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HER Number:MDV53279
Name:RAF Sector Operations Block, Poltimore Park

Summary

Two structures of Second World War date were visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s on the gentle east-facing slopes of Poltimore Park, overlooking the River Clyst to the east. The structures comprised a purpose-built RAF Sector Operations Block and associated Stand-by Set House built during the early part of 1942. The Sector Operations Block remains standing but the Stand-by Set House was replaced by a later ROC Command Centre.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 971 959
Map Sheet:SX99NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishPoltimore
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishPOLTIMORE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX99NE/84

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • OPERATIONS BLOCK (Built, World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 11/04/1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1974, 1454 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349479.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RS 4072-4073 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Two structures of Second World War date were visible.


Fairy Surveys Ltd, 1964, FSL/6412 V, FSL/6412 V 1113-1114 07-FEB-1964 (Aerial Photograph). SDV357115.

Two structures, of Second World War and Cold War date were visible.


Ordnance Survey, 1971, Untitled Source (Cartographic). SDV341898.

The Ordnance Survey map for 1971 marks buildings here as 'Headquarters No.10 group Royal Observer Corps'.


Hellis, J., 1994, Gazetteer of Military Sites (Un-published). SDV96315.

JH/01753: WWII site HQ of Observer Corps for Exeter area. Site decommissioned in early 1990's but access not possible.


Horner, W., 1995, The RAF/ROC HQ at Poltimore Park (Un-published). SDV354443.

Site visited 5th September 1995. This military complex comprises two structures, the former RAF Sector Command Centre of WWII date, and the Post War ROC Command Centre to the north (MDV55041). The latter was built on the site of the WWII stand-by set house (generator room) which is visible on the 1947 aerial photograph. The RAF sector control room will have operated from the early years of the war, integrating the activities of the RAF fighters under RAF Exeter's control, anti-aircraft guns, searchlights, observer corps, radar and air-raid warning. The site was taken over by the Royal Observer Corps in 1947 and used as their area control room until a purpose built structure was erected in the early 1960's. The former RAF buildings continued in use as offices. Operations room staff during WWII were housed at Park Farm (MDV53281). The site is currently derelict and for sale. The surface building is in good condition but portions are inaccessible due to asbestos. The sunken operations room, with RAF and army (AA/searchlight) rooms and surrounding balcony, is apparently flooded. The building was extended slightly in 1947.


Francis, P., 1999, Exeter Airport. Historic Airport Survey for Devon County Council & East Devon District Council, 114 (Report - non-specific). SDV323390.

RAF Sector Operations Block. This is a purpose-built, dispersed, two-storey fighter sector opertions block built during the early part of 1942 and becoming fully operational on 2nd July 1942. It is different to other designs in that the lower floor of the operations room is below ground and the upper level of the ops room is at ground floor level. It is thought that five sector airfields had a similar building. These were all built to drawings 5291 to 5296/41, but this sequence was superseded by 4225/42, where the complete structure was to be built above ground.
It is built of cement-rendered 15.3 inch walls, reinforced concrete beams and reinforced concrete slab upper floors and roof. The AC plant equipment and boiler rooms are located in annexes on the south-east elevation, while battery charging and GPO equipment rooms are at the opposite end. Access to the main area is through an air-lock as in a gas contaminated environment, the internal air pressure of this section could be raised above ambient. The central area is the operartions room (on two levels), and is surrounded by its associated offices such as anti-aircraft and searchlight plotting room, meteorological office, wireless telegraphy room and teleprinter room.
The building is in fair to good condition and is fairly complete without too much modernisation. The floor was damp. The air locks are missing, but the rest of the building appears original but empty of fittings. Other details: Site 465; Map 14; Plate 40.


Passmore, A. + Passmore, M., 2004, Radar on the Marshes. A Brief History and Archaeology of Royal Air Force Station Exminster, 16; Plate 1 (Report - non-specific). SDV347965.

One of Fighter Command's No. 10 Fighter Group's sector operation rooms.


Next Perspectives, 2010, Aerial Photography for Great Britain, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SX9795 & SX9796 22-MAY-2010 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356259.

Two structures, of Second World War and Cold War date were visible.


Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.


Creighton, O. + Cunningham, P. + French, H., 2013, Peopling Polite Landscapes. Community and Heritage at Poltimore, Devon, 83 (Article in Serial). SDV361004.

Subterranean Second World War RAF Sector Operations Room.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2014-2015, East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV356883.

Two structures of Second World War date were visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s set within a polygonal fenced compound on the gentle east-facing slopes of Poltimore Park, overlooking the River Clyst to the east. The main structure, probably the Sector Operations Block identified by the above authorities is centred on circa SX97169576 and the smaller Stand-by Set House at SX97179601. The Sector Operations Block remains standing and is depicted on the Ordnance Survey Mastermap base map, and has therefore not been transcribed. Tthe Stand-by Set House was replaced by a later ROC Command Centre, also depicted on the Ordnance Survey Mastermap.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV323390Report - non-specific: Francis, P.. 1999. Exeter Airport. Historic Airport Survey for Devon County Council & East Devon District Council. Airfield Research Publishing Report. Digital + A4. 114.
SDV341898Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1971. Ordnance Survey 1:10000 map. Map (Paper).
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #94605 ]
SDV347965Report - non-specific: Passmore, A. + Passmore, M.. 2004. Radar on the Marshes. A Brief History and Archaeology of Royal Air Force Station Exminster. A4 Grip Bound + Digital. 16; Plate 1.
SDV349479Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 11/04/1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1974. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1454.
SDV354443Un-published: Horner, W.. 1995. The RAF/ROC HQ at Poltimore Park. Mixed Archive Material + Digital.
SDV354994Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1823. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RS 4072-4073 04-NOV-1946.
SDV356259Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2010. Aerial Photography for Great Britain. Aerial Photography for Great Britain Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SX9795 & SX9796 22-MAY-2010.
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV357115Aerial Photograph: Fairy Surveys Ltd. 1964. FSL/6412 V. Fairy Surveys Ltd aerial photograph. Photograph (Paper). FSL/6412 V 1113-1114 07-FEB-1964.
SDV361004Article in Serial: Creighton, O. + Cunningham, P. + French, H.. 2013. Peopling Polite Landscapes. Community and Heritage at Poltimore, Devon. Landscape History. 33. Digital. 83.
SDV96315Un-published: Hellis, J.. 1994. Gazetteer of Military Sites.

Associated Monuments

MDV55041Parent of: ROC Group HQ, Poltimore Park (Building)
MDV53282Related to: Broad Clyst, AA Battery (Monument)
MDV48842Related to: Exeter Airfield (Military) (Monument)
MDV53281Related to: Nissen Creek, Second World War Womens Auxiliary Air Force Accommodation Camp (Monument)
MDV78417Related to: Sick Bay, Nissen Creek (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4774 - Historic Airport Survey, Exeter Airport
  • EDV6530 - The East and Mid-Devon Rivers Catchment NMP project (Ref: ACD613)

Date Last Edited:Feb 8 2019 2:06PM