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Vestanpants
01-08-2009, 18:39
RAF Hells mouth and RAF Nefyn

Hell's Mouth - best station name?!

Possibly except for RNAS Twatt!!!

In case you are not familiar with this one, RAF Hell's Mouth was a WW2 grass airfield at Hell's Mouth, (Porth Neigwl) on the Llŷn Peninsula near Abersoch, Gwynedd.

Commissioned in February 1937 as a Relief Landing Ground, it was later an Emergency Landing Ground for RAF Penrhos. It was also used as an air gunnery and bombing range, using air, sea and land-based targets. The site was decommissioned in 1945.

It was typically used by Blenheims etc. but in August 1944 a Vickers Wellington was successfully landed by a Polish pilot following an engine failure. The mismatch in size made the site aptly named!

jdavies
24-12-2009, 12:57
Hi j
Can help me with any information regarding these two sites in north west wales.
If any one knows any one who used to work there or how i could find out it would be useful or any site plan or map.
Hope you can help as it is for my gold duke of edinburgh award research project.

tigger
24-12-2009, 17:44
Plans for Hell's Mouth are available - drawing number is 8814/54 and the PRO reference 10/4038 part 2. Several websites about it online also

No idea about the Chain Home station at Nefyn plans, though Martin Briscoe has quite a few photos of it on his website.

Sure others will chip in with more info. Good luck with the DoE project

Paul Francis
24-12-2009, 21:33
Hellís Mouth 4296/44 site plan of the airfield is available at the RAFM. Go on their web site get the telephone number and ask for 'DORIS'. When through ask for the HM plan.

PETERTHEEATER
25-12-2009, 08:37
There was a bombing and air to ground gunnery range at Hell's Mouth during WW2. It also had a 200 yard Moving Target Range used for live firing to instruct trainee aircraft turret gunners. Use the Search function and you will find plenty of information on 200 yard MTRs to help 'fill-out' your project report.

Dave Smith
25-12-2009, 10:43
There is much detail on RAF Nefyn in Wings Across the Border Volume 3 by Derrick Pratt and Mike Grant. A site plan is included, along with photos of surviving buildings. This series of books are definitely worth getting for their amazing researches on N Wales wartime aviation. Amazon have Vol 3 for £19.99 incl postage. However, I'm assuming that you are a teenager and that may be a lot of cash! If so, I'm willing to photocopy the relevant pages for you. PM your address. Merry Christmas!

Ps I'll have a look in the other volumes for references to Hells Mouth.

PETERTHEEATER
25-12-2009, 10:46
This site has a lot on RAF Nefyn:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/andys.f/Nefyn.htm

jdavies
26-12-2009, 15:15
Plans for Hell's Mouth are available - drawing number is 8814/54 and the PRO reference 10/4038 part 2. Several websites about it online also

No idea about the Chain Home station at Nefyn plans, though Martin Briscoe has quite a few photos of it on his website.

Sure others will chip in with more info. Good luck with the DoE project

Thanks thats brilliant where are these plan?

PNK
26-12-2009, 15:44
Thanks thats brilliant where are these plan?

Email this address and ask for copies of the plans mentioned in the posts above. Don't forget to include your postal address.

research@rafmuseum.org (research@rafmuseum.org)

This is the D.O.R.I.S. mentioned earlier. It can take a while for them to come back but it is around two weeks and they will send you plans as requested along with an invoice (unless you ask for a quote first).

ianbache
09-01-2010, 19:39
hi all, its not much but here are some images of RAF Hells mouth

http://i550.photobucket.com/albums/ii425/LLanbedr/DSC00224.jpg

http://i550.photobucket.com/albums/ii425/LLanbedr/DSC00225.jpg

http://i550.photobucket.com/albums/ii425/LLanbedr/DSC00226.jpg

http://i550.photobucket.com/albums/ii425/LLanbedr/DSC00227.jpg

http://i550.photobucket.com/albums/ii425/LLanbedr/DSC00229.jpg

PNK
09-01-2010, 20:15
Are they of the moving target range?

ianbache
09-01-2010, 20:26
Are they of the moving target range?

Yes, they had targets moving on a railway track,for air-to-ground firing,first used by No5 armanant training camp from RAF Penrhos

PETERTHEEATER
10-01-2010, 08:04
Ian, PNK is referring to a 200 yard moving target range for 'live-fire' ground training of Air Gunners. They fired at a target aircraft model running around a closed loop track. Their turrets were mounted usually in a purpose built covered structure but some ranges may have had mobile turrets mounted on towable trailers.

