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Thread: Tangmere

  1. #1

    Default Tangmere

    I took this aerial photo of Tangmere in 2003, seeing as there is alot of uncertanty around Tangmere and the proposed development I thought I'd put this up.



    Please feel free to put any other Tangmere photos on this thread. A station with so much history.

    Richard

  2. #2

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    Article taken from: Chichester Observer 10/19/2007

    Battle against homes on airfield site begins again.

    The future of one of Britain's most historic airfields is under threat once again as Tangmere braces itself for plans for 102 more homes.

    Campaigners won the battle against similar plans last year but the developer has drawn up a new plan backed by the parish council.

    The proposals would see the site of the old West Sussex fire and rescue maintenance depot, off City Fields Way, flattened for a mixture of flats, houses and bungalows.

    Director genreal of the airfields of Britain conservation trust Kenneth Bannerman said: "It is one of the top three most-loved airfields in Britain.

    "Tangmere has always had a tremendously favourable reputation. People really care about the airfield.

    "They demand a lot more respect."

    The disused fire and rescue depot buildings, which include some buildings of historical importance dating back to World War II, will be demolished under the plan.

    The officer's H block on the eastern side of the site will be saved, because in July it was protected as a Grade II listed building, meaning it can not be demolished.

    Several other buildings of historic importance are under investigation by English Heritage to see if they can be classified as listed.

    Secretary of the RAF historical association James Liskutin (34) said: "Rural areas are now becoming built up and we are losing the village feel.

    "Maybe in three years' time we are going to find a part of Britain is going to be extinct, so right now is very important."

    The airfield is close to many people's hearts as it stands as a reminder of its vital role in World War II.

    Mr Liskutin added: "Tangmere is probably to me one of the most famous villages in Britain. It really does make an important point that this village should be kept in the condition it is right now.

    "I think the community may lose something by having a lot of development taking place on it. These buildings are on top of the community."

    Angela Salter (5 from Seaford, East Sussex, feels strongly about keeping the site as her brother was stationed there in the 1950s as a pilot.

    She said: "It would be like going to the pyramids in Egypt and having a McDonald's next to it, you would lose the ambience."

    Tangmere Parish Council is backing the plan as it would provide much-needed housing for the younger generation of the village's population, and it also fits in with the parish plan for housing.

    Chairman of the parish council Andrew Irwin said: "We have a young population and there is a demand for people in the village to live in the area they grew up in.

    "Tangmere has enough social rented housing and we need to balance it out with shared equity, that is the way for people to get on the ladder now."

    To comment on this application write to Chichester District Council quoting the application number TG/07/04577/FUL.

  3. #3
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    I have visited Tangmere on many occasions, & you truly get a sense of what it must have been like in the summer of 1940, when you look out across the old flying fields.
    I know that there was talk of dismantling the old control tower, & moving it closer to the museum.

    I was fortunate enough to be able to go in the tower before the doorway, & windows were bricked up.

    It was a glorious summers afternoon, not a breath of wind, as i climbed to the first floor.
    The stairs to the roof had been taken out, but you could still get a great view across the airfield.
    As I stood there, a chill blew through the tower, that made me shiver, but thinking nothing of it, I left the tower, & went on my merry way.

    Many months later, I recounted the tale of the breezy tower to a chap who had lots of dealings with Tangmere.
    He informed me that the ghost of the first american pilot to die, a billy fiske, was supposed to haunt the tower

    There have been many reports of strange goings on at Tangmere, as at many of the disused airfields.

    It would be interesting to hear of other members experiences...

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    It was a very strange feeling Lee.
    It was a lovely summers day, & you could see the heat haze shimmering over the grass.
    It was very easy to imagine the hurricanes bouncing across the fields, & turning away to head for the enemy formations.
    The tower, which was actually constructed after the BoB, seems to stand waiting for her charges to return, refusing to accept that some will not.

