RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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I have covered the main history of RAF Old Sarum on my other page RAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire. This section covers the airfield or Aerodrome site, the hangars and working areas.

Old Sarum Airfield was first established in 1917 as a TDS Training Depot Station for the Royal Flying Corps and then School of Army Cooperation from 1921. Old Sarum was developed as a permanent station as part of the RAF Expansion Scheme in the 1930’s, and continued to evolve and serve the Royal Air Force and then the Army as a key training station until the 1970’s. Today Boscombe Down Aircraft Collection is housed in two of the hangars, several small industries and the Territorial Army. The airfield site has now been closed as a airfield by the leaseholders of the airfield and closed down several flying schools and the cafe just before Christmas 2019.

Early Development 1917 – 1920 : -
The site for Old Sarum Airfield was selected in 1917, to provide facilities for a training station for the rapidly expanding Royal Flying Corps (RFC). Like many others of this period, the airfield was provided with a cluster of General Service Sheds and camp buildings. It was opened in August 1917 under canvas (as buildings were not finished) and was briefly known as ‘Ford Farm’ but very soon took instead the name of the much more distinguished local fortifications (due to Ford aerodrome opening in Hampshire). Its first task was to act as a training station for the formation of new day bomber squadrons which would ultimately be sent across the Channel to operate in France.

RAF : -
The Royal Air Force (RAF) was founded on 1 April 1918, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corp and Royal Naval Air Service. On the same day a new flying training unit was formed at Old Sarum to become the airfield’s principal resident unit. This was 11 Training Depot Station, whose task was the operational training of fresh aircrews.

At the end of World War I, Old Sarum was one of the few airfields which was not closed down as part of the post war run-down. In 1920, 11 Training Squadron was disbanded and preparations were made to turn the station into the permanent home of the RAF's School of Army Co-operation (S of AC).

WW2 : -
S of AC continued into WW2 aiding BEF in France, then the continuing build up through the middle years of the war and for D-Day. Old Sarum became the main concentration for RAF ground units to be used in the D-Day landings and beyond. The whole airfield (less a small landing strip) and also parts of Old Sarum Castle its self was used for the storage and waterproofing for vehicles for the landings.

Post war: -
School of Land/Air Warfare and joining them later the Joint Helicopter Development Unit and used Whirlwind’s. 1971 the airfield was transferred to the Army.

Closure as a military base :-
Closed in 1979 and sold off. In 1983 the manufacture of the Edgley Optica was started and then ended. The airfield has continued until an uncertain future for air craft in 2019, but the Museum BDAC is still very open for business.



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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Record Site Plan Air Ministry 603/32

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Plan Air Ministry 603/32

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This is a 1932 plan of the 1917/1920 as a TDS (Training Depot Station). This was a huge expansion of the RFC & then the RAF in WW1 (1917/8) when in Wiltshire alone Old Sarum, Stonehenge, Boscombe Down & Lake Down were built as TDS's. Just over the border in Hampshire was also Lopscome Corner.
After that there came the RAF expansion schemes of the later 1930's Old Sarum was added to the list of having a major update. It came in the building of modern red brick buildings in the RAF style. An Officers Mess, a HQ building and many more.

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1932 expansion of the Communal site across the road with barrack blocks the Institute.

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L   - Lake Down.
S   - Stonehenge.
BD - Boscombe Down.
OS - Old Sarum.
N   - Netheravon.
U   - Upavon

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1930's expansion scheme building

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1930's

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
1930's

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This is how RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites was laid out at the end of WW1 as a Training Depot Station. The three double Belfast Truss hangars and the ARS single shed. Behind the M.T. Section and all the huts laid out. Old Sarum in white chalk on the grass and the compass platform circle in the centre.

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ARS Aircraft Re[air Shed. The three double hangars were for the squadrons aircraft to be stored and the ARS shed was where the aircraft were repaired.

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Audax.

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Hector.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Google

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Here I am covering the Administration, Communal, Station HQ, Sick Quarters, Officers Mess, M.T., etc.
I will cover the Airfield and Hangar site next.

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Entering Old Sarum Airfield today at the traffic lights.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Paul Francis

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
22 - Guard House

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The main entrance Guard room where everybody would have a had to book in and out of the camp. Now removed and a very blank building replaces it.

