The Explorers Thread

Discussion in 'Barracks' started by Kitty, May 11, 2009.

  1. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Simple idea, you explore somewhere, take photos, post them here and do a little report on it. First one for you is an explore I did about 5 years ago now, RAF Cranage-Byley in Cheshire.

    A lovely little airfield built for the second world war, primarily as a school of navigation (Number 7 or 9) and associated airfield for the testing of Vickers Wellingtons medium bombers built close by.

    Home to a night fighter squadron during the Blitz to protect Manchester, Liverpool and Chester predominantly, being directly under the main German flight line.

    Ended its active service role as an American satellite base in the 50's before closure. Many of the unique buildings were then demolished, and an attempt to destroy the unique air raid shelters was made by Blaster Bates.

    The runways, being sommerfeld tracking, we removed after the war, then the M6 motorway was passed through the edge of the site, cutting off where the runways ended.
    In the last 3 years permission was given by John bleeding Prescott to allow a gas storage plant in the middle of the site, pumping waste gas direct into the salt strata beneath. This is only there because of a major geological fault line. Experts predict that when it goes bang the explosions will go from Manchester, down through cheshire then curve off into Stoke. Will be one hell of a firework display.

    The main drive into the camp. The concrete bollards are the post supports for the vehicle pool building.

    Entrance to one of the bomb shelters. From old plans I know these were evenly spaced between the camp huts. The design of these shelters is unique to this site.

    Two concrete plinths. unknown what these were for but there were several on the site at the time of visiing in 2005/6. A complete air raid shelter is in the background.

    One of Blaster bates attempts to demolish a shelter. I understand after this he gave up.
  2. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    The only remaining section of taxiway on the airfield. Also only 50 or so yards from the point where the completed bombers were hauled onto the airfield for flight tests.

    Further along this track is the machine gun nest, defendign the control centre for the airfield in case of attack. The CC is one of only about half a dozen left in the country. Unfortunately high water tables means all of these buildings can't be accessed.

    The back ground level entrance to the CC. A secondary entrance direct to the viewing tower is on the roof to the right of the tower. Inside a small square hole between the two levels allowed communication quickly, as well as a passage bewteen the two.

    M6 from the viewing tower.
  3. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    The Bellman hangar of the Wimpy factory near by, now used as a 24hr logistics depot. The track from the factory to the airfield has long since been lifted. Only change is a new skin. These hangars are BIG

    Two little Nissen Huts on the logistics/factory site. Now home to a small business. if you ask nicely at the entrance security gatehouse, they'll get you permission to go down to these.

    The old smithy in Cranage village. The grey tiles on the upper right corner were replacements after an aircraft hit it trying to take off in '42.

    A smaller Bellman Hanger, used to add all the finishing touches to the Wimpeys before they could be flown. Just next to Cranage primary school.
  4. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    One of about half a dozen pillboxes around the site, but the most easily accessed. Gives a fantastic view of the fields where the runways were if stood on top of. The track, which was a boundary road, is now a dead end track since the M6 went in.

    The Night Shed, used by Engineers doing final checks on all Wimpeys and nightfighters on the night shift before and after take off. Its lost one end wall as seen here, but basically its complete. At the end of the dead end track, next to the M6 now.

    Last but not least a mystery structure. Shaped as a large magnifying glass on the ground, its end is literally the access point off the perimeter road. Three of these are recorded on a plan of the site during the war, however it has yet to be identified. The centre is just a hole filled with crap now, but as it is about 25ft approx across in the circle, it is mooted right now it may be an AA base.

    And thats the end of the tour. I have many more photos, unfortunately I don't think the main camp area is accessible since the gas storage plant went in. And some of what is shown here may have been bulldozed, however i think most of the shelters are still intact.
    If you want to visit the CC please ask for permission at the local farm shop. If asked they don't seem to mind you wandering around.
  5. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    There is a camp, suppossedly used for Italian POWs (I say suppossedly because it doesn't appear on the available POW camp lists but I am still researching it) in the Midlands.



