Shropshire History

Shropshire

Airfields

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Most of the airfields in Shropshire were built during the Second World War and there were 3 types of military unit that used them :-

 

Fleet Air Arm

RAF – Royal Air Force

USAAF – United States Army Air Force

 

Many of the airfields were used for training since they were sited away from the main bombing routes used by German aircraft.  The name of the airfield was preceded by the organization using it, ie Shawbury was RAF Shawbury and Atcham was USAAF Atcham.  Fleet Air Arm stations were either called RNAS (Royal Navy Air Station) or given a naval name such as HMS Godwit.  When USAAF stations were handed back after the war they all regained the RAF prefix.

 

Battle Headquarters

These were found on many airfields and served the purpose of giving the defence officer a hardened and secure location from which he and his staff could coordinate the defences of the airfield in the event of an invasion by hostile forces.  The standard pattern of battle headquarters was drawn up in 1941 and was to be used on any type of airfield.

http://www.battlehq.info/BHQ11008.jpg

The standard pattern of battle headquarters was built on or very near to the flying field and with a good overall 360o view, it comprised a 28ft long by 9ft wide underground box with an extra room to one side measuring 6ft by 8ft. The main walls were 13½ inches thick and were made of brick with steel reinforcing then a concrete coating. The roof was an 18 inch thick concrete slab. The rooms in the battle headquarters served the following purposes.

 

The first room to the left on entering the bunker from the entrance steps was the messenger and runners room, the runner would be responsible to relay messages to the various defence units stationed around the airfield and other officers that could not be reached by the local telephone network. Joining on to the runners room was a small 6ft by 8ft room which was the PBX or Public branch exchange room where any telephone equipment was located. Leading off the main passageway were two further rooms. The first small room, 3ft by 4ft 6 inches, was the WC for the bunker and was fitted with an Elsan chemical toilet. 

 

The second room to the left of the main passage was the station commanders office, this would have been where the critical decisions would have been made and instructions sent out. The room measured 12ft 6 inches long by 6ft wide and featured two issue or message hatches leading into the PBX room and into the runners room.   At the far end of the office was a small passage leading to a number of steps up in to the observation room, with its thick concrete cupola on top. The walls of this are thicker than the main bunker at 18 inches.  Next to the observation room was the emergency exit with an iron ladder leading up to the surface. This would have had a steel cover which was able to be locked in the closed position. 

 

Books

“Shropshire Airfields” by Alec Brew & Barry Abraham, 2000, 128pp, The History Press Ltd, ISBN: 978-0752417608

 

"Images of Aviation: Shropshire Airfields" by Alec Brew & Barry Abrahams, 2004, 128pp, Tempus Publications, ISBN: 978-0-7524-1760-8

 

“Shropshire Airfields” by Toby Neal, 2005, 140pp, Langrish Caiger Publication, ISBN: 978-0954853020

 

“Shropshire Airfields of the Second World War” by Robin Brooks, 2008, 256pp, Countryside Books, ISBN; 978-1846741050

 

 

14th Fighter Group

 

495th Fighter training Group

 

Airfield Information Exchange

 

Assault Glider Project

 

Atcham Airfield - Facebook

 

Atcham Airfield - Photos

 

Atcham at War

 

Atcham Seagull Trench

 

Bridleway Gate RLG

 

Chetwynd Airstrip

 

Child’s Ercall Airfield

 

Condover Airfield

 

Condover Airfield - control tower for sale

 

Cosford Airfield – Control Towers

 

Cosford Airfield - RAF

 

High Ercall Airfield

 

Hinstock Airfield

 

Hinstock Airfield – surface tour on Youtube

 

History of Rednal Airfield

 

HMS Godwit

 

Midlands Heritage

 

Milson Airstrip

 

Milson Airstrip - microlight flight on Youtube

 

Montford Bridge Airfield

 

RAF Museum

 

Rednal Airfield – Aviation North West

 

Rednal Airfield – Control Towers

 

Shawbury Airfield - RAF

 

Shawbury Airfield – Control Towers

 

Sleap Airfield

 

Shropshire Aero Club

 

Ternhill Airfield

 

Tilstock Airfield

 

Tilstock Airfield Pillbox

 

 

 

Gazetteer of Sites

 

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4072/4464549609_1d0fd96d8a_o.jpg

 

(follow the link where shown for more information)

 

Atcham Airfield (SJ574098)

Sep 1941

Opened for the RAF and initially used by 131 Squadron flying Spitfires.  They were later joined by 74, 232 and 350 Squadrons.

