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Report - RAF Tilstock, Shropshire, December 2016

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by HughieD, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. HughieD

    HughieD 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

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    1. The History Bit
    RAF Tilstock is a former World War II airfield, located in Shropshire. It is three miles south of Whitchurch and about 2 miles west the village of Tilstock, located near the junction of the A41 and A49. It became operational on 28th August, 1942 under the command of No. 93 group of Bomber Command. The site was also known as Prees Heath.

    During World War I Tilstock was a trench warfare training camp for around 25,000 soldiers. In addition to a hospital it was home, at various points in time, for elements of the 11th, 14th, 16th and 17th Reserve Brigades of the Training Reserve. Prees Heath was also used as a dispersal camp post-1918 for troops disembarking at Liverpool for demobilsation.

    Construction of the airfield was finished by mid 1942, and it was referred to as 'Whitchurch Heath' until 1st June 1943 when it became known as RAF Tilstock. It had the classic RAF three concrete runway 'star' arrangement. From 1st September 1942 until 21th January 1946, the airfield was used by the RAF's No. 81 Operational Training Unit and No. 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit. They specialised in the training of pilots and crews for flying Whitley, Stirling and Halifax bombers. In 1946 it became home to Polish Army families who lived in the corrugated metal nissen huts along the with communal ablution blocks and a number of concrete huts. During the 1950s, Auster AOP.6 'spotter' aircraft of No. 663 Squadron (pictured below) used the facilities of the otherwise non-operational airfield during weekends for liaison flights with Royal Artillery units.

    [​IMG]Auster_AOP.6_VW993_B_663_Tilstock_28.09.52_edited-3 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    As mentioned earlier, the airfield is still used today during weekends for skydiving. As far back as 1964 it was home to the Manchester Skydivers. In 1967 it became Manchester Free Fall Club (MFFC) run by the ex-para and Club Chief Instructor, Norman Law. Over the next three decades the club was run as a local members club at weekends with a mixture of regular club jumpers and first time jumpers keen to experience sport parachuting to raise funds for charity. A section of the original airfield is still partially used as a parachute centre but the watch office and most of the other buildings are now falling into disrepair.

    2. The Explore
    Very relaxed and enjoyable explore on a misty and damp December morn. The thing that surprised me the most was just how good this place was and lacking in graff/vandalism given its easy access and proximity to the A41. Spent a good hour or so wandering around. The watch tower is sealed up so didn’t bother going over to this and couldn’t find the Battle HQ but there was plenty of other stuff to nosey around. There was this quintessentially British feeling exploring old blast trenches covered by a carpet of oak leaves that really appealed to me.

    3. The Pictures

    [​IMG]img9108 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9109 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9110 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9111 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9112 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9114 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9115 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9120 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The famous car is a 1954 Sunbeam Talbot 90, which appears to have lost a few pieces in recent years

    [​IMG]img9131 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9125 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9126 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9134 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loved the symmetry of this shot of one of the lesser-good condition nissen huts:

    [​IMG]img9137 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9138bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9139 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9140 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loved this old wall painted sign:

    [​IMG]img9141 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9145 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9147 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9150 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9151 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Just up from the nissen huts is the decontamination block and some concrete huts:

    [​IMG]img9156 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9164 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9158 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    …and the one piece of graff I saw:

    [​IMG]img9161 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And some more blast trenches:

    [​IMG]img9166 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    [​IMG]img9167 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And finally this tightly sealed building:

    [​IMG]img9169 by HughieDW, on Flickr
     

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