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Market Lavington landing ground, Wiltshire 1919


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#1 Moonraker

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 05:46 PM

At the National Archives I was looking through MUN 4/5850, "Guarding of buildings at aerodromes awaiting disposal", when I came across a long list of "RAF stations for relinquishment or disposal up to 30/6/19". They appeared to be mostly minor establishments, but I was surprised to see that "Market Lavington landing ground" was included, Market Lavington being a small town on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain.

I thought I knew my Wiltshire WWI airfields, but this was a new one on me. I consulted Rod Priddle, author of the 396-page Wings over Wiltshire, which inferred that there was a landing ground near Market Lavington early in WWII, but it was subject to air pockets, leading to its closure and a transfer of operations to New Zealand Farm by October 9, 1940. He was unaware of a WWI landing ground there.

There were two WWI landing grounds at Tilshead, four miles to the south of Market Lavington.

Any information will be very welcome. There are a number of AIR 1 files that may be worth my while consulting next time I visit TNA, but I wonder if they will have much to say about what would appear to have been a very modest facility.

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#2 mickdavis

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 09:05 AM

That's a new one to me. Logic would suggest that such a site would be on the top of the chalk escarpment and there are two suitable, large and flat open areas, one on either side of the main road.
The site is not mentioned in AIR1 452/453, the Autumn 1918 Quarterly Survey of Stations, which was actually compiled during the late summer. Could it have been brought into use by the Artillery Co-operation Squadron during its brief time at Tilshead?

#3 Medic7922

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 02:50 PM

Intriguing, I have a good knowledge of the Sailsbury Plains area and was not aware of any Airfields in the Market Lavington area,
I even had a look on Google Earth to see if there was any signs of an old airfield but due to intense farming there is no good evidance
to be seen.

#4 Moonraker

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 04:20 PM

The WWII Relief Landing Ground was on the east side of the A360. I wouldn't expect there to be any evidence on the ground of it today,or even shortly after it was decommissioned. Perhaps the Market Lavington ground was similar to the field at Manningfold Bohune, two miles north of Upavon, used by Central Flying School trainees to practice landings and take-offs. There were no airfield buildings and not even a windsock. It too was used as a RLG in WWII.

I think that Mick is on the right tack. Market Lavington was/is very close to the artillery ranges, and in the early 1960s I had lunch at a hotel where a shell had overshot and landed in the garden.


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#5 Lavington Curator

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:40 PM

Hi

I'm new to this forum. As curator of Market Lavington Museum I'd like to know more about any possible WW1 Landing strip/airfield in Market Lavington. Could it have been associated with the Pond Farm Camp?

I'm told that a pipe still standing near the Ridgeway to the West of the Current Market Lavington Vedette was a refuelling pipe for aircraft in WW2. Has anybody any further information?

Best wishes

Rog

#6 Moonraker

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:45 PM

Hi

I'm new to this forum. As curator of Market Lavington Museum I'd like to know more about any possible WW1 Landing strip/airfield in Market Lavington. Could it have been associated with the Pond Farm Camp...


Best wishes

Rog

The only reference I've come across is in the National Archives file MUN 4/5850 but nothing else has been discovered (by me, anyway)about the Great War site. Possibly it was used by aircraft taking part in experiments (perhaps involving the Royal Engineers Meteorological Section at nearby Butler’s Cross) or artillery-co-operation exercises on the Plain. The Chapperton Down Artillery Ranges were not far away.

I've no evidence that Pond Camp Farm was used after the departure of the First Canadian Division in February 1915. It was the most isolated of the GW camps in Wiltshire, and nearly all the others were very close to railway lines, often with their own rail connections, which would not have been possible for Pond Farm; instead there was a hard uphill slog from Patney & Chirton and Market Lavington stations, which taxed man and machine.

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