RAF Wittering Bomb Store, Collyweston, Northants, May 2018

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HughieD

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1. The History
The site was built in 1955 as a Remote Weapons Store for the nearby RAF Wittering. The airfield changed from a Fighter Station to a Bomber Command Station, hence the need for a bomb store in the vicinity. Collyweston ESA was not, as some reports state, a Nuclear Weapons area, it was solely conventional.

The site’s main entrance was guarded by a Yarnold Sangar Pillbox with an extra section on but this has now been dismantled. By the entrance are a Guard House, Sub Station, Mains Room and Admin buildings, Various roadways open-up and 10 Bomb Maintenance Buildings are located towards the front of the site. These were re-vetted for use with 1000lb High Explosive bombs and Cluster Bomb Units.

Deeper into the site straight on and to the right of the main thoroughfare are three rows of ten explosive storage units. Nine of the middle row have been demolished leaving 21 in total standing. Nicknamed ‘Dutch Barns’, they were used for the storage of BL755 Cluster Bombs, manufactured by Hunting Engineering in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

To the left of the central row can be found a row of ten more 1000lb HE storage buildings - all of which have been flattened. To the left of this were another four 1000lb HE storage buildings again all demo’ed. More interesting however are three intact 68mm SNEB Rocket storage buildings (as used by the Harrier II (GR5 & 7) in the Ground Attack Role). Most interesting of all, in the final row of the left of the site are nine hardened ‘Igloo’ cells, fitted with filtered air supply and enclosed electrical supplies, these hardened units were used for storing ‘unspecified’ American explosives from RAF Lakenheath. The site closed circa 1996.

The site in the past has been used for many illegal raves over the years, mainly by the An Watt Sound System on Bank Holiday weekends. More than 4,500 revellers took part in a three-day illegal rave at a former bomb dump in April 2006.
Also, in recent years, travellers have removed to miles of 3-phase armoured cable, pipework for the underground fire prevention system and virtually all of the aluminium.

Arial view of the site courtesy of Google Maps:

27106333857_8bfb483530_b.jpg 20180508_073936 by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
Been on my list for a while but forgotten about this place until I saw JSP’s excellent report HERE which had the place dusted with snow. It’s been subject to reports now and again. It probably gets missed out because of it’s rural location and the fact it’s a bit of a shell. But a bomb store’s a bomb store! Easy entry and a relaxed mooch on a lovely sunny spring morning. Given the low-slung nature of this place a drone would have come in really hand.

3. The Pictures:

Gate No.1:

41970400841_4015ee7465_b.jpg img7500 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Gate No 2:

28099040568_4c455e670b_b.jpg img7499 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And we’re in:

41251769014_b1dd7544f4_b.jpg img7453 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41070953855_5340f068fe_b.jpg img7452 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41070952305_1b009f4407_b.jpg img7451 by HughieDW, on Flickr

First ensemble of buildings were used for bomb maintenance. These are all wide open:

41251787764_11c3617897_b.jpg img7496 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41970397501_2d08c06689_b.jpg img7495 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41970379521_de87f76fe0_b.jpg img7468 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41251785004_8650b6266f_b.jpg img7493 by HughieDW, on Flickr
28099020048_7959850bb8_b.jpg img7470 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28099017588_d2984747b6_b.jpg img7466 by HughieDW, on Flickr

27101583527_7eeae00d58_b.jpg img7465 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41970374051_bbf52d0201_b.jpg img7456 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41970375741_49c37b41cb_b.jpg img7459 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41070945045_08fc4de943_b.jpg img7467 by HughieDW, on Flickr

27101567397_2ea3829ea7_b.jpg img7461 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40163299980_f818da4f53_b.jpg img7455 by HughieDW, on Flickr

These buildings known by the RAF staff as Dutch barns:

41970381581_bcd0efd3da_b.jpg img7471 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41970382621_bacdb01d69_b.jpg img7472 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41251763814_b16c72859b_b.jpg img7473 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28099002878_14a5690f98_b.jpg img7475 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This building was used to store 68mm SNEB rockets:

41970385241_eaa05f9fe0_b.jpg img7477 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Gate 48!

41251761514_ce694533a4_b.jpg img7479 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Finally, it’s the IGLOO’s. These buildings were used to store American Explosives from RAF Lakenheath:

27101597497_ee12867309_b.jpg img7486 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41251783424_8aca683172_b.jpg img7490 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Of the nine, only one is open:

41970389621_8802297d14_b.jpg img7487 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40163295010_74d8f93824_b.jpg img7484 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Finally, the obligatory penis graff!

27101565797_0dde77c59a_b.jpg img7497 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 
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