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HER Number:MDV78301
Name:Blast Pens, Exeter Airfield


Two World War II fighter aircraft blast pens.


Grid Reference:SX 993 937
Map Sheet:SX99SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishClyst Honiton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCLYST HONITON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Military structures; earthworks and archaeological remains of World War II, RAF Exeter and post medieval catchmeadows and orchard banks on footprint of modern Exeter Airport and to the east

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

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.

Two fighter pens of Type 11070/40. 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 71 + 81; Map 8.

Pillbox Study Group, 2012-2020, WWII Defence Sites, e10408, e10563 (Un-published). SDV357880.

Aircraft dispersal pens (Type 11070/40 at SX99309376 and Type B at SX99379383). Protected dispersal areas for fighter aircraft.

Davis, R. A., 2014, Exeter Skypark, Devon, RGF Site Clearance and Landscaping: Historic Building Record, 5; Plate 1, 16-20; Fig 2 (Report - Survey). SDV357036.

Two 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.
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 two fighter pens with identified defended walls were 71 and 81 (Figure 2). The orientation of these two fighter pens would appear to have been designed to provide additional cover to the defensive posts 45, 45a and 32. The defended walls with characteristic rifle loop holes are angled to supplement the west side of the air field.
The shelters of pens 71 and 81 were built to the same basic standard pattern as the other pens. The defended walls were constructed in hard red brick 9 inches thick and laid in English bond. The defended wall had two angle faces each with three rifle loop holes. Above each loop hole was a thick concrete lintel. It was not possible to see the complete interior of the rear enclosure as they were filled with debris.

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: #105191 ]
SDV357036Report - Survey: Davis, R. A.. 2014. Exeter Skypark, Devon, RGF Site Clearance and Landscaping: Historic Building Record. Wessex Archaeology Report. 100863.02. A4 Bound + Digital. 5; Plate 1, 16-20; Fig 2.
SDV357880Un-published: Pillbox Study Group. 2012-2020. WWII Defence Sites. Digital. e10408, e10563.

Associated Monuments

MDV48842Part of: Exeter Airfield (Military) (Monument)
MDV78290Related to: Fighter Pens, Exeter Airfield (Monument)
MDV56248Related to: LOOPHOLED WALL in the Parish of Clyst Honiton (Monument)
MDV56249Related to: LOOPHOLED WALL in the Parish of Clyst Honiton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4774 - Historic Airport Survey, Exeter Airport

Date Last Edited:Jun 16 2021 1:34PM