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HER Number:MDV51747
Name:RAF Collaton Cross, Newton and Noss

Summary

RAF Station Collaton Cross was established in 1938-9 as Number 13 Balloon Centre. Its purpose was to support the air defence of Plymouth. Very little survives except for the extensive hardstandings and concrete pathways of the central operations area.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 565 493
Map Sheet:SX54NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNewton and Noss
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishNEWTON FERRERS

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1413123
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX54NE/57

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BARRAGE BALLOON SITE (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/UK/967, RAF/106G/UK/967 RP 3158-3160 01-NOV-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351060.

Structures and earthworks of pits and banks are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 2115; HER 57/93. (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, Devon County Council RAF/CPE/UK/1890 2116-2117 10-DEC-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351061.

Structures and earthworks of pits and banks are visible.


Ordnance Survey, 1953 - 1969, Ordnance Survey Six Inch Map (Cartographic). SDV340358.

'RAF STATION (Collaton Cross)' shown. Buildings, roadways, recreation ground and magazine marked.


Royal Air Force, 1965, RAF/58/7109, RAF/58/7109 F43 1115-1116 22-NOV-1965 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351186.

The northeast and southwest extents of the site have been developed for housing. A number of structures to the north and west have also been demolished, with bases of these former structures clearly visible.


Ordnance Survey, 1983, OS/83124, OS/83124 V 349-350 04-JUL-1983 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351063.

The site has been completely cleared. Areas of hardstanding and bases of former structures remain clearly visible. Structures associated with HM Coastguard Yealm are visible.


Clamp, A. L., 1996, Collaton Cross Barrage Balloon Centre (Worksheet). SDV150969.

Station houses and two entrances to this wartime site in situ on the road between Newton Ferrers and Yealmpton. Map object based on this source.


Horner, W., 1996, RAF Station Collaton Cross (Un-published). SDV150968.

RAF Station Collaton Cross was established in 1938-9 as Number 13 Balloon Centre. Its purpose was to support the air defence of Plymouth and the base was manned by 943 Squadron RAF. The married accommodation, now in private ownership, was built after 1954. See file note for full details.
Site visit on 12th February 1996. Very little of the RAF station survives except for the extensive hardstandings and concrete pathways of the central operations area. A timber agricultural building now stands on the site of the two balloon packing sheds. Virtually all traces of the accommodation hutting and all the operational, administration and service buildings have gone. However there are brick footings of a building and adjacent (?) generator compound at SX56834943. The site of the balloon hangars and part of the recreation ground have been taken up by two large aerial mast compounds. These are circular with concrete aerial halyard anchor blocks still in situ. The masts have now gone but modem HM Coastguard buildings are still present. These masts will have been erected aner 1954. A single collapsed air-raid shelter is still visible, as are earthworks of the magazine.


Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Map object based on this source.


Tingle, M., 2015, A Development at Collaton Cross, Devon. Results of an Archaeological Desk-based Assessment, 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV359863.

Work began on the barrage balloon depot in 1939 which soon became active as No. 13 Balloon Centre. A plan of the depot shows more than 80 structures ranging from a winch and trailer shed to barrack blocks. The base functioned as a depot for mobile balloon deploying vehicles, repairing and servicing these units. It was hit in a bombing raid in November 1940.
The base continued to be occupied after the war when it was renovated and re-opened in 1946 as no. 2 Medical Rehabilitation Centre. Many of the buildings such as the NAAFI continued to serve the same functions but those specifically related to the operation of barrage balloons were turned to other uses such as the winch and trailer shed which became a gymnasiums and the ballooon shed which became a cinema. A number of buildings, however, including some barracks were removed. The buildings continued in occasional use into the 1970s; it was used as overspill accommodation for personnel based at RAF Mountbatten as late as 1972. However, by this time most of the buildings had been removed. During this period the site became the location for H.M. Coastguard Yealm; the two modern coastguard buildings are not included within the proposed development.
Today the central area of the base is characterised by extensive areas of hard standing. Some traces of the original buildings remain such as the site of the winch and trailer sherd. These remains will all be removed by the proposed development.


