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Report - - RAF Croft, Warrington - April '11 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - RAF Croft, Warrington - April '11



Xan_Asmodi

Cave Monster
28DL Full Member
#1
I was discussing with SparkUK about wanting to get something done and being frustrated by the Wirral, so we swapped phone numbers with a view to getting out soon. So getting up early (for a student), I ventured over to Liverpool ready to spend an hour and a half on the bus to get to Warrington with no music (I'd accidentally wiped my iPod), but I'd missed it and had about a half hour wait for the next one. I text SparkUK to see what he was up to and if he'd meet me in Warrington. After a quick conversation I was no longer getting the bus, but I was getting picked up my SparkUK in town. Score!

The main target for the day was Garnett's, which I've been pondering since Ojay and I were last attempting something in "The 'Ton". On the way to "The 'Ton" SparkUK explained about problems with access to Garnett's, and true to form Garnett's didn't happpen. Instead we found what looks like an old convent, managed access but where met by breeze blocked door ways and a broken water pipe. The water spill had eaten through all but three of the cross beams on the upper floor and not being a small bloke, there was no way I was gonna try to cross them.

After the disappointment that was Warrington town centre, SparkUK decided to show me round the old RAF Croft site. This turned out to be a nice, pleasant wander in the glorious Sunday afternoon sunshine. Right on with the history, then the pictures.

From RAFBurtonwood.org

RAF Croft started as additional living accommodation for H.M.S. Gosling located at Risley. H.M.S. Gosling was commissioned on 8 October 1942 and was paid off in 1946. That station was dedicated to the Fleet Air Arm and was a training base. H.M.S. Aeriel was also paid off and on 1 February 1956 was opened up as RAF Croft to process people in and out of the U.K. Although it was called RAF Croft it should not be confused with another RAF Croft which was up north and used by the RCAF during the war.
The 1942 date links up nicely with some graffiti that SparkUK and I found (at least I don't think it has been mentioned before), but more on that later

RAF Croft became tenanted by the USAF in 1955 to provide a processing point for personnel and dependants when Burtonwood was assigned the additional function of a MATS terminal for passenger flights between the US and UK. The terminal was located at Prestwick in Scotland.

Unaccompanied personnel were billeted in single rooms and messing facilities were described as being above standard. Exchange facilities were limited as of June 1956 but a large theatre was located on the station and regularly showed 16mm films.
The base mission was to include billeting, feeding transients and coordinating movements with U.S. units in England and Scotland. According to the 1958 Burtonwood yearbook the yearly average was around the 60,000 mark. At that time Burtonwood was the major airhead for the U.K. I believe that the base was capable of accommodating around 400 people but many were processed straight through and others only stayed one night. Services were limited but there was a small snack bar for sandwiches and beer, a movie theater, nursery and of course the mess hall which was open 24 hours a day to handle late arrivals and departures. We even had a civilian taxi which operated out of the base.
On with the pics

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We walked through what is left of the base and ended up in the theater/cinema
[1]
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The theater is quite big, I found it difficult to do this with my pictures
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There where a few small rooms at the back, but these had been knocked through
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[4]
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I managed to climb up toward the rafters
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From here you can access the theater roof, but as I said earlier, being quite large I didn't care to try and balance over the pipes them climb up
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I had a look at getting under the stage, but alas, I didn't have any scuba gear with me :rolleyes:

The view from the projection room (sadly cleared out)
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Out on to the roof (sorry about the 1024 size. Click through for the fullsize) the projection room is on the right
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Hiding in the undergrowth are at least two boats
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We had a look all over the roof, and it was between these two buildings we found the graffiti written in the concrete around an air vent
[10]
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This is what caught my attention. You don't expect to see a swastika carved into concrete on an allied military base
[11]
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"1942"
The year HMS Gosling was commissioned
[12]
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I believe this says "Hitlerisms year of doom" or "Hitlerisms of doom"
[13]
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Lot's of lovely asbestos still left around the place
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A few different views of the car
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[16]
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After this we climbed back down and had a wander back through the buildings

This could be the snack bar mentioned on RAFBurtonwood.org
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_____________________________

That's it here. As usual, there are more pics in the set here
Slideshow here

Thanks to SparkUK for a good day out, and thank you for looking :thumb
 

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