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RAF Davidstow Moor
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Davidstow, Cornwall in England
RAF Davidstow Moor.jpg
RAF Davidstow Airfield - 2 June 1951
Coordinates 50°38′07″N 004°37′04″W / 50.63528°N 4.61778°W / 50.63528; -4.61778Coordinates: 50°38′07″N 004°37′04″W / 50.63528°N 4.61778°W / 50.63528; -4.61778
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Air Force
Site history
Built 1942 (1942)
In use 1942-1954 (1954)
Airfield information
Elevation 294 metres (965 ft) AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
06/24 1,290 metres (4,232 ft) Concrete
12/30 1,820 metres (5,971 ft) Concrete
18/36 1,280 metres (4,199 ft) Concrete

Royal Air Force Davidstow or more commonly RAF Davidstow Moor is a former Royal Air Force station located 2.9 miles (4.7 km) north east of Camelford, Cornwall and 11.5 miles (18.5 km) west of Launceston, Cornwall, England.

It was used from late 1942 until 1954 and despite a few periods of intense activity it was one of Coastal Command's lesser used airfields.

History

The land was acquired in 1941 and a three-runway airfield with extensive dispersal areas was constructed in the first half of 1942. Despite the moorland conditions, construction was reasonably straightforward, although it did involve the removal of various field boundaries, the closure of minor roads and some drainage work.

RAF Davidstow Moor closed in December 1945 at the end of World War II and many of the buildings including the hangars were soon removed. It became a motor racing circuit, known as Davidstow Circuit and in the early 1950s three Formula One races were held there (the Cornwall MRC Formula 1 Races) including the first success for the Lotus marque.

Posted units

Squadron Dates stationed Planes used Duties
53 Sqn 1 January 1943 – 18 February 1943 Lockheed Hudson
144 Sqn 10 May 1944 – 1 July 1944 Bristol Beaufighter Covered the west flank of the Normandy landings.
Helped to destroy the German naval forces in Western France
192 Sqn
206 Sqn 18 March 1944 – 12 April 1944 Consolidated Liberator, Boeing Fortress
269 Sqn 8 January 1944 – 8 March 1944 Lockheed Hudson, Supermarine Walrus Air-sea rescue duties
280 Sqn
281 Sqn det December 1943 - February 1945 Vickers Warwick Air sea rescue duties
282 Sqn 1 February 1944 – 19 September 1944 Vickers Warwick Air sea rescue duties
304 Sqn 7 June 1943 – 13 December 1943 Vickers Wellington Anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay
404 Sqn RCAF 8 May 1944 - September 1944 Bristol Beaufighter
524 Sqn 7 April 1944 – 1 July 1944 Vickers Wellington Patrols against E-Boats off the French coast
547 Sqn 31 May 1943 – 25 October 1943 Vickers Wellington Anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay
612 Sqn 12 April 1943 – 25 May 1943 Vickers Wellington Anti-submarine patrols over the Channel and the Bay of Biscay
845 Naval Air Squadron
1603 (AAC) Flt 16 December 1942 – 27 January 1943 Hawker Henley Target towing
Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter ExCC
Bristol Beaufighter Mk X. This machine is NE255/EE-H of No. 404 Squadron RCAF at RAF Davidstow Moor on 21 August 1944

A number of RAF Regiment units were also posted here at some point:

Wings;

  • 1329, 1330 & 1331

Squadrons;

  • 2708, 2731, 2738, 2743, 2748, 2776, 2778, 2786, 2792, 2793, 2796, 2802, 2810, 2886, 2889, 2954 & 2955

Current use

The disused former watch office/air traffic control tower is clearly visible on the airfield.

The airfield is still partly used by microlights and motor gliders with three runways in use. The runway lengths and directions are: 02-20, 395m, 06-24, 489m, 12-30, 1,450m. PPR (prior permission required) is essential for this site. It is currently run by Davidstow Flying Club.

Davidstow Airfield and Cornwall at War Museum

The Davistow Airfield and Cornwall at War Museum has been set up to commemorate the work and people of RAF Davidstow Moor.

It is located next to a creamery where Davidstow and Cathedral City cheeses are produced. Many exhibits cover life in World War II in Cornwall, including other airfields along the North Cornwall coast, the Royal Navy, Army and civilian services, and life on the home front. Other exhibits include artifacts from the Royal Observer Corps and the Light Infantry, vehicles and weapons. An impressive new hangar was completed in 2016 and now houses a growing collection of larger exhibits including a Fairey Gannet and Hawker Hunter F.6 aircraft, the cockpit section of a DH Vampire T.11 as well as a number of rare airfield and military vehicles.

Davidstow Moor RAF Memorial Museum

The adjacent yet separate Davidstow Moor RAF Memorial Museum is located in the former sergeants' shower block and focuses on the airfield's history during World War II using archive photographs and memorabilia.

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