View Full Version : Chedworth
I thought I'd share these pictures of RAF Chedworth near Cirencester as taken in the autumn of 2005. The road through the site is part of the perimeter track and affords good views of the old airfield. There are a few buildings remaining and the runway, although overgrown with grass, appears to be reasonably intact. The airfield is about two miles further up the road from Rendcombe. I believe the airfield was a Spitfire OTU. I'd be interested to know more.
Thanks for posting the pics. If pic 2 is the runway it looks like quite a hump in it or is it just the camera angle?
I think it's just the angle. Spent most of my youth up there and the runways are pretty flat.
First pic looks like the hanger in the eastern corner where the battle HQ is in the woods. Shame it's flooded now but you could get into it when I was a kid. There also a couple of air raid shelters, a latrine block and flight office still there if I recall. There even some old bicycle parking racks I remember.
Third pic is the old flight Offices and workshops and it was also the station chapel.
Fourth and fifth - how can I forget :D That used to be our Scout Hut for years :D It's the old armoury and I used to drive my parents nuts coming home with pocket full of spent and live .303 rounds that we'd occasionally find. Certainly kept granddad busy making them inert. The other bulding that runs 90 degrees to it off the side (and is now a wood sawing shop) use to be the station headquarters.
Ah the memories. :)
I've got a load of photos somewhere, some of buildings long since gone.
Armoury with attached SAA stores!
I am sorry to say that the Blister hangar has succumbed to age & weather. The roof has collapsed in the middle. Another lost Blister. I could not take a photo as by the time I arrived there it was too dark. The armoury is still in good condition, why can I not afford to convert it to a house!!??
Aerial view in 2008 by DJA
Remembered this link I had bookmarked. Little story about Chedworth. The mention of the Radar unit was interesting I thought.
http://www.theoddbods.org/Yarns/I_Never ... s_Name.htm (http://www.theoddbods.org/Yarns/I_Never_Got_His_Name.htm)
I really need to dig out my box of negatives and see what pictures I've got of Chedworth. My father probably has a ton from the late 70's when we used the Armoury as a Scout hut and I remember we used to muck around in the now gone WAAF site so he may have some pictures of that.
OneEighthBit, surely you dont keep your old negs in a shoebox? Me thinks you need to sort em out asap and start posting a few - you might have a pic of the tower! We like towers on here.
Near as dammit a shoebox. I had a ton of photos from just shooting anything and everything as a kid but a lot of the prints got lost over the years for various reasons. I had a quick "hold up to the light" session the other night and there's a few interesting ones so I just need to get them reprinted or scanned somehow (does anyone do prints from 35mm negs any more?).
Don't have a picture of Chedworth's tower I'm afraid unless you count the grainy aerial where you can just make out it's shape. The only clear aerial I have of Chedworth is while it's in the process of being built and the tower hasn't even been erected yet!
Scan them, no need to print by the old method.
From another thread
...RAF Chedworth - I think the USAAF were there for a while.
According to the Capt Barry Anderson document. the 125th Liason Squadron were there. No AAF number was allocated.
Thought you might find this of interest:
Yes it is interesting, nice to see that the village appreciates its WW2 heritage.
Shame it has to go though, in a Consevation Area too, surprised the Conservation officer agreed with the owner though - all for the sake of of a couple of horses!
Well as the article says the hut is in poor condition and dangerous and not on the original site any more anyway. That and they are so ubiquitous that it's not like it's the last remaining example of it's kind.
There are certainly a good few huts in situ on the airfield that need protecting more than this one.
On another thread (http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?4409-In-Gloucestershire-any-sites-we-need-visiting), OneEighthBit said,
- Did an off-the-cuff interview and guided tour of Chedworth for a reporter from BBC Gloucestershire. Rambled on for about and hour and managed to mention AIX/ARG but it may well get edited down to five minutes of coherent info. We toured a lot of the site and we talked about what the buildings were, their condition and so on. Wasn't too happy with the pictures he took of me. Time to get to a gym I think... :grin:
- Also at Chedworth, visited the old WAAF site hidden in the woods and was amazed to discover it almost like a time warp. Paint, rendering, wiring, lap fittings all still intact. Even the old boiler and plumbing still in place. Found a mug stamped "NAAFI" and a shell casing. Was sad to see so much had succumbed to the winter weather. So much lost in the last 2½ years :sad:Wondered where the WAAF site is? Lots of woodland to the north and noticed that this location (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=51.81937969273587&lon=-1.9521814584732056&gz=18&oz=8>=1) may contain ex RAF buildings.
