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Thread: RAF Speke

  1. #1
    georgie t
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    Arrow RAF Speke

    Building commenced in 1930 though the site had much earlier aviation links.Officially opened IN -33 the airport soon became one of the busiest in the country.

    The first military connection was in 1936 when 611 squadron R.A.F. moved in.They were soon joined by other units,and by 1939 the military prescence was so large that the airport was requisitioned by the air ministry.One of 611 squadrons Hurricanes scored the first 'kill' of the Speke units when the Czech pilot shot down a German Ju 88 bomber As the war progressed.

    a shadow factory was built near the airport with the Rootes group building Blenheim and later Halifax aircraft.

    Additional runways were built to make a total of 3 extra hangers and other buildiings added.The 2 main hangers were now being used by the American Lockheed and Douglas companys to assemble Mustang and P38 Lightning aircraft.

    In 1946,the airport reverted back to civilian use and By the early 1970s it was deemed that it would soon be unsuitable for the increased demands of larger airliners and it was closed when the 'new' John Lennon airport was built

    nowadays the old terminal building is a hotel (crown plaza) and has retained many of its original features also the hangers are now in use for commercial purposes

    i always knew this first building was here but after further exploring into the wooded area you come across all sorts of features still left including a rather strange pillbox which seemed to have a very long corridor to get into it

    there is an roc post also here but has been filled in with earth and rubble but you can just make out the ventalation duct through the bushes



    This building was a shooting butt for the aircraft to test their guns and cannons It would be filled with sand at the rear to absorb the shells and bullets aircraft would line up in front of it and fire ........some bullet damage can still be seen on the walls




    bullet damage

    access hatch on rear wall



    electrical switchgear enclosure

    then onto the rather impressive long pillbox

    you can make out the door at the end

    lookin back up from the entrance

    and looking down into the box





    some electrical stuff on the wall


    further on along the old airfield theres another pillbox





    ADVERTISING




    whilst on the airport theme me and kevsy21 had a little mooch behind the old terminal building (now the crown plaza hotel) a while ago and came across this ..it seems to be getting resored we think











    various wings




    and the engines





  2. #2
    Senior Member az_gila's Avatar
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    Red face Speke, planes and Mosquitoes

    My aunty was a weather girl at Speke during WWII

    She always said she wanted to meet a hansome pilot, so she went to work at the airport.d

    She never did get married, and passed away about 3 years ago...

    I also spent lots of my pocket money pennies getting access to the observation deck at Speke - some kids did train spotting, I spotted planes --

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    The above book was found in my parent's attic last year...

    ..and I still remember the weather Mosquitoes flying over our house on the way to Speke after their daily w..eather reconnaissance trip from Woodvale. The last flying ones the RAF had. I saw one later in the 70's in a hangar at Speke being restored - don't know what became of that one.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Norm NZ's Avatar
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    I remember some of the fighter squadrons at Speke during the war! some of them had the nose cowlings painted in checkerboard patterns, or the nose boss painted a bright red colour. Temporary hangers were also situated at the lower end of the airfield, Banks Lane area, and of course at the Rootes Factory end there were movable gates to allow newly built aircraft to move across Speke Hall Ave onto the airfield for their delivery to other regions. Rootes of course eventually became Dunlops after the war. I remember a couple of the boys from the 'Tennies' were caught trying to get into one of the planes, and apparently did some damage, and were sent of to an 'approved school' for a period of time!

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    Senior Member az_gila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm NZ View Post
    I remember some of the fighter squadrons at Speke during the war! some of them had the nose cowlings painted in checkerboard patterns, or the nose boss painted a bright red colour. Temporary hangers were also situated at the lower end of the airfield, Banks Lane area, and of course at the Rootes Factory end there were movable gates to allow newly built aircraft to move across Speke Hall Ave onto the airfield for their delivery to other regions. Rootes of course eventually became Dunlops after the war. I remember a couple of the boys from the 'Tennies' were caught trying to get into one of the planes, and apparently did some damage, and were sent of to an 'approved school' for a period of time!
    The Mosquitoes fyling daily from Woodvale into Speke were a bit later than WWII - they stopped in 1959.

    Woodvale was then used by a number of training units along with The Temperature and Humidity (THUM) flight which under took daily weather flights after their arrival from Hooton Park in July 1951, the flight originally used Spitfires and then Mosquitoes until the flight was disbanded in May 1959.

    Speke must have had the weather office - my aunt says she spent a lot of here time taking data (presumable from these flights and other ground stations) and plotting isobars on maps - all computerized by now, of course. She did talk about how amazing it was to see the first weather satellite photos in the 70's, directly showing what she had to infer from lots of data.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne Inskip View Post
    Hi, I work for the National Trust at Speke Hall, and was chuffed to find this - I didn't know the pill boxes existed ! Really interesting info, thank you! best Anne.

    ---------- Post added at 07:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:45 PM ----------

    Hi,
    I work at Speke Hall and was doing research about what happened at the Hall during WW2. I was really interested to read your thread - I never knew the pillboxes were there, I can sense an excursion to them coming on!
    Thanks
    Anne
    Welcome to the forum, Anne. Speke Hall is one of my favorite places. I have visited the mansion many times over the years.
    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
    Chris on Flickr and on MySpace

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