View Full Version : Shipton

27-09-2010, 17:57
in my book yorkshire airfields of ww2 in mentions a aircraft/airfield factory or sumart like that near the village. but was closed sumtime during the war. does any one know anything bout it and where it was

27-09-2010, 19:57
There are two adjacent sites in this area according to AS-4.

Plainville SE570600 was a scatter field used by Linton-on-Ouse until late 1941

Shipton SE550590 was a WWI site used by 76 Sqn. In September 1939 it became No.5 Salvage Centre, then 60MU - a Salvage and Repair unit for most of Yorkshire, since its neighbours were Newcastle and Newark. It recovered many aircraft from the Yorkshire Moors and Dales.

The site closed November 1945, the HQ moving to Rufforth Airfield.

27-09-2010, 20:31
Just to add to the information over load, if you look at G.Earth at the west side of Shipton you can see what looks like an old rail track into a moden I.E., and this lines up with the locations from Carnaby.



27-09-2010, 22:30
so it was a salvage yard for damaged aircraft then

27-09-2010, 22:43
Yes - last year an acquaintance contacted me re his 'discovery' of RAF Bynea - 78MU. I sent him the following info. (I suspect much of it was blatantly copied from an article by David Smith (Aviation News?) many years ago. Apologies Dave.

BEFORE World War 2, military aircraft crashes in Britain were normally dealt with by the nearest RAF station. Since the aircraft in service at that time were mainly small and of relatively flimsy construction, this rarely required any specialised knowledge or equipment. However, when war broke out, the expansion of aerial activity resulted in an enormous increase in accidents. Many of the aircraft could be repaired and returned to service, whilst the less fortunate machines could be stripped of any useful parts and melted down as valuable scrap. Accordingly, several specialist salvage units were formed, each split into a number of gangs led by an NCO, these scouring the countryside trying to cope with the rather large numbers of aircraft which crashed or force-landed.

The need for such an organisation had fortunately been anticipated and, on 19 September 1939, six Salvage Centres were formed:
No.l was based at Horsham in Surrey with the parent station at RAF Tangmere
No.2 at Cowley near Oxford parented by Abingdon
No.3 at Cambridge parented by Henlow
No.4 at Newark under Waddington
No.5 at York (Shipton) under Linton-on-Ouse
No.6 at Carluke in Lanarkshire, parented by Abbotsinch.

No.43 Salvage and Repair Group

In the interests of security, it was decided by the Air Ministry that, from 4 October 1939, the term 'Salvage Centre' would be dropped and that the units would be renumbered within the normal system for Maintenance Units. Thus, No.l became No.49 MU, No.2 became No.50 MU, No.3 became No.54 MU, No.4 became No.58 MU, No.5 became No.60MU, and No.6 became No.63 MU.

From 7 October 1940 operational control of salvage was administered by a section of No.43 Group (Maintenance), known as No.43 Group Salvage, with a headquarters at the Morris Motor Works in Cowley. This administrative headquarters later moved to Magdalen College, Oxford where a plaque now commemorates the wartime association.

There were overlaps in coverage but some of the units were responsible for vast areas of the country. This resulted in the formation of additional MUs to fill the gaps and to spread the workload more equitably. No.83 MU formed at Woolsington, Newcastle on 26 July 1940 whilst No.78 MU opened at Bynea, South Wales in late 1940. The latter was a civilian-manned unit, parented initially by No.34 MU which itself had formed at Shrewsbury on 1 March 1940. The south-west was covered by No.67 MU whose base throughout the war was Winchelsea's Garage in Taunton, the south Midlands by No.65 MU at Blaby, Leicester, and the north of Scotland by No.56 MU at Inverness. Lancashire and Cheshire were the responsibility of No.75 MU at Wilmslow whilst Nos.71 and 86 MUs formed at Slough and Sundridge in Kent, respectively, to reinforce the teams in the Home Counties. In addition, No. 11 Repair and Salvage Unit at Mullusk was to be responsible for crashes in Northern Ireland, and RAF Jurby for those in the Isle of Man.

By 1941, methods of dealing with the thousands of tons of scrap had been perfected. Taking aircraft made by the Bristol Aeroplane Company as an example, each wreck was brought to a central depot where it was carefully examined by a company inspector. Such major portions as fuselages, which could be used again, had the damaged parts removed and replaced by those from other crashed aircraft which had suffered in a different manner, a process that was universally known as 'cannibalisation'. If, however, repair was not considered practical, the part was chalk-marked 'R to P' (Reduce to Produce) and was then stripped down to components. Each was then checked by a qualified inspector who passed it as usable or otherwise and the former were issued to various MUs throughout the country.

There was always a surfeit of some parts which never seemed to get damaged, however serious the crash might be, and these were sold back to Bristol for use on production machines! It was said that even the most hopeless-looking pile of metal scraped from some field would yield at least 20 per cent of its parts for further service, and thus save precious wartime man-hours.

Each salvage MU had its own particular difficulties, those located in the remoter areas of the UK obviously being most severe. In the flatter parts of England, basic salvage was easier but where dairy farming predominated great efforts had to be made to remove every scrap of metal from pasture-land so that they would not find their way into a cow's delicate interior! Coastal mudflats and marshes presented their own problems, usually because it was impossible to approach crash sites with vehicles and lifting equipment.

Hope this is useful.


Dave Smith
28-09-2010, 17:00
Yep, Graham, sounds like my stuff, especially that "cow's delicate interior" bit! At least the notes are accurate, unlike some of the rubbish I committed to print. In good faith, I might add, but it was early days for airfield research.