Jun 1942

Transferred to the USAAF as Station 342. It was equipped with a landing surface of tarmac and rubber chippings, forming three runways with 26 "banjo" shaped hard standings. There were 3 Calender Hamilton hangars, 4 Over type blister hangars and 4 Extra Over type blister hangars. There was a total of 1,652 personnel on the base. Initially used as an operational fighter base but then used for training of fighter pilots for both 8th and 9th Air Force units. The first American use of Atcham was by 307 and 308 Fighter Squadrons. They arrived without aircraft as their P-39s were found unsuitable for long-distance formation ferry flights so they were provided with British Spitfires.

Aug 1942

307 and 308 Squadrons replaced by 48 and 49 Fighter Squadrons equipped with P-38 Lightnings.

Nov 1942

48 and 49 Squadrons replaced by to 6 Fighter Wing. They used Atcham as a Combat Crew Replacement Centre, replacing their Spitfires and P-39 Airacobras with P-47 Thunderbolts.

Jan 1943

Used until March by 1st Provisional Gunnery Flight for target towing using Westland Lysander and Miles Masters.

Oct 1943

6 Fighter Wing was renamed as 2906 Observation Training Group, then renamed again as 495 Fighter Training Group, consisting of 551 and 552 Fighter Training Squadrons.

Feb 1945

495 FTG left Atcham.

Mar 1945

Atcham returned to the RAF and became a satellite of RAF Ternhill, being used by No. 5 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit, No. 6 Service Flying Training School and 577 Squadron for target towing with Oxford, Spitfire and Vengeance aircraft. A plan of the site indicates that there was a battle headquarters, workshops and a temporary church at the base.

Oct 1946

Abandoned.

Jan 1958

Disposed of by RAF and returned to farmland, with the runways being broken up and the control tower demolished.

1978

Part became an industrial estate and depot, incorporating 3 of the hangars and an administration building. The control tower and the runways were demolished.

Current Remains

SJ5710 - some minor agricultural roads which were part of the perimeter track remain as access to farm fields and the B4394 uses part of the former North-South main runway.

SJ568102 - three T-2 hangars of the former technical site remain in use, together with all the administration buildings, the whole complex forming the Atcham Industrial Estate.

SJ55600935 –seagull trench

SJ56681067 –pillbox

SJ56780991 –pillbox

SJ571113 – pillbox

SJ57380984 - pillbox

SJ575109 – air raid shelter.

 

SJ57751020 - seagull trench

SJ57921064 - pillbox

SJ57971090 - pillbox

SJ58071078 –pillbox

 

Bratton Airstrip (SJ635145)

Oct 1940

Opened for the RAF as a Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Shawbury.  The ground was prepared with the help of two circus elephants named Saucy and Salt. They were loaned to help grub out trees and hedges from the original site, then towed sledges piled with the material removed for subsequent disposal. The pair were kept in farm buildings to the north of the airfield and watered in the canal, which has since disappeared. One of the handlers apparently lost his job when someone objected to one of the elephants being made to perform headstands in the road for the benefit of local children. To stop a glider-borne invasion, dozens of vehicles were obtained from local scrapyards and dispersed all over the site. One scrap car had the keys left in and the Engineering Officer managed to start it and used the vehicle for the duration of his time at Bratton.

Apr 1941

When the grass airfield had dried out, the scrap vehicles were cleared but it was very bumpy and rutted. A search of scrapyards produced a steamroller from Bayston Hill which was revived by RAF engineers and driven to Bratton to iron out the bumps. Crews for training came from Shawbury in a fleet of Midland Red buses. The main aircraft used here was the Airspeed Oxford, a twin-engine trainer.

Jan 1944

Became the satellite for RAF Tern Hill. Miles Masters aircraft used the airfield and there were also Oxfords from RNAS Hinstock.

Jul 1945

Closed and returned to farmland.

Current Remains

There is a large drainage ditch across the site. All the hangars and almost all the airfield buildings have been demolished. In 1992 there was a proposal to use the site for a modern Skypark but planning permission was refused following local objections.


