RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

I have covered the main history of RAF Old Sarum on my other pageRAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire. This section covers the airfield or Aerodrome site, the hangars and working areas.

Old Sarum Airfield was first established in 1917 as a TDS Training Depot Station for the Royal Flying Corps and then School of Army Cooperation from 1921. Old Sarum was developed as a permanent station as part of the RAF Expansion Scheme in the 1930’s, and continued to evolve and serve the Royal Air Force and then the Army as a key training station until the 1970’s. Today Boscombe Down Aircraft Collection is housed in two of the hangars, several small industries and the Territorial Army. The airfield site has now been closed as a airfield by the leaseholders of the airfield and closed down several flying schools and the cafe just before Christmas 2019.

Early Development 1917 – 1920 : -
The site for Old Sarum Airfield was selected in 1917, to provide facilities for a training station for the rapidly expanding Royal Flying Corps (RFC). Like many others of this period, the airfield was provided with a cluster of General Service Sheds and camp buildings. It was opened in August 1917 under canvas (as buildings were not finished) and was briefly known as ‘Ford Farm’ but very soon took instead the name of the much more distinguished local fortifications (due to Ford aerodrome opening in Hampshire). Its first task was to act as a training station for the formation of new day bomber squadrons which would ultimately be sent across the Channel to operate in France.

RAF : -
The Royal Air Force (RAF) was founded on 1 April 1918, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corp and Royal Naval Air Service. On the same day a new flying training unit was formed at Old Sarum to become the airfield’s principal resident unit. This was 11 Training Depot Station, whose task was the operational training of fresh aircrews.

At the end of World War I, Old Sarum was one of the few airfields which was not closed down as part of the post war run-down. In 1920, 11 Training Squadron was disbanded and preparations were made to turn the station into the permanent home of the RAF's School of Army Co-operation (S of AC).

WW2 : -
S of AC continued into WW2 aiding BEF in France, then the continuing build up through the middle years of the war and for D-Day. Old Sarum became the main concentration for RAF ground units to be used in the D-Day landings and beyond. The whole airfield (less a small landing strip) and also parts of Old Sarum Castle its self was used for the storage and waterproofing for vehicles for the landings.

Post war: -
School of Land/Air Warfare and joining them later the Joint Helicopter Development Unit and used Westland Whirlwinds. 1971 the airfield was transferred to the Army.

Closure as a military base :-
Closed in 1979 and sold off. In 1983 the manufacture of the Edgley Optica was started and then ended. The airfield has continued until an uncertain future for air craft in 2019, but the Museum BDAC is still very open for business.

Wiki

image

Hawker Audax.

image

Hawker Hind.

image

Hawker Hector.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

 

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
Air Ministry 603/32

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura
Plan A.M. 603/32

Details

95 - Camera Obscura
The plan of RAF Old Sarum in 1932 showing a lot of its First World war hangars and buildings before the expansion scheme had started after 1932.

image

Belfast Truss hangar.

image

Belfast Truss hangar inside.

image

Principal of a Belfast Truss design.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
10 October 2005

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

Looking down the row of hangars with the ARS Aircraft Repair Shed on the left and the later fuel instillation where tankers could park and off load their cargo of petrol. This is the WW2 instillation, the early type was in front of the first hangar with two Petrol Instillation (Aviation) 11 & 12 on the plan.

image

Hangar under construction.

image

Three double hangars and one single ARS Aircraft Repair Shed. Yellow square is the camera Obscura.

image

An early type of fuel bowser to re fuel aircraft around the airfield.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
16 October 2008

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

The Camera Obscura hut behind I think the oil instillation (WW2 or later).

image

 

image

 

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
16 October 2008

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura
95 Camera Obscura 527/31

Details

Camera Obscura hut entrance and one shuttered window. The Camera Obscura was a teaching aid to bomber pilots to hone their skills on before they go to drop on the ranges and then to war. A simple method of just skill full flying over the target airfield, then pin pointing the target building (the Obscura) and flashing a very bright light. Later on the Air Ministry used an Air Ministry Laboratory to do the same thing but all inside a specially made building.

image

AML bombing teacher.

image

Plan.

image

AML bombing teacher.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
24 September 2018

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

The hole in the roof..

image

How it worked.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
24 September 2018

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

Closer image of the hole..

image

How it worked.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
00-00-00

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

Camera Obscura looking inside and you can see the opening in the roof where the lens would have sat. A table would have taken up most of the floor space and around would have been Officers tabulating the bomb run and accuracy of the hits.

image

How it worked.

image

Hawker Audax.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
00-00-00

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

Shuttered window to keep out the light when being used.

image

 

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
00-00-00

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

The Camera Obscura in the roof. A square lid on the roof would slide back allowing light through the lens onto the table.

image

The Sqn score board in a bombing competition at practice camp.

image

Army Liaison officer checking the scores.

image

1930's air photo of RAF Old Sarum showing the camera obscura.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
Plan AM 3391/35

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

Drawing Number AP1243S.
This is a drawing of an AP1243A Camera Obscura showing the layout of the building. The same apparatus, i.e. the frame and lens, can be used in a tent.
Plan AM 3391/35 depicts a rectangular building 20ft x 10ft with two shuttered windows, one on each end wall. Part way down one wall is a 'Cat Ladder'. A sliding wooden cover 4ft 6inch square is mounted on rails on the roof next to the aperture.

Originated from AIX

image

 

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
16 October 2008

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

Here there is a steel ladder on the outside and three windows.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
06 October 2014 HVM

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

The following is gleaned from “I Saw Two England´s” by HV Morton, published in 1943 by Methuen & Co. Ltd., London, and Reginald Saunders, Toronto.
Morton toured England in early and late 1939. On his second tour, shortly after the beginning of the war he gave an account of a visit to the Royal Air Force Flying Training School. The following is an account of a method of training bomb-aimers:

“Another ingenious invention is the camera obscura hut, which tells the instructor whether a man in a bomber several thousand feet above him, has, in theory, bombed the hut. The place is dark save for a circle of light reflected (projected) upon a table through a lens in the roof. A spot in the centre on the table represents the hut" . “When an aeroplane is flying overhead you can watch its shadow (image) slowly cross the table, as it is reflected (projected) by the lens. As it nears the centre a tiny white flash is seen, which is really the firing of a magnesium bulb in the aeroplane. This represents the bomb, or rather the exact moment at which the bomber pressed the bomb-release". “The instant the flash is seen, it is plotted on the table. It is a simple matter to allow for the time taken for the bomb to drop according to the height of the plane, the angle at which it falls, according to the speed and wind, and this shows you how near, or how far, the bomber was from his target”.

(words in brackets are mine – SW)
This article was originally distributes as HVM Society Snippets – No.165; 29 March 2014.

image

Henry Vollam Canova Morton.

image

Lysander Army Co-operation..

image

AW Atlas of 16Sqn RAF.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
From a New Zealand unknown pilots Album 1930's

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

Hawker Audax biplane light bomber Army Co-operation.

image

Hawker Audax biplane.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
1930's RAF

Information

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

Details

RAF armourer loads light bombs.

image

RAF Officers and men outside a hangar at RAF Old Sarum.

RAF Old Sarum, Camera Obscura

image
From a New Zealand unknown pilots Album 1930's

Information

RAF Old Sarum

Details