Memorial: Ampfield USAF warplane crash 1944
On the 2 July, 75 years ago, five USAF personel returning for operational leave after operating in support of D-DAy from and Advanced Landing Ground near Carentan in Normandy died when their Cessna UC-78 (Bobcat) crashed in Ampfield Woods, possibly after deliberately avoiding Ampfield Village at the cost of their own lives. Come and join us as we commemorate the loss of these young lives 75 years ago.
Images from Carentan Advanced Landing Ground show P-38 Thunderbolts operating from this rapidly constructed wire mesh runway on farmland. Pilots operating in this role needed to be regularly rested, especially at the beginning of the D-Day assaults due to the very demanding nature of this sort of flying. It seems the Cessna UC-78 was being used as a communications aircraft to carry out pilot roulement.
The aircrew who crashed near Ampfield on 2 July were nearly ‘home’ to Chilbolton Airfield near Stockbridge, now a private strip. The reason for UC-78, tail number 43-7528, being forced down have never been fully determined.
More than 1200 instances of the Cessna UC-78 were purchased by the USAF. The Cessna 'Bobcat' was a training aircraft, light bomber and communications aircraft.