Researching a WW2 airfield control caravan

Mark Downes is the Manager Air Traffic Services at Hawarden Airport and is an enthusiastic WW2 RAF re-enactor who has re-constructed an airfield control caravan, based on photographs and film images of the period. He has been trying to improve this with contemporary information but this is rather scarce. Mark has obtained copies of AP3024 and AP129 which are helpful in respect of procedures, but finding plans, drawings or other images from the period is rather elusive. He has approached RAF Shawbury, Air Historic Branch – Northolt and the RAF Museum at Hendon, as yet to little avail.

Mark is asking if you have any information, references or contacts who may be able to assist with his endeavours.  If you have anything to contribute please use the comments tab above and we’ll put you in touch with Mark. We’ve also asked for Transmit to include the above and have suggested the Airfield Research Group forum to Mark

John Levesley

Dave Smith sent in a note of RAF Hawarden’s traffic totals in 1942. The record day was evidently 6/9/42 with 1,002 landings in 11 hours! Unfortunately they didn’t record take-offs but that’s a hell of a lot of movements. No 57 OTU was there with Spitfires but there was also an MU, plus Wellingtons from what is now the Airbus wing factory and a Ferry Pilots Pool. Such was the congestion that in Nov 42, the OTU was banished to Eshott in the wilds of Northumberland.


This comes in a notebook which has details of aerodrome procedures and all the quaint R/T phraseology of the time. It was given to Dave in the 1970s by a chap who was in Flying Control at Hawarden, mainly in the runway caravan.  A rare document indeed and Dave intends to lodge it with the RAF Hawarden material at Flintshire Record Office.

3 thoughts on “Researching a WW2 airfield control caravan”

  1. I fly gliders with the Nene Valley Gliding Club, based at what was RAF Upwood in Cambs.

    We have, as our airfield control and operations vehicle, a genuine WW2 airfield caravan in more-or-less original condition.

    If you go to our web site: www,nvgc,, or google Nene Valley Gliding Club, it will take you to our web site where there are photos which show it in use. It still has its 1940’s manufacturer’s plate.

    We do try to look after it!

    Peter Valentine,
    NVGC Ground Equipment Manager


  2. The Middle Wallop museum example Runway Control caravan is a late 70s / early 80s Commer Karrier Bantam chassis / cab onto which was grafted a rather ordinary box-body with a glazed superstructure. It was in intermittent use at MW but usually unmanned, it’s prime purpose being to indicate the touch-down point for fixed wing traffic, mostly Chipmunks. It occasionally would be used by a slightly apprehsive instructor who had just sent his student off on his first solo! There was a similar vehicle in use at Boscombe Down about the same time, so maybe it was an attempt at standardisation.


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