RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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Situated to the east of Blandford Forum, Dorset, set on the top of a hill with expansive views across Blandford Camp and Badbury Rings (Iron Age hill fort).

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Blandford Army Camp had two US general hospitals to cater for casualties in France and also was a staging post for US troops going to France.

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Badbury Rings held the main beacon that the Americans used on D-day to navigate their Dakotas towards France.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton was the airfield that the gliders flew from for the attack on Pegasus Bridge.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton 'Windy Corner'.

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The main entrance to the airfield site

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Plan.

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196Sqdn Stirling III/IV,arrived 7 January 1944 and left on the 14 March 1944.
Then 298 Sq,Halifax V/III/A.VII,formed here 4 November 1943 and left 5 July 1945.
Airborne Forces of 38 Wing used Hamilcar,Hadrian and Horsa Gliders here to operations in Normandy, Holland and Germany.

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The RAF's Airborne Forces Tactical Development Unit was formed at Tarrant Rushton in 1943. It was responsible for investigating the tactical air problems in airborne warfare, and provided with a provisional staff establishment of 10 officers, 94 other ranks, four WAAF.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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10 July 2014

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T2 hangar at Windy Corner. T2 #2

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On a very sunny day.
RAF Tarrant Rushton construction started in September 1942 by George Wimpy to an 'A' class bomber airfield. Designed for five T2 hangars, only four were built and two remain. With 48 looped (spectacle) and two frying pan dispersals. 1024 men and 135 WAAF's were the complement but I am sure this number fluctuated.

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Erk's.

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WAAF's.

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Officers.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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10 July 2014

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Inside the T2 showing its makeup.

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61 - Aircraft Shed T2 #2 3653-65/42.
The uprights are double iron angles bolted together doubling their strength.

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US engineers assembling the doors at an airfield in the east of England.

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The uprights bolted angle.

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Covered in sheets of corrugated iron.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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Plan of the airfield site.

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All the usual RAF buildings with operations block, picket post, crew briefing room, speech broadcast, parachute store, MT, main store & workshops, A.M.L teacher, Link trainer and by the control tower the fire tender house, floodlight trailer shed, pyro stores, compass platform, etc.

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56 - Floodlight trailer shed(TB).

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53 - Night flying equipment store (TB).

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7 - Picket Post(TB) 12404/41.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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10 July 2014

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Perimeter track.

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Called track because they started out as cinder tracks but by 1942 they had to be 50ft wide to take heavy bombers.

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Just giving an idea of a Lancaster with a wingspan of about 93ft and the perimeter track of 50ft.

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Horsa taking off.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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01 August 2013

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Roadway to where the control tower once stood.

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Just a sort of oily stain on the corn is left, this is where the road led out to the control tower and its ancillary buildings.

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Plan of the Control Tower area with R to L.
53 - Night Flying Store(n) 12411/41..
54 - Watch Office (T.B.) 12779/41.
55 - Fire Tender Shed(T.B.) 12410/41.
56 - Floodlight & Trailer Shed(N) 12411/41.
57-8 -Pyro Stores(N) 5488/42.
59 - Sleeve Streamer Mast.
60 - Compass Platform.

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54 - Watch Office (T.B.) 12779/41.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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1940's Mike Lees.

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54 - Watch Office (T.B.) 12779/41, 343/43.

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It has one oddity that the left lower window is a large one?

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Ground floor plan.

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First floor plan.

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Front elevation.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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08 July 2014

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Frying pan dispersal.

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One of two that were here. B-3 Standard Class 'A' 150ft dia. "Pan" design.

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A large parking area with at least four tie downs to hold the aircraft in a wind.

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Tie downs.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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1947

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A post war photo of the airfield.

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The two frying pan dispersals show up well and the many dispersed Nissen huts littering the woods and fields.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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22 June 2010

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We are still on the perimeter track where it meets the main runway.

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This is where it turns to meet the main runway. The concrete here is of a later date and part of the cold war history of TR. I will write about this in a separate page.

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Plan.

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Valiant.

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V bomber RAF crew.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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22 June 2010

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Perimeter track lighting..

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The main runway leaving to the left and contact lighting for the V bombers to follow.

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Perimeter track lighting showing what they should look like. AIX.

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Elkington Gatic man hole cover for landing lights.

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Vickers Valiant.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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22 June 2010

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The main runway 19 looking south.

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The main N/S runway 150ft wide, 6,000 ft long.

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Main runway 19.

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Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle a very under used aircraft as it did not come up to standard because of a bad design so they were sidelined as a glider tug.

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Stirling's were used here to supplying weapons to resistance groups, glider tugs and also on many bombing runs to especially V weapons in Noball Targets. (Noball was the code word for V weapon sites).

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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1940's

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A Hamilcar tacking off on Runway 19.

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Note the yellow circle, it is a defence site with what looks like a Bofors gun and the red circle the tented area of the gunners camp.

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Bofors gun.

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Bofors gun.

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Hamilcar could carry a seven ton Light Tank Tetrarch.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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08 July 2014

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Perimeter track..

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There were four Loop aircraft dispersals by the trees and only two remain..

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Halifax and a Horsa glider about to rotate off the end of the runway.

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Hamilcar & Tetrarch tank.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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08 July 2014

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Loop dispersals.

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There were 48 on the airfield and these are the only two left. Called Loop or B-5 Standard Class 'A' "Loop" design.

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Loop dispersals.

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Plan.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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08 July 2014

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Loop dispersals.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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23 May 2010

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Perimeter track joining runway 13.

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Plan.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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23 May 2010

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This area is where Hangar T2 '#1'.

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All that is left are the marks in the ploughed soil.

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Plan.

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T2 elevation.

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T2 under construction.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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00-00-00

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Site plan of Hangar T2 '#1' and its ancillary huts.

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120 - Machine Gun & Cannon Range(TB) 147/41.
121 - Maintenance & Battery Charging(N) 829/43.
122 - Tech. Latrine(TB) 9026/41.
123 - Mnts. Unit Staff Block(N).
124 - Mnts. Unit & Oil Bowser(N) 12772/42.
125 - Latrine(TB) 9026/42.
127 - Aircraft Shed T2 3653 65/42.
128 - Acrft. Arm. Eqmt. Store(N).
129 - General Purpose Hut(N).
130 Flame Float Store(N) [Type D] 12725/41.
131 - Defence Hut(N).
TP = Temporary brick or half brick.
N = Nissen.

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120 - Machine Gun & Cannon Range(TB) 147/41. 

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122 - Tech. Latrine(TB) 9026/41.

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Nissen hut.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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From Terry.

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Flight Sim design of the area with grateful thanks to'Terry Wallis flight sim.' for the picture.

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This gives a good idea of how it may have looked.

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25yrd range.

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Latrine.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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23 May 2010

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At the bend in the distance is the threshold of runway 08.

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Runway 08 4,200ft long x 150ft wide.

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Image Caption

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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23 May 2010

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Coming around to the threshold runway 01.

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Runways were numbered 1,2 & 3 etc. when the Americans came into the war they used the compass layout and 01 degrees and 19 the same runway but the other end.
This is the area where gliders and tugs were assembled in four rows ready for take of for all their attacks on the continent.

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Plan.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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1944

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Sterlings lined up prior to D-day.

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The Sterlings left for RAF Keevil to take up there jobs for D-day and Halifax's arrived and were then used here for D-day.

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The line up from above.

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Gliders parked behind the runway.

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Glider training.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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23 May 2010

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Runway 01.

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The Sterling squadron 196 left in March to their D-day base of RAF Keevil, Wiltshire.

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RAF Keevil.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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1944

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One of the D-day lifts.

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5th June 1944: -
Three Albemarle's with Horsa gliders took off for the Merville battery.
Six Halifax's with Horsa gliders then took off for the bridges over the River Orne.
6th June: -
30 Halifax's with Horsa & Hamilcar gliders.
And then continued on until the Mulberry harbour could cope with all the transport needs.

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Ranville DZ.

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Pegasus bridge with the three Horse's top left side.

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Pegasus bridge Normandy.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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23 May 2010

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V bomber track to their QRA (Quick Reaction Alert)

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Four Valiant bombers on several occasions came down here and the crews were located on the A354 above Coombe Bissett. This was a wartime US hospital (now a corn store and play area). Most or all has now been removed. In the event of a nuclear war in the early 60's these aircraft would have flown to bomb Russia whilst we sat as children with our heads under our school desks. More of the V bombers later.

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Four Valiant line up at a QRA.

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QRA.

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Yellow Sun.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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Perimeter track

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Plan.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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Marston Shed for servicing equipment for the QRA.

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The Marston Shed was a wartime corrugated iron shed that could be assembled easily and dissembled and transported.

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Sterlings.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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Marston Shed for servicing equipment of the QRA.

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Still a good sturdy building.

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Inside.

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Crew bus.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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T2 #4.

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One of the best T2 hangars to photograph as it sits out on its own although today there are piles of wood around it as its a wood processing plant.

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Inside.

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The right hand 24ft Nissen hut.

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A very early digital photo from 1999, my goodness thats old.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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T2 #4.

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Latrines.

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Fire extinguisher point.

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Nissen Hut.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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T2 #4.

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This end of the hangar was used by Flight Refueling to paint Sea Vixens as targets. That is why there are vents on the roof.

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Mike Lees photo of a Sea Vixen.

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Sir Alan Cobham the founder of FR and Cobham PLC.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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T2 #4.

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The run in to the hangar.

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Photo from above.

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Hangar inside. 

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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T2 #4.

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RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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Perimeter connecting track.

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Perimeter track to more off site Loop dispersals and the site of T2 #3 now removed and the site of the hangar that was not built.

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T2 #3 in red.
T2 not built yellow. .

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Perimeter track marking still showing up directing planes into the hangar.

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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Some information text will go here

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T2 #3 in red.
T2 not built yellow.

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T2 #3 now removed (Mike Lees).

RAF Tarrant Rushton.

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25 May 2010

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Perimeter track.

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View across to the Sick Quarters site a small gaggle of 24ft & 16ft Nissen huts arranged to hold sick from the nearly three thousand men & women stationed here and war casualties from returning bombers or training accidents.

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A plan of dispersed accommodation sites.

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Sick comedians.

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