RAF Down Ampney (closed)

RAF Down Ampney (closed) (Google Maps)
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By dr1141 @ 2005-08-15 19:05:55
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@ 2006-02-02 04:39:00
This airfield was involved in some of the most significant air supply operations of WW2. RAF 48 and 271 Squadrons flew Dakotas to Normandy on D-Day and during the summer of 1944, where their mission (having initially towed gliders to the beachhead) was to carry in munitions and bring back wounded, often from improvised airstrips. 271 Squadron's motto was "Death and Life", the crest showing a red cross in a mailed fist, representing these two aspects of their duties. They later flew airborne troops to Arnhem (Operation Market Garden), and on 19 September 1944 271 Squadron achieved a unique distinction, becoming the only Transport Command Squadron to win the Victoria Cross. Flt. Lt. David "Lumme" Lord was posthumously awarded the VC after an act of supreme self-sacrifice, when, during a resupply mission to Arnhem and under heavy ground fire, he remained at the controls of his blazing aircraft, ordering his crew to bail out. The Dakota crashed when the starboard wing fell away and only one member of the crew survived. Another aircraft, which crash landed at Brussels during the same operation, was piloted by Sqn. Ldr. Jimmy Edwards, later a famous entertainer. The last major contribution to the War effort seen by this airfield was in a support role for the crossing of the Rhine. Little remains of the wartime airfield, but a memorial has been erected at the southern end of what was the main runway. A service is held in the Parish Church which lies just outside the old perimeter every September to mark the anniversary of the Arnhem Airlift.