Please visit the dedicated Facebook Page for Heyford Heritage
Doomsday book entry
Haiforde / Hegford / Egforde: Roger from Robert d’Oilly; Ralph from Miles Crispin; Robert from Bishop of Coutances. 3 mills, 2 fisheries (900 eels).
Now two villages, Lower Heyford (Heyford at Bridge), and Upper Heyford (Heyford Warren) with Heyford House.
Heyford Park – A Special Place
The Upper Heyford airfield was first used in 1916 by the Royal Flying Corps and from 1918 was a RAF airfield. Until 1950 it was mainly used as a training base, but the USAF then took it over as a base for strategic bombers, fighters and fighter-bomber aircraft in the UK. They undertook major development on the airfield itself and built a number of houses and bungalows for their airmen, in addition to those built by the RAF from the 1920’s onwards for both airmen and officers. These houses form the basis of the present settlement. Because of its unique nature as a Cold War airbase, the airfield and housing areas are in a Conservation Area and some of the airfield buildings are scheduled as Ancient Monuments and others are Listed Buildings.
Details of tours of the base can be found at https://www.facebook.com/rafuhhc or telephone 01869 238200 for information and booking. In the future there will be a heritage centre & museum on the former airbase and a number of the “cold war” USAF buildings are classified as Ancient Monuments.
There is a lot of detail of the history of the airbase on the Wikipedia page here – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Upper_Heyford
There’s also a public facebook group on RAF Upper Heyford at – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639641346298389/
Brief History of the Base
Many thanks to Tim Moore for this
RAF Upper Heyford was a military airfield used in both World Wars and Post-War to 1993, which retains a number of buildings and structures demonstrating changing military aviation technology and strategy over the 20th century, particularly of the Cold War period.
Construction on the airfield began in 1916 and it opened in 1917 (or early 1918) and was operated by Canadian squadrons with the intended us as a training depot.
The World War One phase was equipped with three large aircraft hangars and a range of barracks huts for male and female personnel, technical and administrative buildings.
The airfield closed in 1920 but was reopened in 1927, at which time it was completely rebuilt.
In the 1930s the airfield became a bomber station, and for a time was also the home of the Long Range Development Flight.
During World War Two the principal unit using the base was 16 Operational Training Unit and by 1944, the airfield had three concrete runways and six aircraft hangars (Type A).
After the war, in 1950, the United States Air Force moved into the airfield and control passed to them in 1951.
The Americans lengthened the airfield’s main runway and built new facilities including bomb store structures with an “igloo”-like appearance in a fenced compound, protected by guard towers.
In the 1970s and 1980s the role changed to a fighter base and further modifications were made, making it the largest base of its kind in Europe at that time, Some of these additions included the avionics maintenance building (a semi sunken bunker designed to survive nuclear attack).
In 1980 56 Quick Reaction Alert hardened aircraft shelters were added. There was also a battle command centre and hardened telephone exchange. These five areas of Cold-War development were scheduled in 2006. In 1993 the airfield returned to the Royal Air Force control.
Due to the significant Cold War status, and its role in the Mutually Assured Destruction Doctrine, there are a number of buildings and facilities that have been awarded differing levels of protection.
Listed Buildings. There are currently five buildings which have been awarded Grade II Listed Building Status:
Former Squadron Headquarters Building 234
Nose Dock Hanger Building 325
Nose Dock Hanger Building 327
Nose Dock Hanger Building 328
Control Tower Building 340
Scheduled Monuments. According to the Oxfordshire Historic Environmental Record(HER)/Oxford Urban Archaeology Database, the Airfield/Air Base has two specific entries relating to the sites use as a Military Facility:
HER( Reference Number) 16781. Relates to the whole sites use as an airfield.
HER 17403. Relates to a number of Cold War Structures and Areas/Facilities:
Operational Readiness Platform
The monuments associated with HER 17403 are detailed in an order or precedent as follows:
Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) or Victor Alert. Hardened Aircraft Shelter (HAS) Complex which includes:
Fuel Supply Point
Hardened Crew Buildings
Northern Bomb Stores and Special Weapons Area; contained within a security fence.
