GOXHILL TOWER across the water

from Steve Chalker who says……

As a volunteer researcher for the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach Va, USA we are looking for a listing of the equipment furnishing an Air Ministry drawing  8936/40 control tower. We have rebuilt the tower from Goxhill and as it is almost structurally complete, we would to furnish to period.

Steve is looking for an old copy of AP3024. If anyone has one they can spare contact atchistory via the comments tab above and we’ll put you in touch with Steve.

Goxhill was the first RAF station to be turned over to the USAAF in England.  For that the ground floor will be USAAF and the first floor will be RAF.  We are constantly searching for artifacts and information on air traffic control on this base.  We have a lady in the UK that searches for artifacts for us.  She has been able to buy 2 private museums over there and shipped them here, including 2 Nissen huts!  She’s great and a Chipmunk pilot to boot.  As for the building itself, although all the bricks were sent over here we discovered that they didn’t use mortar when it was built, they used cement.  So, all the exposed bricks are original, all the stucco covered bricks are very close new ones.  We also discovered that the manufacturer of the doors and windows is still in business and still had the dies for the aluminium doors and windows.  Because it is hotter and more humid here, we did break down and climate controlled it. We didn’t feel that we needed 3 bedrooms, the Control Officer’s Rest Room is a display room.  We are in the process of having the console/desk being built for the Watch Office.

So here are current pictures for the Watch Office, Control Room, Control Office’s Rest Room, Duty Pilot’s Rest Room, Signal’s Office, Met Officer’s Bedroom, and Forcast Room.

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we’ve been sent a link to a video of the tower at the intermediate stage of its renovation

RAF Goxhill

Steve says he has posted requests with the ARG and several other groups for information about interior fittings and fixtures.  Most of the photos Steve has seen, the insides have been converted to general museums. Those that have been restored it can be hard to tell what the equipment is.

Can you help?

Sandy Sandford has already suggested Steve look at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington They have refurbished the wartime tower at RAF Elvington to a 1940`s date.

Yorkshire Air Museum

anyone who can suggest further links or photos feel free to use atchistory as a relay.

Steve also tells us that “Our friend Bill Carlile who was the Flying Control Office at Thurleigh from 42-45 was in the first class of USAAF designated controller trainees sent in 1942 to train with the RAF in Air Traffic/ Control Tower procedures. He cannot remember where it was or at what UK base. Can anyone help with info on where that training was done (use the comments tab above)?

And again from Steve  “Please check out the Goxhill Face book page; https://www.facebook.com/groups/Goxhill. It was put together by our British scrounger, Carol de Solla. Things have changed a little since she posted pictures, more homey now. Plus we keep adding stuff to make it look more authentic

atchistory has now received the following and the interior shot has been passed on.

3 thoughts on “GOXHILL TOWER across the water”

