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HER Number:MDV46535
Name:Winkleigh Airfield

Summary

Second World War airfield.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 619 093
Map Sheet:SS60NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWinkleigh
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishWINKLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS60NW/20

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • AIRFIELD (World War II to XX - 1940 AD to 1958 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, 1943 - 1944, Extracts From Operations Record Books (Un-published). SDV20448.


Royal Air Force, 1946, 3G/TUD/UK/159/5145 (Aerial Photograph). SDV20438.

WWII airbase. Approximate extent as visible on 1946 RAF AP marked on SMR overlay. Principal N-S and E-W runways visible plus access road circuit, dispersal bays, hangers, barracks, air raid shelters and sundry other military buildings. Map object based on this Source.


Royal Air Force, 1946, 3G/TUD/UK/159/5186 (Aerial Photograph). SDV20437.

Map object based on this Source.


Ordnance Survey, 1964, Untitled Source (Cartographic). SDV339898.

"Airfield (disused)" shown.


Ashworth, C., 1982, Action Station 5: Military Airfields of the South-West (Monograph). SDV20446.


Willis, S. + Holliss, B., 1987, Military Airfields of the British Isles 1939-45, 216 (Monograph). SDV20433.

RAF Winkleigh. Operational fighter station, part of RAF Exeter's sector in no 10 group (Rudloe Manor). Two concrete and tarmac landing strips, both 1550 by 50 yards. Temporary accommodation. Had one T2 hangar and either blister hangars.1262 RAF and WAAF personnel. Opened in 1943 and closed in 1958. Currently in industrial use. Other details: Omnibus Edition.


Willis, S. + Holliss, B., 1987, Military Airfields of the British Isles 1939-45, 216 (Monograph). SDV2918.


Walford, E., 1989, Untitled Source, 119-120 (Monograph). SDV20434.

Construction of a two runway airfield on flat moorland at Winkleigh first started in 1940 with the intention of it being a satellite for RAF Chivenor. Poor ground conditions delayed construction and finally opened in January 1943. Did not receive first operational unit, a Canadian Nightfighter Squadron, until April 1944. Other units flying from Winkleigh included anti-E-boat patrols, Channel cover during D-Day campaign and Lysanders dropping agents in and out of Occupied France. Went into Care and Maintenance in September 1944.


Egeland, P., 1990, Untitled Source (Photograph). SDV20430.

Buildings on Winkleigh airfield survived late 1980's.


Francis, P., 1993, Control Towers, 66 (Monograph). SDV2917.


Horner, W., 1993, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV20440.

Military buildings still visible along and from the B3220


Saunders, K. A., 1994, Devon Aerodromes in Old Photographs, 137-140 (Monograph). SDV20450.


Wasley, G., 1994, Devon at War 1939-1945, 51, 54 (Monograph). SDV165766.


Horner, W., 1995, RAF Winkleigh (Worksheet). SDV357491.

There are two runways running roughly north-south and east-west, with a perimeter track. The runways and track are largely still extant. A large number of buildings are recorded on the aerial photograph coverage including hangars, ancillary buildings and earth-banked dispersal pens on the north-west side of the airfield. The current computerised mapbase records extant buildings on the north-west side of the airfield. The airfield technical buildings are on the south-east side of the airfield. This area also includes a number of blast shelters. The control tower is recorded at SS62440925, with the signal square and code letters ("WK") just to its south-west. The control tower is still visible but in a dilapidated state. On the south-west side of the runways there are further dispersed aircraft standings. There is a rifle range at SS62380974 on the east side of the airfield, accessed off the perimeter track. The airfield dispersed sites are recorded to the east of the airfield. See worksheet for full details.


Cottey, R., 1995, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV20449.


ACE Archaeology Club, 1999, Winkleigh Airfield Survey (Un-published). SDV20447.

A survey of the airfield was undertaken by 'ACE Archaeology Club' in 1999. Includes comparison of the 1945 plan with surviving buildings. A measured survey was made of the dispersal pens


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2002, World War II Air Traffic Control Building 400m north west of Seckington Cross, on the former Airfield of RAF Winkleigh (Schedule Document). SDV339154.

