Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

RAF Culmhead, Blackdown Hills, Somerset

RAF Culmhead is one of three WW2 airfields situated close together on the beautiful Blackdown Hills, the other two being Upottery(Smeatharpe) and Dunkeswell. The Blackdown Hills straddle the border between Devon and Somerset, and Culmhead is the only one to be in the part belonging to Somerset.

Originally called Church Stanton, RAF Culmhead opened as a three-runway fighter airfield on 1st August 1941, and was later renamed to avoid confusion with Church Fenton in Yorkshire. Also known as Tricky Warren, presumably because it was built on the land belonging to the farm of the same name. Some of the farm buildings were utilized for the airfield.

It began it's life as an emergency landing ground and dispersal airfield, and was also used as a base for the testing of barrage-balloon wire cutters. As a fighter base for Spitfires and Hurricanes, it was occupied by No 2 Polish Fighter Wing and later by Czech units. English pilots were also based there. The fighter planes protected our bombers crossing the channel and also intercepted and shot down enemy aircraft over our country.

Following D-Day it was used for training the first jet-engined aircraft in RAF service. This comprised two Meteors, which arrived in July 1944. There was very little activity other than that, and was subsequently closed in August 1946.

Although there aren't a huge amount of buildings remaining at Culmhead, what's left is interesting, and there are some unusual finds too. These include two control towers situated near to each other, the first being a Fighter Satellite Watch Office and the second, a Watch Office for All Commands. There is also a loopholed defence wall which is still in very good condition.

Many more photos are in the Photo Gallery. EDIT: whilst copying the page contents for a dreaded change-over to a new website builder, I see that I've hardly got anything on this page. Therefore there will be a lot more information and photos to come...when I can! :)

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