  6. David Layne

    David Layne Active Member

    Nice thread Kitty.

    The plinths, to me seem very familiar. A swag would be that they are the support structure for a tank that contained liquid. As you say there were several on the site perhaps they contained fuel and were scattered around the airfield as a safety precaution.

    Does anyone know if the aircraft's fuel was stored in above or below ground tanks?

    Edit, on further reflection I do not think the plinths would be big enough to hold fuel however I still feel that they are supports for liquid containing tanks. Maybe water for fire fighting.
  7. David Layne

    David Layne Active Member

    No wonder the plinths seemed familiar! Here are pictures of how our 3000 gallon gas tanks are mounted.
  8. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Hmm i think you may be on to something there. Possibly for water though. They aren't very far a part however, we originally wondered if they held some kind of gun, but discarded that one. could be tanks. Cheers for that one. Still no-one got a clue on the spy glass structure though, That is confusing a lot of people.

    There was one last image I forgot to post. The local churchyard.

  9. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Lowry is a closed Air Force Base in suburban Denver that is being redeveloped into a network of businesses, schools, and new urbanist housing developments. The base was closed by BRAC in 1994, and buildings began being demolished in 1996. Lowry started out in WWII, and was a bomber base for a few years after the war. In 1958, it became the first Titan 1 ICBM base, and six launch complexes were built in an 18-mile radius around Lowry, each with a massive underground launch facility and three missile silos. The Titan 1 missile program was cancelled in 1965.

    I didn't do this ... but a few years ago we followed this trail .... the boys and I were all over the place .... my photos didn't turn out very well though !! :doh:

    Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Colorado: Northeastern Denver area

    Lowry AFB, Colorado
  10. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Phwoar, i wouldn't mind a gander around this one. Looks a lot like the buildings that are at Burtonwood, with the American style blisters.
  11. David Layne

    David Layne Active Member

    I'm wondering if your "spyglass" is the area they took the aircraft to "swing" the compass.
  12. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Wonderful thread, Kitty, and great pics guys.
  13. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    We did wonder that one. I think current thinking is tween the swinging of the compass, however there is a big hole in the middle so unless there was some kind of turntable inserted I don't know, and the other posibility right now is a mobile gun emplacement as there were 3 of them on the boundary of the airfield. Its a damn nuisance, noone seems to know
  14. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    This thread is starting to sound like Time Team.

    We discussed this previously at another place didn't we?

    I remember a few photos.
  15. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Where in relation to the runways is the 'spyglass'?
  16. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    I've had to plug in the external hard drive now to try and locate the scanned in airfield map.

    The spy glass itself is the one at the top right of this first image by the number 16 View attachment 3277

    This is the other half of the airfield, with the others marked on the boundary areas. The runways were Summerfeld tracking View attachment 3278

    Can tell I've fallen in with Trespassers, I'm using Flashearth now. The X is in the centre of the spyglass. Move south to the wooded/marshy area and thats where all of the airraid shelters/barracks were.

    Main barracks area. The little rectangle buildings are whats above ground of the airraid shelters.

    Remnants of the taxiways for the Wimpy bombers.

    Command Centre and Machine gun nest

    Looks to be another section of taxiway/drive left

    X is on the Night shed

    Bellman hangars of the Wimpy factory

    Smaller Bellman type hangar used to add the finishing touches to the WImpy's.
  17. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Hmm, all around the perimeter.
  18. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Me 163B airfields: Wittmundhafen

    Wittmundhafen Airbase in Germany sometime during WW2. Something look familiar?

    The coordinates - it has completely changed now

    And here's a picture of a Spitfire being "swung"


    RAF Davidstow Moor Site 1 Airfield


    Attached Files:

  19. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    That'll be it then.
  20. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Very similar, but my worry is that it has a track to the perimeter fence! Why have a track to that when it wasn't really needed?

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