RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Bolt Head

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As the RAF in WW2 went into its second phase, from defending Britain to attacking occupied France. About six bombers and many fighters was called a Ramrod – short range bomber attacks to destroy ground targets, similar to Circus attacks. They would range far & wide over France, really to annoy and to shoot down as many German fighters as possible. Bombers used were, first Blenheims and then Mitchell´s, several Stirling´s also went out. The Spitfire of the time did not have that much endurance so needed to be stationed as close to France as possible. An advanced landing ground was needed in Devon to reach Brittany and set on top of a cliff was Bolt Head. The runways had to fit into the lay of the land and so does not conform to a standard RAF 'A' type airfield layout. Work started in the summer of 1942 with two grass runways. As time went on the runways were over laid with 'Army' tracking and the aircraft parking area in 'Bar & Track'. Hutting was also built around the N/W side of the airfield, five tarmac circular dispersals and two Blister hangars were constructed. The aircraft came and went and at first RAF Exeter was the home station and one of its Spitfire squadrons would spend a month at a time rotating 'In the country'.

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Spitfire.

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Spitfire.

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Typhoon.

RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Bolt Head

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Opened as a fighter aerodrome 1941 - Closed 1947.
2 x Blister hangars.
5 - Fighter Aircraft Circular Dispersals.
Runways - Army tracking. Also extended with Bar & Track.
RAF - 474.
WAAF - 133.
Accommodation - Temporary.
Mostly - Spitfires and Typhoons.
Also - Lysander, Whirlwind, Anson & Warwick.

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Army tracking runway surface.

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Two Blister hangars were erected for servicing.

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Five circular dispersals for fighter aircraft were installed as well.

RAF Bolt Head

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1943

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RAF Bolt Head
Air photo

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A nice 1943 reconnaissance photo of the airfield.

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RAF Bolt Head

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Plan

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RAF Bolt Head
Plan

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In the join between the two runways and the cross over road' was filled in with a tarmac surface. That is still there today and used as a car park.

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Plan

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Typhoon's rockets.

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Loading rockets.

RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Bolt Head
The tarmac crossover.

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Looking almost due east down the E/W runway with the NE/SW left & right.

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Plan

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RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Bolt Head
Technical site

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43 ----- Store
49 ----- Aviation Petrol instillation 'A' type.
50/51 - Over Blister Hangars.
64 ----- Fighter dispersal F3.
114 ---- Small arms ammunition store with a berm of earth on one side as a blast wall.
The plan I have the numbers and wording is not clear enough to give more details.
Bar & Rod tracking comes in 12ft x 3ft sections and is quite heavy and tough. It sits on the grass and the next section slots together with a sort of tongue and slider.

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Bar & Rod tracking section 12ft x 3ft.

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Yellow - the Tongues.
Red the sliders to hook into the tongue of the next panel.

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Army tracking.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head

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The airfield today.

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RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Bomb store.

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I think this may have been used as a bomb store of some kind.

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Plan.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Bomb store.

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Another view of a small window or defence embrasure for a rifle??

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Attaching 60lb rocket heads to shafts and tail units.

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Loading a Typhoon.

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Four 60lb rockets firing.

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A Panther with its turret blown off by a salvo of rockets..

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Bomb store.

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Looks like some sort of rear opening.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Bomb store.

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The concrete lump may have had a metal spike set into it and used as a lightening conductor.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Bomb store 2.

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The second building, an original farm barn converted with concrete 'A' section blast wall around it.

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Plan.

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Bombing up a fighter.

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Spitfire with two 500 & one 1000lb bomb.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Bomb store 2.

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This shows the 'A' section was panelled in concrete sheets and earth placed between.

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Loading a Spitfire.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Bomb store 2.

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A better view of the 'A' section.

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Armourers at work on a .303 Browning.

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Armoury issuing items.

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.303 belted rounds.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Bomb store 2.

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Looking inside but nothing to see I am afraid.

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Bomb trolley.

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WAAF's.

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RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head

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Parts of the runway surfacing left lying around.

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Laying down tracking.

RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Lasham. 04 June 2006

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RAF Bolt Head

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12ft x 3ft Bar and Rod tracking at RAF Lasham.

RAF Bolt Head

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RAF Lasham. 04 June 2006

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RAF Bolt Head

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The fittings of Bar & Rod tracking to join two sections together.

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Laying out a runway.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head

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More parts of the runway surfacing left lying around.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Nissen style hut?

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Base of a hut.

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Inside a hut that may have been here.

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Nissen Hut.

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Nissen Hut.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head
Handcraft hut.

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Handcraft Hutting was an asbestos/cement cranked sheeting that could easily be bolted together making a good weather proof hut. Brick up the ends with door and windows and inside some plasterboard or soft board lining, a stove, a very small supply of coal and hay ho a nice worm living accommodation. I am sure that is what the WAAF's and Erks would tell you now.

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How they looked inside.

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Handcraft Hut.

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Handcraft Hut.

RAF Bolt Head

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Air 29-293' Target aerials

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RAF Bolt Head
Rhubarb attack on Brest Lanveoc/Poulmic Airfield 25.10.43.

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The main picture gives an idea of a report that would have been written after every raid on enemy territory.

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RAF Mitchells.

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RAF Bolt Head

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Air 29-293' Target aerials

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RAF Bolt Head

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A Spitfire at Bolt Head. Note the bell tent under its right wing.

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Arming and checking a Spitfire before take off..

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Trundling out to the runway.

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Flying on a mission.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head

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A Spitfire at Bolt Head. Note the bell tent under its right wing.

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Erks the boys that do all the work.

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RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head

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A Beaufighter being readied at Bolt Head.

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Fuel bowser.

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Petrol instillation meter.

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Fire crew.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head

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This is post airfield and brings us into the cold war with the Type R6 Rotor/Radar station.

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Type R6 Rotor/Radar station.

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Hope Cove modulator building.

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How the Hope Cove modulator building would have looked with a radar fitted. But at Hope Cove it was never fitted.

RAF Bolt Head

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03 May 2009

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RAF Bolt Head

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A Hurricane that just happened to be parked on one of our visits..