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ST EVAL AIRFIELD

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  USAAF Station 129, RAF ST EVAL
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A former World War Two military airfield, opened in 1939, closed in 1959. Work on the airfield began in 1938: the site had been chosen because of its suitability for Coastal Command. The main duties of the the airfield were reconnaisance and anti-shipping and anti-submarine duties. It came under heavy enemy attack because of this. During the Battle of Britain in 1940 the airfield was used by squadrons of 10 Group Fighter Command. In 1942 the airfield was also used for the Allied invasion of North Africa. For a short period the airfield was used by American Army Air force personnel and was designated as such as USAAF Station 129. The wartime airfield consisted of three concrete runways with a range of aircraft hangars, including Type C, Type T2, Bellman and Blister designs. There was accommodation for over 1300 Royal Air Force personnel, some of this was permanent. It was provided with airfield defences, including an unusual pair of pillboxes (please see records 1411274 and 1411277 for further details). World War Two installations superimposed on Prehistoric barrows away to the south-west at Denzell Downs may possibly also relate to the airfield defences (please see records 429196, 429199 and 429202). An aircraft crash associated with the wartime airfield is recorded as record 1366706. After the war the base was mainly used to fly Shackelton aircraft until its closure in 1959.

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