Unit History: RAF Mauripur
Mauripur was a Royal Air Force station from 1942 to 1947. The airfield was established during WWII, in 1940-41, as a temporary staging post and air transport base for the US Air Corps. Between 1942 and 1947 it was the site of Air Headquarters, India. Two miles north of the airfield was the main Radio Station which provided the UK link with RAF stations in India and Burma.
During WWII, thousands of troops moving to the Far East had an overnight stop in its transit quarters and its hospital provided an overnight stop for Far East ’Casevacs’ returning to the UK.
In 1945, with the end of hostilities in Europe in sight and maximum effort being redirected towards defeating the Japanese, the use of Mauripur rapidly escalated. The sudden and unexpected end of the war in the Far East only served to increase the use to which the Staging Post was put. Almost every person or item of freight travelling by air between the UK and India, Ceylon, Singapore, Hong Kong, or Australia, visited the airfield.
To help meet this demand an additional very large apron, known as the ’Trooping Apron’, was constructed to handle the enormous number of service personnel needing to be moved between the Far East and the UK. Some of the first people to pass through the airfield were the ex-prisoners of war from the Japanese prison camps and all Mauripur personnel felt very honoured to help speed them on their way home. Dakotas (DC-3s) and Liberators (B-24s) were mainly used for these movements, the latter having the bomb bays converted to take seats.
The volume of work during 1945 and 1946 made Mauripur look like a scaled-down version of present-day Gatwick, with daily air movements running into three figures. The trooping apron alone held upwards of 70 or 80 aircraft a day at its peak, with most of them staying only a few hours.