Photographs of Bradley Field (Conn.), 1942-1945

United States Army Air Forces


217 photographs.
Black and white photographs of military activities of Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Conn. during U.S. participation in World War II -- The images document military life and training at the air base. Included are photos on the Sixth War Loan drive, redeployment of Forces and presentations of medals to families of servicemen missing in action. Also includes photos of Chinese cadet pilots receiving training at Bradley Field. All photos are numbered, identified and stamped "Official U.S. Army Air Corps photo."..
Bradley Field in Windsor Locks served as a U.S. Army Air Force fighter plane base and East Coast air defense operation from 1941 to 1948. The military named the base after Eugene Bradley from Antler, OK who crashed his P-40 fighter plane at the field shortly after its construction.
After the outbreak of hostilities in Europe and the Pacific area, the U.S. Army indicated an interest in locating a fighter plane base in the southern New England area as part of East Coast air defenses. On January 23, 1941, Governor Robert A. Hurley requested that the General Assembly authorize the purchase of 1,700 acres of land in the Windsor Locks area. The state leased the land to the federal government for one dollar a year for twenty-five years.
Soon after, the War Department began clearing land and constructing runways, buildings and other facilities for planes and support personnel. From the flat, sandy area of woods and tobacco farms came three runways, perimeter and connecting taxiways, hangar aprons, three parking aprons, and revetments and their taxiways. There were also barracks, hangars and other support buildings. The Army completed initial construction in early summer 1941.
In January 1942, the War Department authorized the field's designation of Bradley Field as a tribute to the young flyer killed on August 21, 1941.
In addition to its fighter support role, Bradley Field performed other functions. Summer and early fall of 1942 gave a preview of the North African landing that occurred later in November. Scores of flying fortresses and other bombers filled the hangars and tie down areas awaiting orders for overseas flight.
Bradley Field also served as a prisoner of war camp for German enlisted men during the last year of the war. The prisoners began arriving on October 8, 1944 and remained until repatriation began in 1945. The men performed many tasks at the air base during their confinement.
As the war drew to a close, the field's scope of operations and its personnel changed. The number of Women's Air Corps personnel increased dramatically. At its peak, women made up 40% of the mechanics working on the airplanes. The army built a separate barracks to house the women.
After the German surrender, Bradley Field processed the return of plans and personnel from the European theater. Many returning troops called Bradley tower their "Statue of Liberty."..
After the war's end in both theaters, the field gradually acquired more civilian functions. On October 15, 1948, the War Assets Administration authorized turning the air field over to state control.
No separate documentation at this time.
Access provided through the History and Genealogy Unit Under procedures established for use of archival records.
Not available for interlibrary loan.
Descriptive register available at the History and Genealogy reference desk Item level.

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