Tents, Château’s and Huts – the way the Troop Carrier men lived in the ETO
Army units have to be facilitated somewhere. Camp have to be made. With Air Force
outfits, these billets were situated near the airfield used by that particular outfit.
The Troop Carrier units that would play a role in the liberation of western Europe
started arriving in the United Kingdom in winter of 1943/1944. Airfields had been
constructed or were still under construction.
The first living quarters for the men in England were usually Nissen huts. These
large huts, 20 feet or30 feet span, were used for multiple services, like briefing
room, mess hall or as barrack.
There was a variety of buildings to supplement these Nissen huts. Prefabricated buildings
like woo frame barracks (Laing type) or brick buildings.
The men lived on these camps until movement to France in 1945. Former airfields in
France that were used (or even built) by the Germans were put into use against the
Germans. A number of the Troop Carrier Groups ended up in the wide Paris area. Living
changed here. The chateau’s nearby airfields, formerly used by the Germans, were
now used by the American officers. A luxury not given to all officers as some lived,
like many of the enlisted men, in tents.
Living in tents was cold and cutting wood was daily business.
One other type has not been mentioned. During flights between England and the continent,
many crews had to remain overnight (RON). They did not always have a place to sleep.
Instead, they spent the night in their aircraft. The C-47 was a magnificent plane,
but not the perfect place to sleep in the cold winter months of 1944/1945.
Left: An unknown enlisted man of the 61st Troop Carrier Group at Barkston Heath,
Above:.France. The 90th Troop Carrier Squadron moved from huts to tents.
Above: Greenham Common, home of the 438th Troop Carrier Group. Nissen huts are located
near each other. (Coursety B. Nash)
Left: Glider pilots of the 76th Troop Carrier Squadron at their barracks, Welford
Park, England. (Coursety R. Stull)
Right: After moving to France, officers of the 435th lived like old kings in Chateau’s.
Here Chateu de Fleury near Paris, used by officers of the 75th Troop Carrier Squadron.
Men of the 441st Troop Carrier Group at their homes in France. The homes used by
the Troop Carrier men were cold and wood had to be collected to fire up the stoves.
(Courste T. Wayne/D. Martin)
Unknown members of the 81st Troop Carrier Squadron, 436th Troop Carrier Group at
their homes at Membury, England.