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Somerset Historic Environment Record

11275

Site Name: Second World War Westonzoyland Airfield, Westonzoyland
Civil Parish: Middlezoy, Westonzoyland
Comprises:
PRN 11069Second World War pillbox, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 11070Second World War pillbox, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 11071Second World War pillbox, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 11072Second World War pillbox, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 11615RAF transmitting station, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 11616Second World War sick quarters, RAF Westonzoyland
PRN 11617RAF domestic site, Westonzoyland
PRN 11618RAF communal site, Westonzoyland
PRN 12584Second World War airfield domestic site, Westonzoyland
PRN 12585Second World War airfield domestic site, N of Middlezoy
PRN 12586Second World War airfield domestic site, Westonzoyland
PRN 12587Second World War airfield domestic site, Westonzoyland
PRN 12791Cropmark, Westonzoyland Airfield, Westonzoyland
PRN 13959Second World War pillbox, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 13960Second World War pillbox, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 13961Second World War pillbox, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 13962Second World War pillbox, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 13963Second World War pillbox site, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 13964Second World War pillbox site, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 13965Second World War Westonzoyland airfield technical site
PRN 13966Second World War pillbox site, Westonzoyland airfield
PRN 13967Second World War pillbox site, Westonzoyland airfield
PRN 13968Second World War pillbox site, Westonzoyland airfield
PRN 13984Second World War link trainer building, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 13985Dinghy parachute sheds, Westonzoyland Airfield
PRN 15882Second World War sewage works, Westonzoyland airfield
PRN 16507Second World War airfield accommodation area, Middlezoy
PRN 16508Second World War airfield ground defence compound, Westonzoyland
PRN 16509Second World War airfield HF/DF station, Westonzoyland
PRN 16510Second World War military arfield battle headquarters, RAF Westonzoyland
PRN 16511Second World War military airfield domestic site, RAF Westonzoyland
PRN 16512Second World War airfield sewage works, Westonzoyland
PRN 31770Second World War rifle range, RAF Westonzoyland
Grid Ref: ST 35 34 (ST 33 SE) ST 37 34 (ST 33 SE) ST 36 35 (ST 33 NE)
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Image: Image of HER 11275 - Photo by Somerset County Council (August 1996)
  HER 11275 - Photo by Somerset County Council (August 1996)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]

Details:

Extensive remains of military airfield on the E side of Westonzoyland. They comprise three runways and perimeter track with dispersal areas and three sided hard standings. Earthworks to the E of the field, and connected to it by roads, may have been either a magazine or air raid shelters. Two hangers were plotted in the N quadrant from the limited 1947 cover available, a third hanger site probably lies in the SE quadrant. {1}

Airfield first used in 1926 in conjunction with the anti aircraft gunnery range at Doniford. This continued until 1936 with the airfield opened each May and the summer spent in tents. During WW2 the airfield was expanded but continued to act as a training base for the ranges at Lilstock and Steart. A general improvement of the airfield was started in the spring of 1943 including the provision of tarmac runways. The USAAF arrived in 1944 for glider and parachute training in preparation for D-Day. After the war the site was briefly reactivated during the Korean War and again in connection with the Atomic Strike Force in 1955. The site was finally closed in 1958 although the site was not sold until 1969. Airfield domestic sites were dispersed to the south (see PRNs 12584 12585 12586 12587). {4}

Shown in detail on a series of Air Ministry plans. {6}

The pre-1943 layout of Westonzoyland Aifield is visible on aerial photographs of 1942.

The airfield was smaller in size and had grass runways. Field boundaries were painted over the centre of the airfield in order to camouflage it from the air. The technical buildings were in the northwestern corner, centred on ST 3630 3500 and arranged in a semi-circular arc in a layout typical of the expansion period for airfields from 1935 to 1939. Hangars front onto the airfield at ST3623 3489 and ST 3635 3497, with only the control tower in front of them at ST 3630 3479, and other buildings are arrayed behind.

A second technical area (PRN 13965) centred on ST 3632 3449, with a hangar and other buildings, is situated in the southwestern corner of the airfield.

A number of defensive installations were located around the airfield surrounded by barbed wire. In the northeastern corner centred at ST 3712 3492, is a compound with barbed wire around it and two pillboxes (PRNs 11069, 11070) in front of a low mound. This mound has a building on it which may be the airfield Battle Headquarters building (although see PRN 16510). Other defended areas with pillboxes are sited at ST 3673 3397 (PRNs 13960, 13961 and 13962), ST 3608 3468 (PRNs 13963, 13964) and ST 3718 3438 (PRNs 13966, 13967, 13968).

Aircraft are visible on the aerial photographs around the perimeter of the airfield, possibly Lysanders, although Masters, Martinets and Mustangs were also used here up to 1942. {12}

The airfield was enlarged and improved in 1943 and concrete runways were constructed as described above in (4). The new airfield layout is centred at ST 3663 3442. These improvements are visible on aerial photographs of the later 1940s.

The technical buildings are still situated in the northwest corner of the airfield but there is no southern array of buildings. An incendiary bomb store is situated in the extreme northeast corner of the airfield centred at ST 3780 3458, with a possible ammunition store immediately to its west, centred at ST 3743 3472.

There is now a main and subsidiary runway crossing at ST 2659 3440 and hardstandings where aircraft could be parked around the perimeter of the airfield. These hardstandings are of both the loop and frying pan types.

Possible fuel stores are located in the southeast corner and on the northwestern side of the airfield centred at ST 3758 3410 and ST 3578 3474. A third possible fuel store is located on the southern side of the airfield centred at ST 3672 3393. A possible hangar building is located 305m northeast of the third fuel store, centred at ST 3703 3413. {14}

Cropmarks showing elements of the pre-1943 airfield layout described above can be seen on aerial photographs of the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s.

The camouflage pattern of painted field boundaries and many of the roads and trackways are visible as cropmarks, the buried structures or paint having caused the grass to be parched on the surface. Two dotted lines of cropmarks centred on ST 3626 3458 indicate that the base of the hangar in the pre-1943 southern technical area has been broken up with the rubble left in piles. {17}

Some of the hangars were dismantled and removed to Glastonbury where they survive in a timber yard (PRN 31615). {27}

References:

1 Mention - McDonnell, RRJ [Richard]. Somerset County Council claylands aerial photo survey (1985) (ST33SE). Location: verbal or direct entry to database, no other records.
2 Aerial photographs - LHL CPE.UK.1924 2165 January 1947
3 Aerial photographs - HSL 71 216 Run 37E 1649. (10/11/1971) Location: Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
4 Description - Ashworth, C. Action Stations 5 - Military Airfields of the South West.  (1982), 207-210
5 Sketch plan - Ashworth, C. Action Stations 5 - Military Airfields of the South West.  (1982), 208
6 Map - Air Ministry drawing 4549/45.  (1945) Available at RAF Museum, Hendon Copy in HER files.
7 Map - Air Ministry drawing 18/34/46 (1946). RAF Museum, Hendon. Copy in HER files
8 Map - Air Ministry drawing 2476/46 (1946). RAF Museum, Hendon. Copy in HER files
9 Map - Air Ministry drawing 2477/46 (1946). RAF Museum, Hendon. Copy in HER files
10 Map - Air Ministry drawing 14/226/53 (1953). RAF Museum, Hendon. Copy in HER files
11 Map - Air Ministry drawing 17/7/54 (1954). RAF Museum, Hendon. Copy in HER files
12 Verbal communication - Krysia Truscoe, Somerset County Council and NMR (31/1/2006)
13 Aerial photographs - RAF FNO/37 5008 (11/7/1942) in National Monuments Record. Copy in HER files. in National Monuments Record
14 Verbal communication - Krysia Truscoe, Somerset County Council and NMR (31/1/2006)
15 Aerial photographs - USAF 7PH/GP/LOC 252 (F24) 3032-3 20-MAR-1944 in National Monuments Record
16 Aerial photographs - RAF CPE/UK/1924 4167-8 16-JAN-1947 in National Monuments Record
17 Verbal communication - Krysia Truscoe, Somerset County Council and NMR (31/1/2006)
18 Aerial photographs - RAF 540/479 3143-5 22-APR-1951 in National Monuments Record
19 Aerial photographs - CUCAP (CJU5-6) 20-JUL-1979 in National Monuments Record
20 Aerial photographs - NMR ST 3634/1 (975) 02-AUG-1976 in National Monuments Record
21 Aerial photographs - NMR ST 3634/2/372-4 (975) 02-AUG-1976 in National Monuments Record
22 Aerial photographs - NMR ST 3634/3/375-6 (975) 02-AUG-1976 in National Monuments Record
23 Aerial photographs - NMR ST 3634/4-8 (SOM 13173/1-5) 05-JUL-1989 in National Monuments Record
24 Aerial photographs - NMR ST 3634/9-13 (DAP 14393/9-13) 17-JUL-1992 in National Monuments Record
25 Aerial photographs - DAP ZQ9. (1996) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
26 Aerial photographs - DAP AAD14,15. (1996) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
27 Correspondence - Perry, C (Chris) and England, J (Julie),, email to Somerset County Council Historic Environment Record (19/1/2012). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained

Record created in October 1985

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