RAF Kings Cliffe/USAAF Station 367 – Part Two

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

RAF Kings Cliffe/USAAF Station 367 – Part One

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 🙂

Airfield & Technical Site. Fighter Pen (Building 112)
Airfield & Technical Site. Fighter Pen
Airfield & Technical Site. Sleeping Shelter
Airfield & Technical Site Mushroom Type Pill Box (Building 91)
Battle Headquarters (Building 90)
3ft High & Rising inside the BHQ
Airfield & Technical Site. Sleeping Shelter and Gun Post (Building 81a)
Bunk Bed Mounts inside Building 81a
Airfield & Technical Site. Private Branch Exchange (Building 78) 
Airfield & Technical Site. Control Tower for Night Fighter Stations (Building 79)
Mechanical and Electrical Plinth
Fighter Pen Stanton Shelter
Callender-Hamilton Hangar door rail
Motor Transport Repair Sheds
Airfield & Technical Site. Sub Station
Airfield & Technical Site. Sub Station Transformer
Glenn Miller Memorial

Bunker Fest Week

The last 7 days have been a bit of a Bunker Fest and it’s time for a little rest. Last Thursday my explorer buddy and I visited six ROC Posts and a Battle HQ and then this week I have hit up something every single night on the way home (actually there was 2 ROC Posts on Wednesday night..).

Last night I promised myself I would go straight home but I ended up making a short diversion and hitting up a really neat Battle HQ and a cracking Cantilevered ‘Mushroom’ Pillbox instead and found a whole pile more stuff to check out. It’s not Cold War so not really my MO but the place has an interesting vibe about it….watch this space.

Total for this weeks explores:

10 ROC Posts
2 Battle HQ’s
1 Mushroom Pillbox

Another neat thing this week has been a new kit bag, normally I use a rucksack but these are a pain in the ass in confined spaces like tunnels and access shafts and I’ve been wanting something different. I found what I was looking for in the shape of a Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger. The theory with the Gearslinger series is a single shoulder backpack that can be rotated to the front of the body without removing it as well as providing access to all the compartments, perfect for the challenges of exploring.

Its been tried out in various bunkers and underground locations and I love it 🙂

RAF Market Harborough Battle HQ

Explored with Winch It In

This wasn’t the main objective of the day (a list of ROC Posts were) and I’m not big on WW2 Defences but it would have been rude to drive past this so we stopped for a quick nosey.

Site: RAF Market Harborough.

Opened – 1943
Closed – 1947

Units stationed at RAF Market Harborough:

No 1683 (Bomber) Defence Training Flt (3 Feb – 1 Aug  1944)
No 92 Group (1944)
No 26 Air Crew Holding Unit (21 Aug 1945 – 18 Sep 1946)
No 113 Storage Sub-site, No 273 Maintenance Unit (Feb 1946 – 5 Oct 1949)

RAF Market Harborough was mainly used as an Operational Training Unit throughout it’s active days with No. 14 OTU flying Vickers Wellingtons, Airspeed AS.10 Oxfords, Hawker Hurricanes and some Curtiss P-40 Tomahawks from No.1683 Bomber Defence Training Flight.

Today very little of the main airfield survives as a lot of the site has now been demolished to make way for a Business Park.

The control tower and all of the technical site was demolished to make way for HMP Gartree which opened in 1965.

The Battle Headquarters is a TYPE 11008/41, the room layout is pretty much the same
in all of these and this has the usual OP, Main Office, PBX Room, Messenger Room and Toilet.

Some internal fittings remain and despite the farmers attempt at burying the HQ all rooms are still accessible, as are the hatches, albeit with some ‘interesting’ floor levels. The main Escape Hatch still has an intact ladder with a clear entry to the main rooms and the other escape hatch is also still open but partially buried. The wooden door to the Elsan Chemical toilet is still in place too.

Despite evidence of some flooding the entire Battle HQ was damp but free of standing water.