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24 September 2014
BBC Liverpool - Local History

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Burtonwood - an introduction

Burtonwood Air Base
An aerial shot of Burtonwood.

Over Here
A extract from Close Up North showing the history of Burtonwood.
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Burtonwood was the maintenance and supply base for the US Air Force in Europe in WWII being responsible for about another 30 bases throughout the UK and over 70,000 personnel.

The site was originally selected for use by the British Royal Air Force in 1938 and RAF Burtonwood opened in 1939, before being used by the US Air Force later on.

The name Burtonwood means:

Dense growth of trees by a farm or fortified town

Burtonwood alone processed, 11,575 aircraft between 1943 and 1945 plus over 40,000 engines and all component parts to aircraft and all support equipment.

In 1945 there were just over 18,000 personnel on base.

It provided new bombers and fighters to US squadrons, modified them, repaired them and did anything necessary - it was called Lancashire's Detroit!

Production line methods were introduced for the first time in the UK.

Burtonwood has a perimeter fence which is 70 miles long

Post War

Burtonwood reopened to support the Cold War but initially undertook the overhaul and maintenance of the aircraft in the Berlin airlift 1948-9 then maintained all aspects of aircraft, ground equipment, and all support equipment and personnel for the USAF in Europe.

Due to defence cuts it started to run down in 1959 and was closed by the USAF in 1965.
However de Gaulle took France out of NATO in 1967 and the US Army stores in France were moved to Burtonwood into the Header House which was the biggest warehouse in Europe (3 million square feet - 47 acres all under one roof).
They supported NATO in the Cold war and provided masses of equipment for the Iraq War Desert storm.

With the end of the Cold war it was decided to close it down but it took over 18 months with it finally closing in Aug 1993.

This Section

Introduction to Burtonwood
Burtonwood Reunion
GI Brides
GI Brides - Jean's story
Olive & Murphy
Skyline Service Club
Working at Burtonwood
An English girl at Burtonwood
People at Burtonwood
Planes and transport at Burtonwood

Burtonwood Museum

Current Journey
The CSS Alabama
How To Do History
Local Links
Trace your family tree
My Merseyside Memory
Contact Us
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