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georgie 21-09-2011 10:16

Shell Research Test Track/War Shelters + Bottle Tip - Stretton - Sep 2011 -
original use as HMS Blackcap

history on the airfield

(from wikipedia)

Royal Naval Air Station Stretton (HMS Blackcap), was an airfield in the village of Appleton Thorn, close to the village of Stretton, south of Warrington, in Cheshire.

The airfield's site was located to the south west of junction 9 of the later M56 motorway.

World War II:

RNAS Stretton was originally planned as a Royal Air Force night fighter station to protect Liverpool and Manchester from Luftwaffe air raids during World War II. However changes in German tactics meant that the airfield was not required so it was transferred to the Admiralty on completion. Three runways and numerous hangars had been built.

HMS Blackcap was commissioned on 1 June 1942 and forty-one Fleet Air Arm Squadrons were based here for varying periods with some aircraft being flown directly to and from aircraft carriers operating in the Irish Sea and other nearby waters.

Fairey Aviation used a hangar on the northeast edge of the airfield for the modification, repair and flight-testing of Barracudas, Fireflies and Fulmars before they were despatched to their operational squadrons. From 1944 HMS Blackcap was also used as an Aircraft Maintenance Yard, a large hangar complex being constructed to the northwest of the airfield for this activity.

Post War Operations:

At the end of the war American Naval Aircraft were flown into Blackcap to be broken up for disposal. The Aircraft Maintenance Yard at Blackcap meant that the airfield continued to operate and, at its peak, handled one third of all Fleet Air Arm Aircraft and all its spare engines.

In 1947 the Fleet Air Arm decided to form Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Squadrons. The first to be based at Stretton was 1831 Naval Air Squadron, a fighter squadron, which was reformed here on 1 June 1947. It was joined on 18 August 1952 by 1841 Naval Air Squadron, an anti-submarine squadron. Together, these Squadrons comprised the Northern Air Division which was formed at Stretton on 1 June 1952 and disbanded on 10 March 1957 together with its constituent units.

767 Naval Air Squadron who operated Supermarine Attackers was also based in Stretton. The most notable incident when Attacker FB Mk.1, WA535 crashed on 05.02.1953 near Winwick fatally killing the pilot Mr Roy Edwin Collingwood aged 22.

The last squadron based at HMS Blackcap was 728B Naval Air Squadron, formed in January 1958. The squadron was relocated on 15 February 1958 to HMS Falcon, Hal Far, Malta.

The airfield was closed on 4 November 1958

it was used after it was decomissioned by shell for testing high performance oils and fuels and other info on that is a little sketchy

not a bad little mooch tbh considering its trashed ,the best bits by far are the war shelters (2 in total)

i first visited this place with the cat crept in and further googling when i got home revealed a second bunker (we thought there was originally only one) so i went back on my own to find it but couldnt at first but came across an old bottle and crockery tip in the woods.

the tip contained various naafi crockery and lots of bottles,the ground was quite loose so i moved some of the soil to find some bottles that read....stotherts (west bromwich+warrington) and fernades & co trinidad

also some crockery with doulton 1945 on it was there....there was prob shit loads more but i was far to tired after trying to find the second bunker to even attempt a little dig.

anyhow further googling revealed where the second bunker was so i set off again to find it.

explored with tcci and returned solo a few days later

thanks to kevsy21 again for being a live satnav over the phone when me and the cat couldnt find it first time round

fuel storage and observation room

the track

observation deck

the shelters

this one was pretty stripped

but the second one made up for it

georgie 21-09-2011 10:16

54Strat 21-09-2011 13:02

Nice one. I've never noticed this at all, despite me giving a lad a lift to work from Hatton and driving past this for years on the M56.

Looks a really chilled place.

The-Village-Idiot 21-09-2011 13:27

Great report :thumbs

Im becoming a fan of the glass :blush

Gibbo 22-09-2011 09:05

Glass is the new brick!

georgie 22-09-2011 11:21


Originally Posted by 54Strat (Post 143503)
Nice one. I've never noticed this at all, despite me giving a lad a lift to work from Hatton and driving past this for years on the M56.

Looks a really chilled place.

cheers mate it really is a strange place ,really chilled and quiet but with the sounds of the m56 rushing in the back ground

georgie 22-09-2011 11:21


Originally Posted by The-Village-Idiot (Post 143504)
Great report :thumbs

Im becoming a fan of the glass :blush

cheers im loving the glass at the minute

georgie 22-09-2011 11:22


Originally Posted by Gibbo (Post 143517)
Glass is the new brick!

i was never into bricks mate but glass is really interesting :thumbs

The-Village-Idiot 22-09-2011 13:25


Originally Posted by georgie (Post 143519)
cheers im loving the glass at the minute

I keep finding glass at the moment but I only collect the local stuff and it has to be a good example. I leave most of it in situ. Somebody has dug a load up near me, looks like they have cleaning it up too but most of it is broke.

georgie 22-09-2011 22:37


Originally Posted by Andyj23UK (Post 143530)
and far easier to smash :p

maybe we could get a bottle thread started ?

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