Google, 2017, Google Earth Pro, EARTH.GOOGLE.COM 22-JUN-2018 ACCESSED 14-JUN-2019 (Aerial Photograph). SDV360456.

Areas of hardstanding are visible.


Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2019-2020, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP) (Interpretation). SDV362982.

A range of structures and pit and banked earthworks associated with RAF Collaton Cross are visible on aerial imagery taken from 1945 onwards. The site occupies an area of circa 22 hectares of former agricultural fields. It is bound to the north by the B3186 , from which the site was accessed and is defined by fencing to the south. It comprises a range of pitched roofed structures, including camouflaged hangers within an area of hardstanding towards the centre of the site (circa SX56784947), with a number of huts of varying size (typically between 10-40m long) located to the east, north and west of these. Several of these structures along the northern perimeter are protected by possible blast walls. The structures are interconnected by a network of hardstanding paths which are connected to three looped pens at SX56594930, SX56584912 and SX56754921. Structures of a sewage works are located outside the perimeter fencing to the west. Visible across the site are at least 16 elongated earthwork banks, up to 35m long, of probable embanked air-raid shelters, with three v-shaped ditch and banked slit trenches located along the southern edge of a recreation ground located at SX56684913. A number of additional ditch and pit features interpreted as possible slit trenches and gun pits are visible across the southern half of site. An oval embankment of a magazine is located towards the southern extent of site.
The site remains largely unchanged on aerial photographs taken in 1946, although an additional number of elongated ditch and banked features of uncertain function, and not transcribed during this survey, are visible along the northern edge of the recreation ground at circa SX56634922 and SX56574926. By 1965, the northeast and southwest extents of the site have been developed for housing and a number of structures to the north and west have been demolished, with bases of these former structures clearly visible. By 1983, the former site has been completely cleared, although areas of hardstanding remain visible, in addition to structures associated with HM Coastguard Yealm. Digital images derived from aerial photographs taken in 2018 show large areas of hardstanding remain visible.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV150968Un-published: Horner, W.. 1996. RAF Station Collaton Cross. File Note. Digital.
SDV150969Worksheet: Clamp, A. L.. 1996. Collaton Cross Barrage Balloon Centre. Defence of Britain Project. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2115; HER 57/93..
SDV340358Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1953 - 1969. Ordnance Survey Six Inch Map. National Grid A edition imperial. Map (Digital).
SDV351060Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/UK/967. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/106G/UK/967 RP 3158-3160 01-NOV-1945. [Mapped feature: #94068 ]
SDV351061Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). Devon County Council RAF/CPE/UK/1890 2116-2117 10-DEC-1946.
SDV351063Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1983. OS/83124. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/83124 V 349-350 04-JUL-1983.
SDV351186Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1965. RAF/58/7109. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/58/7109 F43 1115-1116 22-NOV-1965.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359863Report - Assessment: Tingle, M.. 2015. A Development at Collaton Cross, Devon. Results of an Archaeological Desk-based Assessment. Martin Tingle. Digital. 4.
SDV360456Aerial Photograph: Google. 2017. Google Earth Pro. Various. Digital. EARTH.GOOGLE.COM 22-JUN-2018 ACCESSED 14-JUN-2019.
SDV362982Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2019-2020. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP). Historic England Research Report. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV55122Parent of: Air Raid Shelter at Collaton Cross RAF Station (Monument)
MDV51748Parent of: Former Trenches at Collaton Cross RAF Station (Monument)
MDV55121Parent of: Magazine at Collaton Cross RAF Station (Monument)
MDV125857Related to: Bomb crater west of RAF Collaton Cross, Newton and Noss (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7121 - Desk-based Assessment on Land at Collaton Cross
  • EDV8098 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey, Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (Ref: ACD2040)

Date Last Edited:Jun 20 2019 11:50AM