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Thread: Waterbeach

  1. #1
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    Default Waterbeach

    A little puzzler for you all. There's an aerial view of Waterbeach in Action Stations Revisited No.1 which appears to show a second runway parallel to the main runway and displaced to the North-West by a couple of hundred feet. My guess is that the photo was taken in the 1950s. If you look at more recent aerial photos (and the shot in Bases of Bomber Command Then and Now) there definitely appears to be the traces of a removed runway, of the standard 150ft width and about 5,500ft long.

    Looking in the Station ORB shows no mention of it being built, although these are notoriously inconsistent in the information recorded. Another record in The National Archive discusses trials on parallel runways taking place at Waterbeach in July 1951. My assumption had always been that these trials were merely timing trials to see how quickly you could a squadron of fighters into the air in order to derive the effect of building a second, parallel runway. However now I'm starting to believe that they actually built a prototype parallel runway at Waterbeach in the early 1950s.

    Can anybody confirm or deny this?

    Thanks,

    Peter

  2. #2
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    Peter is this what you mean?



    There is nothing on the late 1940's photo so if it is a runway it must, as you say, be 50's 0r later. I haven't seen any 50's photos, nor have I got AS Rev Vol1.
    This could be one of those delightful red herrings where the journey is better than the destination.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    Well as Waterbeach is the home of the Armys airfield repair engineers I wonder if in fact it was built after the Army moved in?

    Mind you I have often wondered why the RAF has never gone in for parallell runways?

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    Senior Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    Quoted from http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/s49.html

    "Four Dakota squadrons were stationed at Waterbeach late in 1947, the last, which disbanded early in 1950 leaving No. 24 Squadron and its mixed bag of aircraft, which had moved in the previous year. It left in March 1950, the same year that runway re-structuring was carried out by Mowlem."

    What does "re-structuring" actually mean?

  5. #5

    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    Here is an Aerial view of Waterbeach taken this year by DJA

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    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    Mike - The layout in the 1940's photo is the same as that in 1999 except for the chunky bits at each end of the main runway. Looking at the modern photo it looks more like compacted ground that hardcore so could it have been PSP? Without ploughing it may have lasted longer as a scar. Just a theory.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    The Northern end of the runway.


  8. #8
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    I have had a look at a 1975 OS map and there is a cut in the old peritrack and the E-W(roughly) runway where the assumed runway would have passed. Was the Army there then? If so did they do it?

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    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    The Army was at Waterbeach in 75, in fact they were there in the early sixties.

    Looking at the photo the tarmac to the top is the taxiway, but looking between it and the runway it does look to my eyes as if there may have been something on the grass, but the track marks are vehicle marks.

  10. #10
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Waterbeach

    I don't think we do but you need to prove it isn't to prevent another perpetuated myth. It is looking more like an exercise job to my mind like the one at Buddon.

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