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Report - - RAF/USAF Bentwaters, Suffolk - December 2018 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - RAF/USAF Bentwaters, Suffolk - December 2018



AndyK

Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
#1
This turned out to be a good day out with @SpiderMonkey and @Exxperious. This is a big site, by far the largest RAF base I've explored in terms of area covered, so we spent the whole day looking around it.

History of RAF Bentwaters

RAF Bentwaters is a former Royal Air Force station in Suffolk, named after Bentwater Cottages, two small houses that stood on the site of the main runway prior to its construction. Construction of the base began in 1942 for use by RAF Bomber Command and opened for operational use in April 1944. In December that year it was transferred to No. 11 Group, RAF Fighter Command. The runways were constructed in the typical RAF layout of one main runway diagonally intersected by two secondary runways, forming a triangle.

The base was used by the RAF during the Second World War, and then used by the United States Air Force from 1951 until 1993, primarily for efforts during the Cold War. Bentwaters was to play a key role in the defence of Western Europe during the Cold War when large numbers of USAF aircraft were assigned as part of the air arm of NATO.

Current Uses

Bentwaters was handed back to the UK Ministry of Defence in 1993 and was subsequently closed. Now known as Bentwaters Parks, the site is used as a business park and filming location. Owners are constantly developing the filming and production facilities available at the site. Movies and TV programmes filmed there include Derren Brown's Apocalypse, movies The Numbers Station and Fast & Furious 6, along with some Top Gear stunts, amongst others.

In 2007 the Bentwaters Cold War Museum opened, including tours of the fully restored “War Operations Room” and “Battle Cabin”.


Aerial view of the site after becoming Bentwaters Parks

Star Wars Building

The so-called “Star Wars Building” is surrounded by concrete blast walls and contains some interesting spaces including a medical room.


The Star Wars Building


Concrete blast walls


Entrance of the Star Wars Building






Medical Facility

Bomb Stores

Built during the Cold War to securely store nuclear and conventional weapons, the bomb store was heavily fortified with three layers of fencing, razor wire, a swing-arm vehicle barrier, two gates, pressure pads, armoured guard house, guard tower and overhead cables to keep helicopters out.

We didn’t get passed the gate!



Entrance to the Bomb Stores


Armoured Guard House






One of the storage facilities with overhead cables

One of the store buildings had a couple of old fire engines parked up behind it....








Planes and Helicopters

There are all sorts of jet aeroplanes and helicopters parked up around the site, in varying states of decay and dismantlement.


Exxperious modelling his entry into "Miss Fighter Jet 2018"



























Continued...
 

AndyK

Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
#2
K-9 Building

The K-9 building contains spacious dog kennels.


K-9 Building


Kennels inside the K-9 Building




Hangers

The site has a lot of hardened aircraft shelters, or hangers, spread out across a vast area. Several are in use by private companies, and others are empty. A common feature of the hangers is the huge sliding doors that form the entire hanger's frontage – these slide to the side on rails to open up fully allowing access for aeroplanes.


One of the many hangers


Typical interior of the hangers


Original sliding door controls


The framework sits on rails and supports the huge doors, allowing them to slide fully open


527th Aggressor Squadron Hardened Aircraft Shelter


Deputy Commander Operations

This building had been out of use for quite some time and is suffering a lot of decay. The moisture and condensation cause constant rainfall inside the building, which was ideal for plant growth.


Deputy Commander Operations building







Runway, Control Tower and Maintenance Vehicles

We didn’t make it over to the control tower, which is situated within the live business park area of the site. The runway still has some of the maintenance and de-icing vehicles parked up.


The Control Tower pictured in 1972


The Control Tower today (poor quality due to crazy crop, as we didn't go over there!)


North/South runway with the control tower in the distance


De-icer truck





The Hush House

Originally built as a jet engine testing facility with an exhaust tunnel, the Hush House was a soundproofed hangar where fighter


Exterior of the exhaust tunnel


Interior of the Hush House


The exhaust tunnel


Hush House control booth and viewing window


Thanks for looking!


Of course I got a selfie!

 

hamtagger

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#11
Worth it for the old aircraft alone! There must be Jaguars dotted around the whole country after they were mostly disbanded in 2006. Such a shame as at that point they had some pretty cutting edge technology/avionics suites fitted to them! Another example of the government getting rid of perfectly good airframes to save a few quid
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
#13
Loving this, Ive a massive interest in this base. Ive met and am friends with servicemen from here during 1980s. Ive photos of the arms weapons store, but would love to urbex this place. East gate, gatehouse and the hangers Ive seen were so tempting, but rumors put me off, plus I was just in Rendlesham for a different reason. So no time really.

Excellent set, just amazing work :cool::thumb:thumb
 

Vapeexpert86

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#14
great report buddy,im really interested in bentwaters and Woodbridge,i belive they also film dog borstal here as one of the ex service men told me, would it be easy to get permission to look around ?i mean obviously when the tours aren't running,i feel like you have to rush when you are in a big group tour unfortunately and miss alot of the details others wouldn't bother looking at
 

sloth

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#15
Nice report.

I live down the road from this place and have spent several days in the past camping on the site - particularly spent a lot of time in the star wars building (I know the chap who built it originally). Interestingly, a lot of what you see inside the star wars building isn't from any shady USAF/RAF business, it's mostly TV. The soviet feel comes from a TV series called Space Cadets which filmed there and essentially convinced a bunch of idiots that they'd been recruited by the Russian space agency and mysteriously taken to a base for training.


They went into a lot of detail, even things like fire bells and plug sockets were changed to Russian models. The medical room you reference in your photos was actually installed as a vet's office for the TV show Dog Borstal which was filmed mostly in the K-9 building as well as several other buildings around the south west of the site.


I'm in the process of writing up some reports about this part of Suffolk, notably RAF Woodbridge, USAF/RAF Bentwaters, Adastral Park/P.O.R.C and also (now all but invisible) RAF Martlesham Heath (where I spend most of my time lurking).

I especially like your aerial photograph of the site. I'd be interested to know where it came from as it looks very much like it was taken while I was actually on site in Summer last year. We were there while The Grand Tour were filming.
 

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