You refer to Air to Ground moving targets; are you saying that there was moving target system for A to G?

ianbache
10-01-2010, 12:00
Ian, PNK is referring to a 200 yard moving target range for 'live-fire' ground training of Air Gunners. They fired at a target aircraft model running around a closed loop track. Their turrets were mounted usually in a purpose built covered structure but some ranges may have had mobile turrets mounted on towable trailers.

You refer to Air to Ground moving targets; are you saying that there was moving target system for A to G?

Not quite sure,when i was there a elderly welsh chap was walking his dog,and said that he could remember aircraft using the range,and that it had targets on a railway track,but weather they used that or the targets offshore im not sure.
Needs some more investigation i think,

PNK
10-01-2010, 15:24
This is a GE image of the Moving Target Range I was talking about. The structures you photographed seem to match those in the GE image.

PETERTHEEATER
11-01-2010, 10:04
I think the Welsh resident was correct in that there would have been aircraft 'on' the range but they would have been using the Air to Ground targets or the off-shore floating targets. As PNK has indicated you have photographed the separate 200 yard MTR which used the safety trace of the main range.

ianbache
07-03-2010, 22:32
This is a GE image of the Moving Target Range I was talking about. The structures you photographed seem to match those in the GE image.

Hi PNK
Found this regarding moving targets, this at Hells Mouth its a bit staged though, from the book "the legend of Llandwrog" by Edward Doylerush

http://i550.photobucket.com/albums/ii425/LLanbedr/hellsmouth.jpg

PETERTHEEATER
08-03-2010, 07:36
Yes, that's a photograph which has appeared elsewhere in the MTR thread. As you surmise, posed to show the relationship between the shooter and the target.

As far as I can find out, the trailer on which the turret is mounted was adaptable to various turret types. The opposite end - to the right of the gunner - mounted an engine driven generator and hydraulic pump to drive the turret.

Who now will tell us which base used the abbreviation EMV on its ground equipment to identify ownership or is it an 'inventory' code.

jeta1
07-09-2010, 13:39
In the museum at former RAF LLandwrog they have one of the self propelled rail cars used on the moving target range. If I remember it was powered be a JAP two stroke petrol engine, though the information indicated that electric versions were also used. There is quite a bit of information about RAF Hells Mouth and Nefyn within the museum.

Paul Francis
07-09-2010, 15:06
The JAP engined one is probably a Wickham's Trolley and may have come from one of the Army's ranges, rather than that at Hell's Mouth.

Carnaby
24-02-2011, 12:24
The Military Airfields of Wales by Alan Phillips, 2006 (currently being reviewed) states under this airfield:


The gunnery range consisted of target floats moored in the bay and moving targets mounted on a specially built narrow-gauge railway line on the foreshore, operated by a pulley system at each end of the track.It doesn't mention the 200yd MTR.

Any thoughts?

PNK
24-02-2011, 14:26
Isn't this "moving targets mounted on a specially built narrow-gauge railway line on the foreshore" the 200yd MTR?

I suspect the pulley operated track is a Decauville for servicing the large wooden framed ground targets. I have found no record of these being used for moving targets.

Carnaby
24-02-2011, 15:26
Very probably. This book I'm reviewing abounds with errors :cry:.

PETERTHEEATER
25-02-2011, 10:22
Maybe it's the author's choice of words; the targets were moving on a railway but not to be shot at!

ColinBa
08-06-2011, 20:44
Visited the Museum in Caernarfon Airport today. They have a big day on 23rd July the 70th anniversary of the airfield opening. The museum is smashing with the creative use of murals.
The unit below is self-explanatory, the covers were bullet proof i.e. very heavy.
They are looking for some track to run it around the airfield

http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/ColinBa/OneTitle.jpg

http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/ColinBa/TwoArmour.jpg

http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/ColinBa/ThreewithoutArmour.jpg

http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/ColinBa/FourEngine.jpg

http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/ColinBa/FiveCompleteUnit.jpg

PETERTHEEATER
09-06-2011, 08:50
I can imagine the 'Turtle' being a powered carrier for targets used on the 200 yard Moving Target Range and being shot at by ground mounted aircraft gun turrets but I have difficulty in accepting that they moved on a different rail system and were shot at by flying aircraft. But, I will be happy to be convinced!

PNK
09-06-2011, 12:56
Agreed. So far the only confirmed moving ground targets I have come across for air to surface firing have been amoured boats or towed buoys or "splash" targets.
Having said that, Ivor Jones has refferred to one at Traeth Dae (probably incorrect spelling - from memory) which was a dumb bell shaped railway, also possibly at Rosebush. None of which I have found elsewhere in the records - so far!
The latter two were probably for practicing approach and lining up rather than live firing as repairs would have been a nightmare. Given the importance that train busting was to be given it seems logical that moving targets were used but proof is required, from primary sources if possible.