Bridleway Gate Airstrip (SJ537262)

Oct 1940

Opened for RAF as a Satellite Landing Ground for 11 Service Flying Training School who used Airspeed Oxfords from RAF Shawbury. As a result of the large number of aircraft assigned to and pilots going through the Flight Training Schools by this stage of World War II, it was impossible for them all to constantly use the station to which they were assigned. Therefore it was common practice to have remote training fields, relieving pressure on the limited runway space available. The airfield had four grass intersecting runways and 10 blister hangars.

Jan 1944

Ceased for aircraft operations and became a packed fuel store for Maintenance Command,42 Group. There was temporary accommodation for the 124 personnel stationed there.

Oct 1945

Closed and returned to farmland.

Current Remains

Only a small amount of the concrete track remains, now providing access to private houses


Brockton Airstrip (SJ727036)

aka Sutton Maddock

Jun 1941

Opened for RAF as 30 Satellite Landing Ground for 9 Maintenance Unit and 29 Maintenance Unit. A range of aircraft was kept here during the airfield's use including Spitfires, Tiger Moths, Wellingtons, Whitleys, Beaufighters and Royal Navy aircraft like Wildcats. The grass runways on the site were painted with `hedges' and cattle were allowed to graze in fenced off areas nearby to give the effect of a working farmstead.  Originally there were two runways on the site which were reinforced with Sommerfield Track, later replaced by square mesh track which was more durable. One track led to a bungalow which acted as the watch office. There was also a stop butt for machine gun testing which is quite unusual at a SLG.

Dec 1945

Closed and returned to farmland.

Current Remains

None.

 

Chetwynd Airstrip (SJ730238)

Oct 1940

Opened for RAF as a Satellite Landing Ground for No. 5 Flying Training School based at RAF Tern Hill, using Masters aircraft.

Jun 1945

Ceased aircraft operations.

1960s

Became Satellite Landing Ground for helicopter training based at RAF Shawbury.

Current Remains

Still used by RAF Shawbury for helicopters.

 

Child’s Ercall Airfield (SJ660232)

see Peplow

 

Cleobury Common Airstrip (SO629737)

aka Milson Airstrip

No history known. Now used as small microlight landing strip


Condover Airfield (SJ505045)

Aug 1942

Opened for RAF to train fighter pilots from the RAF and USAAF, as well as pilots and air navigators from Australia, South Africa and Canada. Also acted as Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Shawbury and RAF Tern Hill. The first unit was No. 11 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit, flying Airspeed Oxfords and conducting navigation and cross-country training. The airfield was equipped with 3 concrete runways, one type T1 aircraft hangar and nine blister aircraft hangars. There were also two successive control towers at the site.

1944

During the latter part of the war a Prisoner of War camp was established at the western end of the station and the former WAAF accommodation hutting used to house German prisoners, mostly shot down and captured Luftwaffe airmen. They were utilised as farm labourers in the local area and several remained in the Shrewsbury area after the war and settled in the UK.

Jan 1945

New Harvard trainer aircraft arrived at the airfield.

Jun 1945

Closed for aircraft operations.

1947

Prisoners of War repatriated and their camp closed.

1960

Airfield sold. The main runways were subsequently torn up and used as hard-core ballast during the building of the M54 motorway and the extension to the A5 through Shrewsbury

Current Remains

SJ5004 - some of the perimeter track remains but the rest of the airfield is used for agricultural purposes and as a riding school.

SJ504037 – the station's technical site is now in use as Condover Industrial Estate, utilising many of the original buildings including the parachute packing shed.

SJ505043 - a group of two ruined control towers. The first is a single storey and the second, which later replaced it, is a two storey rendered building with an observation balcony overlooking the airfield.

SJ50720427 - battle headquarters now overgrown and flooded. The escape hatch has been modified at some time post-war with a hinged steel plate but it still retains its ladder.


Cosford Airfield (SJ792046)

1938

Opened for RAF in 1938 as a joint aircraft maintenance, storage and technical training unit under the name of No 2 School of Technical Training. During the war, over 70,000 airframe mechanics and armourers attended courses here. The base was meant originally to house about 4,000 personnel at a time but at the peak period this increased to 8,914 men and 903 women, 1,000 of whom were accommodated in one huge block named the Fulton Block. There were 38 aircraft hangars of various types.

