Portland CEW R1 ROTOR & 3 Group AAOR (Portland Part 2)

December 16, 2013 | Posted in AAOR, Bunker, CEW, early warning, kelvin hughes, MoD, portland, R1, radar, RAF, relay, ROTOR, Royal Navy, Transmitter, Troposcotter, warning | By

Already cold and pissed off watching seagulls and early morning dog walkers I waited for Winch and the rest of the world to wake up before meeting upwithNewage, Fluffy and Godzilla for a look inanR1 ROTOR Bunker.Portland CEWR1 ROTOR wasbuilt in 1951 and operational by 1953 and was a single story operation block accessed by an unusual guardhouse. In later years the site was taken over by the USAF who added a microwave relay station (to form part ofTroposcotter relay). In 1969 the underground bunker was badly damaged by fire and in 2001 the MoD stripped out the lift and (for some unknown reason) all the wooden flooring prior to the site going to sale by auction.As a result of the MoD ‘work’ and the fire this ROTOR bunker is in a very trashed state and as a result not a particularly inspiring place to explore. These days its in poor state suffering from serious damp problems and the Kelvin Hughes Projector room is flooded virtually to the top.

I didn’t bother getting very many pictures as my enthusiasm was running low and the shots I got are quite lame if I’m honest:

After leaving the R1 we dragged our tired asses up to Ridgeway Hill 3 Group AAOR stopping to cram copious amounts of food, Red Bull and Coffee before entering.

The AAOR looks fantastic from the outside, a nice two story blockhouse, semi-sunken in places and in great condition. Inside too its in excellent condition with lots of original features from both its RAF and Royal Navy days BUT sadly 95% of it cannot be seen due to thousands of boxes of cheap chinese toys (modern day use is a ‘warehouse’).

I’ll be honest, I’m not good when I’ve been awake for 30 hours so lets just say I didn’t stay long and the camera didn’t even come out of my bag so I sat outside sucking on caffeine waiting for Winch.

The day then started to get more interesting with Newage trying to tempt me with another juicy underground site that had potential to be better than all the previous locations (all I really wanted though was more food and loads of sleep). Seeing as we were in the area, everyone else was ganging up on me and the ExploreMobile still had good fuel stocks what was the harm in visiting one more place?

To be continued…

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Lost and Found – Drakelow RGHQ 9.2

March 18, 2013 | Posted in Bunker, Civil Defence, Cold War, drakelow, Lumix TZ6, RAF, secret bunker, Shadow Factory, Tokina, Underground | By

I guess its as easy to lose 93 photo’s as it to lose one (and I’m still looking for my West Norwood Cemetery Catacombs shots from 3 years ago…one day they will show up on a backup drive I’d forgotten about…)

So, I stumbled across 93 pix I shot at Drakelow RGHQ 9.2 several years ago and thought I’d post up a very small selection here, mainly cos I thought I already had already blogged them.

They were all shot on the little Lumix T76 backup camera so are not that great but they still have an interest all the same.

Air Vent
BBC Studio

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Hiatus

November 21, 2012 | Posted in airfield, Bunker, GoPro Hero2, Grafton Underwood, RAF, USAAF Station 106, wearable camera, WW2 | By

Not dead, not given up exploring, although I am totally sick of all the ‘Look At Me’ narcissists out there who are falling over themselves to show off sites in order to get praise from their peers.Is it possible to be an actual ‘Insecure Willy Waver’….?I’ve just been away doing stuff that I’m either not going to publish myself or I have been asked/ordered not to publish. I’m cool with both of those as I have nothing to prove to anybody and the fun is in the actual exploring, not showing off Trophy Pix.

Some lame crap I can post here (just to show some activity…) is some stills from a WW2 Operations Block shot back in October. We were there testing GoPro POV camera’s before and after a firmware upgrade that seems to have screwed them up somewhat. I seem to have lost the video footage we shot someplace but when I locate the files I will add them to this post.

It’s a shame about the state of this place, the local Chav morons seem to like trashing the place and holding raves in here from time to time, even knocking down a bricked up entrance to get their lame PA and Lighting Rig in here. Sadly the world will always be full of shitheads polluting the gene pool, its a fact of life.

