RAF Keevil Airfield, Stirling Horsa Tugs, Keevil

Address72 Martins Road, Keevil, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 6NA, UK
Location typeAirfield
Site Ownership and Access Information?The site is still occasionally used for RAF exercises, but is now more known for a Gliding and Remote Control Aircraft Club as well as a Motor Raceway.
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Up until March 1944 the Airfield was used by the US Air Force, but following their relocation the RAF located two squadrons (Nos. 196 and 299) of Stirling aircraft at the Airfield, and shortly after they were joined by a mass of Horsa Gliders.

On the night of the 5th/6th of June, both Squadrons totalling 46 Stirlings were crewed by men of the British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African Air Forces. Each aircraft had 20 Paratroopers of the 6th Airborne Division and they were dropped in Normandy in the early hours of the 6th. Two aircraft were lost.

In the afternoon on D-Day, Horsa Gliders were linked up to the Stirlings, the Gliders were due to land in Normandy to help protect Pegasus Bridge to assist in securing the Allied foothold in Normandy. Also some of the Stirlings continued their flight into Normandy where SAS and SOE operatives were parachuted behind enemy lines.

One Glider was lost during the flight, killing all on board. All planes from 196 and 299 Squadrons returned safely to Keevil.

Photographs courtesy of:

www.aircrewremembered.com, www.sas.raf38group.org, www.trackdays.co.uk, www.americanairmuseum.com

View on the D-Day On Your Doorstep map