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Thread: Milton Ernest

  1. #1

    Default Milton Ernest

    There was supposedly a landing strip at Milton Ernest Hall in used during WW2 for SOE Agents. Does anyone know where the strip was?

    Thanks

    Richard

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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    Definitely was a grass strip, one document I read a while ago described it as ..'short' and within the estate grounds, but that's all.

    If I had to hazard a guess, either in the north field (behind the staff huts) or over the river as the Hall had its own boat house and motor launch.... I may know somebody that may know more.

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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    Milton Earnest Hall is separated by a stream. The airstrip was located in a 1,250 yard, diagonally long field opposite. The airstrip was laid out in 1943-44. There is a gap in the tree line, where some trees were removed to permit easier take off and landings.

    A good book that I can throughly recommend: "The Bedford Triangle" - US Undercover Operation from England in WWII. Written by Martin Bowman.

    The book not only covers Milton Earnest, but all the little known and unknown places in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, & Buckinghamshire that SOE/OSS ran operations out of.
    Last edited by Flying Tiger; 10-04-2012 at 16:03.

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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    Hi Flying Tiger

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Tiger View Post
    A good book that I can throughly recommend: "The Bedford Triangle" - US Undercover Operation from England in WWII. Written by Martin Bowman.
    lol, I ordered this book only just yesterday.. 2.99 bargain on ebay


    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Tiger View Post
    Milton Earnest Hall is separated by a stream. The airstrip was located in a 1,250 yard, diagonally long field opposite. The airstrip was laid out in 1943-44. There is a gap in the tree line, where some trees were removed to permit easier take off and landings.
    From what I remember the hall had the river on the west side and there was a stream on the north end between the garden (north field) and land at London End, but there was no field that would allow a stretch of 1,250 yards, is there any more information?

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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    Little bit of an update, as Flying Tiger mentions in Martin Bowman's book 'The Bedford Triangle' there is a photograph and byline in reference to the runway at Milton Ernest.



    The photo has the tag line of ...' Milton Ernest Hall (left) is separated by a stream from the 1,250 yard diagonally long field where an airstrip was laid in 1943-44. Note the gap in tree line in the middle of the photo where some trees were removed to permit easier take off and landing (Author)'

    From the photo you can establish that its the west side of the hall (using the roof line and chimneys) so the runway must have been over the river Great Ouse (aka the 'stream'!) on land at East End Pavenham. Other than from this report I can find nothing to substantiate the 1250 yard length, in fact most sources state the runway was 'short'.... the ground at East End is not exactly massive and getting a 1250 strip on it is quite hard. The view in the photo clearly shows a wood on the horizon and I am fairly sure that it must be Browns Wood by its shape so this narrows the direction down a little more.


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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    I just recieved a copy of 'The Bedford Triangle' it certainly is a good book and another bargain at 2.95

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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    Milton Ernest was Station 506 USAAF from Feb 1943 to late 1944. It was the 8th Advanced Air Service Command. Brigadier General Edmund W Hill assumed command on 10 Dec1942. The Headquarters was at Cheddington. He flew to Cheddington regularly by light aircraft . Aircraft would have been UC-61 Forwarder type. I am fairly convinced that the UC-78 Bobcat and UC-64 Norseman types used the airfield at Twinwood Farm,better facilities,longer runways and ATC cover. There is a photo serial not known of a Bobcat parked outside the tower at Twinwood in the museum there. Also UC-78 43-7484 was damaged there on 12July 1945.
    Nos 47 and 48 Group RAF Transport Command Comms Flt was headquartered at Milton Ernest Hall from 1945 and its aircraft were based at Little Staughton from early 1946 until 15.April 1948 moving to Abingdon. Twinwood Farm airfield would have been closed by then with no ATC or fire/crash rescue facility. However they had Auster 1 LB323 Mk.V TW439, Tiger Moth N6638 and Messenger RG327 on strength quite capable types to use an airstrip at the Hall ?
    I am sceptical about the longer 1200 yds runway at its southern end there is a steep hill and would conflict with Twinwoods main runway. Wish I had time to delve into the RAF records at the PRO,Kew .

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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    Are there any specs for the minimum runway length for the Auster, Tiger Moth and Messenger anywhere?

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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    A book "The Importance of Milton Ernest" by David Newman,2006 Cromwell Press states that pierced steel planking was laid in the field on the other side of the river to the Hall. This enabled single-engined aircraft to land and take-off. A bailey bridge was put across the river to allow easy access. The airstrip was used by Brigadier General Hill to commute to Cheddington. Known aircraft of the 39th Service Group at Cheddington are UC-78 43-7482,UC-64 44-70393,UC-61 43-14485 and AT-17 Bobcat 42-58189 burnt out at Cheddington 31/8/44.

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    Default Re: Milton Ernest

    The Auster needs approx to clear 50 feet from rest zero wind:380 yds, 325 yds if 5 mph wind. Landing run from 50 ft zero wind 430 yds.
    UC-61A 43-14485 coded "T" was a Warner radial powered example and required 430 ft to take off . This aircraft was with the 8th HQ Squadron at Bovingdon in 1943 along with 43-14483,43-14484,43-14500(E) and 43-14603(T) so these may have also used "The Hall ".
    Last edited by T-21; 15-04-2012 at 15:41.

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