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Chelveston Airbase - A A F 105
LIBERTY WAY aka Rushden by-pass
Since the completion of the Rushden by-pass and the fact that 2005 was the 60th Anniversary commemorating the end of World War II, it was felt by members of the Town Council that naming the by-pass 'Liberty Way' would pay tribute to the 1600 American servicemen who lost their lives flying from Podington and Chelveston, and who had became part of the community. There will also be a memorial plaque erected on the by-pass. The road signs will be dedicated at the United Church Service in the Hall Park on Sunday 10th July.
RAF Chelveston was built in 1941, and the American 305th Bombardment Group moved in to the base in September 1942. Known as the "Can Do" Group, they completed 337 missions suffering their heaviest loss on 14th October 1943 raid to Schweinfurt, when they lost 13 B-17's of the 18 taking off from Chelveston. Many times, the aircraft would take off from the airfield in the early hours on their raids over Germany. At the peak of their time at Chelveston, there were as many as 2,894 men stationed there. They were to lose 154 Flying Fortresses during their time at this important base and it is essential that their missions are not forgotten. John N Smith

booklet given to the Americans
This little book was given by the War and Navy Departments, Washington D.C., for use of their Military Personnel. After an introduction, there are chapters about the Country, the Government, The people and their customs and manners, and Britain at War. There are tables for money conversion, weights and measures, a glossary of terms, a map of Britain, together with “Some important Do’s and Dont’s”, and a note:

It is always impolite to criticise your hosts:
It is militarily stupid to criticise your allies.

At the end is an extract from a publication by the British Army Bureau Current Affairs Bulletin, No. 22, July 18 1942, “Meet the Americans”.

Outside the Air Ministry Works Department - Resident Engineer's base
One of the Wykes sisters The other sister in one of the Jeeps
These two pictures are from 1944, and believed to be the Wykes sisters.

B17 'Nora'

27331 USAF - England - Crew of the Boeing B-17 "Nora"
of 305th Bomb Group in front of their plane after a raid. In this picture are:

1/Lt. Lester Personeus, Jr.,Pilot
F/0 Charles Harpool, Co-pilot
2/Lt. Morbert A. Zwicke, navigator
2/Lt. Wm. J. Byrd, Bombardier
T/Sgt. Wm. G. Reese, top gunner
T/Sgt. James O. Gillespie, Radio operator
S/Sgt. George W. James, right waist gunner
S/Sgt. Wm. J. Hess, ball turret gunner
S/Sgt. Roger M. Link, tail gunner
S/Sgt. Euel Jenkins, left waist gunner
These men have been on 15 missions together.
U.S. Air Force Photo.
Lucky Strike & crew

Miss Liberty Belle
July 7th 1944 Lt Challen Hunt and the crew with 'Miss Liberty Belle' 365th Squadron – 305th Bomb Group, based at Chelveston airbase.
It crashed at Wymington on August 3rd 1944.

Plan of the airfield Station 105 and sites

Dances were held at the American airbases and the local girls were invited - this one comes from nearby Podington A A F 109
A dance ticket
A dance reservation card kept with this ticket declares
"An Evening's Fun with the 1755th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Co. Avn." The card lists the staff:-
Squadron Staff
Capt M A Armstrong

1st Lt. H W Shelp

1st Lt. G H Orloff

1st Lt. R E O'Connor

1st Lt. C R Southern

1st Sgt. R J Beauchemin

T/Sgt. W B Belekewicz

S/Sgt. H P Bartkowski

Sgt. M De Santis

Pfc. M Flaherty

Col. J W Wilson

Lt-Col. R P Riordan

Maj. W V Croak

Capt. M W Stevenson

Dance Ticket from 1945

Rushden Echo & Argus, 15th June 1945

U.S. Airmen Won 1,550 Local Brides
Cupid has been working overtime with the Americans in this district. The winning ways of the Air Personnel at eight of our U.S. Aerodromes have won them no fewer than 1,550 English brides. The Anglo-American marriage stakes table is:

Molesworth 400
Polebrook 250
Podington 205
Chelveston 175
Grafton Underwood 155
Thurleigh 148
Harrington 117
Benefield 100

Four medics lived at Wheels Den. They were: George Teague, Ray Widstrom, Tom Jones and one other. The sickbay at the base, a brick building on the road to Caldecot, had 22 beds, was 24 feet by 64 feet, with asbestos roof, and was located outside the airfield proper.
This building was called Wheels Den by the four men who lived there.
The barbers shop for the USAF men opened from 08.00 hours till 19.00.
Les Collins with his taxi
Les Collins from Rushden, often visited the base
at Chelveston with his taxi in the late 1950s

Evacuees On a tour
Evacuees at the Airbase behind an American Red Cross Clubmobile
Tour of the Airbase

Below : label inside a USAF jacket (right) with the name 'W N Ruby Feb 1 45' added so we assume it was made for him in Rushden by J J Page.
The current owner who kindly allowed us to photograph this tells us this is far superior cloth to most jackets so possibly an officer's.
He might have been posted to Chelveston or Podington?

If you have any other events tickets, photographs or memories to share, please contact us.

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