View Full Version : Re USAAF Airstrip

20th Dec 2002, 12:44
Hi all

I am still trying to locate a particular USAAF wartime airstrip at Barnstaple.

It may have been used by the US Army 58th Armoured Field Artillery Battalion.

Located East of Barnstaple, possibly on a slope or hill, alongside a wood, with a stone wall running along one boundary.

Any ideas.

Regards Martin

Iron City
20th Dec 2002, 16:27
There is a 58th Field Artillery, and was in WWII. Part of the 45th Infantry Division, an Oklahoma National Guard unit.

Now the bad news. 45th Infantry Division was never in the UK as a unit. They landed in north Africa, Salerno, Anzio, and southern France, north and east through the Sigfreid Line ending up in Munich.

45th Infantry has a web site you can find with a search tool.

The U.S. Army center for military history does not have much of anything on line. In Unit histories there is a book on the 158th Field Artillery by Cleverdon and Breeding and printed by the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City.

24th Dec 2002, 12:47
Would you be looking for the Eaglescott Airfield, Burrington about 10 miles SE of Barnstable? Not sure if this was a WW2 base, can't find much history.

About 5 miles further, in the same direction is Winkleigh, which certainly was, but this is shown as RAF 10 group fighters.

27th Dec 2002, 10:21
Are you referring to the photo in Flypast a while back ?

It stirred my grey cells

I have recollections of a similar looking place - To the south-east of Barnstaple, on the North bank of the River Taw. Follow the road parallel to the river from Newbridge where it splits from the A377, through a hamlet called Hall? Eventually over a hump-back bridge and sharp left. At the sharp left a field gate on the right, river to the right, follow the river-bank upstream.

Or it could just be my memory playing tricks, must look for myself one day

Not Eaglescott (too new) or Follygate I think

Whispering Giant
27th Dec 2002, 13:17
Definetly not Eaglescott - this airstrip was only established in the 70's/80's......

27th Dec 2002, 19:49
Definitely not Eaglescott. And you know I doubt that position at Hall was actually an airfield. Firstly, it's not in the book -- 'Devon and Cornwall airfields of the Second World War'. Secondly, Martin has passed me the coordinates of a USAAF airfield which turns out to have been at Stevenstone near Torrington. I used to live at Stevenstone and although there were US troops billetted in the big house there was certainly no airfield there. Thirdly, it's not a suitable place for an airfield -- the Taw floods every year at least.

I think these places are just billets, not airfields.


29th Dec 2002, 14:14
If it was an artillery battalion, their L4 Cubs or L5 Stinsons would have used any available flat ground nearby. This may or may not have become recognised as an airfield depending on how long the unit was in place.

29th Dec 2002, 17:18

Yes these Mysterious Airstrips, were only Cubstrips and in most cases, only used by the Battalians, whilst they were in the area.

Like some farmstrips, they were only fields, by now, evidence would be long gone.

Regards Martin

29th Dec 2002, 17:54
Ah. OK. Well, I have a cub and you couldn't land a cub at Stevenstone itself. You could land one at Bellevue though, up on top of the hill a mile and a half away which is still a farmstrip today and was allegedly used by Alan Cobham in the 30s.


29th Dec 2002, 18:21

The Best possible location is the one post by wraftongate on this site 27th December.

Whilst I have had a look at multimap, as yet I can't precisely locate this.

Can anyone grive a close location by a 6 fig grid ref.

regards Martin

30th Dec 2002, 20:37

I'm not sure what your original source for this was but I assume that it was the flypast article mentioned above.

Searching on Google has also thrown up a reference in "After the Battle" Issue 73 pages 48 & 49. Look at http://www.afterthebattle.com/atb.pdf under "B" second column, about an inch down. The issue appears to be still available.

Looking on multimap at wraftongate's directions I reckon the location is around Herner at grid 584264.

Edited to add that the field at 577273 looks more promising on the aerial photo. It is a decent size and has a wood on the eastern side just across the road (Which I'll guess has a wall along the edge!) which then slopes up away from the valley.

30th Dec 2002, 23:12
Hi all

Sorry for the delay - been busy

I havn't time to look at multimap, a quick look at
an old OS map indicates the place I remember as SS595253

Hope this helps

QDM - it would seem that you know the area better than most - or perhaps not !