CHIVENOR
Barnstaple,Heanton,
Wrafton Gate,
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MDXC, later EGDC.Lat/Long N51.05.14/W04.09.01.27ft amsl .Airfield Ident CV

RUNWAYS:Pre RAF :Grass N/S,NE/SW,E/W,SE/NW all 1200yds .
As built 1942 - Concrete 09/27 1450yds,15/33 1200yds,03/21 1160yds.
09/27(now 10/28) later extended to 6014ft Asphalt.

The RAF airfield site as built in 1942...note the camouflage hedgerows.
RAF Chivenor 2006 view. The area enclosed by the red line is the approximate area occupied by the Barnstaple & North Devon Aerodrome (Heanton or Wrafton Gate) and the blue lines show the area of the original buildings. The yellow lines show the runway original lengths

In 1933 Sir Alan Cobham brought his 'Great Air Display' to Heanton, the "Journal" offered 12 free flights to whoever guessed the correct height of a plane that flew over Barnstaple trailing smoke.The Display used the site at Heanton Court that on 13th June 1934 would be opened as The Barnstaple and North Devon Aerodrome ( N51.05.30 W4.07.57) The opening was by Bob Boyd & T.W.J. ‘Tommy’ Nash AFC, former RFC pilot and member of Cobham’s Air Circus display team. It was described as 'The Perfect Aerodrome.Services to Lundy island were operated for a while..BR> This aerodrome ,which was the first properly licenced airfield in Devon actually started operating in December 1933 when the Barnstaple and North Devon Aerodrome Club commenced flying with two Gipsy Moths(G-AAIM & G-AABK).Also stationed at the aerodrome was a Desoutter which Mr. J. E. D. Scott operated for air-taxi and joyriding work.

The opening of the Barnstaple and North Devon Areodrome (Left) and (right) Bob Boyd & ‘Tommy’ Nash AFC.


In 1934 Bob Boyd commenced a service to Lundy , initially using Dragon G-ACCR.The dragon was badly damaged in a landing accident on Lundy in June and was replaced by a GAL Monospar (G-ACCP) and a Short Scion (G-ACUW).A scheduled service under the title Atlantic Coast Air Services commenced in April 1935- the name was changed to Lundy & Atlantic Coast Airlines in April 1937.
In the spring of 1940, with the coming of war the aerodrome effectively closed,services to Lundy ceased and work began on building an airfield for the RAF on an adjacent site immediately to the west of the existing aerodrome.

A three runway airfield and all facilities were built for the use of Coastal Command and opened in November 1940 .The airfield would continue in RAF use until 1995 when it was transferred to the Royal Marines and closed to flying with the exception of SAR units and the 624 Volunteer Gliding Squadron - which is still the situation today (2008).

After the war the civilian side of the site was once again used under the name of Wrafton Gate ...services to Lundy Island restarted in 1950 by Devon Air Travel and later by Devonair .The services to Lundy eventually ceased in 1955 never to be restarted.

