August 20, 2010 | Posted in airfield, An Watt, BL755 Cluster Bomb, Bomb Store, Hunting Engineering, Kings Cliffe, nangs, Project E, RAF, RAF Lakenheath, RAF Wittering, SNEB Rocket, SSA, whippits, Yarnold Sangar | By sYnc
August 18, 2010 | Posted in airfield, An Watt, BL755 Cluster Bomb, Bomb Store, Hunting Engineering, Kings Cliffe, nangs, Project E, RAF, RAF Lakenheath, RAF Wittering, SNEB Rocket, SSA, whippits, Yarnold Sangar | By sYnc
Behind this and deep into the compound are rows and rows of explosive storage units: Thirty ‘Dutch Barns’ (some demolished) for storage of BL755 Cluster Bombs (manufactured by Hunting Engineering in Ampthill, Bedfordshire), several more 1000lb HE storage buildings, 68mm SNEB Rocket storage buildings and perhaps the most interesting, nine hardened ‘Igloo’ cells with filtered air supply and totally enclosed electrical supplies. These hardened units were used for storing ‘unspecified’ American explosives from RAF Lakenheath.
Given the size and construction of the Igloo cells compared to the other buildings and the fact they are the farthest away from the RAF Wittering runway, whatever was in these shelters were some serious toys. Contrary to popular theories though, this site was never used for Project E weapons, these type of weapons remained in the Igloos at RAF Wittering SSA as the US Military insisted that such weapons were never dispersed. This caused some conflict with the RAF who would rather have dispersed the V Force at times of high political tension. The SSA at RAF Wittering is still intact, although derelict and the unusual Fissile Core Stores can still be seen. Both the ESA and SSA share common design features and some of the doors are identical at both sites.
The site has also been used for many illegal raves over the years, mainly by the An Watt Sound System on Bank Holiday weekends. The kiddie ravers have left a massive amount of rubbish on site now, it’s down to them that thousands of mini ‘Nangs/Whippits‘ cartridges, NOS balloons and bigger NOS Bottles now carpet most of the site.
I don’t have a problem with illegal raves, been to plenty myself, just clear your shit up when you leave, that’s all…
In recent years ‘travellers’ have helped themselves to miles of 3-phase armoured cable, pipework for the underground fire prevention system and virtually all of the aluminium lamp posts. The Mains Room has been gutted and there’s even been an attempt to remove the Sub Station!
Bomb Maintenance Buildings
Here are some more pictures from this visit to RAF Kings Cliffe/USAAF Station 367
RAF Kings Cliffe opened in 1943, was operational until 1959 and was assigned USAAF designation Station 367, it was home to the 20th Fighter Group of the USAAF 8th Airforce who flew P38 Lightnings and later P51 Mustangs on bomber escort duties & ; also the 56th Fighter Group of the USAAF 8th Airforce who flew P-47 Thunderbolts. When the war finished the airfield was used by the RAF for armament storage up until 1959 when it was sold and turned back to agricultural use which continues to this day.
Sadly all of the hangars and most of the Technical Site have been demolished and in recent months some Stanton Shelters have also been demolished to make way for some currently unknown construction. There are however many smaller buildings still intact such as M&E Plinths, Substations, Sleeping Quarters, Motor Transport Repair, PBX, several defended Fighter Pens with work area, Mushroom Pillboxes, a Battle Headquarters, miscellaneous buildings and of course the Control/Watch Tower.
This visit focused mainly on the perimeter track and outlying defences, a planned return visit in winter (with less undergrowth!!) will concentrate more on the Technical and Communal Sites.
For BHQ geeks you will notice that the Battle Headquarters here isn’t sunk fully into the ground like most are, at least I think that’s the case, I guess the ground could have been removed over the years?, but that doesn’t explain the fully sunken Cantilever/Mushroom Pillbox right next to it…..weird!! Sadly despite it being higher than many this one is flooded to a depth of approx 3ft and always seems to be. The Cupola is still accessible (and dry) via the Emergency Escape hatch though.
There’s lots of pix so I’m posting this across multiple days…..enjoy 🙂