WW2 Airfields of Oxfordshire - Grove
A brief description accompanies each of the larger images - click thumbnails to view.




Optimised for viewing at 1024 x 768
Click here to view map
Track leading to Weapons site On approach to one of the  Bomb Dump buildings Flat topped building,  possibly used for weapons prep.. Looking inside the flat topped building Adjacent huts, may not be part od the Bomb Dump as there is a sewerage works nearby
In the area of what may have been used for weapons storage/preparation...
Guard hut to airfield? Interior of 'Guard Hut'
Possibly a guard hut to the airfield..
Memorial stone at Grove airfield Looking over the memorial to the airfield Close-up of memorial plaque
Views of Grove memorial and plaque
Taxiway/perimeter track Taxiway/perimeter track Taxiway/perimeter track Taxiway/perimeter track Track leading to Range
What's left of the perimeter track/taxiway...
Smaller hut at the Ops Centre Office at the Ops Centre Ops centre from a distance.. Entrance to Police Office
Interior of main Ops room Interior of main Ops room Interior of main Ops room Admin/office block?
West technical site West technical site West technical site West technical site West technical site
West technical site Re-clad T2 hangar Water tower by T2 hangar General view over technical site West technical site
Buildings around the west technical site
Remaining runway at Grove Remaining runway at Grove Remaining runway at Grove Glider having landed on course of main runway
Course of one of the main runways Remaining runway at Grove Remaining runway at Grove Remaining runway at Grove
Views over various parts of remaining runway
Views in and around the Operations Centre
Interior view of Ops centre Interior view of Ops centre Exterior door leading to Police Room Interior view of Police Room in Ops centre Electrical sub-station by Ops centre

Points of Interest:

Grove was originally intended as a training base for RAF Bomber Command (91 Gp), scheduled to be a satellite for 15 OTU based at Harwell

Land requisition order signed in May 1941, and contruction begins. Standard 3 concrete runway layout, aligned as 04-22, 16-34 and 09-27. Wellingtons from 15 OTU start using the airfield.

As part of the planning for the invasion of Europe, in 1942 Grove comes under control of Brize Norton to train glider pilots.

During this period aircraft using the airfield were mainly Whitleys and Horsas, although the airspace is congested with aircraft from nearby Elementary Flying Training Schools (EFTS).

During Feb 43, the HGCU from Brize Norton operates from Grove whilst its runways are being refurbished.

In March 1943, Grove is commandeered for 3 days by 132, 174 and 184 squadrons (Typhoons) as they operate from here during Exercise 'Spartan'

The RAF leave Grove in Sep 1943 to allow the 9th USAAF to build up at Grove as part of the cross-channel invasion of Europe.

28th Oct 1943 - Ninth USAAF Service Command is activated at Grove with Tactical Air Depot No. 3 (3 TAD), and Grove is listed as Station 519 USAAF.

Grove is is used as a repair and maintenace base for the C-47 (Dakota), and later the C-46 (Commando). Other aircraft seen operating from the base include Proctors, Oxfords, UC-78 Bobcat and UC-64 Norseman.

The highly (at that time ) secret Vickors Armstrong 'Windsor' force lands on 2nd March 1944 (prototype experimental bomber), and is written off as a result.

Grove continues to expand as its operations include storage of equipment and spare parts for all aircraft operated by the 9th USAAF, in addition to enginnering support.

Permanent accommodation for more than 3400 servicemen was constructed, in addition to 'tent city' at nearby Challow!

As the airfield increased in size, the perimeter was expanded to include Grove village - and two pubs! (usually out of bounds)

During May 1944, thousands of gallons of black and white paint arrive at Grove - for distribution to all 9th USAAF bases to paint invasion stripes on aircraft.

Following D-Day, and the destruction of two 'Mulberry' harbours, Grove becomes the busiest airfield in Europe when supplies have to be flown out to Normandy, including millions of gallons of fuel nicknamed 'Gas for Patton'.

Aircraft used included C-47's, converted B-17's and B-24's. Grove bomb store now becomes a huge fuel depot with thousands of jerrycans used to contain the fuel.

Meanwhile, 3 TAD continues to maintain the 9th's aircraft, which include Mustangs, Thunderbolts, Lightnings, Havocs and Mauraders.

Glenn Miller and his band play at Grove on 12th August 1944. Other popular figures to visit include Bob Hope and Frances Langford

In Feb 1945, the 415th (?) Night Fighter Sqn operate from the airfield until May, using Bristol Beaufighters.

Grove is gradually wound down at the end of the war and is handed back to the RAF in 1946. Spare accommodation is used to house German POW's who were used to demolish redundant buildings, as well as assist at local farms.

RAF No. 256 MU moves in and is used to for the disposal of much redundant equipment. No 6 MU temporarily uses the airfield to service captured German aircraft.

2 TAF use the airfield in the early 1950's, and it is maintained on a 'care & maintenance' basis.

In Dec 1955 the west part of the airfield is handed over to the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) as a satellite to Harwell.

The secrecy of the activities at Grove require that the airfield runways are removed - especially as a USAF jet lands accidentally, being lost and low on fuel (and airspace above is marked as restricted).

The UKAEA stay at Grove until the late 1960's, when the project comes to a conclusion. The site is sold off to private organisations, such as 'Metalbox'.

Much of the east of the airfield is redeveloped and is now a large housing estate.

Grove 'Mission boards' Grove 'Mission boards' Grove 'Chance' light
More interesting photos...
Images courtesy of Nigel Dawe
Click HERE for larger imageClick HERE for larger imageClick HERE for larger image
A T2 hangar and the Watch Tower - both demolished in the 80's
PRU photo taken in 1942
PRU photo taken in 1942 Click HERE for larger image Click HERE for larger image
Aerial View - 1942
Aerial View - 1942
Aerial View - 1944
Aerial View - 1946
Aerial views - 1960's and May 2006
All Images courtesy of William John Joyce except May 2006 aerial view
Path leading up to air raid shelter A side view of the shelter.. An internal view of the shelter
The last remaining air raid shelter at Grove?
Images courtesy of William John Joyce
Aerila view - about 2000 Click HERE for a MUCH LARGER image Aerila view with 1940's images over
Aerial views and an airfield map