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

Blast Bay/Dispersal Pen

(drawing © Mike Hayes)
There are twelve of these pens around the airfield. They were designed to be either of two sizes, (with local variations). Those nearest Yelverton are approx 66 feet across the arms, (for Fighters) whilst those near Knightstone are 76 feet, (for Blenheims). Several have machine gun positions built into the ends of the arms, and two have raised pads built into their sides.

Dispersal Bay & Air-Raid Shelter Restoration

In time for the 70th Anniversary celebrations in August 2011, permission was sought to restore one of the Airfield's Dispersal Bays and in particular, to open up the internal Air-Raid Shelter to visitors. With support from Maristow Estate, Dartmoor National Park, West Devon Borough Council and the Commoners, work started early in the year to remove the self-sown trees growing on the Bay's arms, and then to remove the build-up of soil and grass covering the 'floor' of the Bays.

Whilst the latter part of this work was going on, we began to remove the tons of rubble piled in the bricked-up entrances. (this has been stored on-site as it is the demolished remains of the Pilot's Dispersal huts) When these had been cleared, the block-work walls were removed and custom-made steel gates were installed.

In the photos below, the views are described as though viewing the bay whilst standing at the back, where all three 'arms' meet.


The Dispersal Bay before we started! Hardly visible under all the trees.

Before - The Right Hand side

Before - The Left Hand side

Trees and undergrowth removed

Floor area cleared of grass and mud.

Note the revealed aircraft tie-down points

The entrances to the internal air-raid shelter before we started

RHS Clearance

This took two days!

And finally we get to see what the inside looks like!

Clearing the right-hand side entrance. Two of the many, many visitors (in white) who stopped by to see what we were doing. Note all the rubble that came out of this one entrance!

Most of the grass and mud from the floor of this side was cleared by members of the Tavy Task Force. They also cleared most of the undergrowth from the banks. One or two of the larger trees had to be professionally felled.

Two views of the work in clearing the left-hand side bay floor and entrance. The stump on the right of the picture (right) was particularly stubborn!

Just some of those who worked on the clearance work.

L to R: Marek, Matthew (sitting on ground) Stephen, Matthew's partner, Mike, Sue, Neville, Pavel.

Left: Clearing away the grass and mud

Right: That b****y stump!!!!!

And then having cleared the front two entrances, we moved round to the rear (emergency) exit. Clearing this proved to be much harder work than we expected.

With the entrances clear, time to fit the special made steel gates that will secure the shelter.

All the gates were fitted in one day, working from 9am to 9pm!