Wartime Airfields Near Harlow Essex.

USAAF Station 162-Chipping Ongar/Willingale

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USAAF Station 162

Although not technically near Harlow, Chipping Ongar/Willingale airfield is the nearest other 'temporary' airfield to be found in the immediate locality.
 Built by the 831st Engineer (Aviation) Battalion, work began in late August 1942 and was still ongoing a year later . In fact, parts of the airfield were still under construction when the B-26 Marauders of the 387th BG(M) commenced operations on the 15th of August 1943.
 That first operation was to attack coastal defences on the French Coast near Boulogne, and was mounted in thick fog. While taking off, one of the B-26 Bombers crashed at the end of the main runway, killing all of the crew except the tail gunner.
 The 387th remained at Chipping Ongar/Willingale until July 1944, before moving to an airfield in France following the Invasion of the continent in June 1944.
 The airfield was never used again for military flying. but remained a sattelite of nearby North Weald before being abandoned in 1959. One of the large "T2" Hangars was dismantled and re-erected at North Weald airfield. It is believed to be the one nearest the M11 motorway, and now used as a freight forwarding warehouse.
 The western side of the perimeter track is still intact, and at it's full width in places. Four of the original Hardstands can still be found . The Eastern side of the airfield has been removed for hardcore and now lies under the A12 Brentwood bypass.
On the North Eastern side, the Operations block, Norden Bombsight Store, and the base of the pilots briefing room are grouped together, and are in quite good condition. As for the runways, the main North/South No1 has been completely lifted, and only the course is visible, as is the West/East No2.
  The North West/South East No3 runway still has a section of full width remaining in the middle of the airfield where the West /East crossed it.
 No trace of the Bomb storage area exists, but many odd Nissen huts that were part of the dispersed sites can be found here and there.
  The former Radar workshop that was used for servicing the 'Oboe' and H2S radar sets, sits forelornly on its own in the middle of a field.
 One item that is still in use is the sewerage works, modernised slightly, but now serving the local community.
The following images are actuals, and will not open in a new browser window, as in the other previous pages.
There are plans to build a permanent airfield memorial to Chipping Ongar/Willingale in the near future, this will be a joint project between the 'Hertfordshire Airfield Memorial Group' and a local group of interested people.

Willingales surviving buildings.

The Operations Block At Willingale

The Norden Bombsight Store

Interior Of The Bombsight Store

The H2S Radar Repair Hut

Interior Of The H2S Hut

Willingale Page Two

All images are the property of the author of this website

               ©2002-2007 Denis Sharp, 'wartime airfields.com'