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Bury Internalz

August 2, 2012 | Posted in airfield, Avionics, Bunker, Cold War, DSLR, EOS, F-111, HAAS, Lenser, Long Exposure, Nuclear, RAF, secret bunker, Spy plane, Strategic Air Command, USAAF, WW2 | By

Carrying on with the Mil Derp Cold War vibe from earlier posts…..enjoy

Bulk Fuel Storage (WW2)
Transmitter Building
Briefing Room (Badly lightpainted…)
Flora & Fauna 🙂

Building 25 – Decontamination Area

More rush lightpainting (soz about passing headtorches…)

Better this time…(shot in total darkness)

Building 25 Hard Area

Parachute Store (Building 51)

 

Photographic Processing and Interpretation Facility (Building 69)

 

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RAF/USAF Alconbury

December 20, 2011 | Posted in 17th Reconnaissance Wing, airfield, Alconbury, Area 51, Avionics, Building 210, Cold War, EOS, Lockheed, Magic Mountain, RAF, Spy plane, Tokina | By

I don’t profess to be any kind of expert on airfields, not even close, but they do interest me, especially Cold War airfields. The following is a ‘cut up’ of material from a variety of locations mingled in with some of my own words. Its certainly not a definitive history on Alconbury, more of an overview to accompany the pictures.

Thanks for looking 🙂

RAF Bomber Command use (1939-1941)
In September 1939, RAF Upwood squadrons were given operational training roles and Alconbury became RAF Wyton’s satellite under No. 2 Group, Squadron Nos. 12, 40 and 139. These squadrons were frequently deployed to Alconbury, No. 139 being the first to be actually stationed there. Squadrons 15 and 40 converted from Battles to Bristol Blenheim bombers. No. 15 Squadron took up residence on 14 April 1940, when additional requisitioned accommodation was available. It flew its first raid of the war on 10 May against a German occupied airfield near Rotterdam.

In May 1942, RAF Alconbury was allocated to the United States Army Air Force:

93d Bombardment Group, 7 September 1942 – 5 December 1942
92d Bombardment Group, 6 January – 15 September 1943
95th Bombardment Group, 15 April – 15 June 1943
482d Bombardment Group, 20 August 1943 – 21 May 1945
801st Bombardment Group (Provisional), January – 1 May 1944
94th Bombardment Wing, 12–18 June 1945
2d Bombardment Wing, 12 June – 26 August 1945
1st Bombardment Wing, 26 June – 26 August 1945
1st Air Division, 20 September – 31 October 1945
406th Bombardment Squadron, 11 November 1943 – 7 February 1944
857th Bombardment Squadron, 11 June – 6 August 1945
652d Bombardment Squadron, 13 July – 25 October 1945
36th Bombardment Squadron: Attached to 328th Service Group, assigned to RAF Watton, operated from Alconbury, 7 February-28

March 1944, Assigned to: 1st Bombardment Division, 28 February – 15 October 1945.

Postwar United States Air Force use:

7560th Air Base Squadron, 7 November 1954 – 25 March 1955 (Redesignated: 7560th Air Base Group, 25 March 1955 – 25 August 1959
86th Bombardment Squadron, 15 September 1955 – 5 August 1959
42d Troop Carrier Squadron, 31 May – 8 December 1957
53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 25 April – 9 August 1959
10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 25 August 1959 – 20 August 1987 (Redesignated: 10th Tactical Fighter Wing, 10 August 1987 – 31 March 1993, Redesignated: 10th Air Base Wing, 31 March 1993 – 1 October 1994)
527th Tactical Fighter Training Aggressor Squadron, 1 April 1976 – 14 July 1988
17th Reconnaissance Wing, 1 October 1982 – 30 June 1991 (Assigned to Strategic Air Command Eighth Air Force 7th Air Division)
39th Special Operations Wing, 1 December 1992 – 1 January 1993
352d Special Operations Group, 1 January 1993 – 17 February 1995
710th Air Base Wing, 1 October 1994 – 12 July 1995
423d Air Base Squadron, 12 July 1995 – 1 July 2005 (Based at RAF Molesworth) (Redesignated: 423d Air Base Group, 1 July 2005 – present)
501st Combat Support Wing, 1 May 2007–present

The Cold War, Spy Planes & Operation Desert Storm
In 1959 with the Cold War hotting up (lame humour..), the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing arrived at Alconbury and over the coming years flew many reconnaissance, electronic warfare and ‘Aggressor Support’ missions.

