The 'Bomb' Dump and Incendiary Stores

 

 

 

Although arms and ammunition were flown from Blakehill, 'bombs' in the literal sense (ie to be dropped from attacking aircraft) were not stored in the way intended in the bomb dump that had been constructed.   RAF Blakehill was originally built and designed with its role intended as coming under 70 group that of 'Air Defence GB' ie; it was to house attacking/defensive aircraft.    Its use was changed on 6th February 1944 to house transport aircraft from 46 group - so the need of a bomb dump, to store bombs, for bombers........ was lost.

I don't currently know what was stored in this area - the best guess is cargo and stores awaiting shipment to the front in Europe.  

 

If the bomb dump would have held explosives, the system was designed to safely store bomb components until the time came to assemble and arm the bombs ready for flight.

I understand from research that bomb cases, minus the tail fins were stored in the open on on a series of raised concrete plinths surrounded by earth revetments designed to contain the blast from accidental bomb detonation and provide a degree of protection from air attack.

Small Arms Ammunition, incendiary bombs and Small Bomb Carriers would have been stored in a series of brick and nissen huts around the site.

A series of concrete tracks looped through the bomb dump in wide arcs to enable tractor drivers to tow laden bomb trolleys from the stores to a fusing point building.

Pictured here is one of the surviving concrete plinths from where bombs were designed to be unloaded.

 

There are 16 such structures at Blakehill and each wall has a series of iron eyelets in them

 

 

These were for ​securing camouflage netting and tarpaulin to disguise against air attack.

 

 

Exiting the bomb store, you may notice the roadway splits off into two loops - one is virtually lost, but the second is easier to find.

This is possibly where two fusing point buildings (ultra heavy) type 4735/42 building may have stood - they would have been a drive-through, 16ft wide and 40ft long Nissen huts with brick end walls - one of which is superimposed on photo below.  Buildings are shown on the original plans for the airfield as well as the aerial photos, but the exact specification of the buildings is unproven.

Paperwork detailing the bomb quantity, bomb fuse type and fuse setting would be delivered to the stores in readiness for the arrival of the bombs. The bomb trolleys would be towed into the Nissen hut where the armourers would fit and set the bomb fuses in accordance with instructions. Once fusing was complete the bombs were then designed to be towed around the airfield perimeter track to the aircraft dispersal. 

The road through the bomb dump area is a fantastic wildlife habitat and is home to rabbit, deer and other small mammals - badgers have been seen there and it is often used as a hunting highway for Barn Owls.   It has magnificent oak trees that were there well before the war - the reason for this is that wooded areas were favoured for bomb dumps, due to the extra protection that was given to an accidental explosion and camouflage from overflying aircraft.

Left - the Oak trees guarding the entrance to the incendiary stores and below the roadway often used by Barn Owls to hunt along