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Colerne Airfield

Old 12th Jun 2006, 08:02
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Don't know about buried aircraft but it was an MU so anything's possible; there is definitely some sort of underground bunker under the airfield though; I saw it marked on the airfield crash map in '88 when I was at Rudloe for ATC camp; it was somewhere near the threshold of runway 25.
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Old 12th Jun 2006, 12:22
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I spent four years of my life living around the threshold of runway25 and never saw or heard of any bunker. One of our Flight Engineers "Whampo" Warton frequently patrolled the area collecting dandelion flowers for his illicit still in the engineers section and reported nothing. Had there been one there and it had been blocked off there would be no need to include it on the crash maps. I think you probably mistook some other marking for an underground facility.

I really hate to be a cold blanket on the exciting subject (to me) of buried aircraft (There is a similar thread about Kenley running) but two factors are against the possibility.

Firstly any scrap metal was so valuable in the immediate post war years that it could be sold...and was.

Secondly if there was a quarry right next to the airfield it would have been easy to drop aircraft in to it. As there isn't you have to consider how difficult it would have been to dig a hole big enough for one small fighter aircraft let alone one big enough for a Lincoln as has been suggested at Kenley.

...but I would love to be proved wrong!
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Old 12th Jun 2006, 13:04
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I was visiting Colerne recently and found what we suspect to be a bunker in the gardens of an MQ - Nothing too surprising there.

A local reckons there are engines in crates underground near the NAAFI???

We need some ground radar.
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Old 12th Jun 2006, 13:13
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The crash map definitely had the caption 'Nuclear Bunker'. It was near the 25 threshold just west of the apron there.
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Old 13th Jun 2006, 19:38
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The Nuclear Bunker may have been installed by the new owners, the Army.

Just to "Belay that last pipe" as they say in the Navy.
I was talking to an old friend last night about this "buried aircraft" nonsense and he told me that as a kid he used to play on a Lanc that had crashed at Kenley. He believes that it was buried along with a spit.

If anyone wants to contact him PM me.
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Old 14th Jun 2006, 18:30
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F/O Plumtree was involved in the 1969 C130 crash at Fairford, he is buried in South Cerney Churchyard along with a number of his crew mates.

hooter 2

8.3.46 F/O Bamjee (RIAF) crashed Metoer EE344, he hit trees (I did read he was beating up a train) and crashed in a field near Langley Burrell, 2 miles from Chippenham, sadly he was killed. I will try to find out who the station commander & CO of 74 Squadron at that time. Would very much like to hear more about this accident and your Father.
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Old 14th Jun 2006, 19:37
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Many thanks for that; it is much appreciated. His father was AVM Eric Plumtree DFC who survived a tour on Blenheim IVs with 53 Squadron during which he survived a particularly vicious attack by three Bf 110s.

He still had lumps of Oerliken cannon shell floating around in his head when I first met him 20 years ago.

It always seemed to me particularly ironic that his son should be killed in peacetime on a training flight.

Last edited by JW411; 14th Jun 2006 at 19:48.
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Old 5th Jul 2006, 19:49
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Buried Aircraft at Colerne

I have been reading the postings on this forum site with interest and glad to see it is still active.
I have lived in the village since 1958 when my father moved here and bought a shop in the high street called "THE STORES" which was opposite the paper shop and post office, maybe some of you will remember it?
Although I have lived here nearly 50 years I am still an outsider to those that were born here and still remember the post war era were all the rumors of buried aircraft started.
You can still get the statement from some of the Yokels! sorry locals if you mention "Spitfires" and the "Camp" in one sentence you will get the rumor of the Spitfires buried on there, raped in brown greased paper in packing crates that were never assembled, but just buried in a hole in the ground.

2 years ago I started out to confirm or disprove this rumor and I am now near to publishing my findings but am still eager to here of more first hand information to that era before I finish

I thought I had lost a lot of my research when my computer crashed and had to be replaced but I have just recently retrieved it and will now start to bring all the threads together and will keep you all informed of the outcome

As I read some of the posting it is apparent that many of you have served at RAF Colerne and if there is any way I can be of help to you in answering questions feel free to ask, there is a new history book on the village that has a good account of the camps history from the war years right through to its present day(over a hundred pages), these are available from the local shops and the history group cost is 6-75 plus postage and if you are interested in a copy I would be pleased to help

As a final note, I can remember going down to Black Cross wood as a kid and retrieving small parts from that plane that crashed there
and here is the sites to see the camp as it is now


scroll down this site for the pictures

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Old 6th Jul 2006, 13:56
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Colerne Spitfires - buried or smelted?

Perhaps worth putting in the picture is the fact that large numbers of Spitfires, and presumably other aircraft, were collected at Colerne and smelted into aluminium ingots on site by John Dale Ltd who recruited some labour locally.

Photographs exist of the line ups in 1948 and indeed one of the aircraft P7350, now BBMF, was saved just in time over a drink in the bar with the John Dale manager and that was because it was an early model and looked interesting.

The P-40 leg with no aluminium attached sounds like it could be steel residue post smelting.

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Old 6th Jul 2006, 22:18
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Mark22: You make a very valid point.

