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Report - Broadmead Cottage, Dunsfold Airfield



Longhairshitjob

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
A site visible on Google earth that has puzzled me for some time.
An interesting history stolen from a fascinating book by Paul McCue.
Dunsfold: Surrey's Most Secret Airfield
June 2014


The airfield was home to various aircraft during the war, Mustangs and Tomahawks initially then Mitchell bombers, Spitfires, Typhoons and Tempests. Immediately post war it was an important base for the Berlin airlift and later as a manufacturing base for the Hawker company built and rebuilt Harriers used in the Falklands conflict. It is now the subject of a battle with the Local Planning office and its future remains unclear.

 Work on the airfield started 11th may 1942 with a bold estimate that work would be completed in 18 weeks. This was a challenge that the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Engineers, 2nd Road Construction Company & the Canadian Forestry Corps were capable of meeting using explosives and some of the heavy machinery supplied from the USA under the lease lend arrangements.
Tree stumps were blasted and from May 27th concrete was being poured in two shifts 18 hours a day. One of the obstacles encountered in the construction of the 45ft wide 3 mile perimeter road was Broadmeads Cottage. It straddled the route to be taken and a swift demolition was required to keep construction within the tight timeframe.
Sergeant Fred Kreugar realised special skills were required to deal with the building so ordered Sergeant Whidden to deal with the issue.
Fred Kreugar’s words on the solution.

“We had lots of beech logs that had been removed so we undermined the structure one log at a time , the major problem proving to be a fireplace in the middle which appeared to tie the building together. While the cottage was resting on the logs, we then rigged a cable , pulley and eveners. The idea was to work with 3 large D8 Caterpillar tractors pulling side by side and in preparation for the move we graded, or flattened , the terrain for probably half a mile or more.
First of all the three tractor operators practiced responding to signals so that they would move their machines in unison. At the first attempt however, the three tractors would not move it, so we then used five, again with cables and pulleys. Shortly after we started, the weight of the fireplace on on the logs created so much friction that fires started squirting out on all sides of the logs. So, we then took up some of the floor and put men in the house with Carbon Tetrachloride and told them to watch the fire so it did not catch the floorboards. Fortunately the freshly felled beech logs were very green and wouldn’t support a flame. A BBC news crew did film some of the move and interviewed myself and Sergeant Whidden. I remember that only Whidden came out on the news later. I was told my name was too Germanic for the BBC’s liking.”

The move was a success and the cottage rechristened “Rose Cottage” was used throughout the war as a flight office for 98 squadron even though the water was not reconnected until long after hostilities had ceased.
Post war the cottage was used by Hawker Aircraft Company test pilot Frank Murphy as a residence and post 1986 it was used briefly by the fire service as a rescue training house, this explains the trap doors seen throughout the building.


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Not easy to shoot the externals due to life threatening quantity's of stinging nettles.

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Upstairs was noisy with several pairs of nesting Jackdaws, on the floor were masses of Owl pellets.

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The water was only connected post war.

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Thats the obligatory urbex chair shots done.

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I discovered that floorboards under layers of detritus rot quicker the bare boards. :eek:

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The life size dummy nearly shit himself when he spotted the man lying on the floor. :laugh

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A nice afternoon’s explore with a bonus view of the Stigg Ripping up the tarmac in what appeared to be an all aluminium E Type replica.

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One for the ladies.

As it is a live site I resisted temptation to venture further and explore the redundant Aircraft parked on the empty runways.
 

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Oxygen Thief

Admin
Staff member
Admin
#2
Thanks for the report. Actually it's the history that saved it from being an un-quotable derp into a story that needs telling.
 

The Stig

Urbex = Nosey Bastard
Regular User
#6
Bugger, someone has actually got a picture of me working :D
 
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