The Strategic Air Command arrived at Alconbury on 1 October 1982 when the 17th Reconnaissance Wing was activated, bringing with them the U2 and later the TR-1 Spy Plane. These assets required major remodelling of the airfield including Ready Sheds, 13 extra wide Hardened Aircraft Shelters, a Photographic Interpretation Centre and a Nuclear Hardened Command Post/Avionics Suite for the TR-1 spyplanes known only as Building 210 (later nicknamed Magic Mountain).
 
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the threat of the Cold War vanishing there were rumours that RAF Alconbury would be closed down but then in August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Some of the first aircraft to be sent into the Gulf were three TR-1A’s from Alconbury’s 17th Reconnaissance Wing and 23 A-10’s from the 10th Tactical Fighter Wing (511th Tactical Fighter Squadron) were deployed to Saudi Arabia for combat operations.

The 511th TFS A-10s flew no fewer than 1700 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm and played an important part in wreaking havoc on Iraqi tank forces, Scud missiles and other ground positions during the conflict.

In recent years things have wound down considerably and in 1995 the USAF returned the base to the MoD (but retaining the Base Support Area under USAF control). The USAF 423d Air Base Squadron and USAF 501st Combat Support Wing still operate from Alconbury.

Romney Sheds, WW2 Crew, Locker and Drying Rooms – Airfield & Technical Site.
Parachute Store (Building 51) – Airfield & Technical Site
Command Building – Airfield & Technical Site
Hercules Bomber artwork – Airfield & Technical Site
Photographic Processing and Interpretation Facility (Building 69) – Airfield & Technical Site.
WW2 Control Tower & Watch Office with Operations Room for Bomber Satellite Stations – Technical Site
Uni-Seco USAFE Control Tower – Airfield & Technical Site
Guard Tower – Weapons Storage Site
Awesome Warthog/30mm Cannon cartoon drawn by an airman
TR-1/U2 Hardened Aircraft Shelter (Building 4105) – Airfield & Technical Site
17th Reconnaissance Wing Squadron Headquarters – Hardened Area (flooded basement)
(Currently in use by Cambridgeshire Police for tactical training)
Hardened Aircraft Shelter / Tab-Vee ‘Oh Johnnie’ – Airfield & Technical Site
This was demolished by the SAS as a training exercise, took them 3 attempts to flatten it!!
The gratuitous ‘Oh Johnnie vent shot’ taken by everyone (yawn…)
‘Sally Ann’ Tab-Vee/HAS 
(most likely for A-10 Warthog or F5 Tiger…maybe even Phantom LOL!)
‘Sally Ann’ Tab-Vee/HAS Emergency Exit
 

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RAF Wymeswold 28OTU & 44 Group Transport Command – Part 2

March 29, 2011 | Posted in 93 Group, airfield, Auster AOP.6, Avon RA14, Avro Ashton, Dart Kitten, RAF, Wymeswold 28OTU | By

Final set of photos from last year’s visit to RAF Wymeswold 28OTU. Part One of these photos (including history) can be found HERE.
Building No.27. Drawing no. 147/41 25 Yard Machine Gun Range

Building No.24. Drawing no. 7828/41 Motor Transport, Offices, Bays & Ramps
Building No.21. Drawing no. 7821/41 Gas Clothing Store
Building No.21. Drawing no. 7821/41 Gas Clothing Store
Building No.5. Drawing no. 7829/41 Guard House
Building No.5. Drawing no. 7829/41 Guard House
Building No.25. Drawing no. 18648/40 Electrical Sub Station
Revo T2 Mk.II Taxiway Light
Picket Post – Bulk Fuel Site

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RAF Wymeswold 28OTU & 44 Group Transport Command – Part 1

