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Report - RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire. April 2011

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Jon C, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Jon C

    Jon C 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    This is one of the few decent places to explore in Cambridgeshire that I've seen. And it's absolutely massive, we spent a day there and couldn't look around it all.


    Here's some brief history:

    Originally used as a night-landing ground, by 1918 five hangars had been built and the centre became a training station. With the end of World War I the airfield was cleared. 1934 saw RAF Upwood reactivated and expanded to deal with the increasing threat posed by Nazi Germany.

    The new base became operational in February 1937, housing two flying units. These original squadrons were reassigned in 1939 and replaced by No.90 and No.35 Squadron. Neither squadron saw combat and they were merged as No.17 Training Unit. When this unit departed Upwood in 1943, the grassed runways were replaced with three concrete runways.

    The base re-opened in October 1943 and between 1944 and 1945 was used by No.139 and No.156 Squadrons. Their Mosquitos and Lancasters saw action in Germany, dropping target indicators over Berlin and bombing Stuttgart. After the end of the war they delivered food to the starving people of Holland and returned repatriated former Prisoners of War. In addition to housing several bomber units during the 1940s and 1950s, some of which took part in the Suez crisis, RAF Upwood was used as a location in the Dirk Bogard film 'Appointment in London'.

    In 1961 Upwood was transferred to RAF Strike Command and by 1981 the base was almost dormant. Control was passed to the United States Air Force and Upwood became a satellite base of RAF Alconbury, providing housing and support for personnel. In 1986 a multi-million dollar medical facility was opened, delivering outpatient services to American military members in the area. The end of the Cold War saw a phased rundown of RAF Alconbury. The site was acquired by Strawsons in 1999 and in 2005 the last USAF family moved out of the Upwood housing area.

    http://www.rafupwoodregeneration.co.uk/story.php


    The site is completely open. You can literally just drive in, park up and start exploring with no risk of security or difficult access. People were even walking their dogs there.

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    The site is used for airsoft fortnightly I believe, so is completely stripped out for the most part. However as not all of the buildings are used, we still got a good look around some - including a huge telephone exchange room.

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    And literally hundreds of rooms stripped out bare

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    We were met by some charming graffiti, too

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    The whole site actually makes for quite a nice walk, as it goes on forever.

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    Now for our favourite bit, the control tower. There were actually two. A water house, and another control tower. Unfortunately the water house was impossible (or VERY dangerous) to get up, however the control tower had a ladder going up it which was completely in tact. Here's my mate looking over the top

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    We couldn't get the camera up to the top as the way of getting up was pretty narrow.

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    Overall, a nice site to look around but not massively interesting. Make sure you don't go on a Saturday, as chances are they'll be doing airsoft.

    It's a shame you can't drive around as much anymore, the roads seem to have been cut off around it. The entrance is open though, and there is space to park.
     

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