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Thread: RAF Oakington Airfield Defences

  1. #1
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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




    › See more like: RAF Oakington Airfield Defences

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    Thanks given by: richy142

  2. #2
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    These are brill,especially the 3rd and 4th shots..looks like the Jupiter2 from Lost in Space!I read once about a pill box that somehow was built to move up and down..dont think it was a success.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by klempner69 View Post
    These are brill,especially the 3rd and 4th shots..looks like the Jupiter2 from Lost in Space!I read once about a pill box that somehow was built to move up and down..dont think it was a success.
    Was that the Pickett-Hamilton Fort by any chance http://www.pillbox-study-group.org.uk/phfortpage.htm

    Hypo it's possible that box number 3 had an earth bank built round it making it look like the others but over time this might have eroded away leaving the box exposed as it is now

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  4. #4
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    just a thought, could the concrete block with the hook have been an aircraft tie down?although how it got in the box ive no idea, and could the cutouts be for ammo storage?
    'I'VE LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO SEE THE FUTURE BECOME THE PAST'.

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  5. #5
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    The concrete blocks were all in the same place, in front of the wall cutout, so look to be original and in situ, rather than something incidental which has ended up inside the boxes. Presumably some sort of tie down for guns of some description - a couple were even lined up with the gun mounts still - but there's so little information about this sort of thing around, I'm not sure exactly how they'd be used

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  6. #6
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    Where the concrete blocks attached to the floor or where they freely movable?

    They do look in good condition for there age, shame about the main site but a good find none the less!
    "To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day."

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  7. #7
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    They look movable, but extremely heavy.

    Apparently, the best way into the main site is via the car boot sales they hold some weekends - but I'm not sure whether I could face the shame and embarrassment of visiting a car boot

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  8. #8
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    Great report, that is one type of pillbox I have yet to come across. Love the foxes on the bails.

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  9. #9
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    Absolutely brilliant stuff.

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  10. #10
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    Love these cantilever style pillboxes...fab photos, Hypo. Great fox cubs.
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

    I can't read and I can't write, but that don't really matter,
    I come from the west country and I can drive a tractor.


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