Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 29

Thread: Information about RAF Tilshead required please.

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,502
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts

    Default

    In the ‘good old days’ when “Jointery” was all the rage 3 Div and 38 Grp used to spend many happy(!) exercises at Westdown Camp learning how to insult each other without taking too much offence. There were several helicopter LZs (the ‘H’ in the SE corner of the camp seems to be the only one currently marked). I remember the paddock to the E of the camp was used by AOPs, and by 41 Sqn(?) dropping their canisters to ATREL.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks Chaps, all good info.

    @ Richard, Thanks very much for that, I will peruse. I also thought the RA airfield at Larkhill would be separate from RAF Shrewton but maybe they just renamed it when the RAF formed in 1918, more questions to answer! Good stuff.

    @ Steve, The grid is just NW of the village (although there appears to be a number missing). Did it say which Co-op Sqn was there in Nov 18?

    @ Lyffe, would a phone photo of the pages do if they are too big for the scanner? I am really excited about this. I am starting to think RAF Tilshead (as per 225Sqn 540) may actually not be at Tilshead and the runway and Lysanders parked there during the war were just using a bit of the training area and it was un-named. The current range HQ is still at Tilshead and I wonder if the term Tilshead means what we now call the impact area (the whole of the central Salisbury Plain Training Area) rather than the village. Hence PNK’s comments that 239 Sqn were off to Tilshead range.

    @ Peter Davies, The whole area is still an LZ, more rotary than a bee hive. At Westdown they use the field just outside the camp to the north. The ‘H’ is the official LZ as used by VIPs and the Police Heli.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    123
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    It may be worth ploughing through the pre-war ORBs for Army Co-op Squadrons as they often mention landing grounds used on a temporary basis and Tilshead may be in there. I haven't checked Rod Priddle's book, mainly because I can't locate it within 5 minutes.

    As an aside the wartime Army Co-op squadron ORBs have proven to be the best record of range use by far and even added a new range, Dogmersfield Lake, with an accompanying captioned aerial photo.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    470
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    I have transcribed the grid reference correctly so there must be a digit added rather than left out? In the published series "Action Stations No 5 Military Airfields of the SW" the grid reference is given as "SU 021478 1 mile W of Tilshead Village". However the more detailed description states "Tilshead landing ground was little more than a stretch of downland in use from 1925..." So perhaps there were two locations?

    The CCI gazetteer specifies "Artillery Co-operation Squadron". In the book "RAF Flying Training and Support Units since 1912" there is a listing for (the) Artillery Co-operation Squadron which seems to have emerged from Artillery Co-operation Flights at the CFS and Lydd. In this source the unit is recorded based at Tilshead from June 1918 and at Old Sarum from Sept 1918.

    Steve

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    SU 021478 makes sense. I have seen this grid referenced elsewhere and is very close to where I have been told the strip was. It is a couple of hundred metres out (yes 6 fig grids are only to nearest 100m) and on a steep upwards slope. What makes me slightly suspicious is that on a Satellite photo there is a long thin field there which does indeed look like a runway, except it is, as I said, on a steep slope. Did someone pick the site from an aerial photo and assume it was there or was it just out a bit. I agree that the comment “Tilshead landing ground was little more than a stretch of downland in use from 1925” does infer that this is not the RAF Tilshead as recorded by 225 Sqn in their 540. The plot thickens.

    There was an RAF Tilshead, 225 Sqn was stationed there. There was a landing ground at Tilshead near SU 021478, we have eye witnesses. The Glider Pilot Regt was at Tilshead for initial training. Was there any link between any of those facts? Contemporary references seem to assume they are all the same thing. I would like to try and un-muddle these three things or confirm the links.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    @ Richard
    I have looked at the scan you sent and it confirms RAF Srewton as the gallops I was talking about (they actually use the old NE-SW runway). There is a good 1.5km from there to Rollstone camp and their associated hangars with a steep valley between so I don’t think they were associated. The Rollestone hangars are a very strange shape as well, small and very high. It says opened 1940 which fits but closes 1946 which does not. 225 Sqn had 400 plus people at RAF Tilshead (whatever that might be) and RAF Shrewton apparently was 166.

    Conclusion, RAF Shrewton is maybe unlikely to be RAF Tilshead. But if it isn’t and the strip at Tilshead was exactly that, a strip, where was RAF Tilshead. RAF Shrewton is a brilliant airfield, very flat, 1500m or more into the prevailing wind, a second runway (in fact you could land something fairly big in any direction), close to Larkhill for logistics and the messes. Tilshead strip is a single direction (NE-SW-NE), lumpy, middle of nowhere, tall trees and big house in the vicinity.

    Was RAF Shrewton an old Royal Artillery airfield? There is nothing there now to show its presence apart from an old WW2 pillbox at the threshold of the NE-SW runway/ entrance to the airfield. Would the old Larkhill RA airfield have disappeared so completely? I don’t know but I might go down to the AAC museum and have an ask and see if they can shed some light on the Larkhill/RA Shrewton/RAF question.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    2,493
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    Sad to say, Ian, I'm one of these strange, and increasingly rare breed, of people who detests and does not use a mobile phone - but met men were always strange bods (no one could ever understand us).

    No matter, I have the images you require, but unfortunately you provide no means of contact - no email address nor private message (PM) link.

    However for the benefit of all Salisbury Plain was littered with airfields and balloon stations during both WW1 and WW2, in fact Ian the Met Office's first operational upper air station (recording upper air information) was based at Butler's Cross just north of Tilshead (find it if you can), from July 1917 until it was transferred to Larkhill during the early 1920s.

    Shrewton RLG for 1 SFTS Netheravon became operational on 27 July 1940. The site was closed and returned to agricultural use in 1946

    Rollestone Camp was established as a balloon school with effect from July 1916, remaining there until February 1939. Shortly after it became the home of the RAF Anti-Gas School (near what used to be the Bustard Hotel. The Rollestone Landing Ground is a 2500 yard landing strip running northeast - southwest, the northern end is just south of Middle Farm.

    Brian
    PS. I'm a Devizes man myself.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    iancaesar@talktalk.net

    2500yds! Hell’s teeth that is almost Boscombe Down length and I know how long that is because I have looked down it often enough. Have you a grid for Middle Barn? The only one I know is SW of Tilshead by about 3km, but there are probably lots of Middle Barns

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    2,493
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    Clearly visible on Google Earth at 51 deg 11 min 54.30 sec N, 01 deg 52 min 32.75 sec W. It's the farm in the northeast corner of the rectangle formed by the A360 and B3086 between Shrewton and Larkhill (another WW1 airfield). Looking at the map in Wings Over Wiltshire I suspect the 2500 yards might be an over-estimate, I can only get 2300 yards from the Bustard to the A360 (NE-SW), and suggest 2000 yards is more realistic.

    The images should arrive in the next few seconds.

    Brian

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    SW Wiltshire
    Posts
    222
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Ian - you've slightly lost me there. The Grid Ref and the sketch map for RAF Shrewton show it to be slightly west of Rollestone Camp, near Elston Hill Farm? Not that it helps to solve your Tilshead mystery! It would be interesting to get a WW2 map for Salisbury Plain - hopefully AAC Museum can help.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •