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HER Number:MDV47202
Name:Upottery Airfield

Summary

The Second World War airfield of Upottery, approximately 5km northwest of the village itself, is visible as a range of structures and earthwork banked features on aerial photographs of 1943 onwards. Much of the original fabric of this airfield survive on digital images of 2014.

Location

Grid Reference:ST 186 101
Map Sheet:ST11SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishClayhidon
Civil ParishUpottery
DistrictEast Devon
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCLAYHIDON
Ecclesiastical ParishUPOTTERY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST11SE/89
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BOMB STORE (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • DISPERSAL (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY AIRFIELD (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • PERIMETER TRACK (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • RUNWAY (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

1969, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV34132.

Upottery airfield. "airfield (disused)" marked on os 6" (1969) map.(os).


CHURCHSTANTON, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV34133.

Visible on raf ap (1947). Includes three runways, two hangers, service roads, nissen huts, air raid shelters, dispersal bays etc. Associated barracks/stores complexes visible to ne in somerset (churchstanton) (aph).


SEE ST10NE/118 FOR CONTINUATION, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV34134.

(see st10ne/118 for continuation).


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV34136.

Os 6"(1969)st11se.


Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV34137.

Aph=raf/cpe/uk1974/(11/04/1947)/1301-33301-4/smr 22/77-79 + 99-103.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV34138.

Francis, p. /blackdown hills airfield survey/(1995).


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV34139.

Willis, s. + hollis, b. /military airfields in the british isles 1939-45(omnibus edition)/(1987)202.


Royal Air Force, 1942, RAF/HLA/592, RAF/HLA/592 FP1002-03 08-JUN-1942 (Aerial Photograph). SDV359543.

The airfield has not been constructed.


United States Airforce, 1943, US/7PH/GP/LOC14, US/7PH/GP/LOC14 V 5024 09-AUG-1943 (Aerial Photograph). SDV359565.

The airfield is under construction.


United States Airforce, 1944, US/7PH/GP/LOC147, US/7PH/GP/LOC252 RS 4004-05 20-MAR-1944 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351618.

Construction of the airfield appears to have been largely completed and is visible as a range of structures and earthwork banked features.


United States Airforce, 1944, US/7PH/GP/LOC252, US/7PH/GP/LOC252 RP 3011 20-MAR-1944 (Aerial Photograph). SDV358580.

The developed airfield plan was visible. Eight hanger or pen structures were visible on the dispersed hardstanding near Newhouse.


Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1974, Devon County Council RAF/CPE/UK/1974 3301-02 11-APR-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV129775.

The airfield remains largely unchanged. Map object partly based on this source.


Royal Air Force, 1948, RAF/CPE/UK/2491, RAF/CPE/UK/2491 RP 3192-94 11-MAR-1948 (Aerial Photograph). SDV359578.

The airfield remains largely unchanged. Map object partly based on this source.


Ordnance Survey, 1989, OS/89276, OS/89276 V 267-68 14-JUN-1989 (Aerial Photograph). SDV357047.

The airfield remains largely unaltered, with a large number of buildings and structures extant, although a number show signs of falling into disrepair and some have been completely demolished.


Francis, P., 1995, Blackdown Hills Airfield Survey. Dunkeswell and Upottery., 110 (Report - Survey). SDV312951.

Originally constructed 1943-44 under the "bolero" scheme for use by us medium bombers. However saw active service as a base for us transport aircraft dropping paratroops and glider-borne units during normandy campaigns then as satellite for dunkeswell (crf:st10nw/41). Post-war raf use ended in 1948 and returned to agricultural use. Built to operational raf standard class a with three runways at near 60 degrees to each other. The main strip was 2000 by 200yds and the two subsidiary ones 1400 by 200yds. The runways were 50yds wide and surrounded by a perimeter track. Surviving buildings listed (see subhseets and st21sw/22) as are all demolished structures.
Although most of the earth traverses have been removed, there are three features worth noting. The landscaping of the site during construction is still quite apparent; the connecting roads between each Bomb Stores group have been raised on embankments and are quite impressive; all steel rings are still in situ, and this is a rare feature (francis).


Young, G., 1996, Archaeological Recording of Second World War Airfield Domestic Sites at Southey Moor, Churchstanton, 1996, 1 (Report - Survey). SDV344552.

Archaeological recording took place at five dispersed domestic accommodation sites associated with the Second World War Upottery (Smeatharpe) airfield. The sites are located at Southey Moor in Churchstanton parish, Somerset (whilst the airfield itself is in Devon). The remains date from the period between the spring of 1943, when construction of the airfield commenced, and the summer of 1945 when United States Navy squadrons and personnel vacated the base. The air station finally closed in 1948. The concrete hut bases and other remains are to be cleared from the five fields in order to permit them to be returned to agricultural use.


Passmore, M. + Passmore, A., 2013, RAF Upottery (Leaflet). SDV355705.

RAF Upottery, also known as Smeatharpe, was intended as a RAF bomber station, but was occupied by the United States Army Air Force, who used the facilities for its troop carriers. A number of structures can still be seen at the site, including a derelict control tower, huts and an Air Ministry laboratory.


Next Perspectives, 2014, Aerial Photography for Great Britain, Next Perspectives APGB Imagery ST1710, ST1810; ST1910; ST1909; ST1809 & ST1709 08-SEP-2014 (Aerial Photograph). SDV359479.

The layout of the former airfield is largely intact, although a number of the smaller structures such as nissen huts within the main concentration to the north have been completely demolished. A wide range of original buildings and structures still survive here.


Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

Much of the airfield in its original form is still extant and is depicted on this map. Map object partly based on this source.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2016-2018, The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV359463.

The Second World War airfield of Upottery, approximately 5km northwest of the village itself, is visible as a range of structures and earthwork banked features on aerial photographs of 1943 onwards. The site of RAF Upottery has been transcribed according to standard NMP methodology, of which only those Second World War structures and features not depicted on the current Ordnance Survey base map and which predate 1945-1946 have been transcribed. A number of the structures and earthworks associated with RAF Upottery and transcribed as part of this survey have individual monument records and may have been recorded in far greater detail than afforded here. Given time constraints, it has not been possible to individually amend, where applicable, these individual monument records and similarly all transcriptions made here have been attributed with the parent monument number. Much of the airfield in its original form is still extant and is depicted on the 2016 Ordnance Survey MasterMap. Commensurate with NMP practice, these elements have not been mapped during this survey. It should, however, be borne in mind that future Ordnance Survey maps may omit previously mapped structures or elements of the airfield which may have since been demolished or reverted back to agricultural use.

The site of the Second World War airfield occupies an area of approximately 220 hectares of land on a raised level plateau which borders the Somerset boundary. The first available aerial photographs of the area date to 1942 which show that the airfield has not yet been constructed. By 1943, the airfield is under construction and clearly shows the layout of the runway, although none of the buildings or structures had yet been built. By March 1944, aerial photographs show that the airfield has been largely or completely constructed. These show a three runway airfield with outer perimeter track, with the main concentration of buildings located along the northern edge of this track. These include for example, hanger, flight office, operation block, workshops, air raid shelter, electricity sub-station, storehouse and latrines. Spectacle pens are located along much of the perimeter track, with a concentration of earthwork banked features of bomb stores along the western edge of site. A range of other structures and earthworks such as fuel stores, transmitter site and motor transport shed are also dispersed across the edge of the site. Two groups of 4 10 by 20 metre structures visible on the dispersed hard-standing to the south-east of the site were removed by 1947. Aerial photographs also show that the extent of the airfield is defined by sections of perimeter fencing.

Aerial photographs of 1947 and 1948, when the airfield was closed, show that the airfield is largely unchanged. By 1989, many of the buildings and structures are extant, although a number show signs of falling into disrepair and some have been completely demolished altogether, such as the main aircraft hangar. Digital images of 2014 show the layout of the former airfield remains largely intact with runway, perimeter track and spectacle pans largely complete as areas of hardstanding, although some areas have reverted back to agricultural use, for example along the southern edge of the airfield and far northwest. A number of the smaller structures such as nissen huts within the main concentration to the north have been completely demolished, although a wide range of original buildings and structures still survive here. The bomb stores to the far west of the airfield, although much cleared, still survive as partial earthworks.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV129775Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1974. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Devon County Council RAF/CPE/UK/1974 3301-02 11-APR-1947.
SDV312951Report - Survey: Francis, P.. 1995. Blackdown Hills Airfield Survey. Dunkeswell and Upottery.. Blackdown Hills AONB. Digital + A4. 110. [Mapped feature: #92888 ]
SDV34132Migrated Record: 1969.
SDV34133Migrated Record: CHURCHSTANTON.
SDV34134Migrated Record: SEE ST10NE/118 FOR CONTINUATION.
SDV34136Migrated Record:
SDV34137Aerial Photograph:
SDV34138Migrated Record:
SDV34139Migrated Record:
SDV344552Report - Survey: Young, G.. 1996. Archaeological Recording of Second World War Airfield Domestic Sites at Southey Moor, Churchstanton, 1996. Exeter Archaeology Report. 96.21. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV351618Aerial Photograph: United States Airforce. 1944. US/7PH/GP/LOC147. United States Airforce. Photograph (Paper). US/7PH/GP/LOC252 RS 4004-05 20-MAR-1944.
SDV355705Leaflet: Passmore, M. + Passmore, A.. 2013. RAF Upottery. A Brief Introduction to Twentieth Century Military and Civil Defence Archae. 49. A4 Folded + digital.
SDV357047Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1989. OS/89276. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/89276 V 267-68 14-JUN-1989.
SDV358580Aerial Photograph: United States Airforce. 1944. US/7PH/GP/LOC252. United States Airforce. Photograph (Paper). US/7PH/GP/LOC252 RP 3011 20-MAR-1944.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359463Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2016-2018. The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:2
SDV359479Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2014. Aerial Photography for Great Britain. Digital. Next Perspectives APGB Imagery ST1710, ST1810; ST1910; ST1909; ST1809 & ST1709 08-SEP-2014.
SDV359543Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1942. RAF/HLA/592. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/HLA/592 FP1002-03 08-JUN-1942.
SDV359565Aerial Photograph: United States Airforce. 1943. US/7PH/GP/LOC14. United States Airforce. Photograph (Paper). US/7PH/GP/LOC14 V 5024 09-AUG-1943.
SDV359578Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1948. RAF/CPE/UK/2491. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/2491 RP 3192-94 11-MAR-1948.