Mar 1939

No 9 Maintenance Unit arrived to store, maintain, modify, repair and issue aircraft to operational units. The site was also used to assemble Spitfires and Horsa gliders.

1940

A hospital was built for RAF personnel.

1945

The hospital facilities were used to process repatriated RAF Prisoners of War. Nos 106 and 108 Personnel Reception Centres were established and over 13,000 ex-PoWs were passed through.

1977

Hospital closed but the airfield continued as an operation base.

1994

The title of the training school was changed to Number 1 School of Technical Training. It is still an active airfield and the units currently based here are :

Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering

Defence College of Communications & Information Systems

Defence School of Photography

RAF School of Physical Training

University of Birmingham Air Squadron

No 1 Radio School

No 1 School of Technical Training

No 8 Air Experience Flight

633 Volunteer Gliding Squadron

2497 (Cosford) Squadron of the Air Training Corps

RAF Museum

Wales & West Air Training Corps regional headquarters

West Mercian Wing Air Training Corps headquarters

Current Remains

SJ798043 - site of searchlight 350 BG10 3 manned by 350 Battery of 38 Searchlight Regiment.

SJ798053 – pillbox


Ditton Priors Airstrip (SO618896)

No history known.

 

Godwit Airfield (SJ660265)

see Hinstock

 

Godwit 2 Airfield (SJ660232)

see Peplow


Great Ness Airstrip (SJ402187)

No history known.


High Ercall Airfield (SJ603184)

1941

Opened for the RAF as No 60 Officers Training Unit and No 29 Maintenance Unit. Later used by Fighter Command as a night fighter base for 68, 255, 257 Squadrons and 1456 Flight.

Mar 1941

Bombed but only suffered minor damage.

1942

Used by the United States Army 8th Air Force's 309 Fighter Squadron.

1943

Role changed to training by No 60 Operational Training Unit.

1945

Came under the command of 41 Group with the task of breaking up aircraft that were no longer needed.

1957

No 29 Maintenance Unit moved out.

1964

Abandoned.

1968

Became the headquarters for the Road Transport Industry Training Board Multi Occupational Training and Educational Centre.

Current Remains

SJ59421831 - Warden's office, used in the late 1990s as a museum by a local aircraft recovery group. This is a single storey brick building with a gabled roof.

SJ59611772 - pillbox

SJ598180 -  pillbox

SJ598184 - pillbox

SJ59861888 - pillbox

SJ59941809 - group of airfield buildings at Sub Site No 2.This was situated in the south-west corner of the airfield. It comprises a former warden's office and two type K aircraft hangars. The two steel framed hangars are used as warehouses.

SJ60241726 - sick quarters located next to Cotwall Road, south of the airfield. The quarters included a mortuary and are in a fair condition.

SJ603188 - group of airfield buildings at the former main site. They include a type B1 aircraft hangar, type K aircraft hangar, type J aircraft hangar, fuel and other stores, central heating station, workshops and garages known as motor transport sheds. Apart from the hangars, these buildings are built of brick. From 1968, the site was used by the Road Transport Industry Training Board. In 1998 it became a road transport training site run by the Centrex training and Conference Centre.

SJ604175 –pillbox

SJ604187- pillbox

SJ605168 - Main Command Site No 3.

SJ606177 – No 1 accommodation unit.

SJ60621933 - pillbox

SJ607165 – No 6 South accommodation complex.

SJ608186 - pillbox

SJ61171778 - pillbox


Hinstock Airfield (SJ660265)

aka Ollerton / HMS Godwit

Oct 1941

Opened for RAF as RAF Ollerton and used as a Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Burtonwood and then RAF Shawbury. During this initial phase it was a grass airfield operated by number 37 Maintenance Unit and then 27 Maintenance Unit.

Jul 1943

It was rebuilt using heavy steel track as runways, renamed Hinstock and transferred to the Royal Navy, by whom it was also known as HMS Godwit. The standard 4-storey Navy control tower may have been added at this time. The navy used the site for specialized training in instrument and blind approach flying with 758 Squadron Naval Advanced Instrument Flying School and 739 Squadron Blind Approach Development Unit. Many aircraft types were based here including Anson, Oxford, Swordfish, Harvard, Barracuda, Firefly and Whitley.

