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Thread: Bombing Ranges

  1. #11
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    No problem

  2. #12
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    Hi Peter,

    off the top of my head i can think of the following sites in my home county of Shropshire:
    Cherrington Moor, on the Weald Moors, north of Wellington - used by Wellingtons of 83 OTU based at nearby RAF Peplow.
    Fenn's Moss - This was quite a large one and i know that at various stages it was used by 10 FTS, 11 FTS, 61 OTU and Whitley's from 81 OTU.
    Baggy Moor - Used by 61 OTU, Rednal. Spitfire BL763 crashed during a dive bombing attack on the 21st February 1945, killing Cpl Z Kawczyński.

    I would suggest getting hold of a copy of the excellent ‘Wings Across the Border’ by Derrick Pratt and Mike Grant which has 14 pages covering bombing ranges in North Wales and the Northern Marches. It concentrates particularly on Fenn's Moss range and has numerous photos, diagrams etc.

    Hope that helps,

    Tom

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    Do some searches on CANMORE, you should find quite a few there. Try the Highland HER as well.

    There is a concrete arrow near Skipness Castle in Argyll and I think there is at least one quadrant tower about a mile South.

    There are a couple of towers by a caravan site at Tayinloan, I think there was half-sunk ship off the coast that was used as a target.

    I think there are some other towers nearer Campbeltown.

    I think posted a message on here a few months ago about a query on Secrete Scotland about a possible quadrant tower South of Ayr.

    I was looking at aerial photographs at the RCAHMS recently and noticed several arrows near Portmahomack and some small buildings that could be quadrant towers.

    There is a tower near Nigg - a farm has some concrete torpedo so they could have been dropping them.

    There was a modern range near Rosehearty that could have been used in WWII

    I would have a good look around the Stranraer area, I was talking with one of the people at the RCAHMS about a concrete wall near there that he had been looking at.

    MB
    MB

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    Default Luce bay bombing range

    Hi i have details ,of some bombing trials that took place at the luce bay ranges nr Stranrear In scotland , durinmg ww2 , get back to me if interested
    bw phill jones

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    Hi Peter,
    Otterburn Ranges Northumberland opened c First World War: still in use by the World and his wife judging by the traffic. Also Druridge Bay Range, opened I think late 1930s and used by Acklington APC after the war until c 1961. Range was from the middle of Druridge Bay northwards to Hauxley Point. There was a wooden observation tower at its southern end, demolished c 1961. There still is a building in the dunes, not sure what its for, may be nothing to do with the ranges at all. It has no doors, windows or vents and no signs at all: might be a Tardis!

    Best Wishes.
    Robert.

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    Whilst in Northumberland, there was a range at Goswick Sands and while we were on Lindisfarne last year it sounded like a Bomb Disposal unit was dealing with some ordnance on it.

    Malcolm

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    I haven't had a chance to catch up until today so thanks for all the replies. I will answer each one in turn.

    thorn83 -

    Cherrington Moor I have noted at SJ672185 which was based on a converted wartime grid reference. I have added the detail regarding the OTU and Peplow but apart from that I have not information on target or quadrant location.
    Fenn's Moss I have as opened in 1939 and cleared in 1955.
    Baggy Moor I have noted at SJ394270 with an extant quadrant shelter at SJ400269.
    Wings Across the Borders is on order (Vol 3 I assume).

    mbriscoe -

    Canmore and the RCAHMS air photo site is as good as it gets. I managed to get a photo of the Skipness arrow from 1946 at TNA on my visit last week (Admiralty Beach Survey files).
    The towerws at Tayinloan were for the Admiralty ranges known as Ballure. there are two towers, a markers shelter and an unknown "bunker" still in situ. The ship was probably sunk as a target and used in addition to the small island off the coast.
    The QS near Ayr was probably at Dunure and I think it was used by Turnberry and probably called Turnberry range.
    The several arrows near Portmahomack are of interest. I have Tain marked and also one at Rockfield. Rockfield was an FAA range (RP i believe). There was also one at Trabat Ness but its location is not known. If your arrows are not these I would be interested to know their location.
    Rosehearty was a WW2 range but it was not at the current location I believe although there must be a significant overlap.
    I think the Stranraer wall is at Braid Fell and was used as a target along with a nearby full size dummy factory. Both sites were on the same road.

