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Historic England Research Records

Raf Babdown Farm

Hob Uid: 1383567
Location :
Gloucestershire
Cotswold
Kingscote, Beverston
Grid Ref : ST8455393787
Summary : The site of a former Second World War RAF military airfield situated at Babdown Farm. The airfield was opened in 1940 and closed in 1948. The airfield comprised three runways, a technical area southeast of Babdown Farm, three T1 aircraft hangars, six Blister aircraft hangars and a rifle range. Five dispersed accommodation sites, a dispersed sick quarters and dispersed communal site were located at Beverston Old Brake and Broad Newell Covert. Wartime construction methods typically involved the use of "temporary" building materials for many types of buildings.Following the closure the airfield was used for maintenance and storage purposes by 7 Maintenance Unit. The site has subsequently been cleared and all buildings demolished by 1992, but the three T1 Hangars and one Blister aircraft hangar are still in use as part of a modern industrial estate in 2006 and the rifle range is still in use.
More information : Information from typescript handout by B K Barnes, an artist specialising in aviation themes. It is undated but post 1980. The airfield was opened in 1940 and closed in 1948. It was planned as a Relief Landing Ground for Number 9 Flying Training School based at Hullavington, flying Audaxes, and later Masters and Hurricane aircraft. Initially equipped with only a grass surface, the landing area was marked with a flare-path, which was bombed in 1940 and 1941 with no serious damage. In 1942 the airfield was redeveloped: 2 Somerfeld Track runways were laid (to which a third was later added), and blister type aircraft hangars were erected around the perimeter. A headquarters was built close to Babdown Farm. Other sites were built further to the east at Beverstone. The redeveloped airfield was used by two flights of Number 3 Flying Instructors School, who used Oxford (presumably Airspeed) and Miles Masters aircraft. During the day the site was also temporarily used by spitfires from Number 52 Operational Training Unit. In 1943 there were futher additions to the airfield, including a Standard Beam Approach aid to the main runway; work was also begun on a maintenance site on the south east part of the base, including 3 Teeside type hangars. The Standard Beam was used particularly for training by 1532 Beam Approach Training Flight. By the start of 1944 the Flying Instructors School had left to be replaced by 15 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit, who were at Babdown until June 1945. There were a number of serious and fatal accidents resulting from training at the airfield. After training ceased in 1945 until 1948 the airfield was used for maintenance and storage purposes by 7 Maintenance Unit. In 1980 the Teeside hangars were said to be still extant, but these were subsequently cleared. (1)

Babdown farm airfield was situated at ST 845936. There were three T1hangars, along with 5 single and two double blister hangars. Accommodation for personnell was temporary. The complemnt for 23 group Advanced Flying Unit are given as 571 men and 223 Womens Auxilliary Air Force personell. (2)

The Defence of Britain Database entry is as follows: RAF Babdown Farm, Beverston, Gloucestershire, ST 845 938, condition unknown. (3)

Internet searches and oral information from Tetbury Tourist Information centre in August 2003 suggest that part of the site of the former Babdown Farm Airfield is now an industrial and /or retail estate. The land is said to be in private ownership. (4)

The military airfield referred to above (1-4) is visible on aerial photographs and has been mapped as part of The Cotswold Hills NMP survey. The airfield comprises three runways; the main east-west runway was installed with a Standard Beam Approach system. The technical area to the north of the airfield included the watch office and parachute store as well as four blast shelters and two air raid shelters. Another technical site was located to the southeast of the airfield (ST 8495 9366) and included the three T1 aircraft hangars (not Teeside Hangars), two large and two small Blister aircraft hangars. Two other large Blister aircraft hangars were located on the south west perimeter track (ST 8461 9321 and ST 8411 9373). The rifle range was located at ST 8389 9377.

Five dispersed accommodation sites, (Monument Numbers 1383589, 1519673 and 1519809) a dispersed sick quarters (Monument Number 1519676) and dispersed communal site (1383583) were located at Beverston Old Brake and Broad Newell Covert.

The airfield buildings were subsequently demolished on aerial photographs taken in 1992, with the exception of the rifle range, and three T1Hangars and a Blister Hangar which were reused as part of a modern industrial site on aerial photographs taken in 2006. (5-7)



Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Barnes, BK : "Babdown Airfield", undated handout for Tetbury Tourist Information Centre.
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Source Number : 2
Source : Military airfields in the British Isles 1939-1945
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Page(s) : 15
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Source Number : 3
Source : Migrated Defence of Britain Project database record originally compiled from various sources
Source details : The two databases developed by the Project can be searched on-line through the Archaeology Data Service at http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/specColl/dob/index.cfm
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Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Compiler's comment, Robin Page, 22-AUG-2003.
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF/CPE/UK/2110 3089-3090 28-MAY-1947
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Source Number : 6
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/92191A 159-160 14-JUN-1992
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Source Number : 7
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : EARTH.GOOGLE.COM 31-DEC-2006 ACCESSED 29-JUN-2010
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Industrial estate by 2002
Monument End Date : 2003
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Industrial Estate
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Maintenance and storage 1945-1948
Monument End Date : 1948
Monument Start Date : 1945
Monument Type : Military Airfield, Workshop, Storehouse
Evidence : Destroyed Monument, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Opened 1940
Monument End Date : 1940
Monument Start Date : 1940
Monument Type : Military Airfield, Aircraft Hangar (Type T1), Blister Aircraft Hangar, Watch Office, Parachute Store, Blast Shelter, Air Raid Shelter, Runway, Perimeter Track, Firing Range
Evidence : Destroyed Monument, Documentary Evidence, Demolished Building, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Redeveloped 1942
Monument End Date : 1942
Monument Start Date : 1942
Monument Type : Military Airfield, Military Training Site, Aircraft Hangar, Office
Evidence : Destroyed Monument, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : 1943-1945 expanded
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1943
Monument Type : Military Airfield, Military Training Site, Aircraft Hangar, Workshop
Evidence : Destroyed Monument, Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Defence of Britain Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0003851
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0003851
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 21829
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 4570
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 89 SW 65
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1524435
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1383583
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1383589
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1520997
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1519673
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1519676
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1519809
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1519811
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, THE DEFENCE OF BRITAIN PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-04-01
End Date : 2002-03-01
Associated Activities : Primary, BABDOWN AIRFIELD, BEVERSTONE
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BABDOWN AIRFIELD, BEVERSTONE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, THE COTSWOLD HILLS (SOUTH COTSWOLDS) NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-10-01
End Date : 2010-10-01
Associated Activities : Primary, NHPP: WORLD WAR II TEMPORARY AIRFIELDS
Activity type : THEMATIC SURVEY
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31