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Report - RAF Daws Hill, High Wycombe - November 2014

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by The_Raw, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. The_Raw

    The_Raw 28DL Regular User
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    History

    American military forces were first stationed at High Wycombe in 1942, shortly after the United States' formal entrance into the Second World War. So urgent was the action that Wycombe Abbey School, situated on the land that would become the station, was given three weeks to find new facilities; failure in this effort led to the school's closing, until the independent girl's school was returned by the US in 1945.

    In 1952, the station, formerly known as Daws Hill House, welcomed US forces again. The following years of the Cold War saw fluctuation in the station's importance.

    Approximately 800 personnel were stationed there when, in 1969, their numbers were reduced, so that, in the early 1970s, only a small group remained for upkeep of facilities.

    Then, in 1975, activity escalated, revitalising the station's importance to the American military in Europe. Its nuclear bunker, with 23,000 square feet (2,100 square meters) of space, housed high-tech equipment for the direction of nuclear bombers and guided missiles.

    Between 1982 and 1985 there was a peace camp outside the base protesting against the bringing of United States cruise missiles to the United Kingdom.

    Use of the station was reduced with the end of the Cold War; by 1992, US Defense personnel at RAF Daws Hill numbered fewer than 350.

    In 2002, the UK Ministry of Defence proposed to close RAF Daws Hill some years in the future, turning the 50 acres (20 ha) of land over to other public and private use and relocating American Naval personnel and activities to other locations near London, particularly RAF Uxbridge. The plan apparently fizzled, however, when the US Navy voiced its preference to remain. High Wycombe, desiring to build at least 400 new houses by 2011 for its growing population, considered the land ideal for up to 600 houses; but nearby residents also rejected the proposal because of the changes that it would entail, including increased traffic on relatively quiet roads.

    The station was home, between 1971 and 2007, to the London Central Elementary High School, part of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, with pupils in grades K–12. Also at Daws Hill are 70 housing units for American personnel and their families. Other facilities include warehouses and those for vehicle maintenance, as well as support buildings for persons who lived and worked at the station, such as a bank, a post office, a bowling alley, sports grounds and buildings, a small exchange, an automobile refuelling station, and a social club. The Police Firearms Officers Association have used the premises for training since it's closure, it is now awaiting development.

    The Explore

    I visited with a friend from High Wycombe, we'd both been here years ago when it was operational because of friends who worked there so it was interesting to make a return. It's a pretty large site so it felt like a ghost town, large accomodation blocks and rows of empty houses everywhere and all the basic facilities you would find in any small town; a petrol station, school, post office and sports centre. Practically all the buildings have been emptied out but the school and the gymnasium still had a few details reminding you of their fomer use. Our main target was the nuclear bunker which has achieved listed status in recent years, unfortunately it was sealed as we expected but it was worth a look and still pretty cool to see that end of the site. Sorry about the tons of photos but there was a lot of stuff to look round and I'd say we only saw about half the site properly. Well worth a visit if you're in the area, we didn't see a single soul on our trip so it was chilled as you like. This was a bit of a last minute trip so cheers to Wevsky for some last minute info!


    Main school building
    [​IMG]

    Corridor with American style lockers
    [​IMG]

    Science lab
    [​IMG]

    Gas taps
    [​IMG]

    Apron hangers
    [​IMG]

    Reproduction room???
    [​IMG]

    More lockers
    [​IMG]

    Patriotic sticker on a door
    [​IMG]

    Another lab
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Old phonecard phone box
    [​IMG]

    Canteen
    [​IMG]

    Box of keys
    [​IMG]

    Some strange notices on a window referring to the Police Fire Arms Association
    [​IMG]

    Site map
    [​IMG]

    Street with dormitories on either side, accessible but completely cleared out[​IMG]

    The Gymnasium, basketball court
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    School emblem
    [​IMG]

    Basketball practise room
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Firing target
    [​IMG]

    Government vehicle parking sign with a Canadian flag
    [​IMG]

    Heading for the bunker
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    One of the nuclear bunker entrances, unfortunately now sealed but here's what it looked like inside when Wevsky visited a couple of years back...... http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums...nker-High-Wycombe-10-2012?highlight=daws+hill
    [​IMG]

    Lift down to the bunker
    [​IMG]

    The blast door of the other bunker entrance, also sealed and padlocked
    [​IMG]

    The generator building
    [​IMG]

    A couple of abandoned vehicles
    [​IMG]

    Strike command sign
    [​IMG]

    Petrol Station
    [​IMG]

    American street names
    [​IMG]

    Abandoned houses
    [​IMG]

    Wanted to climb this but ran out of time, it must be the highest point in all of High Wycombe given that the base is situated at the top of the highest hill in the town, one for next time.....
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking
     
    Rik UE likes this.

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  2. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Nice work, it's criminal that it's all sat there rotting away. Even more criminal that the bunker is still locked up !
     
  3. The_Raw

    The_Raw 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers, yeah seems like such a waste, had the same with the bunker at Greenham Common, just sat there doing f all where nobody can see it :rolleyes:
     
  4. The_Raw

    The_Raw 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks mate, much better than I expected :thumb
     
  5. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
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    Ah man that's nice, it's massive. Cheers for sharing :)
     
  6. REEF

    REEF Getthegirlkillthebaddies
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    Looks really interesting, thanks for sharing.

    Shame the bunkers now sealed. That land rovers not abandoned, they all look like that :)
     
  7. Southside UE

    Southside UE 28DL Regular User
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    Looks a fair mooch does that, great report. Shame about the bunker.
     
  8. obscurity

    obscurity Flaxenation of the G!!!
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    good effort mate. Its crazy how much is sitting disused up there. I managed to lose my photos from this place so proper gutted now the bunker has been locked up again.
     
  9. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
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    Nice that mate :thumb

    What an interesting place, love how parts of it look like they could easily be somewhere in the states.

    Shame about the bunker :mad
     
    #9 Boomstick84, Nov 13, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
  10. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    Glad you go t round as much as you did mate and proper shameyou couldnt access the bunker,youve seen a lot more than most on your visit and glad i could help mate :thumb
     
  11. Budice

    Budice 28DL Regular User
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    Looks great there.
    Shame about the bunker though.
     
  12. Gabe

    Gabe 28DL Regular User
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    Canadian flag, haha.

    Looks a nice lil wander that, good work.
     
  13. Telf

    Telf 28DL Regular User
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    Excellent :thumb
     
  14. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Nice ones mate :thumb as usual :)

    Saw it on your Flickr last night (looking for yr Chernobyl stuff :)was gonna ask you where it was....don"t need to now :)
     
  15. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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