"Take these men as your example, like them remember that posterity can only be for the free: that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it." Pericles, 431 BC

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Rattlesden: Control Tower

52.16972, 0.87556
TL 967 562
photos taken 10 July 2013

The Control Tower is now the clubhouse of the Rattlesden Gliding Club, and is not on a road. To drive there, you need to drive on the runway. On flying days, this may not be possible, as the runway is in use. Best to make arrangements with the Club.

Rattlesden Gliding Club

Dedicated to those who served in the 447th Bomb Group during World War II.
Their display of courage, determination and skill under stress of combat were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Army Air Force of the United States.

447th bomb Group
Squadrons 708, 709 710 711; 447th Bombardment Group (H); third Division, Fourth Combat Wing, Eighth Air Force. Based in Rattlesden, England from November, 1943 to May, 1945.

In Memory of Second Lieutenant Robert Femoyer
711th Bomb Sqdn, 447th Bomb Group, U.S. Army Air Corps.
“He remained true to his mission, true to his comrades, and true to his own standard of honor.”
Awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.
Born 31 October 1921 in Huntington, West Virginia.
Joined U.S. Army Air Corps February 1943.
Killed in action 2 November 1944
Severely wounded by antiaircraft fire over Merseburg, Germany, LT Femoyer refused painkillers, keeping his mind clear to guide his plane out of danger and save his comrades. Despite extreme pain and loss of blood, he navigate his lone bomber for 2 ½ hours, clinging to the last slender thread of life until his plane had arrived safely over the English Channel. Lt. Femoyer died of his wounds shortly after landing. The heroism and self-sacrifice of LT Femoyer were in keeping with the highest traditions of the 447th Bomb Group and the U.S. Army Air Corps
This Control Tower was built by George Wimpey and Co., Ltd in 1942 and used originally by the 447th Bomber Group of the US 8th Air Force.

Having survived the ravages of World War 2, it then became the property of the RAF on October 10th 1945 and finally became inactivated on August 6th 1946.

In the 1960’s part of the airfield was used for an RAF Bloodhound missile site and upon their final departure in 1967 this tower was surrounded with surplus missile cases and set alight.

It remained derelict until 1976 when it became the clubhouse of the then recently formed Rattlesden Gliding Group.

The members carried out emergency repairs and reconstructional work and Rattlesden Gliding Club was born.

This work made the tower more or less habitable and it remained in a scruffy but usable state until 1988 when the Gliding Club, having purchased the operational site, began to renovate completely.

This formidable task, although tackled by many members with various degrees of enthusiasm and dedication, owes its success to a small team who worked tirelessley in their spare time to give us what we have today.

The club owes a debt of thanks to that team, namely:

Humfrey Chamberlain
Peter Neeves
Roy Firmin
Roger Firmin

Thank you gentlemen.

The members of Rattlesden gliding Club
September 1989

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