RAF Hunsdon History

RAF Hunsdon Airfield Site

The airfield as it is now. Taken from a passing airliner - Photo courtesy of Richard Flagg © Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 Over the last 45 years, most of Hunsdons buildings, runways and perimeter track along with the dispersals and aircraft hardstands have been torn up or demolished. Of the 150 foot wide runways, only a twelve foot wide strip remains. The original 40 foot wide perimeter track has also been reduced in width to about the same proportions except in one or two places. It is very hard to imagine now that this was quite a substantial airfield in its time. Only by walking around its circular perimeter track can you begin to get an idea of its size and what it must have looked like in its heyday. FC Cantilever type pillbox. There are numerous infrastructure artifacts visible as you walk around the site. These being the inspection covers for the airfield lighting system (Drem MkII) and some of the perimeter track lighting sockets. There are two Contact light unit sockets still in position on the main runway. These originally had a slightly domed thick glass lens with the lamp inside. The Parachute Packing store Underground Battle Headquarters In Tuck Spring Wood there are two sleeping shelters, these are found on nightfighter airfields and were used to provide safe resting areas for the air and ground crews.There are also the remains of the searchlight crews quarters in the form of two bases for the Nissen huts. The curved roofs have long gone but the blackout porches from either end are still standing along with the remains of the latrines and clothing drying room. Sleeping Shelters in Tuck Spring Wood Latrines and drying room remains. room. There are two SAA or Small Arms Ammunition stores to be found. These were storage points for the .303 machine gun and 20mm Cannon ammunition for rearming the aircraft while at their dispersals. Defensive positions are also to be found, and two pillboxes of type FW22 are at each end of the wood. with two one man rifle or light machine gun posts also evident. A round concrete anti-aircraft gun position is evident along with the foundations for the Signals Van Garage. A concrete base for a large tower type aerial mast was located recently, and this ties in with the location of the main radar workshop that was situated here. There used to be the Radio transmitter repair hut (building 125) nearby, and part of the test antennae can be found close to the remains of the building. A short distance from there is a substantial brick lined slit trench defensive position. It is the defences of the airfield that have survived the demolition and clearance of the airfield, seven pillboxes can be found on the airfield site with another two guarding the approaches on the St Margarets Road and Acorn Street. The Battle headquarters and two gunpits complete the count. The gunpits are small round brick lined structures that would have held one man and a rifle or light machine gun. One of these is sunk into Black hut Wood at ground level, the other is exterior rendered and sits on the edge of the wood but raised above the ground. The purpose of the Battle Headquarters was to co-ordinate the defence of the airfield from attack. Comprising of an underground control room, lobby and observation chamber topped by a concrete cupola that provided a 360 degree field of observation. It would have had a field telephone system installed to communicate with the other defensive positions on the airfield. These images show part of the interior of the BHQ. Entrance was by an exterior set of steps that lead into the main lobby (upper left) There was a small galley, a latrine and a small exchange and the observation chamber (below) Emergency exit was by a steel ladder and escape hatch (upper right) Laying in bushes near one of the Aviation fuel storage tank sites are these demolition pots. These were once buried alongside the underground fuel tanks, and were packed with explosives. In the event of the airfield being over run by enemy forces, a modified Mortar shell fitted with a detonator ould have been used to destroy stocks of aviation fuel thus denying the fuel supply. The last air raid shelter left on the airfield site is near to Hunsdon Lodge Farm. It sits next to the last remaining FC Cantilever pillbox of which there were once five of. The shelter is devoid of its earth covering , escape hatch and entry doorway. This itself is not far from the Fire and crash tender shed that is now used as the clubhouse for the shooting club. RAF Hunsdon’s flying control or Watch office. Image courtesy of the Hunsdon Historical Society via Fred Hitchen. The Fordson crash tender is parked halfway in the Crash tender shed. This is now the Shooting Clubs Cafe/Clubroom. Recently uncovered and accessible is the Pillbox defence at the top of Drury Lane,This is not strengthened with an internal roof support and is not very substantial in construction compared with the other defences It was sited here by one of the entrances to the airfield and probably used as a part of day to day security for this particular gate.

Wartime Airfields

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Wartime Airfields

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Wartime Airfields

This two man defensive Gun Pit has recently been found in undergrowth on the perimeter of the airfield. Built into the brickwork, as in common with other similar defences, is a small recess for ammunition storage.

