3rd Combat Crew Replacement Centre Toome
Toome Airfield was opened by the RAF on the 1st January 1943 and transferred to the US 8th Airforce on the 26th July 1943. In August 1943 the Combat Crew Replacement Centre was activated and the first trainees arrived on the 21st August. 2nd Lt Osborne's crew would have spent 15 days, 8 hours per day training on navigation, bombardment, airmanship, tactics, ditching procedures, air to air gunnery and formation and evasive action flying. Evenings would be spent in local towns like Magerafelt.
During March and April 1944 the school was operating at full capacity with 100 crew completing the course. One location where Gunnery Practice and Bombing runs took place was Scady Island, Lough Neagh 4 miles south east of the airfield. The CCRC was deactivated and closed down early November 1944 and handed back to the RAF on the 24th November 1944. Combat Crew Replacement training was then transfered to airfields in England.
(Information on Toome Airfield came from "Toome's Wartime Airfield" by local author John Hughes.)
Toome 3rd March 1944
B26 41-17990 Chickasaw Chief II after its nosewheel collapsed during takeoff at Toome
Aerial photo of Toome airfield 1950's
Newspaper article relating to a 1st Lt James Brantley's training at Toome kindly supplied by Gary McFarland