Raf Tilstock (Prees Higher Heath) Whitchurch

Tilstock Airfield Day TimeThis area started life in 1915 known simply as Tilstock airfield and was used as a training base by the British army.
It had the capacity to hold 30,000 men to be trained in trench warfare.
It was later used as a store for supplies and had its own railway depot which was a branch line on the Crewe and Shrewsbury railway.
As casualties mounted up, it became a hospital and also there was now a fully working army barracks.
After the First world war ended the site was downgraded and stayed under the ownership of the british government to be used for army training purposes.
At the outbreak of world war II the site was used as an internment camp for German and Austrian refugees and then was converted into a prisoner of war camp which finally closed on 4th October 1941.
An airfield was constructed and this construction was complete in 1942 and was now known as Whitchurch heath until 1st June 1943 until the name Raf Tilstock was adopted. Between 1st September 1942 and 21st January 1946 the airfield was used by No.81 operational training unit and No 1665 Heavy conversion unit Royal air force for training of pilots and their crews on heavy bombers.
During the 1950’s the R.A.F used of this now non-operational airfield during weekends for liaison flights with royal artillery units.

Tilstock Airfield Day TimeRAF Tilstock was used during the war as an emergency landing base for damaged Bombers and was thus equipped with a F.I.D.O landing sytem which stands for Fog Intense Dispersal Operation.
The FIDO system was developed at the department of chemical engineering of the University of Birmingham U.K during the second word war.
The device consisted of two pipelines that ran along both sides of the runway and through which a fuel was pumped along and then out through burner jets positioned at intervals along the pipelines.
The vapours were lit from a series of burners, producing walls of flame.
The FIDO installation usually stored its fuel in four circular upright tanks built at the edge of the airfield with a low brick wall to barrier against any leakage.
The tanks were usually protected by encasing them in brickwork to protect them from any damage that might occur from any sparks or splinters of shrapnel.

Tilstock Airfield Day TimeWhen fog prevented returning Allied aircraft from locating and seeing their runways to land, they would be diverted to emergency FIDO equipped landing areas.

RAF night bombers which were damaged were also diverted to FIDO airfields so they could be landed safely.
When FIDO was needed, the fuel pumps were started to pump flammable liquid into the pipe system and a jeep with a flaming brand lashed to its rear drove fast down both sides of the runway to ignite the fuel at the outlets in the pipes.
The burners were sometimes ignited by men on bicycles or by runners on foot. This produced a row of flame along the sides of the runway that could be seen for a long way from the air.
The heat from the flames evaporated suspended fog droplets so that the Allied airplanes could have suitable visibility to find the airfield and land safely.
Once landed, the crews would find shelter where they could, and their planes would be refuelled and, if needed, repaired before flying back to their normal bases the next day.

Tilstock Airfield Day TimeThis airfield is located close to the junctions of the A41 and A49.

3 Original runways were in existence at RAF Tilstock but only one remains in use today.
The runway is still used at weekends for skydiving.
Skydivers have used this runway for practising since 1966.
A plane once overshot the runway and ended up trundling across the roads many years but ago and there are some photos that exist of this but we need to do more research on this area to clarify on how this actually happened.

Original Plans Of Raf Tilstock

Compare the above plans of the entire airfield and sites, with the current aerial view below to see how time has changed the area.

Tilstock Aerial Image

Aerial view provided by Google Earth

We captured many unexplainable visual and audio phenomenons using our digital recording devices and video cameras during our investigations.
Clips can be viewed on our official YOU TUBE channel.

Below are a small selection from the hundreds of photographs taken during our daytime & nightime visits.

Raf Tilstock (Prees Higher Heath) Whitchurch – Day time Visits

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Raf Tilstock (Prees Higher Heath) Whitchurch – Night time Visits

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