PDA

View Full Version : Trevarrack HAA Hayle No 2



CornwallPhil
01-09-2011, 20:47
I'd be grateful for any information on what I assume to be some kind of bomb stores at the above site. Two photos of the remains in question...
5767
5768
I know that the gun emplacement was manned by 246 Battery of 79th Royal Artillery Regiment. Much of the site is under dense gorse and brambles so am trying to make sense of the few bits I've located. Any comments welcomed.

The location is
http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=50.18687981649631&lon=-5.4744664709093405&gz=18&oz=4&gt=1

PETERTHEEATER
02-09-2011, 06:42
The use of concrete blocks in the construction indicates post-war. The missing roof implies that it was light construction. It is small, looks to be less than 10 feet long and is actually four compartments (two each back to back).

It looks to be too small for a reserve ammunition store (ready use 3.7 inch ammo was in lockers adjacent to each gun) so, at the risk of seeming flippant, I wonder if it was a latrine with chemical toilets (Elsans).

PETERTHEEATER
03-09-2011, 08:08
On reflection, there is an adjacent Nissen hut (?) that may have accommodated the gun crews. Perhaps the queried structure was a solid fuel (coal/coke) store for the heating stoves.

Paul Francis
03-09-2011, 09:09
I think the concrete blocks Peter are a local building block that may be from WW2

PETERTHEEATER
03-09-2011, 09:37
Thanks Paul, I accept that. Pity they didn't use ashlar!

Still, WW2 or otherwise, the absence of a roof and small internal dimensions points to a solid fuel store.

Richard Flagg
03-09-2011, 16:19
The wall look to thin for a munitions / bomb store

CornwallPhil
03-09-2011, 17:38
Thanks for comments. Yes a number of WW2 installations in Cornwall use concrete block - it is made locally from China Clay waste. I am confident they are WW2 as there is no record of the site being used for anything else. The building in question looked too tall to be a latrine to me. There is a Nissen hut still standing next to it to the eastwards side, a small rectangular concrete base about 4m by 2m to the westwards side. Under the dense gorse to the south is the concrete base of another nissan hut about 10m by 3m. It's possible just to make this out on the satellite imagery. There are also some concrete slabs in the wall between the gorse and the field, the biggest of which is about 1m by 1.5m and 10cm thick. This is obviously from something that has been broken up when the site was decommisioned. To me, they look too small to be the gun emplacement base, and no sign of any fixings. Perhaps they were ready use lockers? There is also a water supply to the site and telephone wires going across the back of it. I am assuming the actual gun emplacement is somewhere under the thick gorse and brambles but gave up looking after an hour of crawling under the vegetation having only found the Nissen hut base!!! Will sort some more photos and post them on the thread.

CornwallPhil
03-09-2011, 21:34
As promised some more photos of this HAA site...
5786
The small concrete base next to the path
5787
The Nissen hut
5788
The concrete base of a Nissen hut that can only be reached by crawling under the gorse and brambles
5789
Next to the step at one end of the hut is this "hole"
5790
The slabs of concrete that have been pushed into the hedge

CornwallPhil
03-09-2011, 21:36
5791
The thick gorse and brambles that greet you at the gate!
5792
Rough labelling of what I've photographed at the site

PETERTHEEATER
04-09-2011, 05:53
I have not made any serious study of AA gun sites but, it is my understanding that there were fixed positions using the 3.7 inch gun in fours and others using the gun in mobile mode viz:

http://riv.co.nz/rnza/hist/local/qf37aa.htm

Perhaps this site was 'mobile'?

CornwallPhil
04-09-2011, 15:27
In Cornwall the guns were sometimes in twos rather than in fours, such as at Hayle No 3 at Gwinear. The photos are of the shell stores next to the guns at Gwinear which are of similar concrete block construction to the structure under discussion in this thread.
5800
5801
5802
However, these structures are not as tall as the one at Hayle No 2, and they have their roof intact.
All trace of Hayle No 1 has been removed and the site returned to agricultural use.

PETERTHEEATER
05-09-2011, 09:58
I have (virtually) crept around other HAA sites and note that the use of cement (breeze) block was common.

These are not 'bomb' stores Phil but 'shell' stores. They would have held - on shelves - metal boxes each containing two complete rounds.

CornwallPhil
06-09-2011, 00:37
Thanks Peter for correcting me on the 'shell' stores. One of the reasons why I joined the forum was to learn from those in the know!:-D

PETERTHEEATER
06-09-2011, 07:19
I am about to look (because I am easily distracted) at a particular Searchlight Battery site. The note that I found - late 1940 - stated that 'breeze' block was common construction an I can see that it was much used for both HAA and SBs.

Just to be clear; ready use (RU) shell for the fixed purpose built gun positions were stored in the 'lockers around the periphery of the gun. They would have been un-boxed and laid on shelves and the loaders could grab the nearest one if the gun was rotated in azimuth. At a distance from the actual gun position were other stores containing the reserve ammo, usually boxed and un-prepped.

There was sufficient ammo RU around the gun to cater for the usual engagement rarely - I should expect - more than 20 rounds and usually much less given a good rate of fire of ten rounds a minute. It took time to set shell fuzes manually. Later guns had an auto-fuze setter that nearly doubled the rate of fire.

For the mobile positions where the guns were dismounted from their trailers on to their cruciform mountings RU ammo would have been laid around the gun in ad hoc arrangements. Where mobile guns were used semi-permanently, concrete hardstands could be provided for the gun, predictor, range-finder, generator etc and sandbagged making life easier in foul weather. Often for sites used in 'expeditionary' mode, the only remains might be a hardstand for the generator and/or huts.