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Report - RAF Church Fenton Pt2, Water Tower, Workshop's & Kelfield Q Station, April - May 15

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by The Amateur Wanderer, May 14, 2015.

  1. The Amateur Wanderer

    The Amateur Wanderer 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jul 22, 2012
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    Royal Air Force Station, Church Fenton April - May 2015

    If you've come from part one, please skip ahead to the pictures, this is purely a repeat for those only reading part 2.

    Click Here for Part 1.

    Introduction: RAF Church Fenton, this place has been on my radar for a long time now, but the usual story of basically not having the time to look or prioritising other sites before this one has meant that my visit to the site has been delayed by a few years!

    Anyway, what can I say about this place, for me it's a real hidden gem, I've honestly not seen many RAF Stations in as good a nick as this place Kirton Lindsey came close, but Church Fenton still retains so many of her original WW2 and Cold War features. Now I'm not going to claim that this place hasn't been explored before, however I was seriously surprised upon my visit as to how much previous explorers have missed, I've only ever seen images of the stripped accommodation blocks before, as you're about to see, there's so much more... The most complete Gen Set I've ever seen, WW2 Air Raid Shelters, Anti Gas Bunkers, a Water Tower and fully furnished accommodation blocks!

    As someone who's always had an interest in the RAF the place feels like a little treasure trove, and it surprises me that more haven't attempted to have a look, that said, perhaps I'm over reacting a little been an RAF buff? I don't know, but when you look at this place compared to places like Upwood, Rissington etc, well, it appears to have just completely dropped off of everybody's radar, nothing's been pikeyed or vandalised, absolutely no graffiti and the place is totally overgrown. Anyway, it's for this reason that this is going into non public, for a few week at least, if you're interested get yourselves over for a look, before the likes of the twat in the hat decide they fancy swinging off of the water tower with a selfie stick or something... I hate to say it, but just recently more than ever, the forum seems to be attracting idiots, found this out first hand at Maltby, when I witnessed 'someone' blatantly wandering around like they owned the place ruining the explore for me on that day by setting off countless alarms. Now without trying to sound like an elitist arsehole, I understand that people want to see these places, but from now on, I don't think a week or two in NP is going to do any harm for new finds like this, if anything it'll give people with more experience a chance to see them before handing over to the general public some of who are quite frankly a liability.


    Apologies for putting you through my ranting, now let's get down to business...

    In 1935 plans to construct an airfield a Church Fenton where put forward, however these plans met huge opposition from locals, especially farmers who argued that the airfield would destroy valuable farm land. Despite protest, construction of the airfield commenced in 1936 as part of the RAF's response to the expansion of the Luftwaffe and the ever growing threat of war with Germany. On the 1st of April 1937 the station was declared open, the first Squadron to operate out of Church Fenton was No. 71 Squadron who flew Gloster Gladiator aircraft.

    During the second world war RAF Church Fenton was responsible for the defence of Leeds, Bradfield, Sheffield & the Industry situated along the Humber. The Gloster Gladiators where soon replaced by the famous Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire Aircraft. Church Fenton was also home to the first all American, Polish and Canadian volunteer squadrons, De Haviland Mosquito fighter bombers where also stationed here in the role of night fighter training.

    After the second world war RAF Church Fenton continued in it's role as a fighter station until 1957, been equipped with Gloster Meteor and Hawker Hunter (jet) fighter aircraft. These where the last fighters to be stationed at Church Fenton, the airfield was used as a training station from 1957 onwards using Jet Provost, Tucano and Grob Tutor aircraft. During my time with 2446 Squadron ATC I was lucky enough to fly out of here in a Grob in 2008! Sadly the base was closed in 2013 by the RAF and sold off, today the airbase is once again operational under the new name of East Leeds Airport.

    That's a basic overview of the history, but I'll be adding more alongside the pictures...



    To be self sustainable an RAF Station, like most other establishments, needs maintenance men, and tucked away next to the water tower is this small workshop, adorned with the usual health and safety at work act posters etc.. I didn't get an exterior shot as this building is actually located on the live runway and secca passes this point every 10 minutes in his red van!

    This small section does feel and look very similar George Barnsley's, I have to say.





    More H&S Posters!



    Station Shop - NAFFI

    Not far from the workshops is the old station shop, for all the personnel's needs on site...



    The Water Tower

    The best part of the explore for me, the water tower, fully climbable and still complete with pumps and Pelapone Engine...


    The first thing you come across in the water tower is this small electrical substation.


    The next room houses the Pelapone Engine and Pumps.





    I think that's enough Pelapone porn for today haha



    Moving on up!


    The view from the top makes it all worthwhile, especially on a warm, clear night, wish I'd taken a couple of beers!

    Looking out over the live part of the airfield Drax, Eggborough and Ferrybridge C Power Station's all in shot too!


    Looking over the Church Fenton Estate and onto where the sun has just set...


    Latest Arrival next to the Tower.


    Grabbed these two on the way out...




    The site's a rather large one and there's a few shot's that I'd like to share that are hard to fit into a category of their own...

    First up, inside one of the 4 ground level WW2 blast shelters...




    The Battle HQ, I did make a mad dash over to this when secca was at the other end of the airport, sadly it appears to have been filled in though...Shame too as the other was demolished, an intact Battle HQ is the only feature this place is missing really... You can just make out the concrete entrance in the pic.


    Kelfield 'Q Station' (Mini Report)

    RAF Church Fenton was protected by 3 'Q Stations' and one 'K Station' during the second world war, Menthorpe, Hambleton and this one here, Kelfield. For those who don't know, the purpose of a 'Q Station' is to act as a night decoy for the station it serves. From the Control bunker a series of lights placed out in the same positions as... they would be on the airfield the decoy's protecting could be switched on in the hope that an enemy raid during the night would become confused and bomb the decoy rather than the home station. The 'K Station's' were the daylight decoys where actual mock up aircraft and buildings would be positioned to confuse enemy bomber crews.


    And inside, not an awful lot to see, but an important part of the station's history...


    And that completes part 2, hope you enjoyed the report as much as I've enjoyed exploring the place, go and give it a look if you're in the area, I doubt it'll disappoint, you might even find something I missed, the place is vast!!

    Cheers for Reading,
    TAW :)
    #1 The Amateur Wanderer, May 14, 2015
    Last edited: May 15, 2015

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    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Oct 19, 2013
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    Again :thumb mate ;)

    Now if you"d only done the Jet as well lol
  3. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 19, 2011
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    Nice 1 mate, think you have just found me my half term holiday activities.... Right up my street is that.. And tod dollar reports as well
  4. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
    Regular User

    Apr 21, 2013
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    Very comprehensive and interesting report. Top stuff fella, really enjoyed it :thumb
  5. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    May 29, 2013
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    Nice.....stunning work :thumb
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