Without the system of Base Air Depots established in 1942/1943, the 8th Air Force would not have enjoyed the success it did. Base Air Depots, such as B.A.D. 2 at Warton, processed incoming aircraft from the States, turning them into combat-ready aircraft. Likewise they repaired aircraft damaged in combat and/or operational accidents and converted aircraft to special configurations such as 'Carpetbagger' bombers. The story of Warton, once labeled 'The World's Greatest Air Depot,' is told in this well-illustrated 1998 release from Motorbooks International.
Author Harry Holmes is well qualified to write Warton's history, having lived near B.A.D. 2 during World War II. Warton, which employed over 10,000 personnel working around-the-clock, was responsible for handling P-51s and B-24s though it did work on other 8th AF types as needed. By war's end, Warton had processed over 10,000 aircraft including 4,372 Mustangs and 2,894 Liberators! Holmes does a bang-up job of relating the creation and initial development of B.A.D. 2 and its subsequent achievements along with local interest stories - crashes, visits from Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby, etc. - and staff profiles.
Where THE US 8TH AIR FORCE AT WARTON 1942-1945 really shines is its awesome collection of photographs. During WWII Warton was the home for many types of aircraft from P-51s to A-26s, L-4s to P-38s, Norsemen to C-47s not to mention the occasional visiting RN Firefly, De Havilland Mosquito, etc. And since Warton repaired combat-damaged aircraft, some famous warbirds like 'Booby Trap,' 'Short Fuse Sallee' and 'Pete the POM Inspector' cycled through B.A.D. 2. In all, Holmes' book has over 260 fascinating shots of planes, personnel, celebrities, crashes and what have you; it's a visual treat for 8th AF fans!
Though B.A.D. 2 wasn't a combat unit, it had its share of thrills and memorable - and sometimes tragic - moments. Holmes is to be commended for bringing the story of this little-known but absolutely vital 8th AF organization to light. Highly recommended.