Paul Francis
09-06-2011, 21:58
Yes that is a Wickham's target trolley as built in Ware. Ware Musum house the Wickhams photographic archives and have photos of these with tanks mounted on them.

ColinBa
10-06-2011, 00:40
I understand they think the targets were mounted on top and they are looking for examples of targets to use on their proposed reconstruction.
This link seems to confirm it http://www.bala-lake-railway-society.org.uk/express03/d-wickham-a-son.html

PETERTHEEATER
10-06-2011, 07:18
A useful link, thanks Colin.

I accept that the 'turtles' were used to carry 'tank' targets and used on Army ranges but, was the Hells Mouth RAF range area also used as an anti-tank range by the pongoes?

jeta1
12-06-2011, 10:50
Visited the Museum in Caernarfon Airport today. They have a big day on 23rd July the 70th anniversary of the airfield opening. The museum is smashing with the creative use of murals.
The unit below is self-explanatory, the covers were bullet proof i.e. very heavy.
They are looking for some track to run it around the airfield


I know this place well, thanks for the info about the 70th anniversary celebration, I will be there.

ColinBa
12-06-2011, 14:27
I can now tell you that I have permission to show the Operation Sandcastle official record of the shortening of the bombs by guillotine from RAF Ternhill, re-packing, taking to the LCTs at Fort Belan, arriving at Cairnryan. loading the Empire Claire, the sailing to the Beaufort Deep and the scuttling.

PETERTHEEATER
13-06-2011, 06:52
Colin & Mods, this information is more relevent to Llandwrog and should be moved or copied to that thread.

Colin is referring to the ultimate disposal of the Tabun chemical filled bombs captured from Germany at the end of WW2. German aerial bombs (most) came with the Tail Unit permanently attached and in order to reduce the volume of the new construction container (crate) and be able to get more bombs loaded in a single shipment, a method was devised to physically shorten a bomb by cutting off part of the tail unit with a specially manufactured guillotine.

ColinA
03-07-2011, 17:02
I had a walk round the Hells mouth target range recently.
Looking in the soil in front of the trackway protecting wall shows some interesting bullet heads.
Vast majority are 303 Mk vii
But there are some 30 cal with a crimp ring more typical of 30.06
Also some steel jacketed 303 (Mk vii shape) which must have been hell with barrel wear!
Did not see any Mk viii but I was only digging with fingers.
The track way shows up well in parts but I feel the dunes have been "landscaped" at some time which has covered a lot of the original route.
Questions?
What was the steel jacketed ammo?
Any chance of .50 Cal there?
Did RAF use Mk viii ammo?

PETERTHEEATER
04-07-2011, 08:45
I recall a discussion in a similar thread but on another MTR. The fact that an MTR was a military range meant that just about any military or para-miltary (e.g Home Guard) might have used the sight for ad hoc practice using small arms such as pistols, rifles, and various machine guns. The bullets that you found were in the bank protecting the railway which implies it had been used as a stop butt at closer ranges.

The Mk 8 (VIII) cartridge had a steel jacket bullet and was intended for use only in the Vickers Machine Gun used by ground forces. It was not approved for use in other weapons because of high barrel wear rates. The Vickers was provided for airfield defence and it is quite possible that Mk 8 ammo was provided even though the additional range was of no benefit. Consequently, the bullets that you found are probably fired from a Vickers, but who knows?

The Enfield Pattern 16 rifle (The P16) was chambered for 30-06 calibre . Many of these were given to the Home Guard (Dad's Army). A version(s) of the Lewis MG was also manufactured in 30-06 and may have been 'lease-lended' to Britain.

As to whether .5 inch (50 calibre) might be found on site; very likely. A number of RAF aircraft types used the .5 inch Browning machine-gun but only two (as far as I know) in turrets. Later marks of Lancaster used the Rose Turret in the tail and later marks of Halifax the Bolton-Paul 'D' Tail Turret. Flexible gun installations could also be found in some Warwicks.

The MTR I think was optimised to suit the power and range of the .303 Browning, hence the 200 yard distance. Firing turret mounted .5 guns at relatively short range would have been possible but I see no benefits for a trainee gunner other than experience in firing a heavier gun and (perhaps) clearance of stoppages.

ColinA
04-07-2011, 17:37
I would presume that the rounds hitting the protective bank are just low strikes if there were no locks on turret trainers.
Yes P16 was issued in 30.06
But could they have had a 30cal browning turret?
The steel jacked was def Mk vii with no boat tail.
Will try to have a better look soon.
Farmer was about so I thought digging to be bad form! :oops:

PETERTHEEATER
05-07-2011, 05:45
Turrets mounted for live fire training had limit stops which would have been set vertically to prevent bullets from firing into the protective bank and from shooting too high and set in azimuth to prevent the turret from being rotated outside of the arc of safety. I think that any bullets found in the front bank are the result of deliberate firing with hand held weapons.