March 23, 2011 | Posted in 93 Group, airfield, Auster AOP.6, Avon RA14, Avro Ashton, Dart Kitten, RAF, Wymeswold 28OTU | By

History – Copyright © Brush Aircraft: Production in Loughborough by Tony Jarrom (Midland Counties 1978)

Wymeswold RAF Station officially opened on 16 May 1942 as a new operational training unit (28OTU), which was part of 93 Group, RAF – although it had been in use since 14 April 1942. The advance party arrived at Castle Donington on 22 May 1942, which was by then selected as a satellite airfield. Initial aircraft for the Group were Vickers Wellingtons MK1C with Westland Lysanders and Miles Martinents under No.7 Group Bomber Command.

The training task continued until mid-October 1944, by which time many hundreds of aircrews had been trained; including Squadron Leader David Penman who was awarded the DSO for his part in the magnificent low-level raid on Augsburg. The senior pupils from the unit represented Wymeswold in the historic ‘Thousand Bomber’ raids. No. 1521 (Blind Approach training) Flight and its Oxfords was additionally resident in 1943–44.

In 1944, with the return of the Allied Forces to Europe, the need for bomber crews decreased, but a greater need for transport aircraft evolved, to serve overseas stations. On 15th October 1944, the station was handed over to 44 Group Transport Command when the job became one of training highly qualified bomber crews for the less hazardous, but equally exacting task, of transports.

Instead of the sight of the Wellingtons and Lancasters, Stirlings and Halifaxes, the Douglas DC-3/C-47 Dakota arrived with a new resident unit, 108 OTU. The ‘Dak’ found itself flying down the trunk routes opened through the liberated areas of Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. No.108 OTU disbanded in August 1945, and was re-named No. 1382 (Transport Support) Conversation Unit, which remained at Wymeswold, by now in 4 Group, until transferred to North Luffenham in December 1947.

On 3rd May 1949, the station was again transferred, this time to No.12 Group, Fighter Command, becoming the home of No.504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force which had moved in from Hucknall the previous month with its Spitfires. The unit became the third Auxiliary Squadron to receive the Gloster Meteor. It re-equipped with F.Mk.4 aircraft in March 1950, exchanging these for the higher-powered F.Mk.8 just two years later. At the same time, the airfield was host to an unusual civilian aircraft, the Burgoyne-Stirling Dicer which wore the unofficial registration G-AECN, more properly belonging to a defunct Pou de Ciel. The Dicer was kept in a hangar on the airfield until moved to Burton on the Wolds in 1950.

In July 1954, 1969 (Air Observation Post) Flight, a part of No.664 Squadron arrived with Auster AOP.6 and T.7 aircraft from its previous base at Desford. The flight remained at Wymeswold until disbanded on 10th March 1956.

The airfield took up another role in August 1955 with the arrival of No.56 (Phoenix) Squadron from Waterbeach. Following an unsuccessful year with the Swift F.Mk.1 and F.Mk.2, the squadron re-equipped with the Hunter G.Mk.5 in May 1955, and retired to Wymeswold to work-up to operational standard on its new mounts. With the Hunter firmly established, No.56 Squadron returned home to be replaced by No.257 and No.263 Squadrons, who were in the process of converting from the Hunter F.Mk.2 to the F.Mk.5, and in need of a temporary base while the runways at their Wittisham base were being resurfaced.

Air displays in the 1950s saw many types of aircraft – among them No.92 Squadron Sabres; Chipmunks of Nottingham University Air Squadron; No.211 AFS (later re-named 4FTS) Meteors; Dart Kitten G-AMJP of the Grimsby Flying School; United States Air Force F-84s and B.45s and the Royal Canadian Air Force Bristol Freighters.

The increasing cost of maintaining jet aircraft was responsible for the disbandment of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in 1957, and after almost three decades of service, No.504 Squadron disbanded on 12th February. After this the airfield continued for a time as a satellite station for RAF Syerston (from where in 1946, 504 Squadron had flown Mosquito aircraft). Syerston’s aircraft were Hunting Provost trainers, later replaced by the Jet Provost and operated by the resident 2 Flying Training School. In the late ’50s and early ’60, these could be seen carrying out touch and goes (or ‘circuits and bumps’) as part of the training procedure for fledgling pilots.

