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RAF Davidstow Moor, Air Ministry Bombing Teacher

A Grade II Listed Building in Davidstow, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6424 / 50°38'32"N

Longitude: -4.623 / 4°37'22"W

OS Eastings: 214634

OS Northings: 85803

OS Grid: SX146858

Mapcode National: GBR N7.8SD5

Mapcode Global: FRA 176C.NS2

Entry Name: RAF Davidstow Moor, Air Ministry Bombing Teacher

Listing Date: 1 July 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1403173

Location: Davidstow, Cornwall, PL32

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Davidstow

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Davidstow

Church of England Diocese: Truro

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Summary

Air Ministry bombing teacher, built in 1942, located within the N part of the technical site at RAF Davidstow Moor.

Description

Air Ministry bombing teacher, two storeys high with a 1½ storey annex on the E side and a single storey boiler house against the N wall, with its chimney stack projecting from the NW corner of the main building. The walls are of brick in English bond with a cement render and remain to their original height, although the shallow corrugated asbestos pitched roof no longer survives. The W gable and S wall have no windows, the E annex has a single small window on the ground floor and the E gable of the main building has one window on the top floor. The S elevation has a door reached by a single concrete step leading to the ground floor and two windows in the first floor. The boiler room has a west facing door and a single north facing window. There are small ventilation grills in each wall.

Interior: Ground floor consists of a large open space with projecting bomb aimers' balcony leading into the room for a short distance from the eastern annex. A metal ladder leads to the first floor from this balcony. In the reinforced concrete first floor is a large, central, rectangular projection hole with brick built projector platform above. Further smaller holes in the floor would have carried cables and other parts of the bomb teacher mechanism.


History

The land for RAF Davidstow Moor was acquired in 1941 by the Air Ministry Works Department. The majority of the work was carried out in 1942 by Taylor Woodrow (buildings), L.J. Speight (runways), Glovers of Manchester for exterior electrics with Buchannan and Curwen being responsible for interior electrical work. Archaeological excavations in advance of construction work were carried out by Croft Andrew. The station opened on 1st October 1942 and became home to Coastal Command squadrons involved in Air Sea Rescue [ASR], U-Boat hunting and anti-shipping patrols. Personnel came from the UK, Canada, United States, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Czechoslovakia and Holland.

The bombing teacher conforms to Air Ministry design 1130/42 and was built to train bomb aimers. A powerful projector suspended above a large opening on the first floor projected a travelling aerial photograph of the target area onto the white painted ground floor. On a balcony overlooking the simulated countryside, the bomb aimer equipped with bomb site and navigation equipment calculated the course to the target and directed the pilot, who using rudders similar to those in aircraft was able to move the projector to simulate changes in direction. When the drop point was reached the bomb aimer would flick a switch and the accuracy of the mission could be calculated. The equipment was relatively sophisticated being able to simulate the speed of the aircraft, wind drift and even turbulence.

Considerable quantities of contemporary documentation survive relating to operations carried out from RAF Davidstow Moor. The base was placed on a care and maintenance footing in September 1944, used for training up to October 1945 and finally closed in December 1945. Since this time it has returned primarily to agricultural use, but was used for motor-racing for a short time and is still used by micro-light aircraft. There are two separate museums on the site and a memorial stone was erected in August 2003.

Reasons for Listing

The Air Ministry bombing teacher at RAF Davidstow Moor is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as part of the surviving buildings at this former Coastal Command aerodrome, showing the provision of training facilities on an operational station
* Rarity and intactness: as a well-preserved example of this unusual building type
* Group value: for its connection with the adjacent turret instructional building

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