    phill jones -

    PM sent

    northeagle -

    Otterburn has been mentioned with an RAF context but I suspect it may only be related to specific exercises post war. War Office (Army) ranges were certainly used, especially in the early stages of WW2 as the land was already in use and enable bombing practice whilst negotiations for dedicated ranges went ahead.
    The wooden QS at Druridge is new to me. The building(s) in the dunes were Markers shelters and slightly smaller wing markers shelters. They have been briked up which explains the lack of entrances. They were used by range staff to monitor signals and carry out target repairs. The targets would be for air to ground firing (.303 to .50 only) and aircraft would attack from the landward side firing seaward. Targets would be either side of the main, larger shelter and the landward approach meant that all doors and windows faced the sea, a sure sign that they were not pillboxes which would have rear or side entrances.

    malcolm_raf

    Yes, Goswick was used by FLS at Milfield and was very busy in the 1543-5 period specialising in ground attack training. A lot of ordnance was dropped and the sands would have hidden a lot, which are only now surfacing. There is (was) a dedicated EOD team based nearby but I gather defence cuts may mean reliance on Catterick for disposal.

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    Can add a bit due to my interest in all things unhealthy in Scotland.
    Lists of Ranges can be found in AIR 10/4035 to 4037 at the National archives.
    The target ship sunk off Tayinloan was an old freighter called the "Moncouseau" parts of the ship are still on the seabed.
    Range:
    91 Balcarry Point Live Bombing RAF Dumfries
    93 Luce Bay Live Bombing RAF West Freugh
    97 Girvan N65 Torpedo running RAF Turnberry
    98 Dunure N65a Torpedo running RAF Turnberry ( Tower still exists)
    99 Ayr Bay N65b Torpedo running RAF Turnberry
    103 Islay, Nave Island Live bombing RAF Port Ellen
    104 Torran rocks Live bombing RAF Wigtown (Group of rocks south of Mull- good dive site)
    105 Iona Sound Live bombing RAF Wigtown
    107 Erisgeir Live bombing RAF Wigtown ( Small island west of Mull near Ulva)
    115 Stack Skerry Live Bombing RAF Lossiemouth (also known as Sule Skerry about 40miles West of Scapa flow. Our club were the first to dive here in April 1999, apart from lots of bits of ship my buddy and I found 2x1000lb bombs and a massive shell at 40m)
    127A Spey Bay Live Bombing RAF Lossiemouth
    132 Milton Ness Ground to Air RAF Montrose
    136 Fifeness Torpedo Running RAF Leuchars also used by RNAS Crail and Easthaven
    137 Mussleburgh Live bombing RAF Macmerry
    Others
    Craig Tarra rocks- Turnberry ground to air and phosphorous bombs
    Glennifer braes- 1930's practice bomb range for Abbotsinch
    Crossaig, Kintyre- RNAS Machrihanish
    Burrow Head Queen Bee drones for Anti Aircraft practice
    Kinshaldy- RAF Leuchars
    Luce Bay- RAF West Freugh. Still in use and being cleared of old WW2 ammunition.
    Alan.

  9. #19
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    The arrow at Portmahomack was just North of the village on the coast and very prominent on the postwar image. I showed it to one of the RCAHMS staff who comes from that area and he did not know of it. can't see on modern images.

