Flight Testing

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James (Jimmy) England

Private 1st Class

Airplane & engine mechanic & flight testing engineer 747, USAAF Base Area Depot 1 (known as BAD 1) Station 590, Burtonwood,
8th Air Force, England 1943 -1945.

(We have been kindly loaned all the following photographs from Lonnie England who is the son of Jimmy England. Please do NOT copy any of these photos without permission from Lonnie)

James England was 1 of the 18,000 men that were stationed at the USAAF base at Burtonwood in WW2. Here is Jimmy's service record from that time.

As you can see on his service record he took a 12 day course on general electric B22 turbo superchargers just like the one shown below in the photo.

Here is Jimmy's personal ration card.

Records show that 27 RAF mosquito's were modified or repaired between the 1st of July 1943 - the 8th of May 1945 (VE day) & the 'Gang' were probably posing for this shot because of the mosquito's in the background to the right.'

The 'Flight Test Gang' that Jimmy was in With 2 x De Havilland Mosquito's in the Background to the Right, a P47 Thunderbolt to the Left & behind that a C47.

Even more photos of the 'flight test gang' below that look
like they were taken at either tech site or 'A' site.

We think it was either tech site or 'A' site because of the 'K' type
hangar that is visible behind the American truck.

The following photo was taken at the side of a C47.

Jimmy England is in the middle.

Jimmy was the navigator on this C47 test flight.

The Flight Test Crew.

The flight test crew received the aircraft from maintenance division and after careful pre-flight checks and engine runs they took each aircraft up for a test flight before signing that it was ready for delivery.

Delivery flights were undertaken by the ferry flight squadrons or by flight test personnel.

 

Jimmy Often Visited This Pub Back in 1944-45 when off duty.

The pub is 'The Black Horse Hotel' at School Hill Heswall Wirral Merseyside and was built in 1843.

This is How The Pub Looks Now in 2014.

This is How The Pub Looked Back in 1944-45.

Jimmy England Standing Outside of the Black Horse Hotel 1944-45

Jean Hilton (The Owner's Daughter) & Norman Greider (Jimmy's Friend)

The Front of The Black Horse now in 2014.

You can see that there are some slight changes over the years.

For instance, you'll notice that on the photo above there is an outdoor department entrance which has now been changed into a window, although you can still see that the front 2 posts haven't changed at all.

Basically it is still very much the same pub 70+ year's on ....

Jean Hilton (The Owner's Daughter) & Norman Greider (Jimmy's Friend)

This Was Written on The Back

Jimmy England Standing at The side of the Black Horse Hotel 1944-45

Jimmy England standing in the grounds of St Peter's Church Village Road Heswall
Wirral Merseyside (Grade 2 listed building) - Photo taken 1944-45

This message is on the back of the photo (above)

This is St Peter's Church Heswall in 2014.

As you can see, the photo was taken in almost the exact position
as the one in 1944-45 (above with Jimmy England on it)

Jimmy England's girlfriend (at the time)

This was written on the back of the photo:

"This is my girlfriend. She is English & studying to be a nurse.
She is very pretty. The picture doesn't do her justice.
This is taken in her back yard, pretty isn't it"

Nothing written on the back of this photo, but it was in Jimmy England's collection of
photos and so it must be of some relevance? Possibly Jimmy's friend's?

(The letters 'N' 'A' on the dress of the lady on the right means 'Nurse Auxiliary')

This is a letter (dated 1953) to Jimmy England from the past owners of
the Black Horse hotel Heswall, Jean & Harry Hilton.

You'll notice that their new address is another pub
in Romford Essex called 'The Mawney Arms'

'Fightin Gator'

This photo is of a very special aircraft in WW2.

It is the Republic P47 Thunderbolt 'Fightin Gator Y8' at Burtonwood USAAF in 1945.

The aircraft was piloted by Fred Varn's of the 404th Fighter Group 507 Squadron. The aircraft was donated by Republic Employees & it completed 200 missions without a technical abort.

The aircraft was painted with the employee donated plaque and the
ribbons of the distinguished flying cross, the medal and the purple heart.

Jimmy England wrote this on the back of this photo he took of the 'Fightin Gator'
when it went to Burtonwood (where he was stationed)

"This P47 has quite a history behind it (200 missions)"

Jimmy England in the cockpit of 'The Fightin Gator' when
it was at Burtonwood at technical site.

B17's on the dispersal at USAAF Burtonwood - B17 'Little Joe' can be seen on the left.

The B17 at the front just shows the tail number.

One of Jimmy England's friends

Another photo given by Jimmy England showing a guy sat on
a 'tug' in front of the B17 called 'We The People'

This was written on the back of the photo:

'The guy on the 'tug' pulls the planes when they are to close to taxi"

Jimmy took this photo of a B17 that has seen better days.

This was written on the back:

"Not so much to say about this one, only that it has seen better days"

This one is a B24 Liberator (looks like it is named 'Snottie Maid'?)

This was written on the back:

"The piece covering the girls head is armour plate to protect the pilot ... I don't know where it is now?"

This is a P38 Lockhead lightning apparently called a 'Piggie Back P38'.

It was called a 'Piggie Back P38' because it had an extra seat behind the pilot.

In the background to the left is a P47 Thunderbolt.

This is what is written on the back by Jimmy:

"This is a P38 with an extra seat in back of the pilot called a 'Piggie Back P38'. I just came back from a 2 hour flight in it with Lt. Oswald - The guys are having a drink of this so called English beer."

This is a B24 Liberator named 'Lee Mee Bee'

Notice that it has an armoured plate next to the pilot just below the cockpit window.

This is what Jimmy wrote on the back of the photo:

"Lee Mee Bee in front - these ships sure played hell with German targets"

Lee Mee Bee, Snottie Maid (we think?) and other B24 Liberators at Burtonwood

(Long distance shot of previous photos)

B17 on the perimeter track at Burtonwood

This was written on the back by Jimmy:

"B17 on perimeter track getting ready for take off"

B17 with Jimmy's friend in the co pilot's side.

This was written on the back of the photo:

"Here is Johnny Ryals my good buddie. We have been together ever
since I left ... Johnny is from Colo (must mean Colorado?)"

Same photo but further away shot ...

This is what is written on the back:

"Here is Johnny - To bad we didn't know how to distance these shots?"

We have no idea what these words mean that are upside down on the back of the photo?

Here is the same 'back' of the photo turned upright.

This farm (below in the photo) was called 'Brook House farm' and was built before the airfield at USAAF Burtonwood was constructed, and when the American's took occupation of the base it became General Isaac W Ott's personal residence.

He was the base Commander and the farmhouse was sited what became known as site 6 which was the communal living site and it was also where 'The Flight Test Crew's' where billeted.

Here is what was written on the back of the photo:

"The general's house, the back of it at that compare it with those
shacks in the other pictures. I should have been a general."

'The Flight Test Crew's' had moved across the airfield from
'A' site to the 'K' type hangar on 'Tech Site' in early 1944.

They were billeted there because site 6 is very close to 'Tech Site'.

Site 6 was enlarged immediately on arrival of the USAAF to accommodate the huge influx
of USAAF staff and technicians etc. and as mentioned before site 6 was constructed very
close to 'Tech Site' because 'Tech Site' was the centre of flight testing operations

This is one of the 60 nissen huts on Site 6 which was constructed by USAAF.

This is written on the back of Jimmy's photo:

"Johnny on top. L to R. Stein, Nichols, Glick. All good 'Joe's'. We have been together ever since I left"

A Group of Jimmy England's friend's that were billeted in the same hut.

The writing on the photo says:

"L to R top row, Joy Finley, Andy Anderson, Cox, Jack Powers ....

L to R bottom row, Sandy, Pappy Scals, Buesing ....

Finley - Cox - Sandy - Pappy - Buesing"

"We are all in the same hut"

Jimmy England's friend outside one of the huts on site 6 after many flying hours.

This is what it says on the photograph:

"Here is your 'bag' after putting in many flying hours"

This is a photo of a motor bike that they built.

This is what is written on the back of the photo:

"This is a 'Liney' Motor we stripped down into a 'smooth' (we think it says?) job"

The date and address is:

6-6-44 Norman Sreider 532 N. 3rd. St. Columbia. PA.

This was barrack hut 16 on Site 6. You can see Brook House Farm (General Isaac W Ott's personal residence) in the background. Barrack hut 16 is one of the 18 temporary brick rendered finish barrack huts on site 6 that was originally built for the RAF but was taken over by the USAAF on arrival.