Jan 1946

Closed.

Current Remains

SJ657264 – 4 story naval control tower now converted into a house.

SJ658266 – group of hangars now used for storage.

SJ65932729 - 3 storage sheds.

SJ660260 - pillbox

SJ663264 - group of hangars now used for storage.

 

Hodnet Airstrip (SJ614273)

1941

Opened for RAF as a 29 Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Shawbury and RAF Tern Hill. Operated by 24 NU at RAF Tern Hill before being transferred to 37 Maintenance Unit at RAF Burtonwood. The runaways were grass and were not reinforced with wire mesh, as the site was mainly used for storing trainers like the Master and Martinet, but track was laid for hard standings.

1942

Passed to 27 Maintenance Unit at RAF Shawbury when RAF Burtonwood was handed over to the USAAF.

1945

Closed and returned to farmland.

Current Remains

SJ615273 - pillbox

 

Kemberton Airstrip (SJ727040)

Site of an emergency landing strip but no other details known.


Knockin Airstrip (SJ333239)

No history known but about 40 years old.  Still used as a microlight landing strip.

 

Long Mynd Airstrip (SO403915)

1936

Opened for RAF as a Satellite Landing Ground.

Current Remains

Now the base for Midland Gliding Club.

 

Milson Airstrip (SO629737)

See Cleobury Common

 

Monkmoor Airfield (SJ519135)

aka Shrewsbury

1916

Opened for RAF as an Aerial Observer School.

1939

Became base of No 34 Maintenance Unit.

1947

Closed.

Current Remains

SJ514136 - One hangar in use for commercial storage


Montford Bridge Airfield (SJ429169)

Apr 1942

Opened for the RAF as a Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Rednal and used by No 61 Operational Training Unit for day and night flying with Spitfires and Mustangs. The airfield was equipped with three tarmac runways and a number of Bessoneau and Blister aircraft hangars.

Jun 1945

Used by No 34 Maintenance unit for scrapping Hotspur and Master aircraft.

1947

Closed and returned to farmland.

Current Remains

SJ42711641 - pillbox

SJ43031762 - rectangular brick defence trench at Forton Heath Farm.

SJ43041760 - site of a cross-shaped brick defence trench at Forton Heath Farm, possibly for use as a defence or a blast shelter.

SJ43041762 - site of an arrow-head elevated brick defence trench at the entrance to Forton Heath Farm.

SJ435170 - battle headquarters.

SJ43501693 - site of an oddly shaped airfield defence post consisting of an elevated brick trench covering a nearby road junction next to a house called The Lilacs.

SJ43501770 - site of an air raid shelter.

 

Nedge Hill Radar Station (SJ722074)

Remains of radar station at Sunnymede Farm. This had High Frequency direction finding for guiding planes.

 

Ollerton Airfield (SJ660265)

see Hinstock


Peplow Airfield (SJ660232)

aka Child’s Ercall

1941

Opened and named RAF Child’s Ercall as a Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Tern Hill. The airfield was equipped with three concrete runways and aircraft hangars of Type T2 and Type B1 designs.

1943

Renamed to RAF Peplow to avoid confusion with High Ercall Airfield.

Oct 1944

The airfield was used for training purposes, including by 83 Operational Training Unit (RAF Bomber Command) and by a Heavy Glider Conversion Unit (Training Command). At this time there were 1,691 men and 354 women working on the base.

Mar 1945

Transferred to Fleet Air Arm and had the alternative name of HMS Godwit II.

Dec 1946

Closed.

Current Remains

SJ655237 - hangar reused for storage.

SJ656235 - hangar reused for storage.

SJ656238 - the large control tower has been converted into a private house. Nearby are several smaller buildings.

SJ657238 – hangar reused for storage.

SJ660235 - battle headquarters.

SJ666232 - hangar reused for storage.

SJ666234 - hangar reused for storage.

 

Rednal Airfield (SJ373275)

Apr 1942

Opened for RAF No 61 Operational Training Unit with Masters, Spitfires, and Mustangs. The airfield was equipped with three tarmac runways and Blister and Bellman aircraft hangars.

Jul 1944

Used by USAAF C-47s evacuating casualties from Normandy to military hospitals in Shropshire.

Jun 1945

Closed.