Arrived Unit Departed Aircraft
24/11/40 3 (Coastal) OTU 29/7/41 Blenheim, Beaufort, Anson renamed 5(Coastal) OTU
1/12/40 252 Sqdn. 6/4/41 Blenheim IF / IVF, Beaufighter IC
3/4/41 272 Sqdn. 28/5/41 Beaufighter IC
1/8/41 5 (Coastal) OTU 29/7/41 Beaufort, Anson/Oxford
8/1/42 1417 Flight 4/4/42 Wellington VIII Leigh Light Trials unit - became 172 Sqdn.
4/4/42 172 Sqdn. 1/9/44 Wellington VIII, XII, XIV
6/5/42 77 Sqdn. 5/10/42 Whitley V
16/7/42 235 Sqdn. 21/1/43 Beaufighter IC VIC
10/12/42 547 Sqdn. 22/1/43 Wellington VIII
Dec 42 59 Sqdn. 27/3/43 Fortress IIA det. only to 6/2/43
22/1/43 404 Sqdn. 2/4/43 Beaufighter II & XI
1/4/43 407 Sqdn. 3/11/43 Wellington XII/ XIV
2/4/43 547 Sqdn. 31/5/43 Wellington VIII/XI
25/5/43 612 Sqdn. 1/11/43 Wellington XIII
2/12/43 407 Sqdn. 29/1/44 Wellington XII /XIV
3/12/43 612 Sqdn. 26/1/44 Wellington XIII / XIV
Jan 44 ? ASV Training Flight/Unit 20/6/45 Wellington XII/ XIII / XIV
19/2/44 304 Sqdn. 21/9/44 Wellington XIV
1/3/44 612 Sqdn. 9/9/44 Wellington XIV
28/4/44 407 Sqdn. 24/8/44 Wellington XIV
6/9/44 179 Sqdn. 21/9/44 Wellington XIV
26/9/44 36 Sqdn. 9/3/45 Wellington XIV
23/10/44 179 Sqdn. 1/11/44 Wellington XIV
24/10/44 14 Sqdn. 25/5/45 Wellington XIV
11/11/44 407 Sqdn. 4/6/45 Wellington XIV Disbanded
14/3/45 459 Sqdn. 10/4/45 Wellington XIII
29/6/45 254 Sqdn. 26/11/45 Beaufighter X
19/7/45 248 Sqdn. 8/12/45 Mosquito VI
3/11/45 517 Sqdn. 21/6/46 Fortress II / III, Halifax III Disbanded
30/11/45 517 Sqdn. 21/6/46 Halifax III Disbanded
17/12/45 248 Sqdn. 30/5/46 Mosquito VI
24/9/46 26 Sqdn. 23/10/46 Tempest F.2
6/1/46 CCFATU 21/2/46 Martinet, Hurricane IIC, Spitfire LF.16E Disbanded - Coastal Command Fighter Affiliation Training Unit
4/10/46 691 Sqdn. 11/2/49 Vengeance TT.IV, Martinet TT1, Harvard T2B, Spitfire LF.16E, Oxford T.2 Renumbered 17 Sqdn.
15/10/47 203 AFS 19/7/49 Spitfire XVI & XIX, Martinet, Harvard Advanced Flying School
11/2/49 17 Sqdn. 13/3/51 Martinet TT1, Harvard T2B, Spitfire LF.16E, Oxford T.2, Beaufighter TT.10
26/10/49 5 Sqdn. 13/3/51 Martinet TT1, Harvard T2B, Spitfire LF.16E, Oxford T.2, Beaufighter TT.10, Vampire F.3
Feb 50 Station Flight Aug 50 Buckmaster, Tiger Moth
17/7/50 OFU 19/3/51 Buckmaster and others Overseas Ferry Unit
28/3/51 229 OCU 2/9/74 Vampire FB.5/ T.11; Meteor F.8 / T.7; Sabre F.4; Hunter 1,4,6,7,9,10; Tempest TT.5, Chipmunk T10 Comprised of Reserve sqdns: 63; 79; 145; 234. Also a Forward Air Controller Flight, Towed Target Flight and Fighter/Recconaisance Flight.
Nov 54 275 Sqdn. Oct 57 ? Sycamore, Whirlwind E Flight, Transferred to 22 Sqdn as A flight .
Jun 56 ? 22 Sqdn. current Whirlwind, Wessex, Sea King A Flight only
3/9/65 624 VGS Current Cadet, Sedbergh, Prefect, Venture, Vigilant T.1 Volunteer Gliding School/Squadron(from 2006) Aircraft on charge 2008..ZH 128 (TP), ZH 190 (UC), ZH 194 (UG)
1/8/80 1 TWU det. 1/4/81 Hawk 63 (Reserve) Sqdn. Became 2 TWU
1/4/81 2 TWU 1/4/92 Hawk Tactical Weapons Unit with 63 and 151 (Reserve) Sqdns
1/4/92 7 FTS 30/9/94 Hawk Flying Training School formed from 2 TWU with 63 & 151 (renumbered 19 & 92 from 1/9/92) (Reserve) Sqdns.
1/10/94 4 FTS Weapons det. 14/3/95 ? Hawk

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