    I was looking there because I have been interested in a small site near there that I have never been able to find anything about. I was near it once with my work and went back to take some photographs. A local farmer said it was radar and that there been a bunker in the field which he had demolished. There is no record od any radar around there and bunker could refer to any sort of concrete building. I thought he meant a field to the South but there is something in the field North of there on the postwar images though could be agricultural.

    http://www.mbriscoe.me.uk/page93.html

    Whilst looking at that site we noticed a couple of small structures to the North and North East that could be quadrant towers. One arrow is visible on Google Earth at

    57°51'40.41"N
    3°47'34.34"W

    I thought he pointed out another on the South coast but can't spot it now.

    Ballure - from Kintyre at War

    "THE “MONCOUSU” AND THE BOMBING RANGES
    That same month, the 1912-built 862 ton cargo ship "Moncousu", formerly the "Nestor", which had lain sunk
    at Plymouth after being badly damaged in a bombing raid on the night of April 28/29, 1941 and then been
    refloated in February 1943, arrived under tow off Gigha where she was to be used as a target for bombing
    practice, the observation posts still being seen opposite, to the north of Tayinloan. She became so badly
    damaged in practice attacks that, on January 5, 1944, she sank at her moorings."

    "THE SKIPNESS BOMBING RANGE AND LAUNCH '1214'
    1943 : Thu November 18 - A Swordfish (HS 448) aircraft crashed on the beach at Crossaig, near Skipness,
    when using the bombing range - The aircraft burst into flames on impact and a WREN from one of the
    nearby observation posts was later awarded a British Empire Medal after having pulled one of the airmen out
    of the wrecked plane - Sadly, he died on the way to hospital, the other two crew were killed in the crash.
    Some time before this incident, another Machrihanish-based Swordfish crashed in the sea near Grogport -
    The crew of the 44-foot long Torrisdale fishing boat "Betty (CN260)" watched in disbelief as the nearby airsea
    rescue launch, Number '1214', made no attempt to rescue the three-man crew from the sinking aircraft -
    "We're not supposed to go in when they're bombing ! " - John McAnsh looked at his father, the skipper of
    the "Betty", shaking his head in bewilderment at this as he took the "Betty" across and fished out the
    bedraggled aircrew himself, the soggy airmen then transferred to '1214' and taken to Campbeltown.
    '1214' and the "Betty" came to grips again in the mid-late winter of 1943/44 when, an Avro Anson, en route
    from Tiree to Wigtown, ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea, between Carradale's Greenhill and
    Whitestone, in an easterly gale - The four-aircrew having good time to bale out of the sinking plane and into
    their inflatable dinghy to await the arrival of the air-sea rescue launch, '1214' - After the previous incident,
    the "Betty", realising that that '1214' was on duty again, decided to take no chances and, having picked up
    the airmen from their dinghy and despite the demands to transfer them to the air-sea rescue launch, landed
    them home at The Old Quay in Campbeltown.
    A message sent over from the air-sea rescue headquarters took John McAnsh's father to a meeting about the
    incident and his refusal to hand over the Anson's crew to '1214' - Nobody had logged the fact that it had
    actually been the "Betty" which had earlier rescued the sinking Swordfish's crew and, in the light of that
    incident, it was more clear why the "Betty" had now brought in the Anson's crew - Too it emerged, that
    '1214' had now a completely new crew !
    For his efforts, John's father received a £50 reward, it promptly turned over to the local lifeboat funds and,
    later, a British Empire Medal, presented at Holyrood, by King George VI himself."

    MB
    MB

  10. #20
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    Hi Peter,

    i've just had a quick look through the ORB for 83 OTU. The following may be of interest:
    30/6/1944 - Work progressed at Cherrington Moor Bombing Range, this being constructed by Unit labour under the 'self-help' scheme (a big project for Unit self-help) and the anticipated date of completion for use was estimated as mid [late crossed out] July.

    20/7/1944 - The building of Cherrington Moor Bombing Range by the Unit on a self-help basis was completed, and the range was first used on this night.

    No further mentions in the ORB by the looks of things.

    Hope it helps,

    Tom

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