10 December 2011

RAF Tilstock

 RAF Tilstock was operational between September 1942 and March 1946. As 81 Operational Training Unit, originally under 93 Group Bomber Command, it provided training on Whitleys and Wellingtons.

In January 1944 Tilstock transferred to 38 (Airborne Forces) Group, providing special operations training and, in preparation for the D-Day invasions, Horsa glider training, using Stirlings as tugs.

Many of the 1940s buildings remain, including a labyrinthine single storey complex of interconnected small rooms. Mostly windowless, this has the feeling of a bunker, albeit above ground.

There are remnants of a ventilation system and, in one room, a communications frame. Literacy has clearly been a problem for some time (second photo). Outside this complex lies what looks like a belt for a stationary engine.

 A cluster of Nissen huts provides a feel for what it might have been like to be billeted here. In one stands, rather forlorn, a car waiting to have the depredations of the passing years polished out. It's understood to be a 1954 Sunbeam Talbot 90.

One runway is still used, for skydiving flights. The others were dug up and used as hardcore in the M54. The station's original control tower stands alone, boarded up. Just along the road from this, hard by abandoned Warren House, is what appears to be an air raid shelter.

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