This is how it looks now. This photo was taken in 2014

This was written on the back of the photo:

"This is Jean ... he has my jacket + glasses + mess hit. Trying to make him look like a M.D."

Volley ball game in the centre of the barrack blocks on site 6 facing barrack block 25 (on the left). The personnel often watched movies in the building on the right (building 24). Note in the foreground the posts supporting the lagged pipes. These lagged pipes heated the temporary bricked barrack huts, but the Nissen huts had their own heating from a coal or wood burning stove.

In the background are buildings 11 and 9 and just to the left in the background you can just see the apex/roof of building 12.

These 3 x buildings are called Bellman Hangars.

Below is a photo that was taken in 2014 and it was taken in the exact same position where the volleyball game was being played in the black and white 1944 photo above.

In the foreground (beyond the tree in the middle) were the 3 Bellman Hangars buildings 9, 11 and 12. The new building in the background was part of what was known as 'G' site and is currently the Royal Mail sorting office and it wasn't visible behind the 3 Bellman Hangars in the black and white photo above.

However, there was a large building with a large storage/workshop built on the land in the exact same position as where the Royal Mail sorting office stands today in 2014.

This is what is written on the back side of the photo:

"Volley ball - Sunday afternoon. Right background is where we have movies"

Same volley ball game (on site 6) but the photo was taken from the opposite end.
Note the lagged pipes again going across the centre of the photo.

The 3 buildings at the back is building number 5 and were the mess rooms with the kitchen in the middle. Also note the 'K' type hangar in the far right background on 'Tech Site'.

The photo below was taken in exactly the same position in 2014 as the one above in 1944.

The new ASDA storage facility is currently under construction in the background.

This is what was written on the back of the photo:

"Same volley ball game - mess hall in the rear"

The same volley ball game again shot in a slightly different angle more going across the volley ball area. The barrack hut on the left is number 13, the laterine building (in the middle next to barrack hut 13) is number 26 and finally the barrack hut on the right is number 25. To help you more, the cinema is now out of the picture shot just on the right.

The photo below was taken in exactly the same position in 2014 as the one above in 1944.

This is what is written on the photo above:

"Same volley ball game - barracks in the rear"

'The Flight Test Crew' standing next to the control tower which was originally built for the RAF to Air Ministry drawing number watch office for all commands 12779/41 small front windows to 15371/41.

Note the control tower sign has a small aircraft propeller attached to it.

(The control tower above was demolished in 1987.)

This is what is written on the back of Jimmy's photo:

"Murry, Jackson, Nichols, Stein, L-R .... we were really marking
up the hours about the time these pictures were taken"

Jimmy's friends Nichols & Lang standing just outside/under the control tower balcony.

This is what is written on the back of the photo:

"Nichols & Lang L-R"

Jimmy's friend 'Lang' with his arm around one of the many 'WACS'
(WACS stands for 'Women's Army Corps) who were stationed at Burtonwood.

They undertook many tasks, including secretarial, warehousing duties and even some on flight tests.



This is what is written on the back of Jimmy's photo:

"

These 2 guys names were 'Red & Stein' and the photo was taken outside the control tower 1944. Red was a navigator and flew

This is what it says on the back of the photo:

"Red & Stein L-R .... Red navigates by railroad tracks, lakes, rivers and such, but he sits ya down where you're supposed to go ...... can't understand his flying"

These 2 well-dressed guys are Stein & Nichols and they are outside the control tower.

This is what was written on the back:

"Stein & Nichols L-R when we were ferrying ships to other combat outfits"

This photo shows the aircraft movement board. The one on the left is showing the aircraft that is ready for delivery and the one on the right is showing aircraft that is ready for flight testing.

We think that this photo was taken on 'A' site at Burtonwood or 'Tech Site' with the 'K' type hangar showing in the background on the left of the picture.

We think it says on the back of this photo:

"Maverick, Falcon where 'sad shack' were just being completed.
When this picture was taken everything was in a mess"

No idea when or where this photo was taken?

Jimmy England climbing on the wing of a P47

Jimmy England's friend 'John' on a 'tug' in front of a row of P47's.
The first 2 look like they are marked up with invasion stripe markings.

This is what is written on the back of the photo:

"John on a tug in 'sad shack' waiting for the pilots to take those p47's away"

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