398th Bomb Group

Station 131 Main Runway Sign Alert

By Malcolm "Ozzie" Osborn
UK Friend of the 398th
26 June 2005

I saw this sign below one day as I entered the old airfield area of the 398th at Station 131 at Nuthampstead. It is one of the newer signs for the small private airstrip at Nuthampstead.

What is left of the old main runway (now a grass strip) is beyond the sign. You are looking northeast from the intersection of the runways at the center of the old base.

To the aviators of 1944, the main runway was officially known as 05/23. By adding a zero after each number (050/230), one can decipher the compass headings of the approximate northeast to southwest runway. Proceeding northeast in 1944, the aviators would see the numbers 05 painted on the concrete runway. When landing towards the southwest, the aviators would see 23 (or 230 degrees) on the runway.

The distant trees cover the 600 Squadron dispersal area and the 601 Squadron area is off to the right of the picture. The concrete in the foreground is the remnants of the runway that crossed the main runway to the northwest. The American flag is flying 24/7 just off to the left of this photo on the flagpole installed for that purpose by the Friends of the 398th. Peggy Wells keeps the flag flying for the 398th so faithfully here and we thank her for it.

The hanger in the background is the site where a few 398ers, returning on reunions, have had an "around the old field" plane ride by generous English Friends airplane owners.

I wonder what make the aircraft on the sign is? Certainly similar to a primary trainer called the PT-17 many 398th men trainedon. It is not a B-17, that is for sure.

Remains of Station 131 Main Runway

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