. Demery, 325th Service Group Photographer S/Sgt. Reeves,325th Service Group Photographer Pvt. Moore, Frank E. Sapio, 325th Service Group Photographic Officer 1st Lt. Joseph C. Hitchcock, 325th Service Group Photographer 1st Lt. Roswell W. Van cott, 325th Service Group Photographer Corporal Friedman, 325th Service Group Photographer Corporal Goodrich, 325th Service Group Photographer 1st Lt. John W. Bergin Jr., Civil Service Technicians Engineer Howard McGonical, Albert McGerty, Jetmond Litel, Joe Funkhouser, John Kerns, Edward Carroll, Vernon Sharer, Harold Hoyt, Eldon Applegate, Julius Mueller, Harley Bacon, Joseph Carey, Elvin Frasier, Glenn Strawn, David Kreig, Elmer Baggenstoss, Harry Arnott, Ray Hill, Jack Hinds, Victor Sammett, Vincent Iannone, Frank Weiss, William Caraway, Richard Rymer, Lee Sargent, Arthur Moore, Mary McLean, Frederic Franklin, George Randall, Burt Miller, E. Nayor, Roy Starnes, George Mann, Gordon Bishop, Weston Irwin, Ralph Webster, Allen Gold, E. Vasquez, John Hopkins, Harvey Fellers, Ted Liebel, Clyde Klumb, D.Chrissman, Paul Brawner, Dwight Whitmore, M.Pourchot, M.Robenson, William Owens, M.Caldell, W.Norgard, C.Cossano, Joe Hansal, J.Rogers, Engineering Design Sgt. Stockton, Sgt. Barton, M/Sgt. Gutridge, Mr. Rymer, T/Sgt. Hein, Pfc. Darkoch, Sgt. Stokeley, Cpl. McCarthy, Cpl. Turner, Major Marcus, Lt. Knight, Lt. Hickerson, Cpl. Shedlarski, Cpl. Lambert, Cpl. Ault, S/Sgt. Steck, T/Sgt. Saul, S/Sgt. Cruz, Pfc. Gebhardt, Cpl. Rosenblum, Cpl. Hejnal, Cpl. Al Nance, Sgt. Lamborghini, Lt. Prine, Cpl. Smith, Cpl. Gilbert, Cpl. Hansen, T/Sgt. Emery, Cpl. Reid, Cpl. Ashe, Enlisted Personnel S/Sgt. Edgar Otto - Mass, S/Sgt. Robert Cruz - Wyo, S/Sgt. Walter Krueger - Col, Pfc. John Frank - N.Y., Cpl. Walter Ashe - W.Va., Sgt.John Hanson - Cal, Sgt. Raffaele Lamborghini R.I., Cpl. Herbert Turner - Ohio, Cpl. Ronald Gilbert - Cal, Cpl. Walter Bernier - Michigan, T/Sgt. Harold Lenmark - Illinois, Cpl. Lincoln Reid - N.Y., Sgt. Wade Barton - Miss, Cpl. Albert Gee - N.Y., Cpl. James Lvtle - N.Y., Sgt. Frederick Stockton - Ala, Cpl. Harry Stark - N.Y., S/Sgt. William Homzik - Minn, Sgt. Alfred Gnayck - Md, Cpl. George Boyer - Ind, T/Sgt. Elbert Shankles - Ill, Sgt. Wentworth Sankey - Cal, Pfc. Frank Pupak - Pa, Sgt. Kenneth Bair - Ohio, Sgt. E.A. Vettorino - N.J., S/Sgt. James Griffen - Tex, Pfc. William Mathison - Mont, M/Sgt. Jack Gutridge, Sgt. Ambrose Lawrence - N.J., M/Sgt. Louis Hill, Cpl. William Nance - Okla, S/Sgt. William Burns - Okla, T/Sgt. Thomas Saull - Mich, Cpl. Milton Koosman - N.J., S/Sgt. Edward Annunziato - N.Y., S/Sgt. Rudoplh Steck - N.Y., T/Sgt. William Carter - N.Y., Sgt. William Cocklin - N.Y., Sgt. Robert Burham - Mass, Cpl. Herbert Rosenblum - Brooklyn, Cpl. Gerald McCarthy, - N.Y., Sgt. William Austin - Col, Cpl. William Lankford - Va., Pfc. Leonard Sherman - Ore., Cpl. Melvin Hurwitz - Mass., Pfc. Oldrich Hejnal - Ill., Sgt. Harris Ger - Mass., T/Sgt, James McCray - Okla., Pfc. William Drugan - Mass., Pfc. Irving Youngelman - N.Y., Sgt. Edward Nemiroff - Cal., Cpl. George Labbee - Ill., Cpl. Robert Roche - N.Y., M/Sgt. Richard Hanson - Minn., T/Sgt. William May - N.Y., M/Sgt. George Buckman - Mass., Pfc. Stephen Darkoch - Pa., S/Sgt. William Collins - Mass., T/Sgt. George Breig - Texas, Cpl. Richard Lambert - Utah., Cpl. Harvey Hardin - Pa., Sgt. Wallace Lott - N.J., Cpl. Reber Barnes - Ill., Cpl. Kenneth Hanson - Texas., Pfc. George Shedlarski - Pa., Cpl. Ralph Merchant - Mont., Sgt. Edward Bradley - Washington., Sgt. Loris Leinhart - California, 1st Sergeant Jack Courter - Ohio., Sgt. Vincent Sahli - Pa., T/Sgt. Rod Emery - N.Y., Cpl. Eugene Poggi - N.Y., Sgt. Thomas Burnham - Texas., Sgt. Guy Blackburn - Ohio., Sgt. Earl Chase - Texas., Pfc. John Perniciaro - Mo., Sgt. Robert Stockley - Ga., Pfc. Raymond Sherwood - Ill., Cpl. John Ault - Fla., Sgt. Norman Yewell - Okla., Sgt. Harold French - Col., Sgt. Merell Dahlstrom - Cal., Cpl. John Wilson - Cal., T/Sgt. Lloyd Sanders - Pa., Cpl. Henry Smith - Pa., Cpl. Floyd Sims - Ind.,M&TCS Test Pilot Lt. Carl V. Long, M&TCS Lt. B.F.Crowe, M&TCS Lt. C.H. Prine, M&TCS Lt. C.A.Bachmann,M&TCS Lt. W.J. Furlick,M&TCS Captain G.W. Fugate, M&TCS Engineering Officer Lt. William R. Knight, M&TCS Captain O.W. Noland, M&TCS Test Pilot Lt. Ronald J. Johnson, M&TCS Test pilot Lt. Richard E. Townsend, M&TCS Test Pilot Lt. Glenn R. Young, M&TCS Test Pilot Major W.J. Ives, M&TCS Test Pilot Lt. Elliott F. Fields, Lieutenant Colonel R.J. Reed - Station Commander, Major W.C. Marcus - Chief Engineering, Captain L.E. Schoff - Techinical Control, 1st Lt. John C. Lattimore, Captain Louis M. Freedman, T/Sgt. Willie F. Oden - 18036329, 1st Lt. George L. Steinfeld - Flying Controller, Pfc. George E. Hill - 39282209, 1st Lt. Dilon G. Hagen - Flying Controller, 1st Lt. G.D. Freshwater - Flying Control Officer,1st Lt. John C. Lattimore - Weather Officer, 1st Lt. Weldon D. Nickels, Major Robert Porter - Flight Surgeon, Major Joseph E. Lowe, Major Warren M. Gilbert - Medical Officer, Test Pilot Harold B. Reichert, Test Pilot William W. Brown, 1st Lt. James E. Matuska, Lockheed Civilian Test Pilot Howard Trunnell, Sgt. John Davies - 16169072, Major Moir L. Shockley, Captain L.E. Schoff, 1st Lt. G.L. Steinfeld, Captain Elmer D. Hays - 0-816100,

A newspaper clipping from an American newspaper, dated August 1945, describing the handover of Langford Lodge from the USAAF to the RAF
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