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HER Number:MDV125256
Name:Military Camp off Shiphay Avenue, Torbay


A Second World War United States army camp is visible as a number of structures and vegetation marks on aerial photographs taken in 1944. The camp has been completely cleared by 1946, although vegetation marks remain visible.


Grid Reference:SX 896 651
Map Sheet:SX86NE
Admin AreaTorbay
Civil ParishTorbay
Ecclesiastical ParishST.MARYCHURCH
Ecclesiastical ParishTORMOHAM

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MILITARY CAMP (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

United States Airforce, 1944, US/7PH/GP/LOC147, US/7PH/GP/LOC147 V 5015 20-JAN-1944 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351618.

Structures and vegetation marks are visible.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223 Vp2 5178-79 12-JUL-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352279.

Vegetation marks of former structures and trackways are visible.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2018-2019, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (Interpretation). SDV361305.

Structures and vegetation marks of a possible Second World War United States Army camp are visible on aerial photographs taken in January 1944. The camp occupies an area of circa 14 hectares of land surrounding Shiphay House and Torquay Girls Grammar School. It comprises several groups of small square structures of probable bell-tents located as circa SX89446510; SX 89366513; SX89496519; SX89626518; SX89976519, which are interspersed with several Nissen huts and connected by a network of trackways visible as areas of worn ground. The areas of bell tents have been defined by extent of area polygons. More extensive areas of cleared ground of uncertain function, but possibly representing areas for storage, are visible to the northwest and north, adjacent to Shiphay Avenue. A number of narrow linear features of possible earthwork trenches similarly of uncertain function are also visible to the west of the camp. A broadly zig-zag feature visible within a single land parcel (SX90016531) to the east of the Grammar School and a lInear feature to the west of Shiphay House (SX89346504) are interpreted as evidence of possible perimeter fencing. The camp has been cleared by 1946, although vegetation marks of the former bell tents and Nissen huts, as well as former trackways remain clearly visible. Additional rectilinear marks visible in 1946 at circa SX89806515 and SX89426529 and interpreted as possible hut bases but which do not correspond with any features shown in 1944 suggest the camp had been modified between these years. The camp was possibly used for training troops and/or as a storage depot as part of preparations for the Normandy Landings. A group of pitched roof huts (MDV125255) has also been recorded on the opposite side of Shiphay Avenue to the north and may represent an associated feature of this camp.

Mrs Mary Drummond, 2019, Telephone correspondence, 03-APR-2019-08-APR-2019 (Personal Comment). SDV362960.

Mrs Drummond (nee Cavanna) was a local resident and 16 year old pupil at Torquay Girls' Grammar School when an American Army camp was established here in early 1944. She recalls the troops were only stationed here for a couple of months before being moved off to Torquay for the Normandy Invasion. The troops apparently did not train at the camp, but possibly used a training camp located circa 0.5miles to the north, somewhere around Scott's Bridge to the north. The troops used to throw sweets and chewing gum over the camp fence for the pupils, although staff at the school went around and picked these up. Four to five days before the invasion, the headmaster/mistress ordered the pupils not to talk to the soldiers through the fencing, or else they were told there would be grave consequences.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV351618Aerial Photograph: United States Airforce. 1944. US/7PH/GP/LOC147. United States Airforce. Photograph (Paper). US/7PH/GP/LOC147 V 5015 20-JAN-1944. [Mapped feature: #116510 ]
SDV352279Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223 Vp2 5178-79 12-JUL-1946.
SDV361305Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2018-2019. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley. Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV362960Personal Comment: Mrs Mary Drummond. 2019. Telephone correspondence. 03-APR-2019-08-APR-2019.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7515 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey (Ref: ACD1748)

Date Last Edited:Apr 11 2019 3:08PM