No, that's the communal site where the gym, cinema, etc. was. The WAAF site is somewhere else. I'm a bit loathed to give the exact location in a public forum because I'd hate too many people to disturb it. I'll PM you the location if you want. If the graffiti on the walls is to be believed no-ones been to the really been to the site since 1996 probably because the copse around it has grown up so fast it's completely concealed it from view.
Popped up to Chedworth today,just to get some photos and to see how the buildings were faring,the old blister hangar went last year and has been replaced by a modern barn,other than that the "obvious "buildings are still standing
inside the previous building
Not much seems to have changed over the last year or so.
Its good to see more photo's of Chedworth on here again, its a grand place to be on a warm sunny day, thanks Mark, I try to get up there two or three times a month to walk the dog round the peri track etc, its got quite a "parkland" feel to it with its mature oaks.
OEB, did you ever find those old photo's of yours? would love to see what youve got, looks like i missed you the last time you were back,we really must catch up sometime.
http://www.atlantikwall.co.uk/atlantikwall/gloucester/chedworth01/html/page01.htm WAAF site pictures with the sick quarters and petrol instillation (aviation) site.
Ricasso, yeah I was over about a month ago but it was just a quick pass through and didn't really get any time for airfield or bunker hunting. I got about 30 mins to go and photograph the Nissen hut at Stoke Orchard. I did mean to try and mail you and let you know I was over as I wanted to see where the tip was.
I found a few old pics of Chedworth but can't seem to find the one's from the 80's though they must be somewhere in the loft. I found a handful from the time when the armoury was the Scout Hut but annoyingly the buildings are just out of shot. :( Shame as I know I had one that showed a bit of what was left on the technical site.
Oh one general comment. I bumped into someone works up a Chedworth while I was over and while chatting they commented that they'd had to stop a lot of people of late walking on the land "airfield exploring" away from the public footpaths. The copse around the WAAF site seems to be the worst problem at the moment and it's a sensitive site as there are a couple of protected species located there. It was alluded too that if people can't keep out it'll have to be fenced off to comply with the wildlife and countryside act.
OEB, I know what you mean about people wandering through the woods, their rearing pheasants at the moment and knowing a lot of the keepers in the area I can understand their concern's.
Ive met the landowner a few times and he seems quite happy if you stick to the path's and the tarmac, I suppose this is always going to be a problem on old airfield's,perhaps its a symptom of todays society that theres a general lack of respect for other people's property.
OneEighthBit and all - when I was seven, in 1969, I was taken for my first 'holiday', which, was with some of my parents' friends, from London. They took us to their relatives, who were the then, at least, farmers of/and who owned Chedworth airfield. We stayed in some of these airfield buildings and in tents. I can't remember what's what, I remember the control tower, what appeared to be shelters, though I may be wrong about that, may have been blast pens, I'm not sure. I remember various nissen huts. The armoury could have been the building we used as our dining room, it looks so familiar. I have some pics somewhere, but it was a lot concentrated on us riding ponies etc! They're only Polaroid-type quality or standard 'sixties colour photos!! But am going to try digging them out. All I can say is also, I think I remember there is or was a 'Gnat' or Red Arrows base nearby - you'll probably know, not sure if Kemble??? A Red Arrow on its own once flew over while we were there too, could see the pilot very clearly looking down at us. As we are not acquainted with the same people we went with any longer, I only remember the young boy who was the son of the farmers' name, as 'Eric'. Even though I was seven, I still had an understanding of World War 2, and was fascinated by this holiday, being my first, staying in a unique place. I do hope it hasn't changed much. If I can, I will TRY and get the pics up on here, if there's no restrictions.
Hi Psmiddx and thanks for posting.
I think we'd all love to see those pictures, myself especially as Chedworth was a big part of my early childhood during the 1980's.
The old Armoury saw various uses and became the village Scout hut in the 1980's so it always had some sort of occupation up until the end of the 1990's. It wouldn't surprise me if you had used it. Many of the huts were also occupied by various people for various reasons. I remember about 1980-ish riding my bike through the woods and coming across an intact Nissen hut, it's front door and lock intact, a pot belly stove and arm chair inside and the walls lined with thin fibre board. The back half had been divided with a curtain and there was a bed frame and a table with a cardboard box filled with news papers dated from the 1960's. I took one home and it's probably in the attic somewhere. It stuck in my head because there was an article on the soon to be built new town of Milton Keynes and I asked my father why the jobs pages listed jobs for men and women separately! I visited the hut just about every year there after until I left the area but still go back when I can.