Without a definite role to play, the airfield was only employed for a small number of exercises until April 1944, when it was chosen to provide an operational base for the night fighters of 406 Squadron (Royal Canadian Air Force), although it is believed to have been used secretly for Lysanders dropping Special Operations Executive agents into Western France. At the end of the war the airfield became a displaced persons camp, and was used for exercises in preparation for the invasion of Suez in 1956 before being sold off in 1958.
The Control Twer is scheduled as AM 33053.


Delve, K., 2006, The Military Airfields of Britain. South-Western England: Channel Islands, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, 289-290 (Monograph). SDV349964.

Originally intended as a satellite for Chivenor. Restricted space, hence the unusual cruciform layout to fit in two reasonable runways. Main technical area, centred on a single T2 hangar, was laid out on the north-west side, as were most of the dispersal areas, some of which were provided with Blister hangars. The administration area, a collection of huts, was on the south-east side and the communal areas were dispersed in fields to the south-east of the airfield.
Although completed in late 1942 it was not accepted by Fighter Command until 1st January 1943, additional fighter-tyoe dispersals having been constructed. By this time the Command had little use for this type of airfield in such a remote location and, although a few aircraft passed through, there was no plan for actual basing. In August the airfield was reduced to Care and Maintenance.
From October to November 1943 it became Station 460 for the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), and was used by a detachment of Spitfires from 12th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. This was in connection with exercises condutced on the North Devon coast in advance of the invasion of Europe. The Americans retained an interest into 1944 and the 74th Service Group handled various aircraft that staged through Winkleigh, usually C-47s. In April the Beaufighters and Mosquitoes of the Canadian 426 Squadron were based here, having moved from Exeter. By the end of April the night-fighter defence had been increased by a detachment from 286 Squadron, operating Defiants and Hurricanes. The station later acquired a night offensive capability with the arrival of a detachment from 415 Squadron (Albacores and Wellingtons), operating against E-boats on the south coast. The Canadian night-fighters also flew intruder missions over France.
The squadron eventually left Winkleigh in Septemeber following several successful operations, including one on the night of 14/15 May when they intercepted a raid aimed at Bristol. Summer 1944 had also seen the black Lysanders of 161 Squadron use Winkleigh for clandestine operations in France but, by late September the station was once more reduced to Care and Maintenance.


Thomas, R. (English Heritage), 2008, Conversation with A. M. Dick (Personal Comment). SDV340317.

Built as a satellite to RAF Exeter, under command of 10 Group (Fighter Command). Became operational 01/01/1943. Passed into USAAF use in October 1943, and handed back to RAF Fighter Command in April 1944.
Royal Canadian Air Force 406 Squadron operated Beaufort Mk VIF and Mosquito Mk XII or XX from April to September 1944. Passed to Flight Training Command in November 1944.
The two-runway cruciform layout is an unusual form. Runway 270 1550 x 50 yards, runway 003 1500 x 50 yards. Equpped with nine 'frying pan hard standings' and six fighter pens (dispersal bays). The fighter pens are unusually large, and clearly intended for two-engine fighters. These are an unusual feature.


ACE Archaeology Club, 2008, Winkleigh Airfield (Report - Survey). SDV359876.

Survey of the airfield originally made in 1999, updated in 2008. The survey was intended to indicate which features of the airfield are readily visible together with an indication of their present condition.
The airfield was originally planned in 1939 as a satellite of Chivenor and work started on construction in 1940. The airfield was constructed on marshland and despite draining the land concrete foundations and runways began to sink below the surface. It was not until January 1943, after remedial work, that Fighter Command officially accepted the airfield, although the site was still reported to be a see of mud. The airfield was used in succession by the WAAF, as a base for the support of the invasion landing trials by the US forces, as the headquarters for the USAF 74th Service Group and as a night figher station. Subsequently the airfield was given over to training for the Royal Norwegian Air Force and also housed Italian collaborators. It closed in 1948 but reopened briefly in 1956 at the time of the Suez crisis. It was finally disposed on it 1958.
The current condition of buildings varies not only with the quality of the materials used, but also with whether or not the buildings have been used since the land was sold back to the public. The high quality brick buildings, such as those for the stand-by generators and blast shelters, generally remain sound, as do those that have been used. The Sleeping Shelters, which have no windows to let in the weather are in very good condition, especially if still in use. Even those buildings, such as Nissan huts, that have been used for storage or pig houses are still standing, although lack of maintenance has encouraged decay. However, one building, that was still in use (at the time of this Survey) as a shower block with store room on a holiday site, still had original windows, roof and other fittings. This building has since been partly demolished. The concrete structure of the control tower has recently started to weep, since it is no longer used as a home and windows have been broken, which has let the weather into the interior. This building has now been Scheduled by English Heritage. Some taxi-ways are now used as roads and have been resurfaced. The runways and other manoeuvring areas, including the aircraft pans, are in reasonable condition, considering the lack of upkeep; the amount of supporting hard-core and concrete has, no doubt, helped. The extra foundation work required on the aerodrome has ensured that even where buildings have been destroyed, the foundations have usually been found with little or no difficulty. See report for information on individual sites and buildings.


