There’s now another good reason to fly to Dunkeswell Airfield, near Honiton, Devon. A new heritage centre has opened on the airfield with repro uniforms, models, artefacts, film and a collection of 350 photos showing life on the former WWII base.
South West Airfields Heritage Trust opened the new centre recently, located on the perimeter entry road to the airfield. The opening was accompanied by a flypast of vintage aircraft and a drive-in of military vehicles from the Devon Military Vehicle Trust.
RAF Dunkeswell was constructed by George Wimpey in 1942 and handed over to the RAF on 26 June 1943. Although an RAF base, Dunkeswell was first occupied by the American 479th AAF Anti-Submarine Group transferred from Iceland to support 19 Group RAF Coastal Command in the fight against German U-Boats.
“The story of Dunkeswell is a fascinating one and not well known,” said Brian Lane-Smith, chairman of the trust. “RAF Coastal Command was in charge of the anti-submarine activities and was regularly searching the Bay of Biscay with long range aircraft.”
In March 1944 Dunkeswell was handed over completely to Forward Air Wing (FAW7) making it the only US Navy base in Europe.