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Stretton Airfield, HMS Blackcap near Warrington

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tom83

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Hi all,
Ive been meaning to get some pictures of this site for a while. Me and the Missus (Illegally_Blond) have been using this site as our personal running track for a few weeks now, its ace because its totally deserted. not much is left, but there are a few gems worth going to look at.

The History Bit.
RNAS Stretton was originally planned as a Royal Air Force night fighter station to protect Liverpool and Manchester from Luftwaffe air raids during World War II. However changes in German tactics meant that the airfield was not required so it was transferred to the Admiralty on completion. Three runways and numerous hangars had been built.

HMS Blackcap was commissioned on 1 June 1942 and forty-one Fleet Air Arm Squadrons were based here for varying periods with some aircraft being flown directly to and from aircraft carriers operating in the Irish Sea and other nearby waters.

The Airfield was closed on the 4th November 1958. In recent years, Oil Giant Shell, used the Airfield to test engines, and they built a control tower, this is not to be confused with the origional tower, as that is now long gone. A few of the origional building are still standing, but you need to keep your eyes peeled for them, as many are within Appleton Thorn Industrial Estate. The Runway is in remarkably good nick, as are 2 Air Raid Shelters and a Water Resovoir. Any way, on with the Pictures.

The Runway

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The Water Resovoir

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CIMG1468.jpg


Shelter No.1

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Shelter No.2

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A few random Shots of the remaining buildings and rubble

CIMG1509.jpg


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CIMG1467.jpg


CIMG1469.jpg


And there you go. I love this site, it is always deserted, and quiet, with loads of different aspects of wildlife, and a great explore if you look hard enough.
 

urko1

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R.n.a.s. Blackcap

Hiya mate.
When you were exploring,did you see a bloke in motorbike leathers?
 

tom83

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Hiya mate.
When you were exploring,did you see a bloke in motorbike leathers?

Sorry Urko, I cant say that I did. Ive been going almost everyday with the missus, we run the outer path around the runway on a daily basis, and to be honest, besides a couple of lads on a quad in the next field I havent ever seen anyone there.

I do know the local Chav-sticks are trying to find a way to get cars on the runway, so they can use it as a Drag Strip, but I have it on very good authority that they have absolutely no chance of abusing it, and anyone who does so will be prosecuted.

The site is to stay as it is for the next couple of years at least.
 
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Urban Mole

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Hi mate, nice pics, good to see some of it is still there.

But I think you need to add a flashearth image of the area, to get an idea of the runway layout and buildings etc.
Just a suggestion :)
 

ThenewMendoza

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Nice one, only up the road from me but I haven't got round to having a mooch around here. I remember reading somewhere there is a battle HQ on the other side of the motorway. :)

M :)
 

tom83

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Hi t n m
Yeah the opposite side of the motorway is littered with buildings and hangers that were part of this site, but they are mostly being used for industrial storage. Most of them are now under Appleton Thorn Young Offenders Prison.
 
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tom83

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Hi Urban Mole,

I have no idea how flash earth works, Ill have a play with it later. Heres a pic of the Airfield.

appleton.jpg
 

jonney

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nice to see there are some of the original bits and pieces are still there and the fact that the chav's are being kept out is great, hopefully it will survive a good few years longer without their presence
 

urko1

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R.n.a.s. Blackcap

Sorry Urko, I cant say that I did. Ive been going almost everyday with the missus, we run the outer path around the runway on a daily basis, and to be honest, besides a couple of lads on a quad in the next field I havent ever seen anyone there.

I do know the local Chav-sticks are trying to find a way to get cars on the runway, so they can use it as a Drag Strip, but I have it on very good authority that they have absolutely no chance of abusing it, and anyone who does so will be prosecuted.