I was never lucky enough to see the control tower before it was pulled down but even today on occasion huge slaps of concrete get dragged up by ploughing the area where it stood. We flew over the airfield a few years ago and you could see a scar in the field it had left behind.
Indeed, the Red Arrows where based at RAF Kemble which was just down the road near Cirencester. They were there from 1964 to 1983 and would also fly into nearby Little Rissington for maintenance.
Chedworth has sadly changed a lot since then. The winter of a few years ago was hard and destroyed a lot of buildings under the weight of the snow including the last remaining hangar and a lot of the Nissen huts. Most of the smaller sites have been cleared, succumbed to mother nature or been vandalised beyond recognition. This makes your photos especially interesting and I look forward to trying to identify which buildings are which!
Regarding land owners, during the 80's/90's the main part was owned by Mr Clarke and the other side by Mr Finch which I think has owned the land since the end of the war. Don't know if that rings any bells.
A few that I took today.
Thats the Sick Quarters, the Stanton shelter has a larger entrance to allow casualties on stretchers access. One I have never seen on any other airfield. And the Sick Quarters picket post.
RAF Chedworth (http://www.atlantikwall.co.uk/atlantikwall/gloucester/chedworth05/html/page06.htm)
7354 7355 The sick Quarters would have been to the left of the track and probably a 22ft Nissen hut type.
First, I would like to thank the Airfield Information Exchange Site for the Bithday wishes, thank you. But it just goes to remind me that i am another year older.
I am going up to Chedworth village in three weeks for a holiday to my son's house and for a week of intensive metal detecting on the old airfied. I already have the required permission from the land owner. I was interested in "OneEighthBit's" memories of collecting .303 rounds from around the old armoury and later scout hut. I will be detecting around there for sure. I am hoping someone has a memory of where the old camp dump is located, these sites often have old metal relics waiting to be rediscovered, so could someone please let me know. Also if anyone has any ideas of where else i should swing my detector around, again please let me know.
My last visit to Chedworth was in the winter months, and i was detecting in the woods where the two remaining air-raid shelters are. I found loads of bits and pieces but one piece i thought interesting was a pair of pliers with the "crows foot" engraved in a handle with a date of 1943, and after a bit "quite a lot" of cleaning by Electrolosis and a lot of WD40, i managed to get them working again. The museum in Cheltenham was happy to take them from me. I will post photo's of anything i manage to find.
Again thank you for the Birthday wishes. Martin. "scarecrow"
The dump is miles from the airfield and on private land and you'll need climbing gear more than a metal detector.
As for the armoury, I'd be surprised if you find anything there in the way of ammunition. I found the live .303 rounds back in 1986 ish and despite a lot of looking in the years following on scout camps we never found any more. Every single time I've been up there in the past 15 years the grass around the armour has been pocked with divets which I assume is from other detectorists so I would hazard a guess it might of been picked pretty clean. Couple of years ago I found fresh 5.56 blank shell cases in and around the armoury which I think were from a cadet or local TA exercise.
If I was going to go detecting I'd be more inclined to look around the old dispersal pans or flight sheds or the field where the loop dispersal was.
Thanks for that, i will try around the dispersal pans. But as i have said i am there for a week so i can't not look around the armoury. It may well have been cleared out but there is always the chance that one or two have been missed.
You seem to be a man who knows the camp fairly well, can you tell me was there an aircraft gun sighting range? if so where? i have studied old photo's which have some of the buildings tagged and named but there is no mention of such a place though i would have thought it would have to be there somewhere. Kind regards, Martin "scarecrow"
There was quite a bit around the armoury building wise so you never know what else you might find if you widen the search a bit. You could also try the field that was on the opposite side of the road which has nothing visible in it but the track but it was the technical site. Never know what might of got dropped in the grass. You could always try where the control tower stood and the SAA store nearby.
Chedworth never had a range.
One other note - Chedworth is covered by two farm/owners so be careful with who's permission you've got and who's land you're on. Also, I'd stay out of the WAAF site. We recently discovered a rare bat species there and the whole area is being monitored.
I might be up at Chedworth myself at some point so I'll keep my eye out for someone detectoring. :)
I will be there from the 17th for 7 days, if you see me swinging a magic stick around make yourself known. I look forward to shaking your hand.
Find anything then?
Here's a few shots I took at Chedworth at the weekend.
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I had a little fly around Chedworth a few weeks ago, the video came out quite well and I decided to make it into a bit of a Remembrance Day video. Seems odd to think about people that may have left here and not returned.
Some recent photos taken by Norman Brice
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