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Training trenches at RAF Halton, Bucks


June Underwood
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In todays Bucks Herald there is an article and photo of the WW1 training trenches at RAF Halton. RAF personnel have been excavating the trenches for the last 2 weeks. Bully beef cans, pottery and plates have been found. The trenches were first built by the Yorkshire Regiment in 1914, then taken over by the Royal Anglia Regiment for the RAF to eventually go there in 1918. When the trenches have all been excavated they will be preserved and it will be dedicated as a heritage site and opened to school parties.

I have tried to scan the article and compress it but the smallest I can get is 235 KB but the maximum recommended size is 100K. Is there any way that I can post the article?

June

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Hi, I'm Kelvin. Following June's post which I found via search engine, I can confirm that the RAF Halton trench project is going well. I am an instructor involved in the project (yes I did dig in with the trainees) and am looking for images of the trenches from the era they were acually created.

The first site is not far off completion but the main site will be excavated by mod archeologsts.

Here's a picture of a general view of the site:

RAFHaltonTrenchDigging113.jpg

I will try and keep anyone interested informed.

Regards

Kelvin

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Kelvin

Excellent photo - pity the Bucks Herald didn't use that in the article. Is there any chance of seeing the trenches yet? I live nearby in Weston Turville.

June

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I took the picture on Thursday (after Bucks Herald had visited us). I've taken around 200 pictures over the past three weeks so it's a time consuming process to reduce the file size/adjust the colour balance etc. I'll make them available as time allows. Visits are above my pay scale (I'm a mere corporal) you could try contacting him via the RAF website. We have dug deeper than the original trenches (many will argue that they were originally dug to 6ft but the fossils we've found prove otherwise).

Regards

Kelvin

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Hello to you all.

I found you purely by chance while researching my grandfather. On 22 January 1918 he was transferred from East Lancs Regt to Royal Flying Corp.

My brother has a watch presented to him, Sgt Thomas Marsden, by the men of No 3 Flight, RAF Halton.

He died before I was born, so don't know anything more. Seeing these posts brings things closer. I hadn't imagined training in trenches.

I'd really like to know if it's possible to find out more about his time at Halton.

Susan

Total civilian but greatly appreciative of all the forces.

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Hello Susan

Welcome to the Forum. I'm sorry that there have been no replies to your post - perhaps if you send it again and put it into a different section it might attract more interest. I can't really help you except to say that there is the Trenchard Museum at RAF Halton which has a lot of detail about the history of the apprentices, but there is very little about World War 1. You could contact the museum via the website which can be found via Google and I'm sure they would be able to help.

Good luck with your research

June

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Hello Susan,

As the RAF wasn't formed until nearly 3 months after the event it is unlikely that the Trenchard museum will be able to offer you much assistance. We were only able to locate a few general photographs of the various camp areas from before then.

Better would be to contact the Army disclosure cell but their records only go back as far as 1918, so the best route is to go via the National Archives.

Heres a link for the disclosure cell and other info:

http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/infopack.pdf

Sorry I can't be of more help

Regards

Kelvin

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  • 4 months later...

Apologies for being away for a while.

The Halton Trench Project is going well. We're getting close to finishing. The site is due to be officially opened on Jun 10 (I'm not sure whether the public will be allowed). I've been filming the last it since I last posted and here is the result:

Hope you all enjoy!

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  • 2 months later...

This was on the BBC local news again tonight to say that excavations are complete. It wasn't made clear about it being open to the general public from what I heard, though there is an open day at Halton on Saturday. As my GGF trained in these very trenches I would very much like to see them.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafhalton/newsweathe...8525384EA75A169

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An official opening was performed today by the wife of the Chief of the Air Staff, with the Group Captain Commanding attending on her, and various BBC and station photographers. The site is a small clearing in the woods, dug out to represent front and support lines, with CT's and firebays but no dugouts. Traces of many other earthworks are visible in the wood. About 30,000 man-hours of labour was consumed in the project, which was provided by airmen passing through training. Trenches are revetted with wriggly tin and stakes, as well as timber sawn up from the trees which were cut down in site clearance. This also provided the duckboards and A-frames bracing the revetting as well as supporting the barbed wire aprons. A number of corkscrew wire piquets were discovered in the excavations and these have been reused.

This site is not open to the public but will be maintained for viewing by guests.

http://www.films.mod.uk/south_east/rafhalton.htm

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Kelvin

How can members of the public or a local historical society go to see the trenches? I live 5 miles from Halton and I would very much like to see the work that has been done.

June

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Thanks Kelvin

I went to RAF Halton at Home yesterday and spoke to a Flt Lt from the Media Dept who told me a similar thing. They seem to want to encourage group visits rather than individual ones. I thought I might try to arrange something via Buckinghamshire Remembers but as there are only 2 of us organising it, that's a bit difficult, so if any Forum members would like to join us perhaps it could be arranged.

The At Home Day at Halton was magnificent including perfect weather. We were most impressed with the displays of musicians, gymnasts, drill, missiles, the catering dept, the Trenchard Museum, the flying displays - to name but a few. The relationship between all RAF personnel and the public was outstanding - especially the attitude, patience and friendship towards children. The fly past had left Buckingham Palace 7 minutes before arriving at Halton and was as impressive as ever. Altogether an exceptional day. The only thing I would criticise at all was that there weren't sufficient seats for us older people.

June

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Thanks Kelvin

I went to RAF Halton at Home yesterday and spoke to a Flt Lt from the Media Dept who told me a similar thing. They seem to want to encourage group visits rather than individual ones. I thought I might try to arrange something via Buckinghamshire Remembers but as there are only 2 of us organising it, that's a bit difficult, so if any Forum members would like to join us perhaps it could be arranged.

The At Home Day at Halton was magnificent including perfect weather. We were most impressed with the displays of musicians, gymnasts, drill, missiles, the catering dept, the Trenchard Museum, the flying displays - to name but a few. The relationship between all RAF personnel and the public was outstanding - especially the attitude, patience and friendship towards children. The fly past had left Buckingham Palace 7 minutes before arriving at Halton and was as impressive as ever. Altogether an exceptional day. The only thing I would criticise at all was that there weren't sufficient seats for us older people.

June

June

Put my name down if it comes off, although I could only do a weekend. Easy enough to fit in a visit to my mother as well and could (at last) give you a CD with the Wendover photographs on!

John

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John

I'm going to try to organise a group visit of the Weston Turville Historical Society, so you would be very welcome to join us one weekend. I'll let you know.

June

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