HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV78290
Name:Fighter Pens, Exeter Airfield


Three World War II fighter aircraft pens.


Grid Reference:SX 993 939
Map Sheet:SX99SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishClyst Honiton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCLYST HONITON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BLAST PEN (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

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

Three fighter aircraft pens of 11070/40 design. A standard type for protection of two, single-engined fighters. Built after June 1940. In poor condition, with the main physical remains being the permanent structures, namely the dwarf walls, shelter and defended walls. The sandbags have all but disappeared, while the contents being made from a weak sand and cement mixture have largely disintegrated. Other details: Sites 85, 90, 92; Map 8; Plate 24.

Pillbox Study Group, 2012, WWII Defence Sites, e10405, 6 (Un-published). SDV357880.

Aircraft dispersal pens (Type 11070/40). Protected dispersal areas for fighter aircraft.

Davis, R. A., 2013, Exeter Skypark, RGF Site Clearance: Photographic Record of Exeter Airport’s Historic Runways, Taxiways and Aprons, 5; Fig 1; Plate 7-15 (Report - Survey). SDV357037.

Three of a series of fighter pens dispersed along the west side of the airfield and orientated in such a way as to minimise the effects of bomb blast. They were all built to the standard Air Ministry pattern 11070/40 and consisted of a forward or front crew shelter at the end of the central spine wall. The entrances to the shelter could be gained from either side and from the aircraft standing area.
A 1942 aerial photograph suggests that the centre spine wall and forward shelter area was originally uncovered with no earthen embankment. Pens 92 and 91 are typical of this type of early fighter pen. Two flanking entrances, from the hard-standing for the aircraft providing access to a strong shelter at the north end. The Brick protective walls were constructed in hard red brick laid in English bond with a staggered or baffled entrance. This was to provide blast protection and reduce the risk from ricochet. Symmetrical in plan the centre of the shelter comprised a Stanton type of precast concrete sections of nine bays. The individual sections of concrete were bolted together and bitumen poured between the joint to seal from water ingress. Originally there was a door at both ends set in a wooden frame. Pen 92 was identical and orientated in the same direction as pen 91.
Of the six original single-engined fighter pens, only five have survived, number 68 (to the south) has been demolished. Of the remaining five, two have been built to the standard pattern but with the addition of a defended wall at the opposite end to the shelter. The Francis report has suggested that fighter pen 85 had a defended wall but there was no evidence of this once the surrounding area had been cleared. Due to the amount of ground clearance it is possible that this feature has been demolished in the past.
Fighter pen 90 was overgrown and the metalled surface was covered with weeds and moss. However, it was possible to see that the pen was set on a hardcore base. The tarmac perimeter road at this location was breaking up.

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.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital). [Mapped feature: #105182 ]
SDV357037Report - Survey: Davis, R. A.. 2013. Exeter Skypark, RGF Site Clearance: Photographic Record of Exeter Airport’s Historic Runways, Taxiways and Aprons. Wessex Archaeology Report. 100861.01. A4 Bound + Digital. 5; Fig 1; Plate 7-15.
SDV357880Un-published: Pillbox Study Group. 2012. WWII Defence Sites. Digital. e10405, 6.

Associated Monuments

MDV48842Part of: Exeter Airfield (Military) (Monument)
MDV78301Related to: Blast Pens, Exeter Airfield (Monument)
MDV79289Related to: Former Railway Station (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4774 - Historic Airport Survey, Exeter Airport

Date Last Edited:Mar 13 2020 8:20AM