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TOPIC: Hunsdon

Hunsdon 06 Dec 2008 07:51 #1

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HUNSDON - Aircraft wash pan

For decades it has been usual for military aircraft bases to have an area for washing aircraft - the so called Wash Rack. Aircraft are scheduled as part of routine maintenance to be washed and have corrosion control measures applied.

I was browsing a Record site Plan for Hunsdon (1223/46) and was surprised to see an area labelled Building 34 'PLANE WASH' located in the west and accessed from the peri track. This would have needed either a piped water supply or a mobile water bowser.

Given the short life expectancy and high utilisation or aircraft in WW2, especially fighter types, I would not have thought a wash rack was neccessary.

Does anyone know otherwise?

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Hunsdon 07 Dec 2008 20:44 #2

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PETERTHEEATER wrote: 34 'PLANE WASH' located in the west - I would not have thought a wash rack was neccessary.
Does anyone know otherwise?

You are not thinking laterally Peter. Mossies were wooden aircraft and would be repaired with woodworking tools. Hence they would need somewhere to clean their tools after maintenance. There would probably also be a spokeshave and a brace-and-bit wash in the vicinity :lol:

On the other hand, item 35 is the 'Car Wash'. Perhaps the officers wanted somewhere to clean their vehicles, but could only justified if an 'aircraft wash' had already been planned.

On a more serious note I've never seen these items on any other plans - an interesting observation.

Graham

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Plan A is always more effective when the problem you are working on understands that Plan B will involve the use of dynamite :twisted:.

Hunsdon 08 Dec 2008 07:59 #3

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Yes, I noted the car wash too but then there would have been a need to wash service vehicles including trucks (lorries).

I accept that dirty (muddy landing gear etc.) would need cleaning, in situ if neccessary but this is the first time that I have seen a dedicated wash pan on an RSP.

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Hunsdon 02 Mar 2009 21:53 #4

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Building 125 is listed on the plan as a R/T hut. Untill recently it was just four walls with the roof missing. However, the local ' yooth' decided to help nature reclaim 125 by assisting time a little.
What interested us is that the R/T mast still remained, unfortunately we removed a ten foot section for safe keeping and stored it behind the microlight club. They had a clearout and scrapped it. The mast remains left are about four foot in height. and set in concrete.

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Hunsdon 02 Mar 2009 21:57 #5

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There are two of these objects about six foot apart. Situated near the Aviation fuel storage tanks at Hunsdon. any ideas?

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Hunsdon 03 Mar 2009 07:03 #6

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What is the diameter of the aperture?

How far from the BFI are they?

Is the BFI extant or has it been demolished and levelled?

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Hunsdon 04 Mar 2009 19:01 #7

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I will take measurements this weekend Peter.
The fuel store, well I would say demolished & levelled. I have not seen what one should look like apart from Matching airfields store, but that could well have been a different kettle of fish. I do know it had an underground tank but what was above ground is a mystery to me. Anyone have pictures for a guide?

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Hunsdon 05 Mar 2009 06:45 #8

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I thought that they might be demolition chambers ripped out and dumped when the BFI was levelled and the tanks removed for scrap.

WW2 Bulk Aviation (Petrol) installations on military airfields were liable to demolition in the event of invasion to deny the enemy the fuel.

The scheme involved sinking a vertical chamber (pit) adjacent to the end of each tank (a large diameter concrete pipe section was ideal) and then a (lined) heading to the face of the (steel) tank at 90 degrees. In the event of an invasion threat, an explosive cutting charge (guncotton slab, plastic explosive or similar) would be placed on the face of the tank and the fuze brought back into the pit. A cratering charge (anything available such as blasting explosive or even aircraft bombs would be dumped in the pit and connected to the explosive train. Separately was laid a 'fougasse' an incendiary charge something like a Molotov Cocktail fuzed to fire a second or two after the main charge.

Most BFIs built during the war were around 72,000 gallon (UK) capacity with six tanks all of which would be 'charged' separately. The object was to cut open the tank at the same time blowing a large crater into which the fuel would flow. The fougasse fired and ignited the fuel.

During my RAF Bomb Disposal days I looked at dozens of BFIs on many airfields and noted different methods of providing the pit and the heading. Some pits were large enough for a man to climb into, others much smaller and shallower. Only one contained any explosives and that was a 2" HE Mortar Bomb in the header section most likley just dumped there rather than part of a demo charge.

However, your images may show something completely different; just a thought.

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Hunsdon 12 Apr 2009 15:32 #9

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A few more gems from todays foray.

N03 Dispersed site (Sergeants)
Latrine and drying room.



Latrine remains.



Barrack hut bases.



Found this on site..


Stanton Shelter.


From another nearby dispersed site and previously out of bounds are these BCF Barrack huts.
First time I have ever laid my eyes on these particular huts, not knowing of their existance on that site before a couple of months or so ago.

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Last Edit: by stevie.

Hunsdon 14 Apr 2009 19:16 #10

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Peter,
These round structures are 41 inches in diameter. The internal diameter of the hole is 21 inches wide.
Still no clue as to what they are! :D

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