HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Wroughton Airfield

Hob Uid: 1432155
Location :
Wiltshire, Swindon
Chiseldon, Broad Hinton, Wroughton
Grid Ref : SU1460078600
Summary : A former World War Two military airfield, part of the site is now a museum. The airfield's main role was as an Aircraft Storage Unit Site for the storage of reserve aircraft. Construction work on the airfield began in 1939 and it was opened in 1940. In that year perimeter defences were also constructed, as the airfield was also used for an aircraft factory for the assembly of aircaft to supply Battle of Britain units (and later also naval planes and gliders for the Allied invasion of Europe). For details of the defences, please see records 1376059, 1416416, 1416417, 1416425, 1416439, 1416464 and 1419564. A range of aircraft hangars were provided, dispersed around the edge of the airfield to minimise potential damage from enemy raids. For the same reason aircraft dispersal fields were situated away from the main flying field. Surviving aircraft hangars at Wroughton include four Type D, four Type L and two austerity versions of Type C designs. During the war there were also 27 Robin aircraft hangars. During the course of the war, the airfield was improved, with the addition of 3 concrete runways between 1941 and 1944. Parts of the main airfield continued to be used by the military in the Post-War period, however in the 1960s the outlying dispersals were sold back to farmers. In 1972 the airfield transferred to the Royal Navy as Royal Naval Aircraft Yard Wroughton and continued to function into the 1990s. From 1980 hangars on the northern side of the airfield were taken over by The Science Museum Wroughton.
More information : Wroughton, Wiltshire. A former World War Two military airfield, now part of the site is a museum. The airfield's main role was as n Aircraft Storage Unit Site for the storage of reserve aircraft, one of 24 such facilities built between 1936-1940. After Kemble, Wroughton is the best preserved example of such a site, but does not have quite the same range of typology of buildings. Construction work on the airfield began in 1939 and it was opened in 1940. In that year perimeter defences were also constructed, as the airfield also was used for an aircraft factory for the assembly of Hurricane aircaft to supply Battle of Britain units (and later also naval planes and gliders for the Allied invasion of Europe). By 1942 700 people were employed in the final assembly of aircraft. A range of aircraft hangars were provided, dispersed around the edge of the airfield to minimise potential damage from enemy raids. Surviving aircraft hangars at Wroughton include four Type D, four Type L and two austerity versions of Type C designs. During the course of the war, the airfield was improved with the addition of 3 concrete runways between 1941 and 1944. (1)

A map of RAF Wroughton as it would have appeared in 1945 has been published in Airfield Review: this shows dispersal fields to the north-east, south-east, south-west and west away from the main flying field, with additional, more formally arranged dispersal areas marked to the east of the flying field. (2)

Wroughton Airfield, Wilshire, SU 139 786. The wartime hangar compliment was 2 Type B, three type C, 4 type D, 7 Type L and 27 Robin design. Part of the accommodation for personnel was permanent. (3)

The airfield continued to be used by the military in the Post-War period, however in the 1960s the outlying dispersals were sold back to farmers. In 1972 the airfield transferred to the Royal Navy as Royal Naval Aircraft Yard Wroughton and continued to function into the 1990s. From 1980 hangars on the northern side of the airfield were taken over by The Science Museum Wroughton. (4)

The Science Museum Wroughton includes storage facilities for part of the National Collections of The Science Museum, with 18,000 objects stored in 5 hangars. The museum website provides information on the museum and its collection including some virtual online displays. (5)

RAF Wroughton (No.15 MU) is one of twenty four Maintenance Units that were built by the Air Ministry during the Second World War. Its construction was planned before the war and the airfield opened in April 1940. In 1941, a second unit, MU No. 76, was set up at Wroughton to handle the packing of aircraft into crates for transport overseas. The airfield's principal role was aircraft maintenance and storage unit and more than 7,000 aircraft were modified, serviced or repaired there during the war. It was also involved in the assembly of aircraft to supply Battle of Britain units, and became the final assembly point, in the second half of 1943, for many naval planes and gliders used in the Allied invasion of Europe. After the War, Wroughton continued its maintenance function until it closed as a military airfield in 1978.

Wroughton airfield retains a number of military structures including Type B, C, D and L hangars, and ancillary buildings such as guardhouse, parachute packing shop and boiler house. (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
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.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Airfield review
Source details :
Page(s) : 32
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 10, 1989
Source Number : 3
Source : Military airfields in the British Isles 1939-1945
Source details :
Page(s) : 222
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Berryman D, 2002: "Wiltshire Airfields in The Second World War", Countryside Books, pp 208-218.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Science Museum. 2005. "Science Museum Wroughton"; http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/wroughton; acceessed 08-AUG-2005.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : English Heritage Listing File
Source details : Extract from Adviser's report on Control Tower case number 171068.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : World War II from 1940
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1940
Monument Type : Aircraft Hangar (Type D), Aircraft Hangar (Type L), Military Airfield, Dispersal, Robin Aircraft Hangar, Aircraft Hangar (Type C), Aircraft Factory
Evidence : Structure, Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Added 1941-1944
Monument End Date : 1944
Monument Start Date : 1941
Monument Type : Runway
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Out of use 1960s
Monument End Date : 1969
Monument Start Date : 1960
Monument Type : Dispersal
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Museum opened 1980
Monument End Date : 1980
Monument Start Date : 1980
Monument Type : Museum
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Military leave 1990s
Monument End Date : 1999
Monument Start Date : 1990
Monument Type : Military Airfield
Evidence :
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Second World War
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Military Airfield
Evidence :

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0004605
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 17 NW 135
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1501689
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1501691
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1416417
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1416439
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1416464
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1416425
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1416416
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1414566
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1524420
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, NHPP: WORLD WAR II TEMPORARY AIRFIELDS
Activity type : THEMATIC SURVEY
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, WROUGHTON AIRFIELD SOLAR PARK
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2013-01-01
End Date : 2013-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BUILDING ONE, SCIENCE MUSEUM
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2018-01-01
End Date : 2018-12-31