Sunday, 3 April 2011

Thames Tributary Ingrebourne - Hornchurch

Thames Tributary Ingrebourne
The Ingrebourne flows south west and is joined by a small tributary from the east


Post to the north Elm Park
Post to the east Hacton
Post to the south Berwick Pond


Airfield Way
Follows the line of the original perimeter road Hornchurch Country Park Finds on the site include Stone Age tools, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman artefacts. From the Conquest, the northern half of the area was part of Suttons Manor. In the 12th Henry II gave it to Hornchurch Priory and in the 14th it passed to New College Oxford. The manor later became Suttons Farm, the largest local unit.
Gravel Pits. Between the time of the airfield and the Country Park, the area was used for gravel extraction and some flooded gravel pits remain within the park.
The Airfield. This was opened in 1915 during the First World War with part of 39 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps and later 46 and 78 Squadrons were stationed to provide defence against Gotha and Zeppelin attacks - the first Zeppelin shot over England was down to aircraft from here. The wooden airfield buildings were demolished in 1919 and the land returned to its owner but in 1928 the base was reopened west of the original site. This was called RAF Hornchurch and buildings included a 1936 type C aircraft hangar. In the Second World War three squadrons equipped with Spitfires were based here as a Sector Airfield of 11 Group of Fighter Command. In the Battle of Britain it was used by 65, 74, 54, 41, 266, 600, 264 and 604 Squadrons and it was bombed 20 times. The Spitfires were protected in "E" shaped dispersed blast pens. After the War it was used for air crew training and closed in 1962.
Eastern Pathway. The path follows the route of the old airfield perimeter road. It first passes a concrete circle, which was an aircraft compass setting point. Beyond thus aircraft dispersal bays can also be seen. Further along are gun emplacements, turrets, pillboxes, tunnels and trenches.
Pillbox - A Second World War type 22 sunk to embrasure level on the eastern boundary of the park. Built 1940-41. The entrance is buried, but there is a Turnbull weapons mount.
Tett Turrets.
Examples of these rare items are on the site and particularly on the eastern boundary area. They were named after their inventor H.L. Tett and manufactured privately. They were a revolving concrete turrets mounted on a ball race so it could be easily turned. They were set over a pit but the only way in and out was through the top.
Squadrons Approach Car park. The concrete here was an aircraft dispersal bay and the surrounding banks contained air raid shelters.

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