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Old 23rd February 2012, 23:17
Marcel van Heijkop Marcel van Heijkop is offline
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Where was 180 Sqn RAF stationed on 14 December 1944? See pics

Dear all,

A strange feeling to post on "the other side of the Board" Hope you can help!

I'm hoping that someone can identify the airfield in the following Hulton Archives/Getty Images pictures. I think (guess) that these pictures were taken by a certain Reg Speller and show (at least according to one of the captions)180 Sqn RAF B-25 Mitchells in/near abandoned camouflaged Luftwaffe hangars somewhere in Northern France/Belgium, possibly Melsbroek (Brussels). Would that match with known locations of where 180 Sqn RAF was stationed on 14 December 1944 or January 1945?

These are the pictures:

http://www.gettyimages.nl/detail/nie...sfotos/3380013
http://www.gettyimages.nl/detail/nie...sfotos/3310777
http://www.gettyimages.nl/detail/nie...sfotos/3380008


With the ultimate goal of identifying the airfield in this picture:

http://www.gettyimages.nl/detail/nie...sfotos/3313090

(This picture is sometimes also shown in colour, for example in "Kampfflieger Vol 4, page 384)

Thanks in advance,

Marcel
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Old 24th February 2012, 01:01
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Peter Clare Peter Clare is offline
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Re: Where was 180 Sqn RAF stationed on 14 December 1944? See pics

Cannot add details for the exact dates but can offer the following for 180 Squadrons movements around that time.

18 October 1944 to B58 / Melsbrock.
30 April 1945 to B110 / Achmer
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Old 24th February 2012, 11:05
Chris Thomas Chris Thomas is offline
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Re: Where was 180 Sqn RAF stationed on 14 December 1944? See pics

The elaborately camouflaged hangars were at Melsbroek. There is a series of photos (and film) in the IWM collection showing Typhoons of 124 Wing being serviced in front of them in September 1944 which confirm the location.

I believe the 14 December 1944 is likely to be the nearest. It is known that a Fox photographer and Charles E Brown visited 2ndTAF bases in December 1944 but unfortunately I have not been able to discover the exact dates. There is a colour photo of the Mitchell being dismantled in the Charles E Brown collection.

I think the dates for this series of images should be treated with caution. For example, in the links provided there are two shots of a Typhoon being pushed in and out of a damaged hangar - dated '1942' and February 1945; in fact they were both taken at Deurne (Antwerp) during that December 1944 visit. Incidentally, the Typhoon is Wg Cdr J.R.Baldwin's aircraft 'JB II'/PD521, although he was on rest at that time (having been Wg Cdr Ops 146 Wing), returning as a Grp Capt, OC 123 Wing, in February 1945.
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Old 26th February 2012, 23:08
Marcel van Heijkop Marcel van Heijkop is offline
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Re: Where was 180 Sqn RAF stationed on 14 December 1944? See pics

Gentlemen,

Thanks, very helpful!

@Peter: If correct, this will give a very large "safety margin" regarding time to link No 180 Sqn RAF camouflaged hangar photos to Melsbroek. Things would be much more difficult if 180 Sqn had changed airfields every week or month...


@Chris: Some questions:
  1. Could Reg Speller be the Fox photographer? His name is mentioned as such in some of the captions and because of the similarity in the photos I more or less assumed that they could all be taken by him.
  2. If you are familiar with the Charles E Brown collection, could you please confirm whether the KG66 Ju 188 picture is part of the same series or not?
  3. Do you perhaps have a link to the 124 Wing Typhoon pictures in the IWM collection?
Yes, the captions of the Hulton Getty images are a shambles.. How can you state that a B-25 is parked in a former Luftwaffe hangar in France in January 1944 and not thinking that this would have been very odd before D-Day?!

Maybe useful to others: When searching for the KG66 Ju 188 photo in the IWM Image Collection, I stumbled upon a series of photos taken by a "Taylor, H. J. S." of No 16 Sqn RAF, see: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/li...page=10&page=1

Of which the aerial overview of Melsbroek in October 1944 is maybe one of the nicest:
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205045119

This aerial overview consists of a composition of 4 aerial pictures of the airfield infrastructure plus bombcraters and Allied aircraft. Especially handy is the fact that highlights are marked with arrows and textboxes with such interesting titles as "Pranged Mosquito", "Pranged Stirling", "Force-landed Forts and Liberators", "Dummy Chateau", "Hangars camouflaged to look like a village" and a whole lot of No 16 Sqn buildings. (FYI, I have ordered this picture..)

NB: The "Ju 188 and hangar" mentioned in this picture and the subject of the following separate IWM pictures (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205045137 and http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205045138 )

is unfortunately not "my" KG66 Ju 188 but the wellknown and well published 3E+HK of KG6. See also the thread on LEMB: http://www.luftwaffe-experten.org/fo...showtopic=1945


Best regards,

Marcel
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Old 26th February 2012, 23:21
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: Where was 180 Sqn RAF stationed on 14 December 1944? See pics

A couple of pictures here, showing Melsbroek.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39411748@N06/6345160028/
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Old 26th February 2012, 23:25
Marcel van Heijkop Marcel van Heijkop is offline
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Re: Where was 180 Sqn RAF stationed on 14 December 1944? See pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by RSwank View Post
A couple of pictures here, showing Melsbroek.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39411748@N06/6345160028/
Thanks, great!

Marcel
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Old 12th March 2012, 19:15
Chris Thomas Chris Thomas is offline
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Re: Where was 180 Sqn RAF stationed on 14 December 1944? See pics

Been away for a couple of weeks so sorry about the delay. Yes, Reg Speller was a Fox photographer. If you google 'reg speller fox photos 2nd TAF' you will see a photo of 193 Sqn Typhoon at Deurne in Dec 44; there is an almost identical shot in the Charles E Brown collection (which is now held by the RAF Museum, Hendon). Speller was employed by Fox but Brown was freelance.

It is a long time since I looked through the CEBrown collection and I can't recall the Ju188. However I would be surprised if he missed the opportunity to photograph a Luftwaffe machine in close-up. RAFM might be able to help.

The photos on the link posted by RSwank are the 124 Wing shots I mentioned. There is a third photo in the group but it shows the same hangar facade (IWM CL3979 to 81 inclusive).
Best of luck
Chris
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Old 18th March 2012, 01:31
Marcel van Heijkop Marcel van Heijkop is offline
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Re: Where was 180 Sqn RAF stationed on 14 December 1944? See pics

Chris, Thanks for your comments. I looked briefly at the available online pictures of the Charles Brown collection on the RAF Museum website and they could be consistent with the Ju 188 picture. I think that I will give it a try and contact the people of the RAF Museum.

Best regards,

Marcel
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