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Old 29th Aug 09, 20:04
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Default RAF Oakington Airfield Defences

RAF Oakington was a bomber command base during WW2, sited 5 miles NW of Cambridge and housing Blenheims, Stirlings and Lancasters, plus a few Spitfires. After the war, the base became home to a variety of training and transport facilities before becoming an army barracks for the Royal Anglia Regiment. The barracks closed in 1999 and half of the site is now a rather notorious "Immigration Reception Centre" used to house illegal immigrants facing deportation.

A couple of people have explored the main site, so I thought I'd give it a try, but the fencing for the immigration centre appears to have been extended, preventing me finding a way in. Facing failure, I went looking for the Battle HQ, failed again, so settled for exploring the series of pillboxes along the outside of the runways. These are the original series of round WW2 boxes from which other Oakington pillboxes take their name.

Box number 1 had the embrasure bricked up, leaving just a few narrow slots. A railway ran alongside the airfield, making this the most exposed box so presumably they increased its defences accordingly.

Box number 2 was the conventional mushroom design and had a linked bunker beside it, which I presume must be a magazine?

Box number 3 was another standard design, but quite high out of the ground, which seemed a bit odd, as it made it quite vulnerable to attack.

I'd always thought the design was quite crude, with the "lid" just a disk of concrete plonked on the top, but closer examination shows they're quite ornate construction with a sectional roof a bit like flower petals.

I nearly missed box number 4, tucked away in a load of bushes.

All 4 were in pretty good condition for their age, complete with gun rails. A couple had cutouts in the walls and a large concrete block with a hook in it. I couldn't quite figure out how these would have been used.

One also had evidence of a wooden shelf mounted on the central pillar support. Not sure whether this was something to do with the way the box was manned, or just somewhere to keep the tea and fags

Wandering back to the car, I found I had company and was gutted that I didn't have a longer lense. I've lived in the countryside most of my life, but never seen cubs play fighting until now. They also seemed to enjoy the bales the farmer had left them to climb all over

Thanks given by: richy142

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