Wartime Airfields

RAF Hunsdon Airfield Site

The airfield as it is now. Taken from a passing airliner. Photo courtesy of Richard Flagg © Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 Over the last 45 years, most of Hunsdons buildings, runways and perimeter track along with the dispersals and aircraft hardstands have been torn up or demolished. Of the 150 foot wide runways, only a twelve foot wide strip remains. The original 40 foot wide perimeter track has also been reduced in width to about the same proportions except in one or two places. It is very hard to imagine now that this was quite a substantial airfield in its time. Only by walking around its circular perimeter track can you begin to get an idea of its size and what it must have looked like in its heyday. FC Cantilever type pillbox. There are numerous infrastructure artifacts visible as you walk around the site. These being the inspection covers for the airfield lighting system (Drem MkII) and some of the perimeter track lighting sockets. There are two Contact light unit sockets still in position on the main runway. These originally had a slightly domed thick glass lens with the lamp inside. The Parachute Packing store Underground Battle Headquarters In Tuck Spring Wood there are two sleeping shelters, these are found on nightfighter airfields and were used to provide safe resting areas for the air and ground crews.There are also the remains of the searchlight crews quarters in the form of two bases for the Nissen huts. The curved roofs have long gone but the blackout porches from either end are still standing along with the remains of the latrines and clothing drying room. Sleeping Shelters in Tuck Spring Wood Latrines and drying room remains. There are two SAA or Small Arms Ammunition stores to be found. These were storage points for the .303 machine gun and 20mm Cannon ammunition for rearming the aircraft while at their dispersals. Defensive positions are also to be found, and two pillboxes of type FW22 are at each end of the wood. with two one man rifle or light machine gun posts also evident. A round concrete anti-aircraft gun position is evident along with the foundations for the Signals Van Garage. A concrete base for a large tower type aerial mast was located recently, and this ties in with the location of the main radar workshop that was situated here. There used to be the Radio transmitter repair hut (building 125) nearby, and part of the test antennae can be found close to the remains of the building. A short distance from there is a substantial brick lined slit trench defensive position. It is the defences of the airfield that have survived the demolition and clearance of the airfield, seven pillboxes can be found on the airfield site with another two guarding the approaches on the St Margarets Road and Acorn Street. The Battle headquarters and two gunpits complete the count. The gunpits are small round brick lined structures that would have held one man and a rifle or light machine gun. One of these is sunk into Black hut Wood at ground level, the other is exterior rendered and sits on the edge of the wood but raised above the ground. The purpose of the Battle Headquarters was to co-ordinate the defence of the airfield from attack. Comprising of an underground control room, lobby and observation chamber topped by a concrete cupola that provided a 360 degree field of observation. It would have had a field telephone system installed to communicate with the other defensive positions on the airfield. These images show part of the interior of the BHQ. Entrance was by an exterior set of steps that lead into the main lobby (upper left) There was a small galley, a latrine and a small exchange and the observation chamber (below) Emergency exit was by a steel ladder and escape hatch (upper right) Laying in bushes near one of the Aviation fuel storage tank sites are these demolition pots. These were once buried alongside the underground fuel tanks, and were packed with explosives. In the event of the airfield being over run by enemy forces, a modified Mortar shell fitted with a detonator ould have been used to destroy stocks of aviation fuel thus denying the fuel supply. The last air raid shelter left on the airfield site is near to Hunsdon Lodge Farm. It sits next to the last remaining FC Cantilever pillbox of which there were once five of. The shelter is devoid of its earth covering , escape hatch and entry doorway. This itself is not far from the Fire and crash tender shed that is now used as the clubhouse for the shooting club. RAF Hunsdons flying control or Watch office. Image courtesy of the Hunsdon Historical Society via Fred Hitchen. The Fordson crash tender is parked halfway in the Crash tender shed. This is now the Shooting Clubs Cafe/Clubroom. Recently uncovered and accessible is the Pillbox defence at the top of Drury Lane,This is not strengthened with an internal roof support and is not very substantial in construction compared with the other defences It was sited here by one of the entrances to the airfield and probably used as a part of day to day security for this particular gate.
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Wartime Airfields

This two man defensive Gun Pit has recently been found in undergrowth on the perimeter of the airfield. Built into the brickwork, as in common with other similar defences, is a small recess for ammunition storage.