RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Bolt Head
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
SW of Salcombe, Devon, United Kingdom
RAF Bolt Head is located in Devon
RAF Bolt Head
RAF Bolt Head
RAF Bolt Head, shown within Devon
Coordinates 50°13′24″N 003°48′21″W / 50.22333°N 3.80583°W / 50.22333; -3.80583Coordinates: 50°13′24″N 003°48′21″W / 50.22333°N 3.80583°W / 50.22333; -3.80583
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Air Ministry
Controlled by Royal Air Force
Site history
Built 1941
In use 1941-1945
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II

Royal Air Force Bolt Head or more simply RAF Bolt Head is a former Royal Air Force grass airfield 1 mile (1.6 km) south west of Salcombe on the south Devon coast, England from 1941 to 1945. During the Second World War it was used as a satellite for RAF Exeter. There were two runways, of 3,680 ft at 45° and 4,200 ft at 120°[1]

The Ground Control Interceptor Station, (GCI) RAF Hope Cove. was established nearby in 1941 to direct fighter operations in the English Channel.

Today the World War II buildings are almost all gone but a memorial to the airfield's war-time history exists in the centre of the site, two notable post-war buildings survive including a large R6 Rotor bunker (used until 1994 as a Regional Seat of Government) and a grass airstrip is still used occasionally by light aircraft. The landowners also hosted an air display there in 2009 which saw a Hurricane and Spitfire visit the airfield for the first time since the war.

RAF units and aircraft[edit]

Unit Dates Aircraft Variant Notes
No. 16 Squadron RAF 1940–1941 Westland Lysander III Detachments from RAF Weston Zoyland.[2]
No. 41 Squadron RAF 29 April-16 May 1944 & 24 May-19 June 1944 Supermarine Spitfire XII Attended APC Fairwood Common, 17–23 May 1944.[3]
No. 234 Squadron RAF 1944 Supermarine Spitfire VI [4]
No. 257 Squadron RAF 1942 Hawker Typhoon IA and IB Detachments from RAF Exeter.[5]
No. 263 Squadron RAF 1943 Westland Whirlwind I Detachments from RAF Warmwell.[6]
1944 Hawker Typhoon IB [6]
No. 266 Squadron RAF 1944 Hawker Typhoon IB [7]
No. 275 Squadron RAF 1944 Supermarine Spitfire VC Later moved to RAF Exeter with detachments back to Bolt Head.[8]
No. 276 Squadron RAF 1944 Various Detachment from RAF Portreath.[8]
No. 310 Squadron RAF 1942 Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC Detachments from RAF Exeter.[9]
No. 421 Squadron RCAF 1942 Supermarine Spitfire VB Detachments from RAF Exeter.[10]
No. 610 Squadron RAF 1943 Supermarine Spitfire VC [11]
No. 611 Squadron RAF 1944 Supermarine Spitfire IX [12]

The following units were here at some point:[13]

During the Second World War, 17 personnel operating from RAF Bolt Head were killed in action or died on active service.[14]



  1. ^ Arthur L. Clamp (1992). The Hope Cove Area during The Second World War 1939–1945. 
  2. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 29.
  3. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 38.
  4. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 75.
  5. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 79.
  6. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 80.
  7. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 81.
  8. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 82.
  9. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 85.
  10. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 91.
  11. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 99.
  12. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 100.
  13. ^ "Bolt Head". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  14. ^ http://www.devonheritage.org/Places/Malborough/AMemorialtotheFew-RAFBoltHead.htm


  • Howell, Christopher (2009) RAF Bolt Head (privately published, no ISBN)
  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr 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]