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Report - RAF Bicester, August 2011

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by True_British_Metal, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. True_British_Metal

    True_British_Metal 28DL Regular User
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    Visited with Mookie and Zotez.

    It's gotta be said that Oxfordshire probably has the best military bases in the country, both from a UE and historical perspective. After all have you seen any military site (Pyestock was MOD owned but that's not a base so that's excluded) better than RAF Upper Heyford, with regards to features and things to see, sheer size and historical signficance? Whilst RAF Bicester can't match the scale and features of Heyford, it's difficult not to be amazed when English Heritage describe it as "retaining better than any other military airbase in Britain, the layout and fabric relating to pre-1930s military aviation….. it comprises the best preserved bomber airfield dating from the period up to 1945 ….. It also comprises the best preserved and most strongly representative of the bomber stations built as part of Sir Hugh Trenchard’s 1920s Home Defence Expansion Scheme."

    I'd wanted to visit this way back in 2008 after seeing UKMayhem's report but until 2010 when it was sold off I was put off by the MOD ownership and the fact they trained off-leash dogs there, not to mention HEAVY security. It was gibexplorer's report that prompted me to get back there.

    As for our visit, it took a little while to find a way into the site but we found one eventually, and found most of the buildings heavily boarded (which I'm thankful for, considering they're not exactly mint). But we found a few accessible ones, and this was our first:

    Building Nos 146 and 147 (station Offices and Operation Block)
    This was a fantastic building, with the art (no match for Heyford but still nice), peely paint and complete lack of modernization. Had a brief scare with the ground floors, but eventually realized they collapsed little more than an inch. English Heritage have done a listing text for this building here.

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    Then we moved past some stores, which are definitely listed. English Heritage listing text here.

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    Building No 123 (lecture Rooms and Armoury)
    This sounds so much better than it actually is, considering every room was stripped completely bare and modernized in the 1980s, the basement was flooded and locked (no internal access) and it was boarded tight making navigation only possible with torches. Had a comedy moment when I walked into a room and said "hey Mookie, come here! Don't you think this smells like honey?" We moved on, and when we came near the end of covering this, Zotez and Mookie said we should move on because there were wasps inside the building. I wasn't sure, but when I opened the door to this room which coincidentally also had that familiar smell, I shone my torch to the window and there was a HUGE wasp nest covered in them! Luckily I was too far away to bother them but it still was a case of "RUN!" As a result I only got 1 pic inside of the armoury bit. English Heritage's listing text is here.

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    Exterior
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    I can't confirm this, but I'm sure the final building was...
    Building No 22 (central Heating Plant)
    This was a stripped but nonetheless brilliant building, again completely un-modernized. Had a nice tiled floor too. Someone had dumped a load of unused water bottles (full), which was weird because someone had tried to set fire to them! Mookie, inspired by the West Park fire extinguishers had a great idea to get a load and put them into a 28DL formation! English Heritage listing text here.

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    One thing I haven't mentioned, like Upper Heyford there's a real buzz being here; a real time warp. If you're into military sites or local, I would highly recommend a visit here. Watch this space for updates on this site (I'll look harder for access to some buildings), and do the bomb store too.

    Thanks for looking,

    TBM
     
    #1 True_British_Metal, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011

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