Life at Podington

Podington AAB (Station 109) was located near the village of Podington, North Bedfordshire, about six miles from the town of Rushden, Northamptonshire. This was the home of the 92nd (triangle B) Bomb Group and its four squadrons, the 325th (NV), 326th (JW), 327th (UX), and 407th (PY).

In between missions over hostile territory, crews (and ground personnel) faced isolation from family and boredom during a period of abnormally poor seasonal English weather from January to April, 1944. The tiny village of Podington was not much of an attraction to the airmen on passes, and the town of Rushden wasn't too much bigger. The town of Northampton had more bars and restaurants, a cinema - and more women. Trips to London were a rare treat.

One story told by Oscar Sampson to his sister Dorothy described a typical evening out on the town: The men were delivered by an Army truck to a nearby town, left to pub hop for the evening, and then picked up by the same truck. While returning to the base in the back of the truck, "Sammy" remembered having to cover one eye to see just a single pair of headlights on the following vehicle.

After the March 26 mission to Pas de Calais, the crew got a well deserved 7 day break. The officers were sent to the AAF rest home in Alton, while the enlisted men went to a different location. Alton is about 50 miles southwest of London.

The rest home at Alton: "Sammy" with one of the nurses,
while an unidentified onlooker watches from above.


Three officers and a nurse playing badminton at the
Alton rest home, while another watches the excitement.

Three of the officers enjoyed the time at Alton, especially with the occasional socializing with some of the resident nurses. The fourth officer, John Steichen, wasn't pleased at all. He had a steady girl back near Podington. Given the choice of seeing his girlfriend, Kay Wright, in nearby Northampton versus playing badminton with his crew, Steichen would have gladly left his buddies one short of a foursome.

See a Series of Letters between Oscar Sampson and his sister Dorothy, including comments about the week at Alton.

Read some of the Daily Bulletins issued by Podington's Commanding Officer, as reproduced from the 92nd BG archives at Maxwell AFB.

See a map of Podington in relation to London .

See the airfield as it was in 1945 .

See the airfield as it was in 1961.

See the airfield today , with the control tower converted to a residence, and the 92nd BG memorial.

See the Podington Station 92nd BG memorial and inscription.

Prelude to the arrival of "The Mighty Eighth" in England, in the words of Sir Winston Churchill.

Chapter 1
The Flight Across the Atlantic
Chapter 2
Life at Podington
Chapter 3
The Missions of Baby's Crew
Chapter 4
The Last Mission
Chapter 5
Life in Switzerland
Chapter 6
Escape from Switzerland
Baby's Crew
Retracing History:
The Author's Trip
What's New on the Site
Links to Related Sites

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Copyright © 2001 by Ed Rathje

Web page created by Ed Rathje - last updated September 21, 2001.