A Brief History of RAF Harrowbeer

RAF Harrowbeer 1941 - 1945

All that remains today of the old second world war airfield is:

  • the old ' Watch Office ', now Knightstone House is also part of  " Abigail's at Knightstone "
  • Ravenscroft the 'Officers Mess' 1941, then the Headquarters for No 276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron 1942, now the Hart Care Nursing & Residential Home 2011
  • the 'Gas Decontamination Block' now Trimal House, on the Crapstone Business Park
  • around the area are the remains of approximately 110 airfield buildings, air raid shelters and aircraft dispersal pens, many linked together by old perimeter tracks

RAF Harrowbeer was a fighter station under the command of No 10 Group which was responsible for the South West of England.  It was constructed with three tarmac runways, the foundation for these, and for many of the buildings, being rubble from Plymouth after the 'Blitz' of March/April 1941.

The airfield officially opened on 15 August 1941 and closed as an operational station on 31 July 1945.

RAF Harrowbeer was home to many squadrons and a range of nationalities: Czechs, Poles, Canadians, Rhodesians, Australians etc.

Aircraft flying out of RAF Harrowbeer included: Spitfires, Hurricanes, Typhoons, Mustangs, Blenheims, Swordfish, Walrus, Lysander etc.

RAF Harrowbeer played a vital role during the war by providing air cover for merchant shipping in the English Channel, watching for enemy E-boats and U-boats; operational sorties in the Cherbourg area; and later escort duties to bombers flying on their missions to and from targets in Europe.

August 15 1981 saw the return of Harrowbeer's first Station Commander, the Hon. E.F. Ward and other station personnel for the unveiling of a Memorial Stone at the Leg o' Mutton Corner as a tribute to all who served at RAF Harrowbeer.

Further details of the airfields history, activities and personnel can be found at: the RAF Harrowbeer Archives or the Harrowbeer Interest Group website.

 

Members of 193 Squadron outside their flight officeA 1940's Jeep believed to have opperated at RAF HarrowbeerPosing in front of a Hawker Typhoon