09 December 2010

Cockshutt, Then Sleap At Dusk

Cockshutt ROC post was decommissioned in 1968 and is now welded closed. The ingress of air and fallout has been improved by the cutting of ventilation slots in the access hatch.

Nearby Sleap, pronounced "Slape", is an operational airfield, utilised by Shropshire Aero Club. From 1943 to 1964 it was an RAF base, a satellite to RAF Tilstock. No. 81 operational training unit flew Whitley bombers here, at times at night. In early 1944 these were used to tow Horsa troop gliders on practice missions in advance of D-Day; and from November that year replaced with Wellingtons.

The club's bar and cafĂ©, in the control tower, is named after Flt Lt Eric Lock DSO, DFC and Bar, born in Bayston Hill. Lock was the most successful British-born pilot of the Battle of Britain, during which he shot down 16½ enemy aircraft - one 'kill' was shared with another pilot.

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