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Report - Derelict RAF/USAAF Cluntoe Airfield, Ardboe NI 25/1/08

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Pacie, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Pacie

    Pacie Guest

    Cluntoe, WW2 airfield in Ardboe, Northern Ireland.

    Bit of history:

    "In 1940 officials had begun to chalk out boundaries.

    The airfield was to be built directly in the centre of Ardboe, in the townland of Kinrush. At the time Kinrush was the most populated area of Ardboe and the largest townland. It contained shops, two blacksmiths, a shoe maker and a railway carriage!

    The building of the airfield began on 9 December 1941, properties were forcibly purchased and livestock and equipment auctioned off. Some people bought other farms locally but many left the area never to return.

    All hedges and trees were ripped out, the land flattened and three runways built (2,600 yards, 2,200 yards and 1,300 yards long) with a three mile perimeter taxi way, leading to 30 hardstands (plane parking areas). Two hangars covering a half acre each, were built, as well as four communal buildings, headquarters, hospital, cinema, church, sewage facilities, shooting range, fuel and bomb dumps and nissan huts for living quarters; over 500 buildings in all. In less than two years John Howard and Co, the English contractors employed, had demolished Kinrush and rebuilt it as Cluntoe Airfield, bigger, better and bomb proof.

    Initially the airfield was occupied by the RAF but was quickly given over to the USAAF (United States Army Air Forces). The airfield was used as a training base. Experienced pilots leaving the European theatre would meet with new recruits to pass on the benefits of their experience. The airfield was also a rest stop for bombing crews.

    By 1943 over 3,500 American troops were stationed on the base, effectively tripling the population of Ardboe. Coming from a country not affected by war and rationing, money was in abundance, again providing a boost to the local shops and other businesses.

    The construction of the airfield had a massive impact on the area and its inhabitants. An entire townland was buried under its runways, but it dragged Ardboe into the 20th century. It brought electricity, water supplies, communication and wealth to an area which had barely changed in at least one hundred years. Ardboe was finally on a map even if it was Hitler’s."

    The site is vast with many buildings still dotted around.

    Flash earth link of site - http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=54.621603&lon=-6.527676&z=14.1&r=0&src=ggl

    Control Tower


    Ground to Air Signal square





    Operations viewing window

    Operations room






    Original floor covering





    Radio Fixings?





    This was the crash tender shed


    Gun implacements were built in the hills around the area, hopefully when the weather improves I might find one!

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