    Most of the peri is still there, & on the furthest side of the airfield, some revetments still stand, now used by the farmer, for storage.

    The spirit of Tangmere survives in the fantastic, & well worth a visit, museum.
    Lots of personal items, & stories of these brave young men & women, who gave their lives for freedom. Some great aircraft too!

    If you do visit the museum, make a point of visiting the church in tangmere village.
    Round the back are the war graves, the final resting place of some the flyers, & groundcrew, who were lost during that summer of 1940.

    There are also some graves of german aircrew, from the same period.

    As I said, well worth a visit

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    Sadly, all of the infrastructure of an aifield of that era, has all but dissappeared.
    All that remains are the 3 hangars, now used for grain storage, & the large concrete apron in front, laid down in the'50s.
    The hangars are fenced off, which is a shame, because in front of the hangars there are the remains of the floors of the flight huts from the BoB period, but you cant get to'em!!

    The tower is owned by the church, apparently.
    This seems to be in line with the agreement made when the land was purchased, that in the event of the airforce leaving, the land would resort to its previous owners ownership
    Think thats why it has not been demolished, but I dont think it has "listed" status.
    Round the back of the museum, in amongst the small allotments, you can still make out a couple of circular dispersals, in concrete, slowly being reclaimed by nature.

    If you do get there, have a walk round the old peri track, the picture posted at the beginning of this thread, is a great shot, & I would be inclined to print it off, (with permission of course!!), & use as a guide to working out where everything is, when you are on the ground there.

    & Finally...

    There is something about Tangmere...

    The feeling that the RAF never really left, seems to hang over the place.
    I guess for those brave souls that paid the ultimate price, they have never left tangmere either....

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    Thanks for the update Andy...! If you havent got it....get 'After the Battle,s' - ' then and now the Battle of Britain' ..Its the bible on this era showing the airfields as they were and now...crash sites etc etc. Although mostly done in the early 80s ( so things will have again changed) its ace!! Lots on Tangmere....aerial shots at the time ( im sure theres some bits there to be found). Are the barrack blocks still there? In one pic from 1979 one of the blocks still shows machine gun strike marks from an attacking ME 109! Wonder if its still there!

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    Hi again lee,
    I am the proud owner of that superb publication.
    It may sound a bit morbid, but in the book, they state the final resting places of the pilots, who were sadly lost in that period.
    I used to live in portsmouth, on the south coast, & in the 3 cemeteries in good old pompey, there are 4 pilots interred.
    I made a point of finding these graves, to be able to pay my respects to them.

    My last visit to Tangmere was only last year, so most of the buildings shown in the book are long gone.
    A building that does remain is the old NAAFI, which is now the community centre for the village.
    I believe the parade ground is now the car park for the community centre, & legend has it that near to the NAAFI was an underground shelter, that received a direct hit, & still contains the bodies of the poor WAAFs who were sheltering there.

    This was not an uncommon practise, not recovering the remains, as near to where I used to live in portsmouth was a communial shelter that also suffered a direct hit, & the remains were left , & the hole filled in.
    Many years later, when the road was being altered, near to the spot of the shelter, human bones were dug up. A legacy of that tragic incident, but the coroner was still informed, & an inquest was held to confirm that these were indeed from the victims in the shelter...

    Anyway, on a brighter note, hope you get to visit there soon, just going to have a look at your west malling posting.
    TTFN,
    Andy

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    OTBC Paul Francis's Avatar
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    Default RAF Tangmere



    The Watch Office control room 1982



    Watch Office / Control Tower 1982

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    As far as I know, the control tower is not listed though there have been a few attempts to get it so designated over the years....but we must remember that it was not built until after the Battle of Britain and is not in original condition. I thought the Community Centre was the former Sgts Mess not the NAAFI and I believe that this has been Listed for some years. Apart from the H block, can anyone confirm what else is definately listed at Tangmere?

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    Only the 8/84 BB is Listed, though not sure about the CT

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