Passmore, M. + Passmore, A., 2013, RAF Winkleigh (Leaflet). SDV355704.

The airfield at Winkleigh was completed in January 1943, and was first occupied by the RAF's Fighter Command. It was then used by the United States Army Air Force, whose role was to support the D-Day invasion landing trials. It later became home to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Norwegian Air Force. It ceased operational duties in 1945, and was sold by the Air Ministry in 1958.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV165766Monograph: Wasley, G.. 1994. Devon at War 1939-1945. Devon at War. Hardback Volume. 51, 54.
SDV20430Photograph: Egeland, P.. 1990.
SDV20433Monograph: Willis, S. + Holliss, B.. 1987. Military Airfields of the British Isles 1939-45. Military Airfields of the British Isles 1939-45. 216.
SDV20434Monograph: Walford, E.. 1989. War over the West. Unknown. 119-120.
SDV20437Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. 3G/TUD/UK/159/5186. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
SDV20438Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. 3G/TUD/UK/159/5145. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
SDV20440Personal Comment: Horner, W.. 1993.
SDV20446Monograph: Ashworth, C.. 1982. Action Station 5: Military Airfields of the South-West. Action Station 5: Military Airfields of the South-West. Hardback Volume.
SDV20447Un-published: ACE Archaeology Club. 1999. Winkleigh Airfield Survey. Digital.
SDV20448Un-published: Unknown. 1943 - 1944. Extracts From Operations Record Books. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV20449Monograph: Cottey, R.. 1995. The History of Winkleigh Airfield, 1939-1995. Unknown.
SDV20450Monograph: Saunders, K. A.. 1994. Devon Aerodromes in Old Photographs. Devon Aerodromes in Old Photographs. Unknown. 137-140.
SDV2917Monograph: Francis, P.. 1993. Control Towers. Control Towers. Unknown. 66.
SDV2918Monograph: Willis, S. + Holliss, B.. 1987. Military Airfields of the British Isles 1939-45. Military Airfields of the British Isles 1939-45. Unknown. 216.
SDV339154Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2002. World War II Air Traffic Control Building 400m north west of Seckington Cross, on the former Airfield of RAF Winkleigh. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV339898Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1964. Ordnance Survey 6 inch map. Map (Paper).
SDV340317Personal Comment: Thomas, R. (English Heritage). 2008. Conversation with A. M. Dick. Not Applicable.
SDV349964Monograph: Delve, K.. 2006. The Military Airfields of Britain. South-Western England: Channel Islands, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire. The Military Airfields of Britain. South-Western England: Channel Islands,. Paperback Volume. 289-290.
SDV355704Leaflet: Passmore, M. + Passmore, A.. 2013. RAF Winkleigh. A Brief Introduction to Twentieth Century Military and Civil Defence Archae. 48. A4 Folded + digital.
SDV357491Worksheet: Horner, W.. 1995. RAF Winkleigh. Defence of Britain Project. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV359876Report - Survey: ACE Archaeology Club. 2008. Winkleigh Airfield. ACE Archaeology. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV67750Parent of: Aircraft Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67752Parent of: Aircraft Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76783Parent of: Aircraft Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76785Parent of: Aircraft Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76786Parent of: Aircraft Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67729Parent of: AM and WD Stores, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67754Parent of: Ammunition Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67733Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67734Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67735Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67736Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67761Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67762Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67763Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67786Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67788Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67907Parent of: Blast Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76768Parent of: Blast Shelters, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67766Parent of: Blister Hangar, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67767Parent of: Blister Hangar, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67768Parent of: Blister Hangar, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67777Parent of: Blister Hangar, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76354Parent of: Blister Hangar, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67769Parent of: Blister Hanger, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67776Parent of: Blister Hanger, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76353Parent of: Blister Hanger, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67749Parent of: Building for Radar Beacon, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67731Parent of: Bulk Oil Installation, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV56240Parent of: Bulk Petrol Installation, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67744Parent of: Cine Camera and Gun Workshop, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV37721Parent of: COTTAGE NON SPECIFIC in the Parish of Sandford (Building)
