The control tower is a former RAF watch tower that was part of a night fighter station during the Second World War and we understand that this building is listed by English Heritage as a Scheduled Monument.

The airbase, originally planned in 1939 to be satellite of Chivenor, a Coastal Command base north of Barnstaplewas, was built in 1940 on remote moorland to defend Britain's western approaches from the Luftwaffe and was so strategically important that its existence was officially denied. Fighter Command (in place of Coastal Command) officially accepted the airfield on 1st January, 1943.

RAF Winkleigh saw about 1,262 people stationed or working at the facility during the war, including brave air crew from the RAF, USAF, Royal Canadian Air Force and Free Polish Air Force who flew secret missions against Nazi Germany in the Second World War from the airfield, which had colossal 15-foot thick concrete runways.

For the RAF Winkleigh air base was home to an incredible array of international combatants and their support units including; the IX USAF Service Command 74th Service Group, the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron USAAF, the crack RAF 161 Black Squadron, RAF 286 Squadron and, right from the start, the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force including; RCAF 415 Maritime Patrol – Swordfish Squadron, RCAF 406 Lynx Squadron, RCAF 408 Goose Squadron and not forgetting the swashbuckling fighter pilots of the Free Polish Air Force who were a law unto themselves with a grudge to settle.

Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mosquitos, Bristol Beaufighters, Fairchilds, B26 Marauders, Albacores, Defiants and Dakotas were all based at Winkleigh at some time

So too were the single engined Lysanders, operated by the cloak-and-dagger boys of the RAF's special operations 161 Squadron.

During World War II, the RAF Winkleigh Airfield was also used by the RNAF from 1944 as the main training Centre in the UK after Norway shifted from Little Norway in Toronto Canada to re-locate the training facilities to a place nearer to the War theatre. A brief history of Winkleigh Airfield and more information abou it can be seem in A Survey of Winkleigh Airfield by ACE Archæology Club.  

The watch tower and land is being sold on behalf of the official receiver at Clive Emson Auctioneers on September 22 at St Mellion in Cornwall and has a freehold guide price of between £35,000 and £50,000.

More information at:

Source: | | |

WW2 Timeline: 

Nation in war: 


No votes yet