RAF Tempsford - Bedfordshire’s Airfield – Now the story can be told
Bernard O’Connor’s book tells the story of how the Air Ministry selected this isolated spot and designed it specifically to look as if it was a disused airfield. For all intents and purposes the locals considered it an ordinary airfield except that the flights were only a few days every month - during the moon period.
It details many of the top secret SOE missions that 138 and 161 (Moon) Squadrons flew from here in Lysanders, Stirlings and other planes to drop supplies to the resistance across Europe as well as to drop 'Joes' and pick up VIPs. Americans, Free French, Belgians, Czechoslovakians, Poles and crews from the Commonwealth air forces flew from here. Group Captain 'Mouse' Fielden was in charge and agents like Violette Szabo, Odette Churchill, Peter Churchill and Wing-Commander Yeo-Thomas flew out on some of their secret missions.
Vital operations like the bombing of Amiens Prison, the destruction of the heavy water plant in Norway and the assassination of Heydrich were flown from Tempsford. The book investigates what went on in requisitioned local country houses like Hazells Hall, Woodbury Hall, Tetworth Hall, Tempsford Hall and Gaynes Hall. It looks at what links it had with Bletchley Park. It includes extracts from books written by Joes, RAF pilots and crewmembers as well as maps, poems and personal memoirs. It details many of the air crashes around the airfield and includes reminiscences of local people, ground crew and WAAFs about the social life down on the airfield, in the NAAFI and local hostelries.
Early editions of Bernard O’Connor’s ‘Tempsford Airfield – Now the Story can be Told’ can be obtained at local libraries. The most recent edition can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org (A4 version @£10.00 excl. P&P)