Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Military Flying 1908 - 1918

Military Flying 1908 to 1918 Larkhill

Recommended Posts

Military Flying 1908 - 1918

BUILDINGS 455 AND 456 (FIVE AIRCRAFT HANGARS), DURRINGTON CAMP. I am starting a project to restore the Hangers at Larkhill to their original condition. You can see progress so far (it is only days since I started, so it is not much) I have contacted the government department concerned. If you can offer any advice please feel free to comment at @militaryflyinglarkhill. I am a true novice at this but I am determined to make it happen. Due to their world-wide importance I feel that it is important to carry out this work in order to provide future generations with an authentic vision of their past both architecturally and historically.

I feel that such a project would contribute to enriching the history of Larkhill and it’s environs and complement and enhance the planned Salisbury Plain Heritage Centre and the Royal Artillery Collection as well the other well-known heritage sites on Salisbury Plain.

It would provide employment opportunities for local tradesmen and others from the local area during the restoration term and into the future as I also see it as adding value to the local area by re-purposing it as an History of Flying Heritage and Exhibition Centre following completion of the restoration.

I do not envisage such work being funded by the MOD but rather by raising money from the general public and other donors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waddell

Welcome to the forum and good luck with your project. I recently wrote a story following an AIF artilleryman's letters, which included many from Larkhill, where he mentioned the RFC Flying School and how busy it was at the time.

 

Would you be able to post some more images of the surviving hangars? There seems to be only one on your social media site.

 

Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

Good luck with your project, though I suspect that your major hurdle will be bureaucracy! The Bing collection of photographs contained several that I hadn't seen before.

 

I believe that currently the buildings are used for storage?

 

Untangling the early history of the sheds, including those no longer standing, can be challenging!

 

National Archives file AIR 1/1607/204/85/6 containing a proposal for an aeroplane branch of the Air Corps, noted on January 19, 1911, that the pair of sheds on Salisbury Plain were unnecessarily large at 40ft x 40ft, being sufficient for all present types of machine.

 

NA file AIR 1/1607/204/85/20 (January-October 1913) includes a message form about the Works Branch arranging for aeroplane sheds to be moved from Lark Hill to Farnborough.

 

Accommodation for aeroplanes at Lark Hill in December 1913 is discussed in NA file AIR 1/789/204/4/655. The War Office had written to the RFC asking how many aircraft could be accommodated in the "old Government sheds" and in the British Colonial Aircraft company sheds. The RFC replied that eight Henri Farmans and 9 BEs could be housed in the former and two Henri Farmans and 8 BEs in the latter – but there would be no room for stores and workshops. The shed erected by Mr Cockburn had been removed, and the trials sheds (for the Military Aeroplane Competition), each holding one machine of either type, were in bad condition.

 

No doubt there are others. I came across the above in the late 1990s when one needed the gift of serendipity when searching through the National Archives.

 

I've long had a vague idea of being at Larkhill on June 21 to test the "sun gap theory" but suspect that this is no longer feasible because of woodland and perhaps buildings that have become established over the past century. And, knowing my luck, the sun wouldn't be around for my visit!

 

A gap was left in the original line of hangars so as not to obscure the rising suin shining on the altar stone at Stoenhenge of June 21. On March 4, 1913 the commanding officer of Number 3 Squadron wrote to the Commandant Royal Engineers at Bulford Camp pointing out that one shed erected the year before for the Military Air Competition would intercept rays of the sun when it rose on Midsummer Day, as viewed from Stonehenge. A lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Engineers replied, stating that:

 

"there is a gap of 100 yards in the front row of the aeroplane sheds left, in accordance with the request of Sir Edmund Antrobus [owner of much land in the locality] that W.D. buildings should not be erected on the line between the [sic] Stonehenge and sunrise on Mid Summer day. In erecting sheds for the aeroplane trials last year this gap has, I understand, been encroached upon.

 

I do not think that there is any undertaking on the part of the RFC to maintain this gap … I do not consider I should be justified in recommending expenditure of W.D. funds in removing a shed to avoid the possibility of interfering with the sun's rays falling on Stonehenge."

 

This appears not to have satisfied the CO of Number 3 Squadron, for on May 17 the Officer Commanding, Royal Flying Corps, Military Wing, wrote to the War Office asking that the sheds (plural) be taken away. Unfortunately this letter is the last in the NA file AIR 1/786/204/4/585).