  1. Thanks Sandy, we (Military Aviation Museum) have that book in our library. Here is our write up on the tower,

    The Goxhill Experience
    RAF Goxhill and USAAF Station #345
    A Brief History of The First English Airfield to Be Turned
    Over to The Vanguard of The Eighth Air Force
    And
    A Brief Description for Volunteers of Phase One
    Equipment, Furnishings, and Artifacts Displayed
    The Goxhill Motto
    As the years rise and roll away, men grow old and memories fade; our village will
    forever share a place in time. (Ron Parker)
    RAF Goxhill Watch Office in ruin – 2002
    Construction completed – 2018 Acknowledgments The Goxhill Watch Office (Control Tower) is dedicated to the more than one hundred thousand Allied airmen who lost their lives while going into harm’s way from airfields all over East Anglia during World War II. This Goxhill booklet was possible only through the efforts of the following people and groups: – Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Yagen, whose vision and passion have created a world-class experience in the Military Aviation Museum. – The late Ron Parker of Goxhill, England who passionately collected stories, letters, and photographs from wartime Goxhill and his son, Michael Parker who continues the mission.
    – The invaluable expertise of UK residents Carol de Solla and Ian Reid – The excellent editing and assistance of best-selling author Wes Demott.
    – The Airfield Research Group in the United Kingdom and the generosity of their Chairman, Paul Francis.
    – The staff and volunteers of UK the airfield museums at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre (RAF East Kirkby) and the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum at Thorpe Abbotts.
    – The energetic and talented Corps of Volunteers of the Military Aviation Museum, who have given thousands of hours of their time and skill to create and display the museum’s artifacts. Mike Potter, May 2019
    THE WHITE HOUSE
    TO MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
    You are a soldier of the United States Army.
    You have embarked for distant places where the war is being fought.
    Upon the outcome depends the freedom of your lives, the freedom of the lives of those you love, your fellow-citizens, and your people.
    Never were the enemies of freedom more tyrannical, more arrogant, and more brutal.
    Yours is a God-fearing, proud, courageous people, which, throughout its history, has put its freedom, under God, before all other purposes .
    We who stay at home have our duties to perform, duties owed in many parts to you. You will be supported by the whole force and power of this Nation. The victory you win will be a victory of all.
    . “So now a piece of this little known village in Lincolnshire (now North Lincolnshire) is to become established on American soil at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia, using local clay that Goxhill residents made into bricks over 70 years ago, and then used to build a watch office operated by our American Allies to helped us defeat the common enemy of the 1940’s.” — Ron Parker, Goxhill Airfield Historian and Author This document has been invaluably informed by the following works:
    1. Goxhill at War – USAAF Fighter Training Base No. 345, by Len Dixon and Ron Parker
    2. Control Towers- The Development of the Control Tower on RAF Stations in the United Kingdom, by Paul Francis
    3. Watch Office with Meteorological Section 518/40 History and Context, by Airfield Research Group (ARG), U.K.
    4. Flying Control in the Air War Over Europe, By Robert C. Sellers
    5. They Too Served – 496th Training Group, 1943-45, by Major David H. Kelley, USAF
    6. The Goxhill Experience, a 54-page booklet created by MAM volunteers on the Goxhill airbase
    7. Nine Thousand Miles of Concrete – Airfield Research Group by Francis, Flagg, and Crisp
    Foreword
    In 1940, during the frenzied early years of World War II, the Air Ministry surveyed the land all over Eastern England to determine sites that were suitable for military airfields. In 1940 hundreds of parcels of English farmland were hurriedly turned into airfields. Beginning humbly as a Towed Target Flight Field, Goxhill was rebuilt as a Class-A Bomber Airfield, and in December, 1941, Britain’s 12 Group Fighter Command arrived with Mk Vb Spitfires of 616 Squadron. On 7 December 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and within six months of that attack the lead elements of United States of America Fighter and Bomber Squadrons arrived in England. By 1943 there were over 100,000 US airmen based at over 100 airfields in the UK.
    In August of 1942, RAF Goxhill was the first British airfield formally transferred to the United States Army Air Force under a larger series of agreements made between 27 January and 27 March, 1941. These agreements provided for American naval, ground, and air support of campaigns against Nazi Germany. As a result, a special US Army Observer Group was activated in London on 19 May 1941. One of the first tasks of that unit was to reconnoiter areas regarded as potential sites for USAAF installations. A German pilot bombed Goxhill the day General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived for the change of command ceremony in 1942 renaming Goxhill as USAAF Airfield Station 345. Squadron Leader A.E. Haarer penned this account in his memoir: “Early on the morning that Goxhill was handed over to the USAAF, a German pilot dropped a time-release bomb in the exact center of the runways’ intersection. My unit, responsible for unexploded bombs, was called at 0530 to rush to Goxhill from our location at RAF Dixby, some 40 miles away to handle the situation. On arrival and after inspection, we determined that the bomb had penetrated the tarmac and the clay and was slowly sinking in soft mud below. Because of the bomb’s location and the