The site is to stay as it is for the next couple of years at least.

the reason i asked was coz i was up there the other day.got talking to a group of kids who were walking round the place.just wonderd if that was you.?
 

tigger2

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There are a few photos of HMS Blackcap on the HMS Vengence website. There is a good book about the palce produced by Antrobus Heritage. They also did a second book full of photos they couldn't include in the first one.
Amongst the bits and pieces still extant are the hangars of the Fairey Aviation site which are now used as warehousing, as seen on the upper right on the google image.
There are war era plans of the airfield available at the RAF Museum, Ref numbers are-
78/24/1378 9759/41 Air10/4039 pt.4/44
 

tigger2

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The Airfield was closed on the 4th November 1958. In recent years, Oil Giant Shell, used the Airfield to test engines, and they built a control tower, this is not to be confused with the origional tower, as that is now long gone. A few of the origional building are still standing, but you need to keep your eyes peeled for them, as many are within Appleton Thorn Industrial Estate. The Runway is in remarkably good nick, as are 2 Air Raid Shelters and a Water Resovoir. Any way, on with the Pictures.

.

Hope youi don't mind me chipping in with a bit more of the history and maybe ideas for some other things to look out for.
Shell Research Ltd. bought part of the site from Arley Estates and leased some of the land that Mr Tomlinson (of T.V. Seeds) had bought from Arley Estates

Not sure if it's allowed to post links to other websites so won't post the link here, however the Control Towers website has a couple of photos of the original watch building I think.

A few random Shots of the remaining buildings and rubble

CIMG1509.jpg


CIMG1510.jpg


CIMG1511.jpg

These three shots are of the ADI Block. Aircraft where inspected on arrival and before departure.

Not shown in these photos is an emergency generator house on the corner of Crowley Lane (the former peritrack) below the Eastern runway threshold.
Slightly further away is an outer beacon (FV10) visible in the field adjacent to Lumb Brook Lane.

Last time I was up there (a few years ago now) there were some of the RADAR station buildings still being used as storage on Wildacre Farm. The RADAR for Blackcap was probably the first example of a joint civil/military ATC RADAR in the UK (it was known as 'Northern Radar') due to the high activity from Ringway, Speke and Blackcap and Burtonwood.
 
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tom83

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Thanks for the extra History. You certainly know your stuff. I got a load of pics of random buildings that didnt make the final cut for this thread.

Thanks for the extra info
 

Cutaway

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A Fleet Air Arm station in the North West, never heard of this one before but it was probably better than Burtonwood which was 'over the road'.
 

jindivik

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Well done mate very nice piccs
just a little info on the units here,are as follows

1939-1945
96 sqn Hurricane
Defiant Dec 1940/oct 1941

307 sqn Defiant Nov1940/Jan 1941

2 soAN Anson Oct 1940/Aug 1942

422 Flt Hurricane Dec 1940

1531 Flt Oxford Jul 1942/May 1945

CNS Anson
Wellington Aug 1942/Feb 1945

Post war
190 GS Cadet May1945/Mar 1947

Boring i know but thats history
hope it is of use
cheers Jindivik
 

DRJ17

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Took this pic a year or so ago traversring the 'Manchester Low Level Route' at 1500', I heard it was still used now and again by light aircraft?

USAMay2008663.jpg
 
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tigger2

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just a little info on the units here,are as follows......

For anyone interested in the history and a much fuller list of the units that were based at/passed through Blackcap "Royal Naval Air Station Stretton - HMS Blackcap" published in 2004 by Antrobus Heritage is well worth a read.
 

tigger2

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A few of the other bits and pieces:

FV10 VHF beacon
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Standby set house:
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Site of eastern fuel apron:
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Original perimeter track to right, extension perimeter track to the left - north side - originals were tarmac, extensions concrete. Immediately to the left was the access to Fairey Aviation site:
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Cannon butts:
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Police post:
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BHQ:
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Dispersal pens 1 - first surviving set:
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Dispersal pens - second surving set:
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Telephone exchange (using google streetview not my camera!):
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1944 Air ministry aerial (original runway layout):
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1970's Cheshire Aerial Survey (M56 construction visible):
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...and not strictly military - Shell Research Antrobus site on the airfield:
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There are numerous hangars still extant and in daily use - two on the Fairey site, two on the admin site and several on the AMY site. Some can be seen using google streetview, all can be seen using google/flashearth aerials. The squadron office is also extant and in daily use
 
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cptpies

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Great set of photos tigger. Could you give me a grid ref for the BHQ? It's not listed as surviving in the DoB or at AIX so this is a fantastic find!
 
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