View Full Version : Charmy Down

airfields man
04-03-2009, 21:56
Charmy Down Control Tower 1987


Peter Kirk
04-03-2009, 22:03
And the the appendage on the roof, with weathered bricks, is what exactly?

Paul Francis
06-03-2009, 16:51
Its the signalling penthouse (Aldis lamp)

12-03-2009, 16:41
Would be a good candidate for restorarion?

Richard Drew
12-03-2009, 16:56
The travelling neighbours may have something to say about that, the matriarch had a real go at us taking pictures, something about a planning application that was turned down. Her two male friends stayed behind her skirt. God she was fierce.

12-03-2009, 18:41
when i took this in 1980 the farmer was very pleasant

12-03-2009, 19:06
It survived for about 40 years looking good and in reasonable condition, and then 7 years to being completey vandalised!

06-08-2009, 16:46
I am trying to source an airfield plan for Charmy Down near Bath. Does anyone have one who is willing to share or can you point me in a source direction?

Thanks in advance.

20-03-2010, 14:45
The armospheric front and rear covers of this novel depict the control tower. The airfield is mentioned in the text.



09-04-2010, 12:16
Spent an afternoon wandering about the airfield recently with no problems from anyone.

A couple of the shots I took

Inside the tower
Looking up the runway


Richard Drew
09-04-2010, 20:09
I presume you did not meet the lady in the mobile home living behind the tower. She made us so welcome as she tried to snatch my camera away from me, accusing me of taking photos of here mobile home. Planning issues come to mind. But the gentleman in one of the bungalows was very nice and showed us around his area of fighter pens.


09-04-2010, 21:51
...showed us around his area of fighter pens.
Reminds me of my second visit to Charmy one beautiful summer evening many many years ago. Two significant events:

1) discovered in one fighter pen a wooden box stencilled '264 Sqn Armoury'. I don't think 264 was ever based at Charmy.

2) went to a second fighter pen where something seemed not quite right. The height of the earth banks seemed a little low. Then noticed the ground felt very springy. Then that worrying feeling that something is very wrong. Immediately it dawned as one leg suddenly plunged into 12 inches of liquid cow dung. I had been walking on the farmer's manure dump - where the top inch had hardened into a crust in the hot summer weather. As I transferred my weight to the other leg it too went through the crust and left me standing in a foot of sh*t. Returned to the car where I had to drive home in my underpants with trousers, socks and shoes in a plastic bag in the boot. Even with all windows open the smell was atrocious.

Have been much more cautious since then. :lol:


09-04-2010, 22:34
Ive had a bit of a sh***y day today (no pun intended Carnaby) but that story is hilarious. It's really cheered me up. Sorry mate :lol:.

09-04-2010, 22:39
Yes that will "learn you", won't it. I can just imagine the smell; it would have been really bad.

Oh and by the way have you ever seen that brick and rendered building on the other side of the A46 roughly oppersite the old entrance,( I have ofen wondered what it was) it was in a bad state a few years ago, so these no knowing how bad it is now. I will try and find it on Google earth and post postion.
cheers all

Peter Kirk
10-04-2010, 09:34
What's brown, smelly and sounds like a bell? :-D A cautionary tale indeed.

Richard Flagg
10-04-2010, 09:38
Spent an afternoon wandering about the airfield recently with no problems from anyone.

Nice photos November4, welcome to the forum too!

10-04-2010, 20:10
hi ant
i believe the building you refer to is a picket post
this would be for waaf site 5

11-04-2010, 08:24
Thanks Andrew. There is another bulding about 1 mile further up the A46 on the same side right by a layby it can be seen in google earth quite clearly. I forgotten about this one till Carnaby pointed it out to me which he thought was to do with the old arms/ammo/bomb dump?

11-04-2010, 20:26
This (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?t=h&hl=en-GB&ie=UTF8&ll=51.439714,-2.367629&spn=0,0.004128&z=19&layer=c&cbll=51.439867,-2.367621&panoid=tNy_NLxO83M0-G97k9s01g&cbp=12,314.9,,0,5.99) is the link to the mystery building well to the north of the airfield. Too far to be a fuel installation I feel. (Info from Ant).

Vertical here (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=51.439939896145994&lon=-2.3679571046906527&gz=19&oz=8&gt=1)

It's not shown on the RSP, whereas other remote sites are.


18-04-2010, 09:02
You can see it clearly on Google Maps Street View.

