View Full Version : Usworth / Sunderland
Had a message left on my website asking if I can ID this airfield. Not something I recognise but hopefully someone on here can help.
Only tiny bit of a clue comes from the guy who left the message.
"This was found in a box of photo's belonging to my uncle who lived in Sunderland."
I think thats where it is Sunderland (RAF Usworth) where the nissan car factory is now. That will be WW1.
Look at the Link below you can see the pub is still there (with further extensions), next to it is the Sunderland Air Museum.
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&F ... &encType=1 (http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCC&cp=t4mgprgw9q09&style=o&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=22072899&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1)
I'd say that's a definite, I'll pass it on, cheers.
The pub is The Three Horse Shoes and was built back in the 1930's when the airfield was established and it became the watering hole for the local
607 (County of Durham)AAF Squadron . In Stevo's link if you move SW you can see a concrete base between the two car parks . This was where the pre-war Lamella hangar stood before Nissan demolished it in February 2004 . Known as the 'Beehive' I'm pretty sure it was unique and was a German design with very intricate internal lattice girders . The NEAM museum did try and save it but .........
Sunderland Airport closed on 31 May 1984 .
In Stevo's link if you move SW you can see a concrete base between the two car parks . This was where the pre-war Lamella hangar stood
If you select 'Aerial' view, instead of 'Bird's Eye', you will find that the hangar mysteriously reappears.
If only we could do that for all sites and go back say 50 years !
Perhaps this thread should be moved to Northern Counties and retitled Usworth
Just come across this 1942/3 ish plan of that airfield
Of interest to me are the blobs marked Main Beacon and Inner Beacon.
This suggests it was fitted with Standard Beam Approach
However, the 1944 SBA inventory describes Usworth as Cat8 - Unlikely to be suitable for SBA
It wouldn't be BABS as that didn't have an inner beacon
This then suggests that VHF-BA was fitted especially since SBA couldn't be fitted into single-seat fighters, and around late 1942 Night Fighter training was in operation.
However that fact that the beam isn't aligned with the runway is a mystery. The AM had known from early days that grass airfields were OK-ish until fitted with something (such as a flarepath, or beam system) which forced all aircraft to land in roughly the same concentrated area. It rapidy became a quagmire in bad weather.
I used to think that when it came to beam systems, the Ministry's left hand didn't know what ... etc. That is no longer a theory.
Noel - the photo is certainly inter-war years. There's a Tiger Moth in that little lot, three Hawker-somethings (hard to tell which one though....), seven (?)Wallaces - which dates the photo to sometime in or post-1933 - and what looks to be either one of the Gloster or Armstrong-Whitworth types (behind the Hawker-thingies). Air Pageant, anyone?
It is Usworth right enough. Date: circa 1936. On the left Avro 504 and a Gypsy Moth followed by 5 Wapitis. Behind them, 3 Hawker Harts or Demons the squadron had both. Another Wapiti follows with a Gloster type can't identify the others. Judgeing by the amount of people this could well be an open day, usually held in May this could be backed up by the hay stooks at the top.
The photograph is Empire Air Day 1934
The aircraft are Westland Wapiti of 607 Squadron, Harts of 103 Squadron
There are other photographs in the Airfield Focus 78 which has recently been published on Usworth
'New' Tower at Usworth, 15 July 1975. AiX-ARG Archives
Had a look on the plan of the airfield and the Wartime Tower is marked as Watch Office: Timber 20ft by 21ft 6 inches. NE/8 & 377.
Located in front of the Flight Offices, in turn in front of the Lamella Hangar and between two Blast Air raid shelters.
The Neam didn't get the large lamella hangar but they did manage to get the callendar
Callendar hangar in the foreground with a couple of Romney huts in the background.
The Usworth Memorail at the NEAM - thought I'd post it up in case anyone is interested and can't get there.
Nice to see the two AM Boundary marker stones saved and preserved with the memorial as well. Thanks Chris.
The Callender is from what I have read a Portable Admiralty S Type and was moved to Usworth in the 1970's to provide extra space for the flying club. I would be very interested is finding out its history prior to being moved. The two small hangers next to it are Romney buildings, a WW2 Royal Engineers design, one donated by Sunderland Docks housing the Military Vehicle Collection from Newcastle.
The museum has established a permanent exhibition dedicated to 607 (County of Durham) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force ;
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