Apologies for the hiatus, I have been very sick for a while, some kind of mystery illness that wiped me out for a few weeks, possibly caused by some unclassified primordial ooze bacteria that I disturbed a mile underground, or maybe just a virulent generic ‘bug’ that’s doing the rounds, either way it sucks being so ill….
Explored in glorious 29 degree heat, this place has seen it all, starting in 1916 with the Royal Flying Corps, 70 Wing RAF in 1939 then in 1950 the Strategic Air Command arrived and a long string of Bomber/Fighter/Tactical squadrons followed.
All sorts has flown out of here, some of the more notable being Convair B-36 Peacemakers, B-52 Stratofortress, Lockheed U-2 Spy Planes, F-101 Voodoo’s, Phantoms and General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark’s involved in numerous combat operations such as Libya and Operation Desert Storm.
Victor Alert QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) Hardened Shelters
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!