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Thread: Information sought relating to 37 Maintenance Unit, Burtonwood, 1940 to 1942

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    Default Information sought relating to 37 Maintenance Unit, Burtonwood, 1940 to 1942

    Hi all,

    I am Merlin, aka Dave from Manchester, UK. I am looking any any information relating to the setting up and initial operations of RAF Burtonwood, particularly relating to the Air Storage Unit and No. 37 Maintenance Unit, that was set up in April 1940. I am researching Airman John Keeble, RAF who it turns out is my Grandfather. John Keeble met my Grandmother via dances held on Saturday nights at Burtonwood and my father was the result of this, born in September 1941.

    At the time John Keeble would have worked at Burtonwood in the Technical Buildings. They were servicing and repairing Airspeed Oxfords, Handley Page Hampdens and Spitfires. They went on to assemble, test and service other early Fairey aircraft such as Fulmars, Battles and Swordfish, as well some lend/lease American aircraft such as Marton Marylands, Baltimores and Curtis Kittyhawks.

    No. 37 Maintenance Unit was disbanded in June 1942 when the site was turned over to the US Army Air Force.

    If anyone has any information or pictures relating to No. 37 Maintenance Unit, I'd be delighted to hear from you.

    Thanks

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    Hi Merlin:

    I have this contact - can't recall his surname:

    Aldon
    Life Honourary President
    RAF Burtonwood Association
    079 121 489 38
    Email: AldonPFATaolDOTcom

    Will also scan and email some pages from an Arthur Pearcy book related to Lend-Lease that includes a section on Burtonwood and 37MU.

    Regards:

    Robert

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    Aldon Ferguson's book Burtonwood - Eighth Air Force Base Air Depot has some details of 37 MU but no photos, apart from aerial views of the airfield. Note that Aldon also compiled Royal Air Force Burtonwood - 50 Years in Photographs but this has nothing on 37 MU so don't bother!

    See this link:

    http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?an=ferguson&bt.x=97&bt.y=15&sts=t&tn =burtonwood

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    @ Dave Smith

    Funnily enough we were looking at pages from that very book today, when we visited the Heritage Centre at Burtonwood. Information on 37 MU and the origins of the ASU and BRD seem to be very thin on the ground.

    Are you an RAF ATC at Sealand, by any chance ? If so, do you know Phil Ratten-Rudd, an ATC from RAF Marham? He helps to run our retro computing and trading site, AmiBay.

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    No, I was a controller at Liverpool Airport till I retired about two years ago.

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    Merlin and Dave:

    Pearcy book extract emailed to you both.

    Regards:

    Robert

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    Received - many thanks.

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    A bit of an update...

    Following some more digital archeology, it appears that No. 37 Maintenance Unit disbanded in June 1942 and all of the personnel transferred to No. 48 Maintenance Unit at RAF Hawarden, near Chester (now the Airbus wing production site).

    There are also some sketchy references to a site at Knowsley Park called No. 49 Satellite Landing Ground and 37 MU were there in late 1941, to look over the site and assess its suitability for bombers. The personnel were billeted in Prescot at the time.

    The ground was waterlogged at Knowsley Park and it wasn't until May 1942 that the ground was deemed suitable and Vickers Wellingtons started arriving at Knowsley. In July 1942 Knowsley also handed over to 48 MU and Handley Page Halifax aircraft built at Speke started arriving in August 1942, for dispersal to other airfields.

    So, it seems that my grandfather (Airman John Keeble) relocated at least once and moved from 37 MU to 48 MU during 1941/42. He may have worked at either Hawarden or Knowsley Park, after transferring from Burtonwood.

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    Another update...

    With some sterling help from the guys over at the WW2 Talk forums, two possible RAF service numbers have been found for two men with the name John Keeble, one of which may be my Grandad.

    JOHN KEEBLE 1284340 serial number in a batch commenced May 1940
    JOHN WALTER KEEBLE 1289582 serial number in a batch commenced May 1940.

    These signup dates are around the time that 37 Maintenance Unit set up at Burtonwood (January 1940 onwards).

    There was a third possible hit, a Jock Gordon Clement Keeble, service number 927368 commenced September 1939, but he was an Air Gunner, so he's unlikely to be the one I'm looking for. 'Jock' is a Scottish colloquial term for someone called John, but Jock was attached to 90 Squadron, based at Marham around the time I am talking about. He was shot down in Wellington KO-B on route to a raid on Hamburg in September 1941 and is buried at Harburg.

    I know need to know which units these two possible candidates were attached to.

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