RAF Chilbolton

Local airfield historys etc

RAF Chilbolton

Postby Hydealfred » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:25 pm

RAF Chilbolton is located on a plateau 91 metres above the River Test and Chilbolton village in Hampshire.

The airfield was intended to act as a dispersal site for the bomber base being built at Middle Wallop. By the time the work was finished Middle Wallop was a Fighter Command Sector Station for No 10 Group. In order to relieve the pressure on Middle Wallop during the Battle Of Britain, Hurricanes of No 238 Squadron were dispersed to Chilbolton. Various units and squadrons continued flying from Chilbolton until 1943 when the airfield was rebuilt prior to the USAAF moving in. During the rebuild three concrete runways were laid, along with forty eight loop type hard standings and hangars were constructed. The USAAF flew P47 Thunderbolts (395th 396th and 397th FS) from the airfield and was involved in support of D-Day operations. Following the departure of the P47’s to France, C-47’s arrived at the airfield bringing back wounded and undertaking supply flights. C-47 and Hadrian gliders continued to fly from Chilbolton in support of the on-going invasion of Europe. This included participation in Operation Market Garden - which led to a bridge too far.

Chilbolton returned to the RAF in March 1945 with the final squadron No 247 being the first to fly the De Havilland Vampire in front line service. In November 1946 the airfield was abandoned by the RAF.

In February 1947 Vickers Armstrong Ltd moved in and test work on the Attacker and Swift was undertaken. In 1953 Folland Aircraft Ltd also moved in to test the Gnat trainer and Midge fighter. Vickers left in 1957 with Folland following in 1961. During 1952, the film, The Sound Barrier was partly shot at Chilbolton using a Swift. Throughout the film Chilbolton as it was can be seen.

In 1963 work commenced on building an observatory for the Radio Research Station, this opened in 1967 and is a very prominent landmark in the area being visible for miles. A small grass strip is located near the communal site to the east where flying continues to this day.

Here are some shots of what remains to be seen today -

Parts of the runways remain -

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In the film - The Sound Barrier - Type 535 - VV119 is seen taxying into this hangar -

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Some of the original fittings remain in the hangar -

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Many Staunton air raid shelters remain -

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As do some of the airfields building -

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Perimeter Track

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The Airman's Chapel and squash court - when the Americans were in residence -

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And as it is now -

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Memorial

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AB910 used to fly from Chilbolton in the 1950's -

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There is far more remaining than I have shown here. If there is interest I can do a Part 2 at some point.

Thanks for looking :)
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Re: RAF Chilbolton

Postby MOD » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:26 pm

Thanks for taking the trouble to post this Richard. I think these old WWII sites are so evocative of our recent past that you can almost hear Glenn Miller coming over the 'Tannoys' in the background. Spooky..... but sad!!!


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Re: RAF Chilbolton

Postby Hydealfred » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:33 pm

Thanks Ian - I have a huge interest in old abandoned airfields and hope to post up a few more in the future. :)
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Re: RAF Chilbolton

Postby Xplumberlives » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:46 pm

Nice report Richard, looking forward to part two! :ymapplause:
"All modern aircraft have 4 dimensions: span, length, height and politics.
TSR-2 simply got the first 3 right. ”
— Sir Sydney Camm
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Re: RAF Chilbolton

Postby Hihonyr8811 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:57 pm

Fantastic :ymapplause: I don't think I need to say how much I love old airfields :)) :D
And that light switch box, looks very much like the housing I found on a few of the buildings at Woodhall Spa.
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Re: RAF Chilbolton

Postby Ipso » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:12 am

Looking forward to part two! Fascinating pictures.
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Re: RAF Chilbolton

Postby Jigsaw » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:26 am

Brilliant post and great shots.
I love this stuff as well.
Part 2 at your convenience mate. I am looking forward to it.

:ymapplause: :ymapplause:
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Re: RAF Chilbolton

Postby Ray C » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:57 pm

Bring it on Richard, I particularly enjoy these post themes, :ymapplause: :ymapplause:
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