Thursday, 13 September 2012

Dunkeswell Airfield

Liberator of VB-103 taking off from Runway 23

Dunkeswell Airfield (EGTU) is an airfield in East Devon, England. It is located approximately 5 miles north of the town of Honiton. Today it is a busy civilian airfield with a mix of light aircraft, microlights and parachuting.

The airfield was opened in 1943, during the Second World War, as RAF Dunkeswell. The station was originally planned as a RAF Fighter Command, then a RAF Coastal Command airfield, but was transferred for use by American units.  Dunkeswell was unique in that it was the only British airfield where the United States Navy Fleet Air Wing was stationed in World War Two. Dunkeswell was affectionately called by the Americans “Mudville Heights”.

It was first used by the American United States Army Air Force's Antisubmarine Command, 479th Antisubmarine Group, as a base of operations to fly antisubmarine missions over the Bay of Biscay using specialized B-24 Liberator bombers from August until November 1943.

In November the United States Army Air Forces turned over the antisubmarine mission to the United States Navy and its Liberators were reassigned to Navy Patrol Bomber Squadron VPB-103, Fleet Air Wing 7, which continued aerial antisubmarine operations from the station, the AAF aircraft being redesignated under the USN/USMC system of the time as PB4Y-1 Liberators. This was the first United States Navy unit to train with the RAF, later followed by VB-105 and VB-110. The Naval antisubmarine squadrons moved to the nearby RAF Upottery in November 1944.

With the departure of the Americans, the RAF used the airfield from August 1945 to April 1946 for ferrying aircraft to the Middle East by 16 Ferry Unit, RAF Transport Command. After September 1946 the station was put on care and maintenance status until the end of 1948, when it was sold by the Ministry of Defence.

Read more about Dunkeswell @

Liberator taking off from RAF Dunkeswell, January 1944. 
There were three U.S. Navy bomber squadrons stationed
 at Dunkeswell during this time period, VB-103, VB-105 and VB-110

...the inscription from the memorial photo below:

A photo of runway 17 in 2012

Dunkeswell layout 2012.

Runway lenghts:
04/22 968m 3,176ft Asphalt. 17/35 644m 2,113ft Asphalt