23-12-2010, 17:37
Carnaby - Only just got round to reading these pages.
264 Squadron was just the other side of the valley at Colerne during 1944 so there may have been the odd detachment.

23-12-2010, 18:47
264 Squadron was just the other side of the valley at Colerne during 1944 so there may have been the odd detachment.
Good thinking Ray, and a belated welcome to AiX.

Just discovered there's nothing on this thread relating to the intended ROTOR constructions on this site. Visited these long before I realised what they were:

Bing 1 (http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=sk4mjsgt4tfm&lvl=19.43724808242274&dir=0.03190771007799677&sty=b), Bing 2 (http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=sk48sggt4mcc&lvl=19.51555924319754&dir=2.1886348947607592&sty=b)


17-05-2012, 10:41
Charmy Down Control Tower After The Heavy Snow January 2011.

17-05-2012, 16:00
Charmy Down Airfield After The Heavy Snowfall Of January 2011.

17-05-2012, 23:53
The rotor radar site at Charmy Down was only partially constructed & never completed. Hence, there is hardly any record of it's existence.

Another Number
18-05-2012, 07:44
Is there anything left of this rotor station, even though it wasn't finished?

19-05-2012, 00:32
Hi another number,
There are five rotor radar housings,some plinths & what looks like a generator room.
I have some pictures somewhere, I will dig them out & post them on here very soon.

Another Number
19-05-2012, 01:13
Thanks John, I'm really curious about this rotor site now, just interested to find out how much was built and what's left. i wonder why ot was not completed.

19-05-2012, 09:56
8951 8952 8953 8954
Here are a few pictures that I took of the rotor radar station back in 2008. I apologize for the lack of quality as my camera back then was a basic point & shoot.

Richard Flagg
19-05-2012, 17:16
Interesting photos John, was there part of the structure underground?

19-05-2012, 17:16
I wonder why it was not completed.
In April 1955 GCI stations Charmy Down and Calmo were deleted from the Rotor Plan due to a simplification in Air Defence Policy which had been designed in 1951. It was now believed that a conflict would be a 'three-day' war involving 'area-effect' hydrogen bombs. The exact reasons were quite complex. 400K had been spent already at these two sites and there was a possibility that two more GCI stations might be cancelled with a total loss of 1M.

Source: 'Watching the Skies' Jack Gough, HMSO.

OT but where is Calmo?

19-05-2012, 19:34
Not as far as I know. But this is all that remains. I haven't got much of a clue as to what it would have looked like when completed.

19-05-2012, 20:30
OT but where is Calmo?
I suspect this is Calvo, near Silloth (the author also spells Charmy as Charmey !)

New Thread (http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?8622-Calvo-%28Calmo-%29-potential-ROTOR-station&p=103257#post103257)

Kev Lloyd-Jones
22-05-2012, 21:32
The G.C.I Station at Charmy down was situated on a disused World War II airfield 2 miles north of Bath, and was designated a Readiness G.C.I station, and was not given a high priority in the ROTOR funding schedule. Work started on its construction in May 1953, but progressed slowly and the station was still incomplete when it was abandoned in April 1955 after some 200,000 had been spent on it.

Aerial photographs indicate that at least the shells of the buildings had been complected, and the existence of cable trenches between the radar heads suggests that preliminary fitting-out had been started. there is no evidence however, that the seven radar heads earmarked for the Charmy Down site were ever installed or that any of the electronic equipment was installed in the R8 operations block. the radars were 4 Type 13 Height Finders, 2 Type 14 Search Radars and 1 Type 11.

Nothing remains of the lightweight 'SECO' prefabricated Operations building other than the overgrown large slab of concrete with numerous drain holes and cable ducts. Five red brick radar plinths remain, surmounted by a stell-girder turntable bases, together with a raised platform for a mobile radar and powerhouse building, which is stripped bare of all its equipment.

Type 13 Radar Plinth

This would of been the rear of the R8 operations block, the raised section to the rear is the 'radar office' and 'radar workshop' with with an equipment and plant ramp to the side. The air conditioning plant room was to the right of the raised platform.

Aerial Shot of RAf Charmy Down with the main features labelled.

This is how the The Standby Power House and Guardroom would of looked like.This is photograph is of RAF Hartland Point in Devon.This site has also been demolished by a radar still exists on the operations site run by CAA.

26-05-2012, 16:00
Watch Office For
Night Fighter Stations FCW4514
At Charmy Down. January 2010.