1962

Sold by MOD.

Current Remains

SJ36382736 - seagull trench

SJ364275 - battle headquarters situated on the brow of a small hill overlooking the airfield from the west. The installation was built of brick and concrete and features an observation cupola.

SJ369276 – control tower, now used as part of a paintballing area.

SJ37102783 - seagull trench

SJ372277 - seagull trench

 

SJ372270 - fortified farmhouse surrounded by 3 pillboxes.

SJ372271 - pillbox

SJ373270- pillbox

SJ373271- pillbox

 

SJ37642774 - seagull trench

SJ39502650 - bombing range for airfield at Baggy Moor.

SJ40002690 - range tower for airfield bombing range.


Shawbury Airfield (SJ550220)

Sep 1917

Opened for Royal Flying Corps No 29 (Training) Wing, consisting of 10, 29 and 67 Squadrons.

Mar 1918

Renamed No 9 Training Depot.

May 1920

Closed.

Feb 1938

Reactivated for RAF as a training establishment for No 11 Service Flying Training School and an Aircraft Storage Unit which was operated by No 27 Maintenance Unit. It mainly prepared pilots for operational squadrons, with the main aircraft being the Oxford.

1944

Became the base of the Central Navigation School, primarily concerned with improving the standard of air navigation in bombers. By this time, the airfield was equipped with two tarmac runways and a number of aircraft hangars including C, D, L, T2, Bellman, Blister and Robin types.

1950

The School of Air Traffic Control moved to Shawbury, combining to form the Central Navigation and Control School.

1963

The Navigation Wing moved out.  No 27 Maintenance Unit continued its aircraft storage and scrapping work.

1972

No 27 Maintenance Unit disbanded.

1976

Base of No 2 Flying Training School for basic and advanced helicopter training on the Aerospatiale Gazelle and Westland Wessex.

1980s

Provided 'pre-employment training' courses for  ground crew being posted from fixed-wing to rotary-wing squadrons. Became home to the Defence Helicopter Flying School, providing training for helicopter pilots for all three of the UK armed services. It is still an active airfield and currently is used by 660 Army Air Corps Squadron and 705 Naval Air Squadrons with the Squirrel HT1 helicopter.  Griffin HT1 helicopters are also operated by 60 RAF Squadron.  All are maintained by a contractor, FB Heliservices Ltd, who provide 40% of the flying instructors. Also home to the Air Traffic Control School and the RAF Aircraft Storage flight.

Current Remains 

SJ541211 - remains of a light anti-aircraft battery on the western edge of the airfield.  The remains comprise a concrete position with walls up to 4ft in height.

SJ541212 - air raid shelter.

SJ54272288 - pillbox

SJ54532292 –pillbox

SJ550220 - battle headquarters

SJ55232297 –pillbox

SJ55482154 - pillbox

SJ55792153 - pillbox

SJ558216 - pillbox

SJ56132247 –pillbox

 

Shrewsbury Airfield (SJ519135)

see Monkmoor


Sleap Airfield (SJ482268)

Apr 1943

Opened for RAF using Whitleys, then Wellingtons by C Flight, No 81 Operational Training Unit.

Jan 1944

Transferred to 38 (Airborne Forces) Group, training aircrews in Special Operations duties and glider towing. 81 OTU's Whitleys towed the Horsa heavy troop-carrying gliders on training missions and the Horsas made practice formation landings at Sleap to simulate the attacks to come on German-occupied territory.

Nov 1944

Wellingtons replaced the Whitleys.

Jan 1945

51 TXs were being used to train Transport Command air crews.

Aug 1945

81 OTU became No 1380 Transport Support Conversion Unit.

Dec 1945

Closed and placed on care and maintenance.

1956

Reopened as a Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Shawbury.

1964

Closed.

1985

Reopened as the base for Shropshire Aero Club flying civilian light aircraft. There is a restaurant housed in the control tower and a museum housing World War II aircraft parts recovered from local crash sites. The RAF also use it as a landing and hovering training ground for their trainee helicopter pilots.

Current Remains

SJ480265 - battle headquarters.

SJ483265 – control tower still used by Shropshire Aero Club. Top part is now a restaurant.

 

Stoke Heath Airfield (SJ642308)

See Ternhill

 

Sutton Maddock Airstrip (SJ727036)

See Brockton.


