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Thread: RAF Weston Zoyland

  1. #1
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    Default RAF Weston Zoyland




    Weston Zoyland airfield was opened in 1926 to be used in conjunction
    with the anti-aircraft gunnery range at Doniford. It was really just a
    temporary grass stip base used in the summer months, there were no
    buildings so visiting units would use tents and set up camp.

    Krela and Norman by the contol tower.



    In early WW2 the airfield was expanded but continued to be used as
    a training base for the ranges at Lilstock and Steart. The base was
    home to a number of aircraft used for target tugs for pilot gunnery
    training.

    16 Squadron arrived in late 1939 with Lysanders. 9/40 Weston Zoyland
    became a permanent RAF station and was the main area for Army co-
    operation squadrons with Lysanders, Masters, Martinets then Mustangs
    (5/42).

    Parachute store.



    A general improvement of the airfield was started in the spring of 1943
    including the provision for tarmac runways. With the tarmac runways
    built the station could be used by pretty much everything the RAF
    had, in 43 (?) WZ was used by RAF Transport Command Warwick
    aircraft until 2/44.

    Control tower interior.



    The United States Army Air Force arrived in 1944 for glider and
    parachute training in preparation for D-Day.
    6/44 American 442nd Troop Carrier Squadron (303rd, 304th, 305th and
    306th) arrive with C-47 transport aircraft (Brits called them Dakotas).
    The Americans after their training were posted to Italy for the invasion
    of Southern France.

    Boilerhouse?



    Post War, several fighter squadrons temporarily posted to WZ, station
    is on care and maintenance by 1947.



    Reopened in 1952-58 for training crews on Meteor fighters, Vampire
    fighters and Canberra bombers. The station was retained until 1968
    but had no flying units for a number of years.

    WW2 Airfields page, lots of pics.
    http://worldwar2airfields.fotopic.net/c713140_13.html

    Somerset Historic Environment Record page. Lists everything
    there with descriptions, location etc.
    http://webapp1.somerset.gov.uk/her/d....asp?prn=11275

    B

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: RAF Weston Zoyland


    Nice one mate,looks good! My kinda chillout solo UE this!!

    Before the pics uploaded I thought you'd made the name up,lol!

    :)

  4. #3
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    Default Re: RAF Weston Zoyland


    Thanks Saul_Son, yeah Weston Zoyland is an odd name but thats
    Somerset for you, all sorts of weird and wonderful names for places
    such as Huish Episcopi or Trikey Warren etc.


    Found this on a RAF page, I'm guessing this squadron would have been
    flying Canberras a twin engined medium bomber.

    15 October 1955
    No.308/5 Air Task Force, later redesignated 308.5 Task Group, is formed at RAF Weston Zoyland, under the command of Group Captain S.W.B. Menaul, to participate in the British atomic test at Monte Bello Island, off the northern coast of Australia.
    Canberra bombers, also used by the Yanks and Australians.





    Bishop

  5. #4
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    Default Re: RAF Weston Zoyland


    For nuclear weapons tests, if they were air deployable weapons, the RAF would have more likely to have used the AVRO Lancaster or Lincoln, the Valiant may have been in service by 1955, but I don't think the Canberra had a big enough bomb bay for the large A bombs such a Blue Danube. I may be wrong though,lol!

    Some right weird names you've got down there

    :)

  6. #5
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    Default Re: RAF Weston Zoyland


    You know your stuff Saul_Son, I can't say I know an awful
    lot about the Uk's atomic weapon development so I did a
    quick bit of research.

    Right the first RAF aircraft to drop an atomic weapon was the
    Vickers Valiant in 56, I googled Group Captain S.W.B Menaul
    and found this.

    In 1955 he was appointed the Air Task Group Commander for the British Atomic Tests at Maralinga in Southern Australia (Operation Buffalo). He actually flew aboard Valiant WZ366 on 11 October 1956 when it dropped Britain's first atomic bomb.
    Above is from here.
    http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/Menaul.htm

    Vickers Valiant landing at Filton, Bristol in 1961.



    Canberras could carry small nukes but not until about 1958.
    Short history of Britains nuclear weapon testing, bottom of
    the page lists aircraft and what weapons they could carry.
    http://www.keconnect.co.uk/~defcon/history.htm

    Canberras were used in atomic tests, wouldn't catch me
    volunteering to fly through an atomic cloud, bugger that.


    14 October 1953
    The second British atomic test, Totem/T1, takes place when a 10 kiloton atomic weapon is detonated on top of a 31 metre tower. In Operation Hotbox, an English Electric Canberra entered the atomic cloud 6 minutes after the explosion to assess the behaviour of the aircraft and the effects of the cloud on the crew. Subsequently, between 1952 and 1958 RAF squadrons operating modified English Electric Canberras were called upon to conduct extensive sampling sorties in support of the United Kingdom's atmospheric nuclear test programme.
    B :)

  7. #6
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    Default Re: RAF Weston Zoyland


    Just found this.

    :)

  8. #7
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    Default Re: RAF Weston Zoyland


    Hey Saul_Son, yeah part of the airfield is still in use but only
    for small stuff like Cessnas and Microlights.
    http://www.westonzoylandflyingclub.co.uk/

    Approach shot of WZ.
    http://ukga.com/aerodrome/content.cf...contentId=1686

    Heard a meaty grumble in the distance when we were walking over to
    the control tower, could see a fast moving shape a few miles away
    and we all thought it was a stunt plane like a Pitt Special or something
    like that. Turned out to be a Supermarine Spitfire in D-Day invasion
    stripes, it got closer and closer to the airfield until it was about a
    mile away, pilot was pretty good he did loads of spectacular aerobatics
    lots of loops and rolls etc. Merlin engine makes such a brilliant noise.

    Old pic I swiped off the net.


    B :)

  9. #8
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    Default Re: RAF Weston Zoyland


    Cool man!! I would have loved to have seen that!!!

    :D


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