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Report - RAF Chilmark Nov 2010

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by The Engineer, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. The Engineer

    The Engineer 28DL Regular User
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    Visited with DHL,VW,PETZEL and more thanks to all even if not mentioned for a great day out !

    Again Mods if this is in the wrong section please move it.

    History

    Over a hundred sites were considered and rejected for the RAF's underground storage. They had been pre-empted by the British Army and the War Office. A survey in 1929-30 by the Army had found few sites to be satisfactory with regard to capacity, accessibility, locality and safety. Eventually the Army had a shortlist of five (Chislehurst Caves, certain mines near Blaenau, Scout Quarry in Rossendale, the Meadowbank salt mine in Cheshire, and Ridge Quarry near Corsham) which was reduced to one: Ridge Quarry. The War Office bought Ridge and nearby Tunnel and Eastlays quarries in mid-1936 for a little under £50,000. The Army went on to spend £4.4 million to create the Central Ammunition Depot at Corsham, Wiltshire (later to become Hawthorn).

    In the summer of 1936 the RAF acquired a quarry at Chilmark in Wiltshire for its southern depot and an alabaster mine at Fauld in Staffordshire for its northern depot. Making Fauld suitable for use, including surface buildings, cost around £635,000. For the central depot the RAF was forced to create a store: in 1938 it bought a quarry at Harpur Hill in Derbyshire; it built concrete storage structures within the quarry and then backfilled the hole with waste stone. Difficulties with construction and the weather prevented Harpur Hill from opening until mid-1940. An additional pre-war site for underground storage was later created: a slate quarry at Llanberis was turned into another artificial cavern system with a large two-storey structure built for around £500,000 and opened in June 1941. In May 1941 Linley Caverns in Staffordshire was purchased, but despite having over £1 million spent on it Linley was never made useful and was relegated to the storage of obsolete munitions when it finally opened in January, 1943.

    The poor quality of the RAF stores led to the War Office's providing them with Ridge Quarry and later part of Eastlays quarry at the Central Ammunition Depot. Both were rather poor quality: 96,000 tons of waste stone had to be moved out of Ridge to make it usable and it took over two years to make Eastlays satisfactory for use. The War Office also allowed 4,000 tons of incendiaries to be stored at the nearby Monkton Farleigh Mine.

    The pre-war Air Ammunition Parks were all constructed to a similar pattern. Close to main railway lines with their own sidings, the sites had one fully enclosed component store, four enclosed stores for incendiaries and usually two groups of paired open-topped concrete storage magazines, each seventy two feet square. All the storage buildings were widely dispersed and had additional shielding with earthworks (termed blast barriers or traverses). Each open magazine was designed to hold 56 tons of bombs. There were additional buildings for the site staff and their needs.

    The Pictures.....

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    To be continued.....
     

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  2. The Engineer

    The Engineer 28DL Regular User
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    Re: RAF Chilmark Nov 2010 PIC HEAVY

    Continued......

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    Thanks for looking...
     
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