Ternhill Airfield (SJ642308)

aka Stoke Heath

1916

Opened for Royal Flying Corps and base for 34 and 43 Training (Ex Reserve) Squadrons.

Jun 1917

An Australian Flying Corps training facility was opened with 30 AFC Training Squadron.

Jan 1918

30 Squadron became the No 6 AFC Training Squadron. Tern Hill became the RAF No 13 Training Depot.

Mar 1919

No 13 training Depot renamed No 13 Training School, flying a variety of aircraft including Avro 504s, DH6s and Handley Page 0/400s.

Mar 1920

Training School disbanded.

1922

Closed.

1935

Reactivated. The airfield comprised two concrete and tarmac runways, with a range of aircraft hangars including Types C and D as well as Lamella, Bellman and Blister designs. It had a 1936 pattern control tower.

1940

During the battle of Britain the airfield was used to rest units and for training and maintenance purposes. It also functioned as a Relief Landing Ground and served as a temporary base for night fighters protecting Liverpool and cities in the north Midlands from attack. Among the units using the airfield were No 5 Pilots Advance Flying Unit, No 25 Group Communications Flight and No 25 Repair Depot Maintenance Unit.

1950s

Renamed as RAF Stoke Heath. Housed third line servicing facilities such as No 291 Maintenance Unit. Also home of No 6 Flying Training School.

1954

Training School equipped with Percival Provost T1 piston engine training aircraft. It was one of the RAF stations that provided the first stage of the new Provost/Vampire pilot training programme.

1960s

Renamed back to RAF Ternhill.

1976

Military airfield closed.

Feb 1989

Two IRA bombers activated two bombs within the accommodation barracks. At that time the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment and the 1st Battalion, The Duke Of Wellingtons Regiment were located at the base. A sentry spotted two men behaving suspiciously and raised the alarm, the barracks were evacuated shortly before the bombs exploded therefore preventing certain loss of life. One of the accommodation blocks was destroyed in the blast. The bombers escaped by hijacking a car from a house down the road from the barracks.

2004

Part reused as Clive Army Barracks. Also home of 632 Volunteer Gliding Squadron and a Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Shawbury.

Current Remains

SJ631324 - operations room near Manor Farm.

SJ63203250 - standby generator house, now converted to agricultural use with the demolition of an internal blast wall.

SJ644300 – C type aircraft hangars.

SJ645310 - battle headquarters.


Tilstock Airfield (SJ562378)

aka Whitchurch Heath

Sep 1942

Opened for RAF as Whitchurch Heath. Units based here were No 81 Operational Training Unit and No 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit for the training of pilots and crews in the operation of Whitley, Stirling and Halifax heavy bombers.

Jun 1943

Renamed as RAF Tilstock.

Jan 1944

Transferred to 38 (Airborne Forces) Group, training aircrews in Special Operations duties and Horsa glider towing.

Mar 1945

1665 Heavy Conversion Unit moved out and 42 OTU arrived with Albermarles.

Aug 1945

42 and 81 OTUs combined and renamed as No 1380 Transport Support Conversion Unit.

Mar 1946

Closed and placed on care and maintenance.

1950s

Auster spotter aircraft of 663 Squadron used the facilities during weekends for liaison flights with Royal Artillery units. Airfield is still being used at weekends for skydiving.

Current Remains

SJ55243718 - Type T2 aircraft hangar.

SJ55733703 - Type B1 aircraft hangar.

SJ55753735 - Type T2 aircraft hangar.

SJ558382 - battle headquarters by the perimeter road north of the runways.

SJ56113734 - control tower.

SJ56213538 - WAAF bath house and decontamination centre, later used as a Polish Church.

SJ563375 - battle headquarters.

SJ56493677 - Type T2 aircraft hangar.

SJ56563639 - operations room in Twemlows Big Wood.

SJ57123748 - firing range.

 

Weston Park Airstrip (SJ808088)

Jun 1941

Opened for RAF as Satellite Landing Ground for RAF Shawbury.

1944

Became Satellite Landing Ground for RNAS Hinstock and used by their Blind Flying School, flying Oxford aircraft.

1945

Closed.

Current Remains

None.

 

Whitchurch Heath Airfield (SJ562378)

see Tilstock