28-09-2010, 19:37
At least the notes are accurate, unlike some of the rubbish I committed to print. In good faith, I might add, but it was early days for airfield research.
Yours were cutting edge articles at the time Dave. Some errors no doubt (I've never noticed any), but great stuff. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but your Aviation News article on 'How to do the PRO' (now TNA) was what got me off my backside into serious research.


Paul Francis
29-09-2010, 20:33
Yours were cutting edge articles at the time Dave. Some errors no doubt (I've never noticed any), but great stuff. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but your Aviation News article on 'How to do the PRO' (now TNA) was what got me off my backside into serious research.

Agree with that 100%. Dave Smith, Aldon Ferguson and Ron Blake were the key authors that really inspired as far as airfield history, architecture and serious research is concerned and in my opinion, they set the standard all those years ago which is still hard to beat even today.

29-09-2010, 21:27
As per previous post, the Shipton MU is thill there, now used for a courier company as far as i know. Its on Station Road just before you go over the railway line on the right hand side, good view of it on google streetview, I'd post a link, but cant get it to work!

30-09-2010, 08:12
This one; or the one opposite? (Rotate view 180 degrees)


David Thompson
30-09-2010, 11:04
That's it . There was a big fire there back in the 80's and the site was razed to the ground possibly destroying any evidence of wartime buildings ? I have some notes somewhere and will try and find them .

David Thompson
30-09-2010, 11:42
Found it ! The fire was in August 1987 and destroyed 3 warehouses , the site then being owned by Flowers of York a transport and storage company . They went into receivership in June 1991 and the site was for sale and advertised as having 92,076 square feet of warehousing and office space .

30-09-2010, 12:35
Found it !
Very impressed - Well done David. When I say 'I have some notes somewhere' we are talking of month!. And I don't have a wife and kids to hide things http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/images/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif.


29-12-2010, 20:39
I was born in the village and the site of the old MU was our "playground".
I remember the air raid shelters and the one very large red brick hangar, still standing even after the fire in the 1980s
The water tower was on the right hand side of the gate and the accomodation huts on the left hand side of the main entrance, accessed from Station Lane.
This is the same entrance used today for the vehicles using this depot to store materials.
In the field behind the hangar, accessed down Burrell lane from the village was the firing range where we dug up rounds out of the sandy earth.
Unfortunately this is the only item remaining from its role as 66 MU RAF.

29-09-2012, 14:54
This is my first posting and I hope it will not be considered inappropriate for this forum.
I am trying to identify a disused air force camp near York which after WW2 became York Mushroom Farm. The owner was George Fort, a demolition contractor who lived in York and my father worked for him between c1949 and 1951. We lived next door to Mr Fort's house just outside the Walmgate, York
I have 2 photos, one shows rows of wooden huts and the other some larger buildings with concrete water towers. The information about Shipton by Beningborough in the book Yorkshire Airfields in the Second World War by Patrick Otter WW2 suggests that this might have been the location.
Can anyone help please?
Thank you

29-09-2012, 15:06
Taken c1950 these are photos of York Mushroom Farm - can anyone identify the location please?

David Thompson
29-09-2012, 20:10
The combination of wooden and concrete huts reminds me of the accommodation sites at Full Sutton , to the east of the airfield in the Gowthorpe Field area .

I found this interesting link of a mushroom farm owned by W/C Stanford Tuck taken in Kent in 1958 . The methods used may well be similar to those in 1950 ;

Get in touch with the Archives and Local History section of York Library who may be able to help ;
archives@york.gov.uk <archives@york.gov.uk>

30-09-2012, 02:06
My initial thought was Acaster Malbis, but can't quite find a match on the hut arrangement on GE

30-09-2012, 06:59
My thought is that it could have been one of the dispersed accommodation sites for York airfield but without a Record Site Plan (RSP) it is not possible to suggest sites due to the post-war development housing.

30-09-2012, 10:04
The huts are in neat lines - something that generally wasn't done in WWII dispersed site construction.

30-09-2012, 18:07
used to live on 'clifton airfield' , the accomodation blocks were either where current day 'Harrow Glade' is which I believe were the medical buildings were, or on the the fields to the south east of the hangars used as grain storage, neither of which ssem to have such a steep slope as depicted in the first picture, I'll ask my father in law re: full sutton as he was stationed there., as a thought and due to the neatness of the huts, what about a POW camp? using google earth from the nearby road, you can get a similar view to the long range pics of the Thirkleby camp jst north of York on the A19?

30-09-2012, 18:22
... Thirkleby camp just north of York on the A19?
Picture here:

03-10-2012, 22:15
Thank you all for the informative replies giving me more places to investigate. I had assumed that the airfield was disused when it became a mushroom farm and hadn't considered the possibility that it might have still been in use for flying.

The clip of the mushroom farm was very interesting and the methods used sounded similar to the stories I heard.

I should have mentioned that I have been in touch with York archives. They did a free 15 minute search and drew a blank in directories, newspapers and their card index. I visited in person earlier this year and went through their collection of city directories etc but found no trace of a mushroom farm.

I also visited the library at North Allerton hoping to find a directory for a wider area but they have no Kelly's directories for the 1950s. They referred me to the Archives but as I had not booked I couldn't access the records there and ran out of time.

I am so grateful to all you for your assistance, sadly there is no one alive to ask for more information.