Monday 18th September 1944

Keevil

 Aerial photograph of Keevil airfield looking north, 4 March 1944
Aerial photograph of Keevil airfield looking north, 4 March 1944

Keevil Airfield was in operation in 1942, when it housed fighter planes including Spitfires and P51 Mustangs as well as transport and reconnaissance aircraft.

A total of 569 Spitfires were assembled at Keevil during the war and saw action in Europe, the Far East and the North African desert.

Gliders also left from the base on the ill-fated Operation Market Garden in September 1944. From 1955 to 1964 Keevil Airfield was occasionally used by the US Air Force. It closed in 1965.

Today, the airfield is home to Bannerdown Gliding Club and Warminster and District Radio Control Club.


Landingzone X

part of DZ/LZ X
part of DZ/LZ X

"Soon I recognised the Lower Rhine, and a moment later could see our LZ- two small squares of a wooded land pieced together at one corner only. Our landing was to be just there where the woods joined together". (Arnhem Lift, page 12)


1st Day

Wolfheze station (collection P. Reinders)
Wolfheze station (collection P. Reinders)

"To get to our first Rendezvous we had to follow a narrow sandy lane through low brushwood, small field and single rows of tree. Everywhere we saw gliders, in the fields, some even on the trees, there was an odd wing wedged between two big branches of an oak, a tail unit sticking right up in the air, and pieces of gliders distributed everywhere. We passed a large meadow with glider parked in a more orderely fashion, obviously this was the real landing zone of Sunday. We joined more and more jeeps and trailers, all filling to the their various R.V.'s. Ours was difficult as it was Wolhaze Station, and from there to the lunatic asylum. (Arnhem Lift, page 15)

bomb damage at the linenroom on the Mental Hospital Grounds (Collection P. Reinders)
bomb damage at the linenroom on the Mental Hospital Grounds (Collection P. Reinders)


"In single file and directed by a parachute brigade officer we moved towards Arnhem. As the fire was getting heavier now our advance got slower and slower, We guessed that we were the tail of a large column moving down towards Arnhem and were grateful for the long halts, sometimes an hour or two at a time. Ir was impossible to keep up with the paratroopers who only wore a very small pack. This went on until two o'clock in the morning. We were making less and less progress and heard an increasing volume of fire from the direction of Arnhem. Evenutally we got the order to turn round and had to walk back halfway we had advanced that night.

 

 

We dug in along the railway line, covering the lane along which we had advanced, to be ready for any attack that might come at dawn. (Arnhem Lift page 17)