9057 9058

9060 9059

27-05-2012, 20:43
Can anybody help?? I cannot identify this building behind the control tower at RAF Charmy Down.
I doesn't appear in any of my guide books & the best that I can come up with is that is was some kind of control centre. Or over-complicated standby set house.



Richard Flagg
27-05-2012, 22:52
Is it a Standby Set House?

Chris Lowe
27-05-2012, 22:55
It certainly looks a bit like a Standby Set House but behind the tower seems an odd place for one.

27-05-2012, 23:34
I agree, also there is a very large standby set house just a bit further into the camp. This building has several different rooms & doesn't look like a standard set house.

P Bellamy
28-05-2012, 18:11
It looks similar to a Main (Intake) Substation, albeit with some minor extensions.

28-05-2012, 19:51
I am still none the wiser. All of your answers seem plausable. I must try & get the airfield plans that would put this matter to bed.

Chris Lowe
28-05-2012, 20:45
This is a typical Main Intake Substation.



28-05-2012, 21:21
Ah, I see the resemblance.
I bow to your superior knowledge.:lol:
Thanks Chris.

Chris Lowe
28-05-2012, 21:31
Thats the one at Desborough & I had to be told what it was at first thanks to PB our human encyclopedia.

28-05-2012, 22:05
Thanks PB. I can sleep peacefully tonight.:-)

30-05-2012, 21:07
Is this (http://binged.it/LUafyL) the building?

If so it's not on the 1944 RSP. There was a small M&E plinth at that location, and the road layout has been significantly modified since that date.

P Bellamy
31-05-2012, 00:59
Yup, that's the one Graham.

Looks like a Substation 13241/41 with another small room & additional blast walls tacked on alongside the two transformer rooms.

Richard Drew
31-05-2012, 09:22
9082Taken from the Record Site Plan.



09-06-2012, 15:30
Hi Guys
What is the structure on the Charmy Down tower roof, the tower at Ibsley had something similar in wartime photographs. regards Ranger

Richard Drew
15-07-2013, 22:40
Richard you asked about underground, there was no bunker here just what look like post war prefab hutting?

Richard Flagg
18-07-2013, 19:47
Richard, did you get any photos from the recent trip around the site with sgtgrech? Be great to see them

Richard Drew
19-07-2013, 22:01
Richard, did you get any photos from the recent trip around the site with sgtgrech? Be great to see them

13091Clockwise, south side dispersal pens, Blister hangars, bulk petrol instillation, aviation & flight offices.
13092 Blister hangar base and earth (stone) travers.
13093 Watch office/Control Tower FCW4514.
13096 Flying control indicator showing up in the dry grass.

13097 The back door.

13095 Bulk petrol instillation aviation the second one.
13094 North side fighter dispersals.

13103 One half of a fighter pen 11070/40
13098 Static water tank (Local) there are many around here.
13099 North/south runway meeting the perimeter track.

13100 Any ideas ????

13101 MG & Cannon test butts 12312/40 with a level parking area for a fighter with tie downs.

13102 Bellman shed (hangar) 5498/36.


Richard Drew
20-07-2013, 16:53
13106Fiddling with Photoshop

30-12-2013, 20:07
Airfield Defence Pillbox,
RAF Charmy Down.


30-12-2013, 22:16
Bulk Fuel Installation (Aviation) At RAF Charmy Down.


30-12-2013, 22:18
Control Tower & Battle HQ Cupola At RAF Charmy Down.
Watch Office For Night Fighter Stations, FCW4514, Under A Leaden Autumn Sky.


Airman's Mess & Institute At RAF Charmy Down.


Imflammables Store At RAF Charmy Down


Standby Set House At RAF Charmy Down,With Later Breeze Block Addition.


The Officer's Mess At RAF Charmy Down.
Not Very Grand Compared To Some, But As This Airfield Was Only Active During WWII, All Of The Buildings Were Of 'Temporary Brick' Construction.


31-12-2013, 16:11
What would the tall structure be behind the Officer's mess?

Richard Drew
31-12-2013, 18:04
Water tower and chimney.

Alex Brown
31-12-2013, 18:20
Hi Guys
What is the structure on the Charmy Down tower roof, the tower at Ibsley had something similar in wartime photographs. regards Ranger

It's the Aldis Lamp Signalling Penthouse


08-02-2014, 19:52
Interesting.. thanks!