Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Dunkeswell Airfield, Blackdown Hills, Devon

This really is an amazing place to visit. The airfield itself is still active for light aircraft flying, parachute jumping, gliding and paragliding, but the hidden gem is the truly extensive WW2 Technical Site and other remains.

This is one of three WW2 airfields situated close together on the Blackdown Hills, the others being Upottery and Culmhead. The first two are in Devon, whereas Culmhead is just over the border in Somerset. Because the airfields are so huge, with additional dispersed sites, the three more or less run into each other and the area is literally dotted about with nissen huts and other WW2 buildings. Although almost all of them were intended to be temporary, the original buildings on the technical site at Dunkeswell are still in use as an industrial site. Some have been maintained and look quite posh, whereas others are still in their original state and used as workshops.

Originally planned to be a Fighter Command then a Coastal Command, Dunkeswell was transferred for use by American units and was the only base used by the US Navy on UK land. Their Anti-Submarine Unit played a vital role in the 'Battle of the Atlantic', operating against German U-Boats in order to keep the supply line open between the USA and Great Britain. 181 USN airmen were killed in action, including Joseph Kennedy, the elder brother of the late President JFK. 

The original Watch Office (below) is on the other side of the perimeter lane. 

A portable control office (below), next to a nissen hut that's used by South West WW2 Heritage.

One of the 'must see' parts is the museum which is dedicated to the Fleet Air Wing 7, United States Navy, and is situated on the new industrial site opposite the technical site. It's only a small place but absolutely chock full of interesting artifacts and hundreds of photos. Very well worth visiting.

Below is the memorial to the personnel that were based here. 

An extensive album with many more photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery.

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