The 2 Fuel Dumps and Delivery

RAF Blakehill had x2 fuel dumps both of which were on the north eastern side of the airfield, near to the B4040.   In a policy review of 1935, the Air Ministry declared that each airfield should have six weeks intensive operations supply in tankage at operational stations, not to exceed 72,000 gallons per pit, varying from 48,000 to 216,000 gallons in total per station.

RAF Blakehill had a capacity of 144,000 gallons, which means that there must have been six basic 12,000 gallon tanks at each installation, each with electric pumps in service buildings delivering 90 gallons per minute.   Fuel would have been taken to the aircraft by a Bedford or AEC tanker - alternatively a towed bowser may have been used.

Sadly very little remains on the ground today - Fuel Dump 1 is now part of the Oak and Furrows Wildlife Hospital and some of the animal pens use the foundation of the original roadway and the shape of the installation can still be traced on the ground.

Nothing remains of Fuel Dump 2, although its story is quite interesting - little more than a grassy mound near to the entrance to the nature reserve, it hides a former roadway and former entrance to the original airfield.   A small lay-by off the B4040 close to the nature reserve entrance is all that remains of this once busy gateway, which once had a 'picket post' or guard room built close to it - the remains of this are somewhere in the hedgerow,

Fuel was most probably delivered to Blakehill via road tankers which may have been loaded with fuel from the Government Pipeline Storage System (GPSS) which fed the Aviation Fuel Distribution Depot at Bremhill Bridge near Purton, which was built in 1944 by Esso.

This is the closest AFDD  at about 4 miles away from the air station and has a redundant road loading gantry - so it is most probable that this station was used to load Blakehill's tankers.

The station now supplies a line to Brize Norton and a spur line to RAF Fairford was also in use uption 2000.

It was considered that RAF may have had its own fuel line, but this is now found to be untrue.

 

FURTHER READING "Fuelling the Wars - Pluto and the Secret Pipeline Network" Tim Whittle