RAF Clyffe Pypard, located in the English county of Wiltshire, was one of a great number of airfields which sprang up during World War 2, and as with so many of those it disappeared into obscurity after the war.
In fact, Clyffe Pypard's airfield lasted longer than many: flying continued for two years after the war, and by a quirk of fate its domestic site remained RAF-manned for many years after that.
The station 'only' undertook flight training, and so it could be assumed that nothing much went on there. But the truth is far removed from that assumption: the training role was essential to the war effort, and many men died whilst pursuing this goal. One should also not forget the fact that women were a key part of this station's daily life, with many local civilian girls being employed on aircraft handling duties, alongside their WRAF colleagues.
I hope that the following pages serve as a fitting monument to those who lived and died in this quiet corner of Wiltshire.
Needless to say, I would welcome any corrections/additions/comments - and especially photographs: the aim of this site is to record a piece of obscure local history, but there's always room for improvement!
Duncan Curtis, March 2016.
Note on sources.
I have used many sources to compile this website, including:
National Archives, Kew:
Clyffe Pypard & Alton Barnes:
AIR 2/11150 Disposal of Clyffe Pypard Airfield, 1952 to 1956
AIR 28/1342 Operations Record Books, Clyffe Pypard 1954 to 1961
AIR 29/622 Operations Record Book 29 EFTS 1941 to 1947
AVIA 5/22 Accident report Magister 1 (N-5407) 1943
AVIA 5/22 Accident report Tiger Moth (N-6724) 1943
DEFE 51/1 Pewsey, Wilts: disposal of former airfield camp at Alton Barnes 1962 to 1968
MAF 109/82 Alton Barnes airfield: ploughing-up of rented airfield land 1947 to 1954
Related Unit Records (mainly pertaining to accidents by other units’ aircraft):
AIR 2/8157 No. 301 Ferry Training Unit, Lyneham 1942 to 1943 (Wellington XI MP689)
AIR 20/6539 History of the Airfield Construction Service 1940 to 1944
AIR 29/526 22 Heavy Glider Conversion Unit 1944 to 1945 (Albemarle V1755)
AIR 29/526 Glider Pilot Exercise Unit 1942 to 1943
AIR 29/587 Operation and Refresher Training Unit, 1943 to 1945
AIR 29/604 Operations Record Books, Central Flying School 1912 to 1942
AIR 29/612 1653 Conversion Unit 1942 to 1944 (Liberator II AL538)
AIR 29/869 1445 Flight, Lyneham 1942 (Liberator II AL538)
CAB 68/5/26 War Cabinet WP (R)(40)(76): Action Taken by the Dominions Feb 1940
CAB 66/9/18 War Cabinet WP (40) 238: Royal Air Force Training Jul 1940
CAB 66/10/36 War Cabinet WP (40) 305: Royal Air Force Training Aug 1940
CAB 66/11/8 War Cabinet WP (40) 328: Royal Air Force Training Aug 1940
CAB 66/11/18 War Cabinet WP (40) 338: Training of RAF Pilots Aug 1940
CAB 66/13/27 War Cabinet WP (40) 447: Royal Air Force Training Nov 1940
CAB 66/18/9 War Cabinet Memorandum WP (41) 186: Aerodrome Defence August 1941
CAB 80/32 War Cabinet Chiefs of Staff Committee Memoranda: Training of Glider Pilots
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham:
F2/250/137 RAF Clyffe Pypard 1947 to 1949
F4/500/32 RAF Clyffe Pypard 1940 to 1944
G4/132/36 RAF Clyffe Pypard - water supply
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website – www.cwgc.org
RAF Museum & Imperial War Museum documents – various (log books, aircraft movement cards etc)
Flight magazine archive website - www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/
The Wooden Sword, by Lawrence Wright, Elek Books London 1967
Pilot log books, various