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Thread: Biggin Hill

  1. #111
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    Default Biggin Hill East Camp - Open House tours, Sunday 23 September

    Pleased to say that wartime structures in the East Camp (Air Ministry pattern pillbox; e-pens; dispersal hut; surface sleeping shelter) will be open for guided tours on Sun 23 September as part of the Open House London weekend. Enter the airport via the roundabout (don't go to the terminal) and follow the green signs - tours are scheduled for 10.30; 11.30; 1.00; 2.00; 3.00; and 4.00pm and entry is free!

    Just in case anyone was put off by the Airport's Family Open day last year this is nothing to do with that - event is run by the Scout Aviation Centre and has run most years since 2002. Fingers crossed we hope to have one or two historic aircraft on display as well as other 1940s material.

    Ian P

  2. #112
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill Airport East Camp - Open House tours, Sunday 22 September

    Is it really a year since anyone posted anything about Biggin Hill?

    But if anyone is interested in seeing something of what is remaining, the wartime structures in the East Camp (Air Ministry pattern pillbox; e-pens; dispersal hut; surface sleeping shelter) will be open for guided tours on Sun 22 September to coincide with the Open House London weekend. Enter the airport via the roundabout (don't go to the terminal) and follow the green signs - tours are scheduled for 10.30; 11.30; 1.00; 2.00; 3.00; and 4.00pm and entry is free!

    We hope to have one or two historic aircraft on display as well as other 1940s material.

    Ian P

  3. #113
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill Airport East Camp - Open House tours, Sunday 22 September

    Quote Originally Posted by Ianp View Post
    Is it really a year since anyone posted anything about Biggin Hill?
    Surprising isn't it. But in that year sadly there will probably have been about a billion Biggin Hill photos blithely plastered over Facebook, without supporting information and of very little practical use to anyone.

    It's a shame in some ways that the ubiquitous nature of digital photography has in some ways led to the degradation of the of the medium.

    Sorry off topic, rant over... and thank you for the update and information.

  4. #114
    Senior Member Richard Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill Airport East Camp - Open House tours, Sunday 22 September

    I agree with you, what happened to that last picture on Facebook. Oh! yes it was superseded by this one.

  5. #115
    Senior Member cliveh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill Airport East Camp - Open House tours, Sunday 22 September

    Quote Originally Posted by Ianp View Post
    Is it really a year since anyone posted anything about Biggin Hill?

    But if anyone is interested in seeing something of what is remaining, the wartime structures in the East Camp (Air Ministry pattern pillbox; e-pens; dispersal hut; surface sleeping shelter) will be open for guided tours on Sun 22 September to coincide with the Open House London weekend. Enter the airport via the roundabout (don't go to the terminal) and follow the green signs - tours are scheduled for 10.30; 11.30; 1.00; 2.00; 3.00; and 4.00pm and entry is free!

    We hope to have one or two historic aircraft on display as well as other 1940s material.

    Ian P

    Thanks for the tip-off Ian. I shall be there! I'll make sure I post some photos on here!

    cliveh

  6. #116
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill

    Does anyone remember anything about a hidden pillbox next to runway 29? I seem to remember an announcement in the late 70s about the discovery of a pillbox near the old civilian tower that had been forgotten because it was under the ground and designed to be raised (by hydraulics?) when needed to catch invading enemy aircraft unawares. Presumably it must have been grass covered if nobody knew it was there for so long. I can find nothing about it on the 'interwebs'. Also, is it really true that no wartime aerial pictures exist of Biggin?

    BTW, just to add a little info, my father ran an air scout group and we bought the old 600sqn hut to use as a base for our frequent stays at the airfield. It was just across the apron (more properly where the apron became the peritrack) from the civilian tower and a little West, next to a hangar. When we bought it there was still a Percival Prentice parked outside. The hut was smaller than the one now on the RAF side of the field and was wooden clad. Another air scout group, Croydon based, had a small hut situated a little further West and South in the middle of a belt of trees but I am not sure of its provenance.

    I need to go through my fathers photos sometime and see if there is anything useful there. I am trying to help someone building a more accurate BH for the combat sim IL2- Cliffs Of Dover http://i74.servimg.com/u/f74/17/15/66/19/biggin10.jpg Out hut would have been near where the single white building is just beyond the closest hangar.