Although the Browning MG was originally in .30 calibre I feel safe in saying that it was never used in British turrets due to ballistic differences and supply problems. But, it is very likely that Brownings in .30 calibre found their into RAF hands for airfield defence.

Is it possible that the steel envelope 'Mk 7' bullets are just the inner core of Armour Piecing bullets? The gilding metal jackets usually stripped of these on impact.

ColinBa
27-07-2011, 15:54
I have put this in this section because it is discussing targets and tracks. Medwyn Parry at Welsh Monuments pointed me to the track-bed just North of Harlech Golf Course. It was used for targets on a railway track and reputedly run by the Army. It is very close to Hell's Mouth. I am surprised by its size.

http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/ColinBa/HarlechRange.jpg

PNK
27-07-2011, 20:25
I have it listed as "Treath Dy". According to Ivor Jones' book it was used for air to ground practice on moving targets as well as army use, as intended.
The use of moving railway targets (Not the 200yd Moving Target Ranges) doesn't seem to be well documented, or at least I haven't found much outside of books. If anyone knows of a primary source I would like to know, especially if it is at TNA.

mbriscoe
22-07-2012, 15:15
Hi j
Can help me with any information regarding these two sites in north west wales.
If any one knows any one who used to work there or how i could find out it would be useful or any site plan or map.
Hope you can help as it is for my gold duke of edinburgh award research project.

I wonder if anyone found any plans for RAF Nefyn?

Just had an EMail from someone living in one of the buildings who is trying to get hold of plans.

MB

M.Rimmer
25-07-2012, 11:31
Hi Colin,

The pic you posted is of the Royal Artillery Anti-Tank range at Harlech,and as far as I know this was never used as an air to ground range. The air to ground ranges were located at Dyffryn and Penychain and I have seen some references in the Llanbedr ORB to discussions concerning air to ground use of the ranges at Bronaber by aircraft from Llanbedr,however it's not clear if this eventually happened or not.

Matt.

I have put this in this section because it is discussing targets and tracks. Medwyn Parry at Welsh Monuments pointed me to the track-bed just North of Harlech Golf Course. It was used for targets on a railway track and reputedly run by the Army. It is very close to Hell's Mouth. I am surprised by its size.

http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/ColinBa/HarlechRange.jpg

PNK
25-07-2012, 12:51
The ORB for the APC at the TNA in KEW (sorry couldn't resist this) also mentions Harlech as a possible site under discussion with the Army. As you say no proof that it was actually used maybe Ivor Jones found a source?

ColinBa
25-07-2012, 23:39
Matt,

I didn't know if it was RAF or Army I just assumed RAF. It was pointed out by Med Parry as a track bed for a range. I think I have mentioned it to Ivor before and got a blank but I will call him tomorrow and report.

ColinBa
11-11-2013, 11:25
This is on the Gwynedd AT Website

Gunnery Range at Morfa Harlech

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 7264
Trust : Gwynedd
Site Type : FIRING RANGE
Period : Modern
Community : Harlech
NGR : SH57803380
Legal Protection :

Description :
Royal Artillery gunnery range, 1941-1946, serving the gunnery range at Trawsfynydd. An extensive site, covering most of the area between the railway line and the foreshore. A prominent feature is the embankment which formerly carried a railway line. The bank is faced with concrete-filled bags which resemble eroded conglomerate blocks.

Sources :
Dutton, L. A. & Gwyn, D. , 1995 , Coastal Erosion Survey - Aberdaron to Aberdyfi , <1>

Events :
40325 : Coastal Erosion Survey: Aberdaron to Aberdyfi (year : 1996)

PNK
11-11-2013, 14:16
As it is unlikely there was air to ground firing on the Morfa Harlech arty target track I suspect camera gun work was used. It is frustrating that there are only pointers to air use but that seems to be a problem with primary sources if the follow on files were either destroyed or merged into another subject defying logical searches.

One avenue that I haven't tried is asking for help via a local newspaper as someone might recall directly (less likely now) or indirectly something of interest, especially as the air related ranges from Harlech to Barmouth (Abermaw?) are not all mentioned in primary source list, apart from Dyffryn (Cassini map/grid 49/032442).

Sadly wartime aerial photographs rarely show obvious evidence of air to ground ranges unless a markers shelter was built, which wouldn't be the case here.

ColinBa
11-11-2013, 16:49
Do you know this link? http://www.cofiadurcahcymru.org.uk/arch/gat/english/gat_interface.html
All PR for the Principality are held in Cardiff.