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Report - RAF Upper Heyford airfield - December 2015

Bent Nails

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire served as an RAF airfield from 1918, mainly for training.

As the Cold War developed, Strategic Air Command took it over in 1951 as one of 4 American bases in southern England (others being Brize Norton, RAF Fairford and RAF Greenham Common) to host bomber aircraft.

In it's 'heyday'.

aerial.jpg


Thanks to RAF-Upper-Heyford.org for the image.

Squadrons or 'wings' including bombers and reconnaissance were here flying B35s, 47s, 52s, RB36s, B58 Hustlers, then F111s (Aardvarks, Ravens) among others. It was the UK's only airbase where only the flight-line area required military identification to access (
Wikipedia has a detailed history).

In the 1980s a peace camp was set up to protest at nuclear armed and ready aircraft here - around 2000 people took part and over 700 arrests were made (I enjoyed reading helvellyn's story of his or her visit there in @randomnut's report).

By the early 1990s the Cold War was over, and the base wound down.

On the south side of the main road residential buildings have been let out but the hospital and school were left to deteriorate - buildings are gradually being demolished and new houses are popping up.

Things are a bit better airside where various organisations keep busy - police training, secure storage, vehicle logistics, boat building, film recording and such take place.

runwayhangars.jpg


Incidentally the base featured in Octopussy as the West German USAF base 'Feldstadt'.

Starting near the middle, the control tower / weather station would presumably have given clearance to take off, etc. and checked flying conditions, while the other building looks like an older RAF Orange Yeoman radar tower.

contower2.jpg


radar.jpg


Example of a building near the control tower - every structure is numbered.

insignia.jpg


299, Avionics (west side of airstrip). According to a worker it had to be kept free of metallic matter.

elec.jpg


elecdiag.jpg


elecdoor.jpg


Rear annex:

avionicsrear.jpg


Another heavily defended building, north, 55th squadrons' headquarters.

miscbdiag.jpg


Rear view, although it's hard to know which is the front and back.

miscbrear.jpg


Inside the offices on the left

miscbinterior.jpg


Locked.

miscbdoorlocked.jpg


Further round the airfield is nuclear missiles storage. Now it's again used to keep explosives.

explo.jpg


There are 56 hardened hangars like this.

hangarfront.jpg


girders.jpg


9 are in the Quick Reaction Alert facility in the north east where attack planes sat on 24 hour standby

vista.jpg


upperheyfordattackplanescompound.jpg


hangar.jpg


hangarinterior.jpg


hangarconcreteback.jpg


hangarback.jpg


hangartower.jpg


The HQ of this bit, where the pilots would retire following their 4 hour stints sitting in the cockpit.

hangarbuilding.jpg


hangarbuildingdoor.jpg


Finally 126, the centre of operations - the command centre.

commcentre1.jpg


commcentre2.jpg


The door in the middle opens to reveal...

lockeddoor.jpg


Another locked door.

And that concludes the visit, thanks for reading!
 

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Ordnance

Moderator
Moderator
#2
It was the UK's only airbase to require flight-line area military identification to access
More correctly ~ Upper Heyford was unique among bases in the United Kingdom as only the flight-line area required military identification to access. The rest of the base, save the commercial facilities, was accessible to military and non-military alike. (Meaning it was an open camp with no fence)

I used to frequent the NCO's club at Upper Hayford changing my pounds to dollars and staying till breakfast (0300 in the club) The Commissary inc petrol stations, MX/PX and clubs required an American ID or sponsorship. But you could walk or drive though the camp unchallenged.
 

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