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The comment:
RAFP "Sorry Sir - But the Air Chief Marshal will just have to go back and get his 1250"

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Guard party.

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Early RAF guard.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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RAF Heraldry Trust, Old Sarum

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Blazon: A double- Headed Eagle Or armed Azure displayed gorged with a Ducal Coronet Or in front of a representative Castle Mound of Old Sarum Vert ensigned with a Castle of two Towers proper (Light brown wood).
Link: The badge represents the close connection of the unit with both old and new Old Sarum. The mound is a symbolic representation of the great Castle Mound of Old Sarum whilst the double-headed eagle is taken from the Armorial Bearings of the City of Salisbury.
Motto: Latin, Semper inter primos– Ever amongst the first.
History:  Opened, known briefly as Ford Farm in August 1917 before becoming Old Sarum. Transferred to Army control on 15 December 1971.
from RAF Heraldry Trust.

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RAF Heraldry Trust.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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15 August 2003

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Main Entrance.

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22 - Guard Room removed 2003.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2011

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
22 - Guard House

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This is what has replaced the guard room.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2011

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
23 Technical Store 285/17

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A 12 bay rectangular building with storage racks, tyre racks, store man's rest room & a clerk's office.

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WAAF's running the stores.

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Solid tyres.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Main Drive

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The RAF in the 1930's expansion used a nursery to grow trees to plant on RAF stations to soften their presence and also as camouflage. Here the tree lines main dive through the middle of the camp.

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Main Drive.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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09 April 2012

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Main Drive

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Main Drive in the winter time with no leaves on the trees.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1930's

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
30 Q store

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In the RAF it was the Q store the salvage shed, now its a brewery, Dark Revolution. Enjoyed by many of the BDAC crew.

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Dark Revolution Brewery.

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Inside the brewery and the bar area.

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Bar area.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1930's

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Today

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This air photo shows the main RFC area now left at Old Sarum. The yellow ticks are the buildings extant and the red ? are the two hangars in a very damaged condition.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Record Site Plan Air Ministry 603/32

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1,2 & 3 - Flight Sheds.
4 - ARS Shed.
5 & 6 - Plane Shed.
7 - Wood Workshop & Parachute Store.
8, 9 & 10 Flight Co,,anders Office.
11 & 12 - Petrol Installation (Aviation) .
13 - Switch House.
14 - W & B Office & Store.
15 - Photographic Hut.
16 - Gunnery Inst. & Armoury.
17 - W & B Workshops.
18 - Wireless & Bombing Hut.
19 - Lecture Hut & Photo Hut.
20 - Buzzing Hut.
21 - Depot Office.
22 - Guard House.
23 - Technical Store.
24 & 25 - Pump House.
26 - Tank (Water Storage).
29 - Latrines.
32 - Petrol Installation (M.T.).
33 - Picture Target House.
34 - Metal Workshop.
35 - M.T. Shed & Engine Test Shop.
36 Coal Yard.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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15 August 2003

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
31 - Latrines

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Well I thought this was a unique and interesting building, possibly a Squash Court or something like that. On the plan it states it was 31 - Latrines.

I checked and this building has been removed. It was we think another squash Court.

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Plan.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Google Earth 2001

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
2001 before a lot of demolition had taken place.

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2 - Flight Shed.
7 - Wood Workshop & Parachute Store.
22 - Guard Room.
23 - Technical Store.
26 - Tank (Water Storage) High Level.
30 - Q. Store.
31 - Latrines (pos. a squash court).
33 - Picture Target House.
34 - Metal Workshop.

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Officers quarters.

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Wood working shop.

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26 - Tank (Water Storage) High level.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
7 - Wood Workshop & Parachute Store 283/17

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I believe the left side was the Wood Workshop & right the Parachute Store. When the airfield was being built in 1917/18, this would not of been a parachute store as RFC/RAF aeroplanes at the time did not have parachutes.
In RFC times these two bays on the south side could have been the Dope Shop & the Sailmaker's Shop. Sailmaking would be the making & sowing of the aircraft fabric. The Dope was painted onto the fabric to shrink it and make it tight as drum.

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Plan.

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Aircraft repairs.

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The work of a sailmaker.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
7 - Wood Workshop & Parachute Store 283/17
Heating Chamber

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This was the heating Chamber or boiler house to heat the Workshops/Parachute store.

