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Author Topic: Mystery concrete pillars on RAF Tangmere boundary.  (Read 318 times)
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TrevC
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« on: November 24, 2017, 15:12:59 PM »

A mystery object!

As kids, we used these six hollow (but earth filled) concrete pillars as viewing platforms for activities at RAF Tangmere. They are about a yard apart and now about four to five feet tall. Now overgrown, in the 60's, they stood out in a gap in the boundary hedge.

They are on the road from Oving towards the old crash gates at the back of the airfield.

What were they?.....I can't think of anything they could have been used for.

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pomme homme
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2017, 17:18:10 PM »

Those crumbling and overgrown pillars are all that remains of one of the temples of a long forgotten sect that flourished in the fifties and sixties, the Ancient Order of Planespotters. The order generally built its temples along aerodrome boundaries and at runway thresholds, where its members would gather with their binoculars and short wave radios to indulge in rituals rarely understood by wider society. It was frequently persecuted by the red caps, in their ceremonial Landrovers, who struck fear into the AOP with their cries of: 'oi, you, get off that fence'. It was dedicated to revealing the inner mysteries of locked hangars - out of which frequently its adherents were chased by the guardians of the knowledge. After such activities, the loyal members of the order would retire their secretive temples to read from their holy book, 'Military Aircraft Recognition', written by its guru, Ian Allan, and to join in communal singing of their devotional songs, such as 'To be a Spotter'. Who can forget its stirring first line: 'Who would two Valiants see .....'. Ah, those were the days!
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TrevC
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2017, 18:42:48 PM »

Well, after all these years, an answer! Very cleverly written  Grin
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2017, 12:32:48 PM »

Not entirely related, but one of the projects I was in charge of before I retired was a new computer control system for the GPSS pipeline network.  This involved installing telemetry outstations at the GPSS storage depots and also at various RAF bases.  One day when I was paying a visit o see how the work was going at our enclosure on the edge of one RAF base, a load of plane spotters came up to us, assumed that we were fellow spotters and asked what we had seen.

Tim
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pomme homme
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2017, 15:16:55 PM »

Thank you for your indulgence, TrevC. In consideration, I'll raise your enquiry - and, if I may, post your photo - on another forum I frequent where people really know their onions vis a vis aerodrome infrastructure. I might thereby secure a factual, rather than fanciful, answer to your question!
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pomme homme
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2017, 07:42:35 AM »

On the other forum I've received a rather prosaic suggestion, namely that they were agricultural drains installed post-war as a barrier to prevent access to the aerodrome. But I've been asked to provide a specific location for them. Can you assist, TrevC? Maybe an OS map reference?
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TrevC
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2017, 08:23:00 AM »

I've taken a couple of snaps in Google Earth, the pipes are just visible at the centre of the close up (in the hedgeline) and the second shot shows the close up in relation to the airfield. It's possible they started as large drainage pipes, but just six in a line (about 3 metres long) is not very defensive in a boundary of several miles!

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TrevC
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 19:13:48 PM »

I think I have answered this question, after many years of waiting!

A 1962 airfield map has an earth structure (two in total) built on this part of the perimeter. Examination of a 1963 aerial photo shows a shadow being cast over the area, from a wall about 6 to 8ft tall. It seems the concrete towers formed a backbone to an earth bank, with smaller earth sidewalls.


My guess is, this was a firing pit, for armourours to test and synchronise aircraft machine guns and cannons. It's well away from the domestic site and the road could easily be blocked for the tests. By 1962, all operational flying for Fighter Command had moved North, Tangmere being very much a secondary airfield for minor units, all unarmed. Hence, no need for these pits.
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pomme homme
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2017, 19:55:25 PM »

Well done, sir. It'll be interesting to see if the experts on the other forum come up with the same answer!
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Scrapdealer
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2017, 23:32:26 PM »

ALIENS  Smiley
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