Carew Cheriton Control Tower Museum (Photo Heavy!)

Carew Cheriton Control Tower Museum (Photo Heavy!)

Postby wv383 on Sat 13 Jun 2015, 8:56 pm

As there is an article in the current issue of Flypast giving a tour of Pembrokeshire airfields, I thought I'd share my experience of a visit to the excellent Carew Cheriton Control Tower Musuem.

Situated some 25 miles (as the crow flies) south west of Carmarthen and just off the main Pembroke road (A477), this is a very friendly place to visit and the volunteers, who love to tell the story of the airfield and its history, have done wonders in restoring this unique type of control tower.

RAF Carew Cheriton was built on the site of the former WWI RNAS station Pembroke (it was sometimes known as Milton, the name of the nearest village). Construction began in 1938, the first unit moved in during April 1939. The was B Flight of 1 AACU (Anti-Aircraft Cooperation Unit) with Hawker Henleys. At the time all accomodation, including hangars, was in tents. The domestic site was located just to the north of the airfield itself (if a visitor stands with their back to the entrance to the museum, this site was on the opposite side of the main road which now cuts through the area).

Coastal Command units with Anson, Blenheim, Hudson and Beaufighter were all engaged in operations and Carew was often used by them. There were also two Dutch squadrons based at the airfield in June 1940. Target towing duties was also a large part of the activity during the early years of the war.

The airfield was transferred to Technical Training Command in October 1942 and No.10 Radio School also carried out its training programme. Hundreds of wireless operators were trained on the Oxfords and Ansons based there. This training continued until November 1945 after which the airfield closed.

Today, much of the airfield remains intact though a business park and huge outdoor leisure warehouse are built on the main runway, other areas and taxiways are used for go-karting and storage. Some of the original buildings still exist on the opposite side from the museum. However, all of them are Private Property and permission MUST be obtained before visiting or especially photographing them. Close to the roadway into the museum, which in itself is one of the original aerodrome roads, there is one of the transport blocks and the area between that building and the museum clearly shows that this was where the hangars were located. On either side of the main road there are clear remains of air raid shelters in the fields. These were the sites of the airmen's quarters.

By taking the road into Sageston off the roundabout at the north eastern corner of the airfield (from where access is also gained to the market and go-kart area), the visitor is then on the original road to Pembroke. Heading through the village, there is a wooded area on the left that still holds some evidence that this was the area where the Main Complex and the original main entrance was located.

Also featured in this review is the CWGC graveyard at the local church which is just down the road from the entrance to the museum and Carew Castle which is well worth a visit and less than a mile away with fantastic river walks to the working mill.

The museum is open on Sundays from 1st July to 30th September and on every bank holiday weekend except Christmas/New Year from 1000 to 1500
Entrance is £3 and less than £1 for children.
There is a small shop where an excellent A4 photobook (Wings Over Carew) is available for £5 and gives great background to all eras of the airfield.

NOTE: There are no refreshment facilities currently available at the museum.

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On entry to the museum, the first thing that the visitor sees is an excellently restored engine from an Anson (there is also an Anson fuselage currently awaiting restoration which is under wraps outside)
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Within this building there are several rooms containing aspects of the history of life at the airfield with hundreds of artefacts. However, it was agreed that I do not publish photos of the interior of these rooms for the security of the artefacts.

Leaving the museum building, we head to the unique control tower. The Carew Cheriton tower (or more accurately Watch Office as it certainly isn't tower shaped!) really is the only one ever built to this design.
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The museum have done an incredible job of restoring the building and the signal square.

The lookout post on the roof (note the Anson fuselage under wraps in the background)
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The view across the airfield
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Inside the lookout and the radio desk
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Inside the main floor of the Watch Office (It was agreed that I could publish these photographs)
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The Air Raid Shelter
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Inside the Anderson Shelter
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As mentioned above, the local church is only a very short distance from the entrance road to the museum. It contains the CWGC graveyard where 15 airmen who were killed on active service from the airfield are buried. Polish, Dutch, Canadian, American and New Zealand airmen are all here in addition to those from the UK. As with all CWGC cemeteries, it is beautifully looked after.
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In the field beside the graveyard can be seen evidence of several of the air raid shelters within part of the area of the Airmen's Quarters.
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Also mentioned above are the imposing remains of the impressive Carew Castle which is well worth a visit and is less than a mile away. The reasonable cost of entry to the castle also includes a visit to the nearby mill.
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Gratuitous 'arty' ghostly shot of the castle!
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A short walk along the river takes you to the mill
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In case your are wondering, yes this is South Wales and yes that is a cloudless blue sky in March!!
wv383

Re: Carew Cheriton Control Tower Museum (Photo Heavy!)

Postby Pringles on Sat 13 Jun 2015, 9:02 pm

Some nice shots in this set and an interesting description along with it:clap: But perhaps a mod could move this to the General Photography section? :whistle:
If life gives you melons then you're probably dyslexic
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