Avionics Maintenance Facility.
Hardened Telephone Exchange.
Battle Command Centre.
In additional to the listed buildings and scheduled monuments, there are many other buildings which have been identified as being of National or Local significance.
A more in-depth account of the airfield’s history and conservation is contained within RAF Upper Heyford Conservation Area Appraisal
In addition to those buildings, structures, areas and facilities that relate to the airfield/air base, there are significant number or Archaeological Sites in the area of and around the airfield.
The National Record of the Historic Environment, Oxfordshire Historic Environment Record, and Oxford Urban Database, collectively list all the Ring Ditches, Enclosures, Finds, Features, and areas of Settlement, which date from Pre-historic through to Early Medieval/Dark Ages.
Three features stand out with the records:
The (possible) Roman Settlement to the West of Ballards Copse – previously known as Chilgrove (Spinney) (Grid SP521 267)
Aves Ditch (also known as Wattle Bank and Ash Bank) – ancient track or road that predates Roman occupation
Portway – ancient track or road that predates Roman Occupation
Of the two ancient tracks, Portway seems to be more specifically earmarked for being (re)established although OCC specifically stayed that, following development, both Portway and Aves Ditch should be reopened. Aves Ditch has the greater number of other monuments and finds associated with it.
Also listed within the reference sources is Ardley Station, which was opened in 1910 but closed in 1963.
Those who are wondering about the colour scheme of our website need to know about General Wilbur L. “Bill” Creech of the USAF. His influential ideas and policies are still prevalent throughout the US Air Force today – from how pilots fly combat missions to the his selection of the colour of US Air Force buildings. The remaining US buildings and street names are in the colour chosen by the General so we thought we’d continue the use of this colour as a theme here.
Alan Chandler, a former resident of Eady Road is fascinated by the history of the Base – this is from his research.
NOTE: – S.A.C. = Strategic Air Command
South of Camp Road
Brice Road: Flt Lt. Francis T. Brice R.C.A.F. of the 408 squadron flying Lancaster bombers. Killed aged 25 in the mid 1940’s
Bader Drive: Group Captain Douglas Bader. He crashed in 1931 during aerobatics when he lost both of his legs and was retired. At the outbreak of WW11 he was accepted as a pilot. In 1941 , he bailed out of his plane and was captured by the enemy forces, but despite his disabilities he escaped numerous prisoner of war camps to the annoyance of the Germans !
Carswell Circle: These are all Grade 2 listed houses and named after the Air Force Base in Fort Worth Texas which was the largest base in 1984. The first part of Carswell was built in the 1925, with the lower part being an extension to this in the 1940’s.
Cheshire Drive: Leonard Cheshire V.C. D.S.O. , took over 617 squadron from Gibson, and was the founder of Cheshire Homes
Dacey Drive: Major General Chief of Staff S.A.C. Service 1940 – 1969
Dow Street: Built in 1924 , building number 2 is missing, the present building was known to be a cafe before it became the launderette. Named for the air force base of Banger Maine
Eady Road: Possibly Col Walter B Eady; Possibly Sgt. Harold Edward Eady who died in action in Italy December 1944. Not sure about this as he was a Canadian in the Army
Gibson Drive: Guy Gibson, commanding officer of 617 squadron better known as “The Dam Busters”, he was the most decorated man in the R.A.F.
