Opened in January 1940 as a servicing and storage centre for British aircraft, control transferred to the USAF in 1942 when it became a service and maintenance facility for B-17 Flying Fortresses, B-24 Liberators, B-26 Marauders and other iconic airplanes. The first US contingent of 162 men checked into Burtonwood on 11 June 1942. Thousands more followed and soon the base’s workshops and hangars were echoing to the sound of American accents.
By 1944, a peak of 18,500 US Air Force personnel were stationed at Burtonwood which by now was the largest airfield in Europe. After the war control of the facility returned to the RAF but with the advent of the Cold War in 1948 the Americans returned and ultimately there would be a significant US presence in Burtonwood, including as a major storage facility for the US Army, until its closure in the 1990s.
Listen to the full fascinating story of Burtonwood Airbase by clicking on the link below: