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Somerset Historic Environment Record

44340

Site Name: Second World War Culmhead airfield, Trickey Warren
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: World War II fighter pens and other airfield remains and defences of the former airfield of RAF Culmhead, at Trickey Warren Farm [No:33028]
  Two World War II air traffic control buildings, 620m west and 560m WSW of Whitewall Corner, on the former airfield of RAF Culmhead, Trickey Warren [No:33029]
  Two groups of World War II pillboxes in the north eastern and north western sectors of the former airfield of RAF Culmhead, Trickey Warren [No:33030]
Civil Parish: Churchstanton
Comprises:
PRN 12998Second World War gun pit, RAF Culmhead
PRN 12999Second World War blister Hanger, RAF Culmhead
PRN 18549Second World War defence Unit buildings, RAF Culmhead
PRN 35929Second World War slit trench, RAF Culmhead
PRN 35930Second World War slit trench, RAF Culmhead
PRN 35931Second World War transformer plinth, RAF Culmhead
PRN 35932Second World War gun pit, RAF Culmhead
PRN 35933Second World War gun pit site, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44349Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44550Second World War airfield battle headquaters, Trickey Warren
PRN 44551Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44552Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44553Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44554Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44555Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44556Second World War airfield structure, Trickey Warren
PRN 44557Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44558Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44559Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44560Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44561Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44562Second World War airfield defence pillbox, Trickey Warren
PRN 44717Second World War defended aircraft pen, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44718Second World War defended aircraft pen, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44719Second World War nissen Hut, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44720Second World War flight office, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44721Second World War flight Office, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44723Second World War defended aircraft pen, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44724Second World War motor transport shed, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44725Second World War watch Office, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44726Second World War control tower, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44727Second World War defended aircraft pen, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44728Second World War defended aircraft pen, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44729Second World War defended aircraft pen, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44808Second World War latrine, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44809Second World War building, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44810Second World War main inlet electrical sub-station, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44811Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44812Second World War transformer, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44813Second World War speech broadcasting building, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44814Second World War floodlight-tractor shed, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44815Second World War night-flying equipment store, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44816Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44817Second World War aircraft machine-gun range, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44819Second World War electricity sub-station, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44820Second World War old gas-clothing store, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44821Second World War gunpit, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44822Second World War latrine, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44823Second World War petrol-pump house, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44824Second World War latrine, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44825Second World War gas chamber, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44826Second World War gas clothing store, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44827Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44828Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44829Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44830Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44831Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44832Second World War lubricant store, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44833Second World War sleeping shelter (shell store), RAF Culmhead
PRN 44834Second World War transformer, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44835Second World War latrines, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44836Second World War latrine, RAF Culhead
PRN 44837Second World War transformer plinth, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44838Second World War transformer plinth, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44839Second World War transformer plinth, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44840Second World War latrines, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44841Second World War squadron office or store, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44848Second World War sick quarters for RAF Culmhead, Fulwood, Pitminster
PRN 44849Second World War agricultural shed, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44850Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44851Second World War link trainer, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44852Second World War underground shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44853Second World War latrine, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44854Second World War parachute store, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44855Second World War blast shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44856Second World War underground shelter, RAF Culmhead
PRN 44858Second World War petrol pump intallation, RAF Culmhead
Grid Ref: ST 208 151 (ST 21 NW) ST 208 149 (ST 21 SW)
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Image: Image of HER 44340 - Technical site buildings. Photo by Paul Francis for SCC (23 February 1997)
  HER 44340 - Technical site buildings. Photo by Paul Francis for SCC (23 February 1997)

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:

Originally intended as an emergency landing ground and dispersal the airfield (known as Church Stanton) was actually a typical three runway fighter when opened on 1 August 1941. Double blast pens were dispersed around the airfield together with 10 blister hangers. Later a Teeside hanger was built on the NW side of the airfield. The base was occupied by No 2 Polish Fighter Wing and later by Czech units. It was also use as a base in the testing of barrage-balloon wire cutters. It was renamed Culmhead on 22 December 1943 to reduce confusion with other "Church.." names. Following D-Day Culmhead was used for training by the first jet engined aircraft in RAF service, two Meteors which arrived in July 1944 and left in August. The site saw little significant activity until it was closed in August 1946.

Accomodation sites were dispersed to the NE of the airfield (PRNs 44513 44514 44515 44516 44517 44518). {1}

Condition survey carried out in 1997. Many airfield buildings survive but in a fairly poor condition. Culmhead is particularly notable for its defended fighter pens, pillboxes and early tarmac runways. {2}

By 1999 several of the buildings in the technical area had been demolished and their remains crushed for hard-core. These included Francis's building numbers 28-29 (Main Inlet Electrical substation), 30 (unknown function), 37 (Floodlight Tractor and Trailer shed) and 50 (gun pit) (see PRN 35933 for the last). Buildings 41 Link Trainer, 39 Agricultural implement store have been reduced to piles of rubble. There are plans to remove many of the remaining buildings and the runways. {5}

During a check of the site's condition a further two structures, not identified by Francis were located. These were a transformer plinth (PRN 35931) and an underground shelter (PRN 44853) to the S of building 172 which appears to be identical to building 541. {6}

Parts of the site scheduled on 2/10/2001, including the area of the fighter pens at the SW of the airfield. {7}

See PRNs 44725 and 44557 for details of other scheduled areas. {8}

Much of the area to the south west of the airfield was found to have been severely disturbed by the construction of a vehicle testing track. This had involved the removal of topsoil and its replacement with a variety of different surfaces together with artificial "pot holes" holes cut in the taxiway. The top soil had been dumped in large heaps. The land agent stated that he believed that this had been done before the area was scheduled. {9}

References:

1 Description - Ashworth, C. Action Stations 5 - Military Airfields of the South West.  (1982), 72-75.
2 Detailed records - Francis, P. RAF Culmhead: history and condition survey.  (1997) report. Location: HER files. HER digital source: 14691.
3 Aerial photographs - DAP WC16. (1994) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
4 Aerial photographs - DAP ABY 07-11. (29/10/1997) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
5 Verbal communication - Webster, C [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (13/10/1999). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
6 Site visit report - Webster, CJ [Chris]. Somerset County Council (10/11/1999) Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained.
7 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (5/10/2001) Location: HER files under PRN 44557.
8 Verbal communication - Webster, C [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (11/10/2001). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
9 Site visit report - Webster, CJ [Chris]. Somerset County Council (17/4/2002) Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained.
10 Historical reference - Culmhead: Record Site Plan 4997/45.  (1945) Available at RAF Museum, Hendon. Copy in HER files.
11 Description - Francis, P. RAF Church Stanton / RAF Culmhead - A case study. In Francis, P. 20th Century Military Archaeology: Airfield Defences . 1 (2010), 101-112. Copy in HER collections

Record created in December 1994

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