Runway resurfacing work at the nearby airfield at Hucknall resulted in Wymeswold being host to part of the Rolls Royce aircraft test-bed fleet between January 1955 and February 1956. Particularly significant among the Hunter F.1s and Canberras on Avon development flying were two Avro Ashtons – the first (WE670) had been modified with spray gear for icing trials by Napiers at Luton, made its first flight from Hucknall with an Avon RA14 under its belly, and duly landed at Wymeswold, from, where it was operated until February 1956. The ‘Conway’ Ashton (WB491), which had also been kitted out at Napiers, arrived in November 1955.

In the late ’50s, Field Aircraft Services obtained a number of overhaul contracts that were soon to bring a wide variety of exotically marked aircraft to Wymeswold. There began the overhaul of large numbers of European-based RCAF Sabres and T-33ANs (also the odd CF-100 Mk4.B Canuck) between early 1958 and late 1962. Another, brought a number of USAF and USN SC-54D Searchmasters and R5D-1s to be worked on in the lone ‘black’ hangar in the middle of the airfield. They were supplemented by numerous diverse civil contracts, involving Viking, C-47, Prince, President, Viscount, DC-4, DC-6, DC-7 and Marathon aircraft, as well as a lone Hudson CF-CRJ, which seemed to linger between March 1963 and May 1964.

A decision by Field Aircraft Services to move their operation to the newly constructed regional ‘East Midlands Airport’ at Castle Donington was to prove the beginning of the end for Wymeswold as an active airfield, and by the end of April 1969, only three aircraft remained; a DC-3 (G-AMYJ), a ‘Conair’ DC-7 (OY-DFR) and a ‘Bahamas Air’ Viscount (VP-BCD), of which the latter had been in evidence since early 1967.

Building No.6 Drawing No.7811/41 Picket Post (Sick Quarters)
Building No.3 Drawing No.7815/41 Ambulance Garage and Mortuary (Sick Quarters)
 


M&E Plinth (Sick Quarters)

Building No.53. Drawing no. 518/40 Control Tower – Airfield Site

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Collyweston ESA (RAF Wittering Bomb Store) – Part Two

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

Here are some more pictures from our recent explore at Collyweston ESA (RAF Wittering Bomb Store), the full write up and history can be found here
Note the Substation that is the size of a small car, someone has even tried to ‘remove’ that from the site…

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Collyweston ESA (RAF Wittering Bomb Store) – Part One

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

Built around 1955 as a Remote Weapons Store for RAFWittering after the airfield changed use over several years from a Fighter Station to a Bomber Command Station, now decommissioned and awaiting ‘Adaptive Reuse’,Collyweston ESA is a fascinating site set deep in the woods with an eerie silence across it, occasionally punctuated by calling Red Kites soaring high above the treetops.A Yarnold Sangar Pillbox with an extra section on it forms part of the gate defences adjacent to a Guard House, Sub Station, Mains Room and Admin buildings, various roadways open up and 10 Bomb Maintenance Buildings are located towards the front of the site, the revetted buildings reportedly for 1000lb High Explosive bombs and Cluster Bomb Units.

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!

Yarnold Sangar Pillbox

Bomb Maintenance Buildings
BL755 Cluster Bomb Storage

SNEB Rocket Storage
Igloo’s

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RAF Kings Cliffe/USAAF Station 367 – Part Two

August 16, 2010 | Posted in airfield, Battle Headquarters, BHQ, Kings Cliffe, RAF, USAAF Station 367 | By

Here are some more pictures from this visit to RAF Kings Cliffe/USAAF Station 367

Airfield & Technical Site. Fighter Pen (Building 112)
Airfield & Technical Site. Stanton Shelter
 Airfield & Technical Site. Control Tower for Night Fighter Stations (Building 79)
Airfield & Technical Site. Private Branch Exchange (Building 78)
 
Battle Headquarters (Building 90)
Fighter Pen, work area & Stanton Shelter

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