Associated Monuments

MDV57234Parent of: Air Ministry Laboratory Bombing Teacher, Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57244Parent of: AIR RAID SHELTER in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57253Parent of: AIR TRANSPORT SITE in the Parish of Upottery (Monument)
MDV57254Parent of: Aircraft Hangar, Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57240Parent of: BOMB STORE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57262Parent of: BOMB STORE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57267Parent of: BOMB STORE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57268Parent of: BOMB STORE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57250Parent of: Control Tower, RAF Upottery (Monument)
MDV57232Parent of: Dinghy Shed, Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57255Parent of: ELECTRICITY PYLON in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57256Parent of: ELECTRICITY PYLON in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57231Parent of: ELECTRICITY SUB STATION in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57243Parent of: FLIGHT OFFICE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57245Parent of: FLIGHT OFFICE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57261Parent of: FUEL STORE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57235Parent of: Gas Chamber, Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57238Parent of: LATRINE GENERAL in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57239Parent of: LATRINE GENERAL in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57265Parent of: LATRINE GENERAL in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57249Parent of: Mechanical and Electrical Plinth, RAF Upottery (Monument)
MDV57246Parent of: MILITARY BUILDING in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57263Parent of: MILITARY BUILDING in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57264Parent of: MILITARY BUILDING in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57269Parent of: MILITARY BUILDING in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57259Parent of: MILITARY BUILDING in the Parish of Upottery (Monument)
MDV57260Parent of: MILITARY BUILDING in the Parish of Upottery (Monument)
MDV57279Parent of: MILITARY BUILDING in the Parish of Upottery (Monument)
MDV57233Parent of: MILITARY TRAINING SITE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57242Parent of: MOTOR TRANSPORT SHED in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57247Parent of: MOTOR TRANSPORT SHED in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57237Parent of: OFFICE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57280Parent of: Open Blast Shelter, Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57257Parent of: OPERATIONS BLOCK in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57252Parent of: PARACHUTE STORE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV78778Parent of: Perimeter Light Fitting, Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57251Parent of: SIGNALLING STRUCTURE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57236Parent of: STOREHOUSE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57241Parent of: STOREHOUSE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57248Parent of: STOREHOUSE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57228Parent of: TRANSFORMER STATION in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57258Parent of: TRANSFORMER STATION in the Parish of Upottery (Monument)
MDV57266Parent of: TRANSMITTER SITE in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV78756Parent of: Works Services Hut, Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57229Parent of: WORKSHOP in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57230Parent of: WORKSHOP in the Parish of Clayhidon (Monument)
MDV57278Related to: Dispersed Site 11 (WAAF Quarters), Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57277Related to: Dispersed Site 2 (Sick Quarters), Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV57276Related to: Dispersed Site 3, Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV51305Related to: Dispersed Site 5 (Quarters), Upottery Airfield (Monument)
MDV56919Related to: DISPERSED SITE in the Parish of Upottery (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4948 - Blackdown Hills Airfield Survey
  • EDV4339 - Demolition of Westleigh and Eastleigh
  • EDV4884 - Site Visit to Royal Air Force AML Bombing Teacher at Upottery
  • EDV4927 - Site Visit to Control Tower at RAF Upottery
  • EDV7508 - The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme (NMP) project (Ref: ACD1228)

Date Last Edited:Jul 5 2019 2:14PM