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Llandow Airfield, Near Llantwit Major

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1. The site was used as an grass strip airfield with a few wooden buildings from 1937, but its main period of wartime use began on 1 April 1940 was as an Aircraft Storage Unit (ASU) run by 38 Maintenance Unit (MU). One L-type hanger was initially built to house the first Westland Lysanders, De Havilland Tiger Moths, Fairy Battles, Fox Moths and Bristol Blenheims. The runways were completed in the Autumn on 1941. Eleven Super Robin hangers and a further seven L-type hangers were rapidly built. As more aircraft arrived for storage (up to 856 by November 1945), a further two K-types, one J-type, two T2s, and one A1 hangar were added with 12 Blisters. The defences around the airfield included Picket-Hamilton forts. All the original buildings remain intact and are used for storage behind security fencing. The type 518/40 pattern control tower is now used as offices. The main runway forms a public road, with the B4270 using part of the perimeter track. A go-cart circuit also uses parts of the runways and the perimeter track.

Event and Historical Information:
In 1937, 614 Squadron was the first unit to use Llandow. The Squadron was formed at Llandow, equipped with Hind and Hawker Hector aircraft, but moved to RAF Odiham in the autumn of 1939. The airfield was re-developed and re-opened on 1 April 1940 for aircraft storage under the control of 38 Maintenance Unit (MU). Stored aircraft included De Havilland Tiger Moths; Fairey Battles; Fox Moths; Bristol Blenheims; Supermarine Spitfires; Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys; Avro Lancaster bombers; Armstrong Whitworth Albemarles and American Boston light bombers. From July 1941, 53 Operational Training Unit (OTU) began a fighter training programme using Miles Masters and Spitfire aircraft. The unit move to Kirkton-in-Lindsey on 9 May 1943, and were replaced in July 1943 by the 3 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit. The unit prepared Bristol Beaufighters, Vickers Warwicks and Wellingtons, and Lockheed Vega Ventura 5s for ferrying abroad, until the unit was moved to Dunkeswell in August 1945. 614 Squadron were reformed as an auxiliary fighter unit on 26 August 1947 at Llandow equipped first with Spitfires and then with Vampires. The A flight of 633 Squadron were also based here between July 1949 and March 1957. The airfield continued to be used as a storage satellite for RAF St Athan, until the length of its runways made it unsuitable for the heavier jetfighters entering service.

Sources include:
Defence of Britain Project
Jones, I, 2007, Airfields and Landing Grounds of Wales: South, pg107-120
Phillips, Alan, 2006, Military Airfields Wales, pg 122-128
Smith, David J 2982 Action Stations 3: Military Airfields of Wales and the North West, pg 115-6

RCAHMW, May 2008.

2. Llandow airfield, Glamorgan, was used as a dispersal site for aircraft that were no longer needed after the end of the Second World War. Llandow coped with significantly more aircraft than expected for such a small establishment. By 1946 some 856 airframes were waiting to be scrapped, including bombers such as the Lancaster, Halifax, and Wellington, plus large numbers of Mosquito and Beaufighter fighter-bombers. Even iconic Spitfires could not escape being broken up for scrap. (Text from Driver, T. & davis, O. 'Historic Wales from the Air', RCAHMW, 2012).

3. Royal Commission aerial reconnaissance under drought conditions on 22nd July 2013 recorded extensive parchmarks of former dispersal roads and hardstandings in the north-east of the airfield complex, between the Vale Business Park and Wilton Farm centred on SS 965 723. This shows the survival of signifcant below-ground remains in this area.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 2013.

4. Site of the 2012 National Eisteddfod of Wales (NPRN 420421)

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 2014