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Historic England Research Records

Yatesbury Airfield

Hob Uid: 1002091
Location :
Wiltshire
Cherhill, Compton Bassett, Avebury
Grid Ref : SU0626870589
Summary : Yatesbury Airfield was first established in October 1916 as the site of two Royal Flying Corps (RFC) training aerodromes specialising in Corps Reconnaissance training. The airfields were established in two main areas or camps: Camp 1 and Camp 2, both of which had their own technical and domestic sites and landing grounds. RFC Yatesbury became a Training Depot in 1918 and closed in 1919 and all buildings in Camp 2 were removed. A number of General Service hangars (see records 1308172 and 1308180) remained in Camp 1 and one of which survives today. A Prisoner of War camp (see record???) was also established to provide labour for the camp and surrounding area.In 1936 the site of Camp 1 was redeveloped as a civilian flying training school (No. 10 Elementary Reserve & Flying Training School) and run by the Bristol Aeroplane Company Ltd to train pilots for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Various facilities were built including officers mess and accommodation blocks (see record 1432187). In 1939 the airfield was taken over by the Air Ministry and brought up to wartime standards including the construction of various Bellman and Blister hangars, Stanton air raid shelters and a Sommerfield Track (steel mesh matting) was laid on the two runways. A number of airfield defences were also built (see records 1416449, 1422428, 1422429 and 1422430). In addition in 1938/39 RAF Training Command established a large wireless training school (No. 2 Electrical and Wireless School, later renamed No. 2 Radio School)) on the site of the First World War aerodrome at Camp 2. Over 50,000 men were trained here during the War on wireless theory and aerial training. At the eastern end of this camp, the No. 9 RDF School (later named the No. 9 Radio School) was opened in 1942 to teach the then secret radar. In 1947 air training stopped, though the wireless school continued until its closure in 1965.
More information : SU 054 710 (GCE) A rapid examination of air photography (2-3) suggests the presence of a World War I airfield southwest of Yatesbury village. The airfield (possibly the Headquarters of 28th Wing) includes hangers, a possible target range and other associated buildings. (1)

The extent of the World War I airfield described by the previous authority was mapped from aerial photographs (2-3). The extent of the airfield is defined by the following grid references; SU 0636 7139, SU 0642 7041, SU 0613 7010, SU 0539 7024, SU 0495 7100, SU 0446 7082, SU 0516 7141 and SU 0572 7154. The extent of the main areas of military buildings were also mapped, as were the possible target ranges, which consisted of two types. There were two grided areas, each with two concentric circles, centred at SU 0549 7073 and SU 0613 7071, at the southern ends of the grids . All the targets appear to be marked out by lime, as was part of a football pitch at SU 0632 7094. (2-3)

The western half of the World War I airfield appears to have been used as an airfield in the Second World War. Hangars and buildings from both wars are still extant at SU 0570 7142 and SU 0520 7130. Other buildings at the south-east side of the World War I airfield and the perimeter runway from World War II were visible as cropmarks in 1973. (4-5)

For a full history of the development of Yatesbury airfield, with photographs, plans and details of the units using the airfield, please see R. Priddle's 2003 work on the aviation in Wiltshire. (6)

For an additional source, see S. Willis and B. Holliss' gazetteer of WWII airfields, which gives a brief statistical profile of the airfield facilities as they stood in December 1944. (7)

For further additional sources, see the relevant articles in Airfield Review by D. Corley, K. Border and P. Francis concerning various aspects of Yatesbury's development. (8-10)

An English Heritage report made in 2003 has stressed the importance of Yatesbury as a survival of a WWI airfield, and notes that the western part of the site was made a Conservation Area in 1998. (11)

For a full description of the airfield including site plans and photographs please see the source: Ken Delve's The Military Airfields of Britain; South- Western England. (12)

The northern hangar (Listed 316299) has been damaged in a fire during early September 2010. (13)

The Report by Paul Francis on RAF Yatesbury contains a number of plans, maps and diagrams describing the development of the airfield and the survival of its buildings. (14)

This book and website are by the Yatesbury RAF Association and provide an in depth history of the airfield, especially during the Second World War and post war periods. There are a number of photographs, illustrations and plans of the multi period airfield. (15-16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Andrew Miller/12-JUL-1993/RCHME: AP Primary Recording Project
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Source Number : 2
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SU 0570/1 (JXG 14217/01) 09-NOV-1918
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Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage Thematic Listing Programme, May 2003: "Survey of Military Aviation Sites and Structures, Summary Report", Annexe 1, unpaged.
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Source Number : 12
Source : The Military Airfields of Britain. South Western England: Channel islands, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 298-302
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Source Number : 13
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Wiltshire Fire Brigade
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Source Number : 14
Source : RAF Yatesbury
Source details :
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Source Number : 15
Source : RAF Yatesbury The History
Source details :
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Source Number : 16
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : RAF Yatesbury. 2012. [Accessed 21-FEB-2012]
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Source Number : 3
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SU 0571/1 (JXG 14217/03) 01-JAN-1918
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1415 3070-3071 14-APR-1946
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/73071 144-145 10-APR-1973
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Source Number : 6
Source : WINGS OVER WILTSHIRE
Source details : Priddle R, 2003: "Wings Over Wiltshire: An Aeronautical History of Wiltshire", pp361-377.
Page(s) : 361-377
Figs. :
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Source Number : 7
Source : Military airfields in the British Isles 1939-1945
Source details :
Page(s) : 223
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Source Number : 8
Source : Airfield review
Source details :
Page(s) : 36-37
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Vol(s) : 62, 1993
Source Number : 9
Source : Airfield review
Source details :
Page(s) : 25-28
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Vol(s) : 64, 1993
Source Number : 10
Source : Airfield review
Source details :
Page(s) : 19
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Vol(s) : 81, 1998

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Closed 1969
Monument End Date : 1969
Monument Start Date : 1969
Monument Type : Military Airfield
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : Opened in 1916
Monument End Date : 1916
Monument Start Date : 1916
Monument Type : Military Airfield, Military Training Site
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : World War II
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Military Airfield
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 469444
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Non Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0003965
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0004614
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 104489
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 316298
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 316299
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 07 SE 45
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1110190
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1002098
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1308172
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1308180
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1422428
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1422429
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1432187
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1422430
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: AIR PHOTOGRAPH PRIMARY RECORDING PROJECT 1992-1996
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: AVEBURY WORLD HERITAGE SITE PROJECT
Activity type : FIELD SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-08-01
End Date : 1998-12-01
Associated Activities : Primary, RFC YATESBURY POW CAMP
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2011-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31