About ~ History ~ Airfield Walk ~ Photographs ~ Squadrons ~ Personnel ~ Maps ~ Buildings
RAF Harrowbeer Interest Group
~ Acknowledgements ~ Links ~ Contacts ~ Airfield Reminiscences
~ Latest News ~ Airfield Puzzles ~ Information requests ~ Dispersed Sites ~ Miscellaneous

70th Anniversary Celebration 2011

RAF Harrowbeer 1941 ~ 2011

A lovely video of the day available on Youtube HERE.
Not created by us but a lovely memory refresher!

RAF Harrowbeer officially opened on the 15th August 1941, when a Blenheim of No. 500 Squadron landed at the newly-built airfield. To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the opening of the airfield, the RAF Harrowbeer Interest Group joined with the RAF Harrowbeer Archives, and held a two-day event over the weekend of the 13th & 14th August 2011 at (and around) Knightstone Tearooms, Yelverton.

To start the weekend off, the Roborough Rotary Club held a 1940s Dinner Dance at the Moorland Links Hotel, Nr Yelverton on Friday 12th August at 7.30pm.

On the Saturday morning (13th) at 10am, there was a Rememberance Service at the RAF Harrowbeer Memorial Stone at Leg O' Mutton. The City of Plymouth Pipe Band then lead a march back to Knightstone for the official opening ceremony, (the memorial stone itself was unveiled for the 40th anniversary of the opening of the airfield so even that event is thirty years old.)

Download the poster here: Anniversary Poster

Events and attractions included:

1940s style Dinner/Dance at the Moorland Links Hotel

On Friday, 12th August, from 7.30pm, Roborough Rotary Club held a 1940s style Dinner/Dance at the Moorland Links Hotel, to launch the weekend of celebration events. A 'special' menu was prepared for the occasion and afterwards there was dancing to Dave Hankin and his Band, playing music from the 1940s.

The majority of the guests arrived in 1940s Uniforms or 1940s suits and dresses, (plus a couple of very grown-up evacuees!).

Weekend Events

Full-Size replica Spitfire with working Merlin Engine

This was parked in the recently restored dispersal bay in front of Ravenscroft. The engine was started and run for several minutes (approximately) every hour. The first time RAF Harrowbeer had reverbrated to the sound of a starting Merlin engine for over 65 years! Much to the annoyance of Graham and Rod from Spitfire Spares, (who run the Spitfire) a fault developed in the Merlin's starter motor so that for most of Saturday, there was no roar of the engine being run. Happily, the arrival of Phil the mechanic on Sunday, soon had her back at her noisy best!

Full-Size replica Hurricane (veteran from the 1968 film "Battle of Britain")
Due to a fault with the transportation trailer, sadly this didn't arrive.

Aerial Displays
All are subject to the availabilty of aircraft - and the weather!.

A Fairey Swordfish (LS 326) from the Royal Navy Historical Fight displayed over the airfield
at 2pm on the Saturday afternoon

the Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flew a display over Harrowbeer
at 4.30pm. Unfortunately the Lancaster developed engine trouble at Exeter and didn't take off.

Plus on both days:
There was an Air Sea Rescue display by 'A' Flight of No. 22 ASR Squadron based at RAF Chivenor on both days. On Saturday, aircraft will landed at 12.30pm and remained on the ground and open for visitors. On Sunday, due to operational demands, the aircraft displayed but wasn't able to land.

The Air Sea Rescue Service is also celebrating its 70th Anniversary. RAF Harrowbeer was the
of No. 276 (ASR) Squadron and helped to rescue many pilots from the Channel.

An L4 Cub also flew over Harrowbeer on the Saturday on its way to Dunkeswell.

Ground based attractions included:
Military Vehicles (Military Vehicle Trust)
iving History displays
Vintage Mobile Cinema
City of Plymouth Pipe Band
Jazz Bands - Jazzacadabra and Roger Marks 'Spitfire Five'
Plymouth Hospital Radio
a Charity Dog Show (organised by Children's Hospice SW)
Airfix 'Make and Paint' Roadshow
Wargames demonstration by 'Game and Computer' of Tavistock
Climbing Wall

Displays by ATC and RM cadets

Visits to one of Harrowbeer's Dispersal Bays

The HIG have been very busy ober the last six months restoring one of the many dispersal bays on the airfield. The trees and undergrowth have been stripped back, holes and bicycle damage repaired and the entrances to the internal air-raid shelter have been cleared out and fitted with steel gates. The work meant that for the first time in over 50 years, visitors were able to go inside the shelter and see what the airmen would have seen during the war years.

We [the HIG] had our photo displays on show nearby, and we sold hundreds of our book on RAF Harrowbeer too! N.B. There were no guided walks over the weekend but TASS provided mini-bus tours of the airfield at regular intervals.

The website speciffically set up for the event was: http://www.rafharrowbeer-dartmoor.org.uk

RAF Harrowbeer Anniversary poster