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Report - RAF Thurleigh / RAE Bedford, Bedfordshire. April 2011

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Jon C, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Jon C

    Jon C 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Apr 15, 2011
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    The original airfield was built by W & C French Ltd in 1941. Following some temporary allocations the Eighth Air Force were to be here for over three years. On 7th September 1942 the 306th Group started to arrive; with some of their B17s flying in the following week. From October 1942, the 306th Group (or Reich Wreckers) mounted a long, arduous and very costly offensive from here.

    By 1944 the 306th had been in action for almost 15 months and was nearing its 100th mission and having sustained many losses. The Group finally completed their long war on 19th April 1945 which was their 342nd mission; the second highest for any B17 Group. During its time at Thurleigh over 9,600 sorties had been flown with the loss of 171 aircraft in action and over 22,500 tons of bombs were dropped.

    In 1946 construction work began on the airfield to turn the site into what became know as the Royal Aeronautical Establishment, Bedford. Note that the airfield was finally closed in 1997 with the RAE having become DERA and moved its experimental operations to Boscombe Down and Farnborough.


    Unfortunately since we went on weekdays, we were unable to look at the cars as the area had a lot of people working there. In fact, there was a lot of security on the RAF Thurleigh site at times.

    There were also a hell of a lot of sheep on the way. We didn't get to the control tower as there were a lot of people working nearby; it's right opposite to where all of the people work.


    This sign must have been from the Cold War days. I believe that the Official Secrets Act is still enforceable, however since this place was decommissioned, it doesn't apply anymore.


    This is a huge site, so it will need a bit of a big report to cover it all. There were two interesting bits near the runway that weren't covered in other reports; one of these was a little radar scanner.


    Unfortunately there was nothing in it, unlike an electricity post that we found. It looked like a hut from the outside, but had a hell of a lot of stuff in it which seemed almost completely untouched.


    This building would have satisfied an entire visit on its own, but there was more to see.


    Unfortunately some of the bigger buildings seemed to be used for hay storage in recent times, which kind of spoilt it.


    I'm glad to say that a lot of it was still pretty preserved. Vandals don't seem to have touched a lot of the site, and this is probably thanks to the difficulty of entering - you'll only get in if you really want to.


    This room was probably some kind of workshop.


    We then popped over to the police post and weren't surprised to find this...


    There were also some dog kennels nearby


    That just about rounds up Thurleigh. There was, however, one more treat. Two abandoned cars just sitting around


    There were some receipts in here spanning back for a good few decades.


    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the report. We spent a good couple of days there, and not all of it was photographed. In fact, there's even a private plane stored in one of the buildings that can be looked at.

    Note to mods: this thread is a repost of this thread. The image links in the original were broken and I couldn't edit the post.

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