MDV67743Parent of: Dining Room and Kitchen, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67758Parent of: Drying Room, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67782Parent of: Drying Room, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67742Parent of: Fabric Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67740Parent of: Fire Tender House, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV56239Parent of: Flight Office, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67784Parent of: Flight Office, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV56241Parent of: Floodlight Trailer and Tractor Shed, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67747Parent of: Fuel Compound, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67713Parent of: Gas Chamber, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67725Parent of: Gas Clothing and Respirator Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67727Parent of: Gas Defence Centre, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67728Parent of: Gas Defence Centre, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76779Parent of: Guard- and Fire Party House, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67772Parent of: Hangar, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76774Parent of: Latrine and Ablutions Block, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67759Parent of: Latrine Block, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67771Parent of: Latrine, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67781Parent of: Latrine, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67718Parent of: Link Trainer Building, Winkleigh Airfield (Building)
MDV67746Parent of: Lubricant and Inflammables Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67741Parent of: Main Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76777Parent of: Main Workshop, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67779Parent of: Mechanical and Electrical Plinth, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67730Parent of: Mechanical and Electrical Plinth, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67751Parent of: Mechanical and Electrical Plinth, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67753Parent of: Mechanical and Electrical Plinth, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67765Parent of: Mechanical and Electrical Plinth, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67720Parent of: MT Office, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67726Parent of: MT Petrol Installation, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67719Parent of: MT Shed, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67906Parent of: NFE Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67723Parent of: Parachute Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67755Parent of: Pyro Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67785Parent of: Radar Workshop, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67739Parent of: RAF Technical Latrine, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67745Parent of: RAF Technical Latrine, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67760Parent of: Recreation Hut, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67783Parent of: Recreation Hut, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67757Parent of: Repair and Gun Cleaning Workshop, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67436Parent of: Royal Observer Corps Post, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67714Parent of: Signal Square, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76775Parent of: Sleeping Quarters, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67756Parent of: Sleeping Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67764Parent of: Sleeping Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67778Parent of: Sleeping Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67780Parent of: Sleeping Shelter, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67775Parent of: Small Arms Ammunition Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67722Parent of: Speech Broadcasting Building, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67773Parent of: Steel Tank, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67748Parent of: Sub Station, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67770Parent of: W. T. and Gun Cleaning Workshop, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV76778Parent of: WAAF Technical Latrine, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67738Parent of: Winkleigh Airfield Armoury (Monument)
MDV67732Parent of: Winkleigh Airfield Blast Shelter (Monument)
MDV65999Parent of: Winkleigh Airfield Control Tower (Building)
MDV67737Parent of: Winkleigh Airfield Fire Tender Shelter (Monument)
MDV67715Parent of: Winkleigh Airfield Squadron Office (Monument)
MDV67716Parent of: Winkleigh Airfield Squadron Office (Monument)
MDV67724Parent of: Work Services Huts and Yard, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67790Related to: Ammunition Store, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67774Related to: Bulk Fuel Installation, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV48839Related to: Dispersed Accommodation Site, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV48837Related to: Dispersed Accommodation, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV48838Related to: Dispersed Accommodation, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV48841Related to: Dispersed Site, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV48840Related to: Dispersed WAAF Accommodation Site, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67866Related to: High Frequency Direction Finding (HF/DF) Station, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67865Related to: High Level Water Tower, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67791Related to: M. G. Firing Range, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67792Related to: Machine Gunnery Test Butt, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67789Related to: Mechanical and Electrical Plinth, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67793Related to: Probable Military Building, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67794Related to: Probable Military Building, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV48836Related to: Sick Quarters Site, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67867Related to: VHF Transmitting Station, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV46536Related to: WAAF Accommodation Site, Winkleigh Airfield (Monument)
MDV67864Related to: Winkleigh Airfield Sewage Disposal Works (Monument)
MDV67868Related to: Winkleigh Airfield VHF Receiving Station (Monument)
MDV67869Related to: Winkleigh Airfield Waterworks (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV201 - Observation from B3220
  • EDV7124 - Survey of Winkleigh Airfield (Ref: 1999)

Date Last Edited:Mar 20 2017 11:35AM