Sunday, 11 September 2011

RAF Chilbolton, Hampshire

4 miles east of Stockbridge, Hampshire Chilbolton opened as a dispersed satellite airfield for RAF Middle Wallop. Middle Wallop was due on completion to be a bomber station but as war arrived and the Battle of Britain started, it was turned into a fighter Station. Chilbolton was then to be its satellite fighter station. Several fighter blast pens were placed around the perimeter of a grass airfield.

Hurricanes of No.238 Squadron were the first to arrive and fought many battles above Southampton, Portland, Dorchester and Yeovil.

As the war progressed Chilbolton was given an upgrade to an 'A' class airfield with three hard runways, two T2 hangars,
                    a B1 hangar and a full bomb store.

The Americans arrived with Thunderbolts for ground attack and fighter cover prior to D-day and later C47 Dakotas to bring back casualties from Normandy.

Stonefield Park was Site No.2 (Communal) and had the Officers, Sergeants mess's, NAAFI Institute, gymnasium, ablutions, latrines and many air-raid shelters. Most still remain even the squash court.

Airmen's Dining Room for 1804 men 3444/42 (193 on plan).

When the war ended the airfield had its first RAF jets with Vampires.

Then the jets left. Chilbolton went into Care & Maintenance, but Vickers Supermarine needed a flight test centre and moved here to test its planes like the Attacker. 

Next came Folland also to flight test their Midge and Gnat

which went on to be a very successful aircraft used all around the world and by the Red Arrows RAF display team.

Now closed but there is still a lot to see, my next trip is to find all the pillboxes. 

RAF Chilbolton, Hampshire link to web page.

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