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Plan.

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Parachute packing.

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Bristol Scout.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
7 - Wood Workshop & Parachute Store 283/17

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This side was in the RFC days either a Machine Shop & Carpenter's Shop.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
7 - Wood Workshop & Parachute Store 283/17

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Original doors.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
7 - Wood Workshop & Parachute Store 283/17

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The far end.

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Plan.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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24 September 2018

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
View into the MT section

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Left:      33 - Picture Target House.
Right:    34 Metal Workshop 288/17.

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Plan.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2011

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
33 - Picture Target House

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Synthetic training building or as Paul Francis says, the Power House. In WW1 there would be now mains electricity and would have needed a power house, by 1930's the mains supply would have come out to Old Sarum, so it would have had a change of use to a Picture Target House..

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Paul Francis's photo and he calls it the Power House & I must agree thats what it looks like??

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Plan.

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Power House or standby set house.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2011

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
34 - Metal Workshop

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There was a coppersmith's, blacksmith's and engine repair shed.

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Plan.

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Hand files.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2011

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
35 - M.T.Shed

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Motor Transport Sheds & Yard 289/17. The RFC had nearly 100% motor transport, they did have at times the odd horse drawn vehicle, but if you were the most advanced service the armed forces, why would you need to use a Napoleonic Horse.

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WW1 MT.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Paul Francis

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35 - M.T.Shed & Engine Test Shop

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13 Bay M.T. shed. They would have had earth floors with concrete for the vehicle wheels to drive on and one or two may have had a vehicle pit for maintenance.

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Plan of the MT section.

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12 Bay MT shed Stow Maries.

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Stow Maries.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Paul Francis

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
M.T. Section

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35 - M.T.Shed
32 - Petrol Installation (M.T.).
Both garages are 13 bay and in the centre is the petrol installation to fuel all the Motor Transport. Most military vehicles of the period would have been petrol driven.

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RAF MT heavy lorries..

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Hillman staff car.

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Tilly light pickup.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
86 - Engine Test House

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Engines could be repaired and then either tested or run in under test conditions rather than test in the plane.

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Plan.

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A French engine test facility.

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Engine test propeller.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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09 April 2012

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
86 - Engine Test House

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Rear view..

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Modern engine test.

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09 April 2012.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Station HQ 7985/35

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A 1935 7985/35 building, with an Operations Block at the rear and two Haskard ranges..

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View of the SHQ.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Station HQ 7985/35

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Quite an imposing building.

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View of the SHQ.

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Operations.

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Operations.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
HQ's entrance.

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Main Entrance.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Station HQ 7985/35

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Operations Block at the rear.

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Operations

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Library.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Station HQ 7985/35

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Station HQ

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
SHQ's Guard Room

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Main Guard room.

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A guard party with dogs.

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RAF guard.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Post Box

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King George V. (postbox put up between 1910-1936).

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Post man.

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King George V.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Royal Wessex Yeomanry

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The latest users of the SHQ building.
The Royal Wessex Yeomanry supports the Regular Armoured Regiments of the British Army by providing fully trained Challenger 2 main battle tank crews on operations and exercises across the world. The role of Armoured Regiments like the Royal Wessex Yeomanry is to defeat the enemy using shock action: the sudden and overwhelming application of controlled violence. The Royal Wessex Yeomanry also provides close support to infantry units in offensive and defensive operations. As Reservists, soldiers in the Royal Wessex Yeomanry complete all of their training in their spare time

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Challenger 2 main Battle Tank.


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Plan..

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Station HQ 7985/35

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Operations Block at the rear with a Link Trainer building.

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Link trainer.

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Link trainer.

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Operations.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Army Co-operation School Building.

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In January 1921, the School of Army Cooperation moved to Old Sarum. For many years, it ran mixed courses for Army and Air Force personnel, focussing on development of efficient air/ground communication under operational conditions.

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Army.

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Airforce.

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Navy.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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09 April 2012

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Army Co-operation School Building.

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A quite large building with behind two smaller buildings called Haskard Ranges.
They were a training aid for pilots to view the ground from about 4,000 ft. A large canvas painted layout of the River Wallop. Under it using magnets, lorries, tanks could be moved around for a pilot inside a mock up of an aircraft cockpit could look over and spot the movements.
The inventor was a Lt Col Dudley Haskard RA.
Paul Francis.


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Plan..

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Haskard range,

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1917

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Women's Hostel.

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This is the women's hostel under construction around 1917. They had their own self contained camp with barracks and messing arrangements.
There part of the camp would have been situated around the site of the Army Co-operation School Building.


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Plan..

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A group of RFC women.,

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Sick Quarters

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Now owned by Wessex Archaeology is the trusted market leader in the provision of quality archaeological and heritage services, delivered from a UK wide network of offices. Established for 40 years Wessex Archaeology offers an unrivalled range of services above ground, below ground and underwater. We work in partnership with planners, designers, developers and property managers to deliver practical solutions.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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09 April 2012

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Sick Quarters

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Now owned by Wessex Archaeology which is the trusted market leader in the provision of quality archaeological and heritage services, delivered from a UK wide network of offices. Established for 40 years Wessex Archaeology offers an unrivalled range of services above ground, below ground and underwater. We work in partnership with planners, designers, developers and property managers to deliver practical solutions.

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Wessex Archaeology


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Plan..

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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16 October 2008

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Sick Quarters

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Built in 1933 these date stones are very good for historians to record building.
A two squadron Sick Quarters with Officers, NCO's and airmen's words, a kitchen, dispensary, waiting area and doctors rooms.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1970's Fuller Amesbury

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
1970's

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This is a photo taken by Mr Fuller in around the 1970's of Old Sarum showing the RAF expansion buildings (SHQ, Army Co-operation School Building, Sick Bay, Men's accommodation & Officers Mess + a lot more married quarters added in the 1950's).

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Early helicopter evaluation.

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Westland Dragonfly a type that would have used Old Sarum.

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Westland Whirlwind.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1970's

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites\
1930's to 1980's

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Men's barracks and Institute, above them is the Warrant Officers Married Quarters and the Men's MQ. Behind again the Officers Mess.

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Married Quarters.

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Airmen's permanent barracks.

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Airmen's permanent barracks.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1970's

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Barrack Blocks

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Four large Barrack blocks were built and a large Institute for the men to eat.

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Barracks today..

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National Service lads.

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1951.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1936/39 OS map

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Barracks & Parade Square

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Plan showing the four 1930's barrack blocks & the institute behind (I think that is the institute).

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Tables laid out for dinner.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Google

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Barracks today

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The two Barrack Blocks today have been turned into Maisonette’s. The third centre one looks to be a new build using the old style and in keeping.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Google

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Married Quarter

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Possibly a Warrant Officers quarters.

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The date it was built.

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Station Warrant Officer, the most feared man on the station.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Fuller, Amesbury

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Married Quarters and Officers Mess

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The very large building on the top left is the 1930's Officers Mess and the white buildings are the Flight Sergeants & Mens Quarters. Also there are many 1950's married quarters added when the war was over.

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RAF houses at Uxbridge to almost the same design.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Winkworth, Salisbury

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Officers Mess

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Continuing along the Roman Road just past the camp and you come to Throgmorton Hall was the 1935 Officers Mess , a a very imposing building now split up into houses.

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Officers on a night out.

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The Mess servant.

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Plan TDS 1918

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Plan

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This is the plan of the first Old Sarum (Ford Farm original name). This was part of the 1916/17 RFC plan to train pilots in a more professional way. They formed T.D.S.´s, Training Depot Stations. The six Belfast Truss sheds and one Aircraft Repair shed with storage, repair, transport and quarters.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Plan 1927

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Plan

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This is the plan in 1927 and you can see some expansion from the TDS days.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Plan 1935

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Plan

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This is the plan in 1935 after the RAF's expansion and many more buildings were added, a larger Officers Mess, HQ building, Station Sick Quarters, Men's Quarters and a large amount of married quarters. Men's & Warrant Officers in the North East corner & Officers Married Quarters South Eastern corner.

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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Plan 1944

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites
Plan

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This is the plan for 1945 around the time that Old Sarum was taken over in April/May/June 1944 as a centre for the waterproofing of vehicles for the D-Day landings. The yellow areas were the expansion of the airfield and B - Blister hangars. All the Site No.´s were vehicle parking areas and no flying (or minimal) took place.

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Rapide 1940's..


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Rapide 1940's..

RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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1930's

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RAF Old Sarum, Camp & Communal Sites

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