length of the runway necessary for the general’s visit, it was safe to use either of the cross runways. The general and his party landed safely at 0900. After General Eisenhower viewed the damage, he and the station’s new commanding officer discussed the options with me, and the general determined that the bomb was of no immediate danger, and would take at least a fortnight to remove, so we filled in the hole and repaired the surface.” At various times Goxhill was home to squadrons flying the P-38 Lightning, the Spitfire MK V, the P-47 Thunderbolt, and the P-51 Mustang. These units typically spent 90 days at Goxhill, learning their new planes and combat tactics while practicing local flying and learning the geography and generally lousy weather frequently encountered in the United Kingdom. After 60-90 days, these units would be posted to their operational bases, and new units would take their place. Perhaps Goxhill’s proudest heritage is its support of 496th Fighter Training Group, which heroically overcame maintenance shortfalls, aircraft shortages, and challenges to morale in order to train more than 2,400 replacement fighter pilots for those lost in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). This is Goxhill’s story.
    Airfield Overview and History
    The Great Depression made life as difficult in England in the late 1930’s as it did much of the world. Unemployment was high, jobs were scarce, and war seemed imminent. The survival of England was at risk. The construction of Goxhill Airfield was a military necessity that also created an economic boost to the locals.
    Located just east of the Village of Goxhill, on the south bank of the Humber River Estuary in the northernmost part of Lincolnshire County, near the Port of Hull, construction on the airfield began in October 1940, with John Laing and Son acting as contractors. The clay for the bricks came from local farms. Most of the chalk used for the base of the runways came from a quarry five miles away at Burnham, which was opened especially for the airfield construction project. Some chalk came from an existing quarry at Ulceby. This chalk base was covered with slag from the Scunthorpe Steel Works, then finished with a two-and-a-half-inch top coat of Tarmac. The airfield was officially opened on 26 June 1941.
    The Watch Office and emergency vehicle sheds at the former RAF Goxhill/USAAF Airfield Station 345. Purchased in 2002, the Watch Office was deconstructed in February 2003 in preparation for its move to Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
    In a few short decades between the two World Wars, the evolution of airfield control facilities morphed quite dramatically. Airfields went from thinly equipped remote sites to small cities with thousands of inhabitants and many dozens of buildings. Even a “temporary” base like RAF Goxhill (built during the expansion period before WWII and not meant to be permanent) had all the infrastructure one would expect for a small city. The average RAF Bomber Command Station was staffed by around 2,400, and the USAAF was slightly higher at 2,800. Fire Department, Cinema, Hospital, Dining and Kitchens, Water and Sewage plants, housing and administrative facilities were built in addition to all the support areas needed for their flight operations.
    According to an excellent article titled “Nine Thousand Miles of Concrete” by the ARG, it has been estimated that 336,000 miles of cable had been laid on RAF stations alone to allow for secure and dependable communications as well as airfield approach and ground control lighting. Similarly, enough concrete was used at the direction of the Air Ministry in the first five years of the war to pave a 30-foot-wide road from London to Peking; wartime airfield buildings alone totaled over one million “temporary” structures.
    As the needs of the various British air forces mushroomed during the years leading up to WWII, it is worth thinking about the sheer magnitude of the procurement process. To serve the needs of the allies, some 450 airfields of all kinds were built in England. The majority were positioned in East Anglia, and the County of Lincolnshire had more than any other single location. Goxhill was the northernmost airfield in Lincolnshire. Each base was generally built with locally sourced clay for bricks and employed many local subcontractors. As building efforts progressed to meet the needs of the various air arms of the services, bases were built to accommodate a range of aircraft types, numbers, and mission needs. The Control Tower (Watch Office) at RAF Goxhill was the largest (design “518/40 with Met section”) of the several designs authorized by the Air Ministry. Similarly, the airfield’s three intersecting runways, with the longest being 4,800 feet in length, gave the airfield the capacity to support almost any aircraft or mission.
    Although built by the Air Ministry for the RAF along with many other new and temporary air fields, RAF Goxhill saw little use by that service. The expansion in 1940 of the air forces in the UK was far more successful in building bases than providing actual front-line aircraft. Goxhill never had more than a token compliment of second-line aircraft used largely for towing targets or liaison. Only when the USAAF arrived did the base mature into full service as USAAF Station #345 – Goxhill.

    Cheers,
    Steve

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  2. Can I also suggest trying to get a copy of “Control Towers The development of the Control tower on RAF Stations in the United Kingdom” by Paul Francis Published by Airfield Research Publishing 9 Milton Road Ware Herts SG12 0QA United Kingdom ISBN No 9521847 0 2 published 1993

    If you let me know what the control tower was built for i.e Fighter ,bomber etc I can look thro the book for any diagrams etc

    Rgds Sandy Sandford

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