Gordon Road: Air Commander 1918 ex R.N.A.S., a Commander in Chief 1921 -1924
Harris Road: Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris 1942 – 1945 he energised Bomber Command
Nettleton Drive: John Dering Nettleton was a South African recipient of the Victoria Cross flying Lancasters. Died July 1943
Portal Drive: Air Marshal Commander in Chief of Bomber Command 1940 – 1942
Reid Place: Sir George Reid Air Vice Marshal of the R.F.C. 1915 , Commander of Upper Heyford Base in 1939
Roper Road: Guy Gibson’s rear gunner on the Dam Busters raid
Tait Drive: James Tait, his mission was to sink the Terpitz. His rank rose from 3 bars to D.S.O. which was unique
Whitley Drive: Air Marshal Sir John 1926 – 62 , Controller of R.A.F. Benevolent Fund 1962 – 1968. Originally for the U.S. airfield engineers circa 1950 -1952, later this area was used as a school for the U.S. dependants
Former School Area on the Western Edge of the Base
Originally for the U.S. airfield engineers circa 1950 -1952, later this area was used as a school for the U.S. dependants. Streets named after Strategis Air Command (S.A.C.) bases.
Elgin Street: S.A.C. Elgin, Florida
Schilling Street: S.A.C. Salina Kansas , first base for the B29
Altus Street: S.A.C. Dakota
Homestead Crescent: S.A.C. Dade Florida
North of Camp Road
Soden Road: Frank Ormond “Mongoose” Soden – First Canadian Air Ace in R.F.C.
Trenchard Circle: “Father” of the R.A.F. Hugh M. Trenchard
Larsen Road: Larsen Air Force Base S.A.C. Grant County Washington
Admin & Barracks North
Castle Street: S.A.C. Castle Air Base, Atwater, California. In January 1957 it was the first nonstop world flight with a B52
Offutt Drive: S.A.C. Offutt, Omaha, which was Fort Crook in 1890. Lt. Offut was the first U.S. casulty in WW1,it was also S.A.C. H.Q. and the H.Q. for Bush during 9 / 11
Westover Drive: S.A.C. Westover, Springfield Massachusetts, which has a runway of 11500 feet and is now the largest reserve base in the world
Loring Circle: S.A.C. Loring, Maine, the largest S.A.C. Air Base
Admin & Barrack Blocks South
Robbins Circle: Air Force Base Georgia, and the “Father ” of logistics
Hunter Street: S.A.C. & Army, Savanna Georgia
Pease Street: S.A.C. New Hampshire which goes back to the 1930’s, it has an acreage of 4255, whereas U.H. is only 1271, and was the base for FB1-11 in 1971 – 1995
Minot Street: S.A.C. North Dakota and in the 1960’s it was the major bomber & I.C.B.M. base
Whiteman Street: Air Force Base , Kansas City, Missouri which has B52’s stationed there
Fairchild Street: Air Force Base in Spokane Washington, used for air refuelling & missiles
Roads in the New Developments
NOTE: This section is a “work in progress”
Bourne End: Cape Cod Airforce Station, Bourne, Massachusets
Hart Walk: The Hawker Hart was a British two-seater biplane light bomber aircraft of the Royal Air Force. It was designed during the 1920s by Sydney Camm.
Hampden Square: The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force serving in the Second World War.
Wellington Road: The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engined, long range medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s and used extensively in the Second World War.
Wellesley Close: The Vickers Wellesley was a British 1930s light bomber. While it was obsolete by the start of the Second World War the Wellesley was operated in the desert theatres of East Africa, Egypt and the Middle East. It was one of two planes named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the other being the Wellington bomber.
Raven Close: The General Dynamics/Grumman EF-111A Raven was an electronic warfare aircraft designed to replace the B-66 Destroyer in the United States Air Force. Its crews and maintainers often called it the “Spark-Vark”, a play on the F-111’s “Aardvark” nickname. F111’s were the aircraft most associatied with the USAF perious at Upper Heyford.
Williams Road: USAF base in Chandler, Arizona
Heyford Park – An Established Community
The population has been around 1000 people since the airfield closed and before recent development began. Many residents have lived here for 10-20 years, though there are also recent arrivals. The majority of the existing residents (and the association) have supported the plans for growth at Heyford Park. They see it as an exciting time for the settlement and look forward to seeing the population (and facilities) increase. Heyford Park will continue to grow beyond the presently committed development. The approved Local Plan sees the settlement growing to 3000 houses by the 2030’s. The community has a wide range of people of all ages and skills.