  7. #117
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by Robinhj View Post
    Does anyone remember anything about a hidden pillbox next to runway 29? I seem to remember an announcement in the late 70s about the discovery of a pillbox near the old civilian tower that had been forgotten because it was under the ground and designed to be raised (by hydraulics?) when needed to catch invading enemy aircraft unawares. Presumably it must have been grass covered if nobody knew it was there for so long. I can find nothing about it on the 'interwebs'.
    That would presumably be a Pickett-Hamilton Fort. It's mentioned here http://www.airfieldinformationexchan...gin-Hill/page5 and might be in other places on the forum too - sounds like there is more than one still in existence there.

    P H Fort thread is here: http://www.airfieldinformationexchan...hlight=Pickett

  8. #118
    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill

    Could this be it, close to the southern apron?

    http://binged.it/1bv7Edp

    Note: it's a LOT clearer in the December 2006 Google Earth coverage.

  9. #119
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill

    In answer to Robin's questions:

    Pillbox - yes, it is indeed a Pickett-Hamilton Fort. The last time I looked at it was the 2010 Air Fair, and at that point it was in pretty good condition apart from missing the metal hatch (a metal sheet was covering it instead). There is a second one a few yards south of the current windsock (near the junction of all 3 runways) and I think a third over ner the ex-RAF apron in the West Camp. But as it was getting dark when i looked at that in 2012 I couldn't be 100% sure.

    I too am unaware of many wartime aerial pictures. There is a much reproduced Luftwaffe picture taken during the 18 August 1940 raid; and I am aware of another Luftwaffe one which shows the AA position in the South Camp. Other than that the RAF Chapel used to retail a 1947ish aerial picture which shows the airfiield before the RAF's postwar hangars were built, but I think their stocks are now exhausted.

    I do recall both the Air Scout huts in the South Camp. They went when that area was redeveloped for hangars in the late 1970s/early 1980s. In return the Airport allowed the Air Scouts to build the Scott-Chard Centre in the East Camp, opposite the only remaining wartime era Type-B sectional weatherboarded hut. The site in the East Camp is now the Scout Aviation Centre, incidentally in the middle of one of the squadron dispersal areas. It will be where the tours on Sunday 22 Sept depart from (see my earlier post). If anyone has time to drop by on Sunday, I am happy to chat to them and show the 1947 photo and 1945 aifield plan.

    Ian P

  10. #120
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    Default Re: Biggin Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by Ianp View Post
    In answer to Robin's questions:

    I do recall both the Air Scout huts in the South Camp. They went when that area was redeveloped for hangars in the late 1970s/early 1980s. In return the Airport allowed the Air Scouts to build the Scott-Chard Centre in the East Camp, opposite the only remaining wartime era Type-B sectional weatherboarded hut. The site in the East Camp is now the Scout Aviation Centre, incidentally in the middle of one of the squadron dispersal areas. It will be where the tours on Sunday 22 Sept depart from (see my earlier post). If anyone has time to drop by on Sunday, I am happy to chat to them and show the 1947 photo and 1945 aifield plan.

    Ian P
    Wow I did not realise Scotty had been immortalised. Great to hear. It was his Croydon based troop that owned the small hut in the woods and my own, 5th City Of London, that had the ex 600sqn one near the peritrack. Scotty flew all our air experience flights in Piper Tripacer 'Delta Papa' (G-ARDP?) and was quite a character. He was frequently told off by Sir Robin in the tower for doing 360s on finals to avoid having to go round again just because some slow Rallye was in front He worked for BOAC and once got me onto a training flight in which I experienced 7 touch-and-go landings in a 707 at Stanstead; pretty hairy when some involved blocking off the screen and shutting down both right engines on approach! Gordon, the owner of Delta-Papa once took me with him when he visited Redhill to talk to someone and I will always remember that flight because the Tiger Club was based there so there was this grass airfield with not only tiger moths but a Beech Staggerwing parked on it; like being transported back to 1935. The controller, Robin, was known for buying himself a route-master bus that he parked by the tower and used for driving around the field just because he liked route-masters

    Thanks for all the replies guys. I guess the pillbox must be the object in the picture P Bellamy posted.

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