Construction of Ramsbury airfield began in mid-1941 and the majority of the work was completed by August 1942. Three concrete runways were laid, the main of 6,000ft being aligned 08-26, with the auxiliaries 3.300ft aligned 02-20 and 3.170ft at 14-32. The hardstands were 33 pan type of which five were eliminated when 20 loops and perimeter track extensions were added late in the construction program. Aircraft cover was the standard two T-2 hangars and the mixture of utility buildings on dispersed living sites to the east eventually provided for 2,365 persons.
However before the arrival of the USAAF, the airfield was occupied by an RAF training unit, equipped with Airspeed Oxfords, who taught the pilots the rudimentary skills needed to control multi-engined aircraft. The unit was Number 15 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit (15 [P] AFU) and while at Ramsbury large numbers of British, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and South African pilots passed through the school.
Ramsbury also had its own Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) contingent, who were employed as parachute packers, cooks, drivers, storekeepers and administrators.
The airfield itself was fairly complete when the first operational users of Ramsbury arrived. The USAAF Twelfth Air Force 64th Troop Carrier Group with Douglas C-47s and C-53s arrived from Westover Army Airfield, Massachusetts on 18 August 1942. Operational squadrons of the group were:
Being temporarilly assigned to Eighth Air Force for training at Ramsbury, the group conducted an extensive training progam while flying cargo, passengers, and courier missions for several months, before leaving with paratroopers for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa on 9 November 1942, being deployed to Blida, Algeria.
With the departure of the 64th TCG, the RAF used the airfield from 11/42 to 10/43, No.15 (Pilot) Advanced Training Flying Unit with Oxfords.
Through the winter of 1942-43, Oxfords came and went, an activity that continued until the following October when the airfield, which was assigned to the Eighth Air Force provisional Troop Carrier Command. It was subsequently transferred to the Ninth Air Force in November 1943 when a USAAF Station Complement Squadron appeared.
From November 1943 to January 1944, the airfield was used by the air echelons of the of the 434th and 435th Troop Carrier Groups from RAF Fulbeck and RAF Langar with C-47s and C-53s. The groups conducted exercises with the 101st Airborne Division.
The 437th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 53d Troop Carrier Wing, IX Troop Carrier Command.
The 437th TCS flew a combination of Douglas C-47s and C-53 Skytrains. From Ramsbury the group began preparing for the Normandy invasion with a mission to train with an element of the 82nd Airborne Division. For the Airspeed Horsa and Waco CG-4A gliders that were delivered to Ramsbury, areas of Pierced Steel Planking were put down for marshalling purposes at the end of the main runway.
On the 437th's first operation, in support of the Normandy landings, 52 C-47s were despatched in moonlight with troop carrying Waco gliders. The gliders were released south of Cherbourg with the object of isolating the western end of the invasion bridgehead, but poor weather and anti-aircraft fire disrupted the formations causing the glider landings to be somewhat scattered.
A follow-up mission with 26 C-47s towing 18 Horsas and eight Wacos was run from Ramsbury later on the 6th and another on the 7th with 50 tugs and 50 gliders carrying reinforcements of troops, antiaircraft pieces, ammunition, rations, and other supplies for 82nd Airborne Division. For its work during this period the 437th was later awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.
A detachment was sent to Montala airfield in Italy on 19 July 1944 for the Invasion of Southern France in August. It dropped paratroops over the assault area on 15 Augugt, flew a resupply mission on the following day, and in the weeks prior to the airborne forces' operation on August, supplies were hauled to Rome but the C-47s of the 437th returned to Ramsbury on August 23d.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the 437th had been busy supporting the advancing ground forces in France, in desperate need of ammunition, and had been joined by the 93rd and 306th TCSs on August 7. these units staying until the 16th and 24th respectively. Ramsbury was frequently used by C-47s of other Troop Carrier Groups to collect supplies of ammunition for the US Army for delivery to France.
During the airborne attack on Holland, 17-25 Sep 1944, two 437th flights, both comprising 35 C-47s towing a CG-4A each, brought up the rear of the IX Troop Carrier task force for the 101st Airborne Division.
The enemy anti-aircraft defences, fully alerted. shot down five C-47s and ten gliders were also lost. A total of 24 C-47s in the first flight suffered flak damage and 22 in the second. Despite these losses and damage, the group was able to despatch a follow-up mission to Son next day with one flight of 40 and another of 30 aircraft, each towing a glider. This time fate was kinder as only one C-47 in each formation received flak damage and none were lost, although four gliders aborted and another ditched in the sea.
The 437th was stood down on the 19th but on the 20th it new 82 aircraft in a re-supply mission to Overassclt. A further re-supply mission was attempted on the 21st but only 12 of the 15 aircraft despatched were able to drop their parapacks to the 101st Airborne at Son.
t was then hack to hauling supplies to France and Belgium and evacuating wounded to England with a particularly hectic period during the Battle of the Bulge.
In February 1945 the group moved to its Advanced Landing Ground at Coulommiers/Voisins, France (ALG A-58) when several former Luftwaffe airfields were restored to operational use for action during the air assault across the Rhine.
From its ALG at Coulommiers/Voisins, France 437th TCG aircraft towed two gliders over the east bank and released them near Wesel on 24 March 1945.
The group flew numerous missions in March and April to carry gasoline, food, medicine, and other supplies to ground forces pushing across Germany. When not participating in one of the major airborne operations, the organization continually transported ammunition, rations, clothing, and other supplies, and evacuated wounded personnel to rear-zone hospitals.
Evacuated prisoners of war and displaced persons to relocation centers after V-E Day.
Ramsbury was retained by IX TCC as a reserve base until the end of hostilities, finally relinquishing it to the RAF in June 1945.
In 1946, Ramsbury was briefly used by RAF Flying Training Command 23 Group flying Oxfards from January to March. However the airfield was closed and a care and maintenance party and no further military units took up station.
With more airfields on its books than it knew what to do with, the Air Ministry was not long in disposing of the facility.