 

 

Moonraker

 

 

 

Edited by Moonraker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

Some of the less-common postcard photographs of the sheds:5ac1d25b3410a_LarkHillsheds.thumb.jpg.b03dcdb51f68358b79d2caa03c18d199.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Military Flying 1908 - 1918

Thank you for your contribution. It is early days yet. I on ly set off on this journey late last week. I am hoping that my emails to MoD, National Trust, English heritage and the Wiltshire County Council prompt some sort of response soon. But has been stated here the bureaucracy will be the major hurdle. This area is full of Sir Humphrey's

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Military Flying 1908 - 1918

Scott, I do not  have any more photos of the buildings in their present day condition but I am planning to visit in the near future. Might I suggest you look at the buildings from the perspective of those early flying pioneers and GoogleMap them.

 

BCAC  Hangers, 11 Wood Rd, Larkhill, Salisbury SP4 8QH

 

You will see that they look to be in fair condition but it is difficult to see for sure from that height. We will see soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TimCornish

I would advise greatly in contacting the Wings Over Stonehenge Group - in particular regards to Larkhill, Tim Brown, author and renowned historian on Salisbury Plain aeronautical activity. On Facebook, 'Flying With the Larks', and 'Barrows, Biplanes and Bombers' are the pages you want to 'like'. The team at WOSH were key to bringing Scout 1264 to Larkhill in such great fashion last year. 

 

I look forward to hearing what occurs next - do let me know, I am not too far from Larkhill and have frequented there and the surrounding airfields in the past few years. 

 

Tim 

Edited by TimCornish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker
On 02/04/2018 at 03:20, Waddell said:

... I recently wrote a story following an AIF artilleryman's letters, which included many from Larkhill, where he mentioned the RFC Flying School and how busy it was at the time...

Curious - the Flying School at Lark Hill closed in 1914 and AIF units weren't there until mid-1916. RFC personnel were accommodated at Lark Hill during the war and, of course, flight training too place nearby, such as at RFC Lake Down and Boscombe Down.

 

Recently I  won on eBay a postcard sent to to "Mr W Whitmarsh, Royal Flying Corps, Lark Hill" postmarked February 27, 1913; only a couple of quid, as well :).

 

I've just come back from a walk in the Amesbury area (Shipton Bellinger-Amesbury-Fargo Plantation-Lark Hill-Bulford Cemetery-Shipton Bellinger) and visited the sheds in Wood Road. I hadn't been to them for some years and had a vague memory that there was a commemorative plaque on a plinth in front of them. But I must have been mistaken, or it's been moved, as I spotted it just to the north, apparently in the "sun gap" left to allow the rising sun to shine on the Altar Stone at Stonehenge on Midsummer's Day. I've occasionally wondered about this story, but it would be impossible to test it nowadays because so many trees have been planted between the sheds and the monument and are now mature. Indeed, it's very difficult indeed to reconcile the images above with the scene today.

 

Incidentally there are signs up in Wood Road stating vehicular access is for MoD people including, I think, civilian families. (I can't recall the exact wording, but then it was a long walk on a hot day.) There's no indication of such a restriction as one turns into Wood Road from the Packway. Visiting pedestrians are not restricted.

 

I wonder how the OP is getting on with his campaign to have the sheds restored to their original condition? Nothing on his Facebook page since April 5.

 

Moonraker

Edited by Moonraker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waddell

Terry,

 

He wrote of the school from Larkhill in September 1916.

 

"I have counted as many as sixty flying at once. The school is just at the back, where they have about 200 machines stationed". 

 

It had occurred to me that 'just at the back' may have been a relative measure for a boy from the country and that he may well have been referring to RFC Netheravon to the north. 

Two hundred aircraft would indicate a large airfield?

 

Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

Certainly the aircraft would not have been at Lark Hill, where the area round the flying sheds had barracks  built on it early in the war. More likely it was Netheravon, established as a flying centre before the war. (Lake Down and Boscombe Down opened in 1917.)

 

As I've remarked before, there is scope for a study into how statistics can be exaggerated, and elsewhere on the Forum I've cited examples: 36,000 prostitutes within ten miles of Sling Camp, the same person who stated this reckoning there were more than two million men in the Salisbury Plain area; 1,800 members of the First Canadian Contingent dying  in 1915-15, 600 from meningitis; (the actual figures were 68 and 28).

 

Moonraker

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker
On 03/06/2018 at 19:18, Moonraker said:

I wonder how the OP is getting on with his campaign to have the sheds restored to their original condition? Nothing on his Facebook page since April 5.

 

Moonraker

I've just tried to access the page and got this:

 

This content isn't available right now

The link you followed may have expired, or the Facebook Page may only be visible to an audience you're not in.

Go back to the previous page · Go to News Feed · Visit our Help Center

 

I have to say that I thought that the OP faced (faces?) an uphill battle.

 

Moonraker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TimCornish

Has OP contacted the Wings Over Stonehenge group, that have been working on a similar proposal for almost a decade now? 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...