8 thoughts on “RNAS Culham/HMS Hornbill”

  1. In regards to the Seafire XV which you’ve said is looking like it’s having a thorough going over, if this is HMS Hornbill, then thst would not be a surprise, as the airfield was home to an Aircraft Receipt and Dispatch Unit. My uncle was based there from 1945 until 1948.


    1. The control tower shown on the website is clearly a totally different design when compared to that in the photo. There is a similarity in the dome shaped hut next to the tower.
      The radio masts I can see on my 11″ screen are some distance from the airfield and several hundred feet tall I would say, similar to those next to the A5 at Rugby which may have been demolished recently. There are 3 in the first group, 2 to the left of the prop and one to the right.
      There is a further group of masts, not as tall, just left of the control tower looking like they are ‘lattice’ type.
      As far as I’m aware there was never an aerial ‘farm’ like this anywhere near Culham.
      I accept the website says Culham had a runway 35, but the source I got my info from said runway 34 when first commisioned in 1944.


  2. Another possibility is Montrose. Although it was a grass airfield and mainly RAF, (it was a flying instructors school), the runways were reinforced with steel matting hence they were:-
    04/22 1216m (730m still in use); 07/25 914m; 17/35 700m


    1. Continuing with the theme of the ‘radio masts; there used to be a large ‘farm’ of these next to the A5 north of Rugby although I think I heard they were dismantled a few years ago. You could see them from Coventry Airport so going on that, nearby wartime airfields were Church Lawford with a runway 35, Bitteswell with a runway 35 and Nuneaton (now the MIRA proving ground) with a runway 36.
      I drag raced at Bitteswell a couple of times in 1985 and I remember a group of 3 or 4 T2 type hangars (long gone now) side by side and south of the airfield on the other side of the A4303.


  3. Runways at Culham were:-
    06/24 1097m x 27m
    16/34 1097m x 27m
    10/28 1280m x 27m
    Still looking for a runway 35; if you look at satellite photos you can still make out the tracks of the runways.
    Unusual width though, 90ft instead of the ‘standard’ 150ft.
    I seem to recall the hangars there were Mains or Pentland types with sloping sides rather than the normal T2/Bellman as in the photo, but that’s just my recollection from the mid 60s as most (but not all) of the hangars have gone now.
    Just noticed however that there appear to be 3 tallish radio masts in the background either side of the prop so it could be North Weald were it not for the fact the runway is presently 02/20; The hard runways were apparently laid in 1939/40 (before the Seafire F Mk XV was developed) and I doubt if variation has changed that much in 70 odd years!


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