Historic Beacon Field, 25 April 2013 -- In 2009, Friends of Beacon Field Airport discovered historical documentation and newspaper articles commending the 85 observers who served at the Groveton Observation Post of the Army Aircraft Warning Service (AWS) during World War II. The award ceremony had been held at the historic Groveton School auditorium. W.F.P.Reid was appointed to the Civilian Defense Council in July 1942(1).
Friends of Beacon Field Airport conducted research and learned that the Groveton Observation Post located in the AWS 8th District(2)was one of the 7500 civilian posts in the nationwide warning service network that was manned 24 hours a day during the heightened security period of WWII. The posts were located in barns, church steeples, roof tops, or specially built observation sheds in strategic areas as shown in the newletter photo below. Many posts were staffed exclusively by women mainly due to the manpower deployed overseas.
Without electricity until late in 1943, Groveton post duty was indeed arduous. The Washington Post reported the community club held a benefit game party for the installation of electric lights (3).
Friends of Beacon Field Airport have consolidated a great collection of AWS items and are sharing some of the items here on the web. Enjoy !
The Washington Post, August 3, 1944
The Groveton Post.....
AWS Post Silk Banner
Volunteer Magazine July 1943
Miller School, VA -- Observation Post
The humble AWS Post in Groveton, Va, noted with others "READY FOR ACTION" in November 1943 issue of VOLUNTEER magazine.
In early 1942, a corps of civilian volunteer aircraft spotters were trained in observing and reporting movements of possible raiding aircraft by CAA Airmark Specialists like Mrs. Blanche Noyes (4).Uniquely qualified, Mrs. Noyes was the first woman ever to win theBendix cross country air race (5). She opened each of her training lectures with the following:
"Remember, that you are taking on one of the most unglamourous, uncomfortable, uninspiring, but most important jobs in the entire war effort. You are the first line of defense on the home front."(6)
Aircraft Identification Slide Kit - World Aircraft
Plane Packet AWS Ground Observer Cards
Hints for Air Spotters
Service Pins ....
Plane Aircraft Reporting Form
Tools of the Trade ....
TOOLS OF THE TRADE !!!
Mr. Herbert Blunt ....
Mr. Herbert Blunt was not only the Observation Post Commander, he also assumed the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor position for the Mount Vernon District after being vacated by Andrew Clarke elected to State Senate in January 1944.
Related Subjects ....
The Missouri State Society of the Daughters of the Revolution recently released a book honoring Missouri's Women's Workforce during World War II which includes memoriabilia photographs courtesy of Friends of Beacon Field Airport. Click here or the image at right for more information.
Another discovery revealed in our research was that one of the earliest aircraft spotter warning volunteers to serve in the Groveton Post was Mrs. Dorothea Morris, one of the Beacon Famous Folks. She and her husband, Robert, were not only Groveton residents but active in Beacon Field. The Morris's rebuilt their 1941 Taylorcraft at the airport and Mrs. Morris was seen stitching the fabric wing joints and ribs with the special large curved needle used by recovery specialists.