RAF Blakehill Farm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

RAF Blakehill Farm
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Cricklade, Wiltshire in England
Douglas Dakotas of No. 233 Squadron RAF lined up on the perimeter track at Blakehill Farm, Wiltshire, for an exercise with the 6th Airborne Division, 20 April 1944. CH12833.jpg
Dakotas of No. 233 Squadron RAF lined up on the perimeter track at RAF Blakehill Farm, for an exercise with the 6th Airborne Division, 20 April 1944
RAF Blakehill Farm is located in Wiltshire
RAF Blakehill Farm
RAF Blakehill Farm
Shown within Wiltshire
Coordinates51°37′20″N 1°53′20″W / 51.62222°N 1.88889°W / 51.62222; -1.88889Coordinates: 51°37′20″N 1°53′20″W / 51.62222°N 1.88889°W / 51.62222; -1.88889
Site information
OwnerAir Ministry
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Controlled byRAF Transport Command
Site history
Built1943 (1943)
In use1944-1952 (1952)
Battles/warsSecond World War
Airfield information
Runways
Direction Length and surface
00/00  Concrete
00/00  Concrete
00/00  Concrete
Aerial photograph of RAF Blakehill Farm, 17 July 1943. The technical and barrack sites are to the right (east) of the airfield.

Royal Air Force Blakehill Farm or more simply RAF Blakehill Farm is a former Royal Air Force station southwest of Cricklade in Wiltshire, England, operational between 1944 and 1952.

History[edit]

The station was originally allocated to the United States Army Air Forces Ninth Air Force but not used.[1] It opened in 1944 and was home for transport aircraft of No. 46 Group RAF Transport Command. In 1948 the airfield was a satellite of RAF South Cerney, and was used by training aircraft until the airfield closed in 1952 and was returned to agricultural use. The site is now a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve.[2]

Units and aircraft[edit]

Unit From To Aircraft Variant Notes
No. 233 Squadron RAF 5 March 194 8 June 1945 Douglas Dakota [3]
No. 271 Squadron RAF 26 February 1944 10 August 1945 Douglas Dakota
Harrow
Detachment from RAF Down Ampney[4]
No. 437 Squadron RCAF 1 September 1944 7 May 1945 Douglas Dakota Formed here[5]
No. 575 Squadron RAF 24 November 1945 31 January 1946 Douglas Dakota [6]
No. 22 Heavy Glider Conversion Unit RAF 1945 1945 Waco Hadrian I [7]
No. 2 Flying Training School RAF [8]
No. 109 (Transport) OTU RAF [8]
No. 1528 (Radio Aids Training) Flight RAF [8] Became No. 1555 (Radio Aids Training) Flight RAF
No. 1555 (Radio Aids Training) Flight RAF [8]

The following units were also here at some point:[8]

Post-war intelligence role[edit]

After the Second World War, GCHQ set up an "experimental radio station", a top secret research facility, on the site. It consisted of huge communications masts arranged in mysterious patterns in the middle of the old airfield. The site was still active in some capacity until the mid-1990s and traces of the former aerial mast bases can still be seen on satellite photographs.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ American Museum in Britain - Blakehill Farm
  2. ^ "Blakehill Farm including Stoke Common Meadow, Cricklade". Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  3. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 75.
  4. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 82.
  5. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 92.
  6. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 97.
  7. ^ Lake 1999, p. 129.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Blakehill Farm (Cricklade)". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  9. ^ http://www.gearthhacks.com/dlfile27075/GCHQ-Blakehill-Farm.htm
Bibliography
  • Jefford, C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.

External links[edit]