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Thread: Information about RAF Tilshead required please.

  1. #21
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    Richard, yep got that but the scale on the sketch is misleading. From Rollestone Camp to Elston Farm is 3km. Shrewton Stud, down in the valley, is between Rollestone Camp and the Shrewton airfield and it is 1.5km from Rollestone Camp to the airfield boundary as shown on the sketch. And, according to Lyffe, Rollestone was an airfield of its own! Although the runway is to the south of the London Rd and runs SW from just the other side of the road towards Rollestone (Manor) just east of Shrewton. Iíll try and sort a map. It must have been impossible to move without getting hit by landing aircraft.

  2. #22
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    Lyffe, you hit the jackpot, thanks very much.

    So according to the very detailed pages of Wings over Wiltshire we know that 225 Sqn and therefore RAF Tilshead was the landing strip at Tilshead. I was getting worried as no exact location was stated until it said they moved into the big house and called it Tilshead Lodge Camp. That pinpoints it exactly where I thought it was and backs up my theory that they used the Lodge as accom. Fantastic. It does go on to talk about the Glider Pilot Regt at some length but my reading of it still is that the GPR did not fly from Tilshead but at the EFTS (Booker?) in Magisters. Is that how you read it Brian? It also says the Americans used the LG next to the Lodge for two Piper L4 Cubs which I had no idea of.

    Brilliant!

  3. #23
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    If we are reading the same sentence, it reads "Having come through the gruelling training at Tilshead, pilots went on to EFTSs where flying training, mainly on Magisters, was undertaken before progressing to the gliders themselves." The plural suggests to me that more than one EFTS was involved, not just 21 EFTS at Booker; the later reference to Booker, plus other airfields, refers to further flying training (not elementary flying training).

    The map reference for Shrewton RLG is 184/SU084464.

    Brian

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyffe View Post
    If we are reading the same sentence, it reads "Having come through the gruelling training at Tilshead, pilots went on to EFTSs where flying training, mainly on Magisters, was undertaken before progressing to the gliders themselves." The plural suggests to me that more than one EFTS was involved, not just 21 EFTS at Booker; the later reference to Booker, plus other airfields, refers to further flying training (not elementary flying training).

    The map reference for Shrewton RLG is 184/SU084464.

    Brian
    Indeed, my point is that the GPR did not fly from Tilshead, contrary to local legend. It was done at EFTSs not Tilshead LG

  5. #25
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    Have you seen https://theparachuteregimentalassoci...vice-tilshead/ ?

    or

    http://www.pegasusarchive.org/sicily/vic_taylor.htm

    No reference to flying by GPR from Tilshead - basically a toughening-up regime.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 2nd June 2019 at 21:09.

  6. #26
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    Yep, that second one pretty much nails it. Job done. Thanks chaps! I'll work on finding out some more but the main aim is fulfilled. RAF Tilshead was at Tilshead by the Lodge. The GPR did not fly at Tilshead. It was difficult to take a short walk in any direction in the area without stepping on a runway. The Rollestone runway intrigues me. The next project maybe. I feel a Wikipedia edit coming on.

  7. #27
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    The Rollestone LG was first procured to test a theory that if a long (500 yard, later 1000 yd) screen was erected parallel to the runway it might help aircraft to take-off in strong crosswind conditions which would otherwise be prohibitive (ie on a single runway airfield). The screen was known as a Manby Screen on account of it being transferred from Manby where it was first trialled. The site became known locally as the 'Screen Field'. Aircraft types used in the testing were Tudors, Miles Masters and Hurricanes.

    Interestingly the trial was successful, but the system was never adopted operationally.

    Other than this the field was used for simulated airborne gas attacks against students at the RAF Anti-Gas School. Initially courses lasted 3 weeks, starting in July 1939, but with the declaration of war these were reduced to 10 days. The courses culminated in a series of low-level bombing and spray attacks from SDF Boscombe Down based aircraft.

    Believe it or not the LG suffered a night-time bombing attack on 12 May 1941.

    All this from Wings Over Wiltshire; since the author, Rod Priddle lived locally, I'm pretty sure there are copies in the Devizes and Salisbury libraries.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 3rd June 2019 at 08:57. Reason: Sentence construction

  8. #28
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    Wow, I think I need to buy this book. Couple of coincidences there. Firstly I was born at RAF Manby in Lincs. Secondly I have also been gassed by aircraft from Boscombe Down but at Porton rather than Rollestone obviously. Little blighters choose to spray us just as lunch was served. Never forgiven them!

    The runway is clearly visible on Google but you have to be slightly careful with these things. As I said earlier, the position of RAF Tilshead is plotted by several websites on a runway shaped field which was wrong. I might see is I can walk the ground and have a look.

    I have often wondered why Rollestone Camp was called that as it is a mile and a half from Rollestone which is south of Shrewton. It maybe because the other end of their runway was near Rollestone and thus the name moved along the runway to the camp.

  9. #29
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    Quote from WOW

    Rollestone had a WW1 association with flying when the RFC took over an initial 50 acres of land west of Rollestone Bake Farm on which to establish a balloon school. No 1 Balloon School moved there from Manston in July 1916 to train personnel in the use of observation balloons. The Army's Rollestone Camp (Larkhill) was then on the east side of the unclassified road leading to the Bustard Hotel and eventually Devizes. The army camp was served by the Larkhill Military Railway, a branch of which went south from the camp to Stonehenge and Lake Down aerodromes. In 1916 the Balloon School also had an 'outstation' at Tilshead.

    So the site is not named after what was Rollestone hamlet, but a now forgotten and lost farm to the northeast. There are a number of hits if you Google Rollestone Bake Farm.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 3rd June 2019 at 11:12. Reason: spelling

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