Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Weekend Walk in Hampshire

This weekend three AIX members met up for an airfield walk in Hampshire.

First up was RAF Worthy Down, it has a long history right back to the Royal Flying Corps days. Started in Aug. 1917 and opened in Aug. 1918 as a wireless and observers school and had six aeroplane sheds like these below along with extensive accommodation and instructional buildings.

Between the wars it became a bomber station and as WW2 was drawing ever closer the Fleet Air Arm took over and it became HMS Kestrel.

During the Battle of Britain Worthy Down was bombed and also around this time Spitfire flight testing moved in from Eastligh.     
Whilst in Naval hands they erected 48 Dutch barns around the airfield as dispersed aircraft storage and we went to find their remains.

On the west side of the A34 were the largest group and walking the woods we found many of the foundations and also air-raid slit trenches that were laid out so in the event of an air attack, a short sprint to the nearest trench and you were safe!! The roadways are still showing their tarmac surfaces as well and one office and toilet survives. On the main airfield one Dutch barn is still standing proud out in the open and another very worst for wear is in woodland to the south.  

There are many pillbox defences around Worthy Down and we found several of them and possibly two Picket Hamilton Forts. These Forts would be flush with the airfield surface and on entering via a manhole in the top, it would be pumped up out of the ground and used as a normal pillbox.
Above : a Picket Hamilton Fort.

No comments:

Post a Comment