All the stories about aircraft being buried do not match with what happened in the post war years.
Britain was desperately short of almost every type of raw material, particularly metals.

I find it hard to believe the government would sanction burying aircraft when some money could be realised on their scrap value, which would also reduce the need to pay for imported metals when the country was almost bankrupt.
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Old 1st Aug 2006, 02:06
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RAF Colerne

Not purely related to aviation, but I understand that the area immediately adjacent to RAF Colerne is, like others in the area, an underground facility of a size of a small city. There is a maze of corridors, and its own disguised railway system which enters the facility through steel doors. I also understand that anyone stopping on the adjacent lanes for a look round will soon be moved on by Mod police, or a security firm. I cannot verify this; my only experience is of having been on an official visit to another location in that area, over 40 years ago. What an experience! Almost anything could be stored in such places...and probably was.
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Old 1st Aug 2006, 07:59
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.....the area you refer to is the RAF Rudloe Manor/Copenacre/Leafield complex.
Various websites tell various stories of what went on/goes on there...........
Must confess of my 6 years of being underground I have appeared to miss most of the `alleged` goings on
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Old 1st Aug 2006, 11:30
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In 1964 I was based at RAF Colerne and lived at RAF Rudloe Manor, in one of the sub-standard married quarters (ie Nissen Hut) that surrounded the Manor itself. We knew of the underground communications facility that existed and people would mention that they worked "Down the hole". I survived one winter by burning the old linoleum flooring that was being renewed. As it was brought up it was dumped in the field next to my hut and I would chop it into squares that would fit the lone fireplace. One minute we would be pinned against the walls by the heat, the next huddled in front of the embers. As we said at the time, why live in a civilian slum for 24 per month when you can live in an RAF one for only 12.

I only found out the extent of the underground system when I went round it as a tourist years later. It contained an underground munitions store, a "secret" railway station hidden in the Box railway tunnel, its own generating system and miles of tunnels.

One rumour was that it was to hold all the countries art treasures during the war, but that seems a curious mix with the thousands of tons of HE.
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Old 1st Aug 2006, 12:12
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If you go to the BBC website and do a search for "Burlington" then there might still be a guided picture tour avalable.


edited, as Muggins found a few spare minutes for a spot of Googling. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/under...ty/index.shtml

Last edited by Conan the Librarian; 1st Aug 2006 at 22:15.
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Old 1st Aug 2006, 21:43
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I was at Colerne between 72-76 and remember an old MPBW worker (Ernie, with glasses as thick as TWO beer bottle bottoms) telling me about the Box tunnels. I wish I could remember more; he was an interesting character with many tales.
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Old 1st Aug 2006, 22:14
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Originally Posted by Conan the Librarian
If you go to the BBC website and do a search for "Burlington" then there might still be a guided picture tour avalable.

Try http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/conte..._feature.shtml
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Old 3rd Nov 2006, 19:22
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Hercules crash Colerne

My father was one of the aircrew who lost their lives in the Herc crash in September 1973.

This aircraft went down just after takeoff due to a double engine failure on the same side, and crashed in the wooded area just outside the then RAF Colerne airfield with the loss of the entire crew.

Let me know via the forum if you need more info.

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Old 13th Feb 2008, 07:13
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C130 Crash and other things

I was 10 in 1973 - I lived on the camp at RAF Colerne -I spent much of my time watching all the commings and goings on the site as it fascinated me especially the aircraft - I watched in 1973 a C130 from my school playing fields at the end of the runway - I saw it climb, very low (even lower than usual) the sound from the engines was differant - when the plane was directly in front of me it was low enough for me to see the pilot on the right hand side of the aircraft - it banked severely left and went down - the boom and resulting smoke was very shocking to me as a 10 year old....indeed many children spent the rest of the day in shock fearing that their fathers were aboard -
I saw many other ODD? events between the years I lived on the base - 1969 to Jan 1974.
I spent most of my time playing on and around the airfield with my friends- climbing the hangers and trying to open strange doors that seemed to lead underground - ones i had seen opened before when unusual people (in CIVIES) went in and out?
We (the RAF) entertained on the base on a very frequent occurance high level officials from ALL the services and indeed some that seemed to represent them but not actually be them - i.e in suites.

Does anyone out their have any questions I may be able to answer about things on the base - or indeed does anyone remember my father or know of him.....

He was always well known and liked - Flt Sgt (SCOTTIE) Scott
Always Scottie to his friends and everyone....

Last edited by andrewscott; 13th Feb 2008 at 13:05.
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Old 9th Jun 2010, 18:47
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meter ee344

i was posting as hooter2, but hey ho!
Since i have found five pictures in my fathers things of that crash if anyone is interested.
I think the squadron leader was cook, and the group captain was e m donaldson, later avm? speed records?
My father told me what really happened, and since he was dying it didnt matter what he had done, to clear both men and not wreck their careers. he wrote the accident up as suicide i beleive
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Old 14th Jun 2010, 19:22
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Hooter 3

I would be interested in learning about what your father found out about P/O Bamjee's accident, I've read a couple of accounts on this crash and would be keen to know more.

Pm if it's more convenient.
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