Exploring Predannack Airfield’s Plane Graveyard

abandoned-harrier-predannack (Image: Dave Bellamy, reproduced with permission)

Predannack Airfield has for many years been relegated to a satellite of nearby RNAS Culdrose – one of the few UK bases to retain the use of all three of its original wartime runways. But this windswept military base has enjoyed a fascinating a varied history, from wartime night fighter station to an aircraft graveyard used by Royal Navy firefighters.

plane-graveyard-predannack-airfield-2

plane-graveyard-predannack-airfield (Images: Dave Taskis, reproduced with permission)

Situated near the village of Mullion on Cornwall’s spectacular Lizard Peninsula, Predannack opened in May 1941 as a satellite for RAF Portreath (now largely abandoned), equipped with Hawker Hurricanes charged with night defence duties of south west England’s towns and ports.

plane-graveyard-predannack-airfield-5

plane-graveyard-predannack-airfield-3 (Images: Dave Taskis, reproduced with permission)

The airfield boasted four large runways, which were extended in 1943 to cope with the likes of the Vickers Wellington and Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Personnel were housed over a wide area, reaching 3,600 at peak strength in 1944.

plane-graveyard-predannack-airfield-4 (Image: Dave Taskis, reproduced with permission)

During World War Two, Predannack’s location made it an ideal landing ground for damaged British and American bombers. Its size and position also suited it well as a staging post for planes en route to the North African theatre.

plane-graveyard-predannack-airfield-7

plane-graveyard-predannack-airfield-8 (Images: Dave Taskis, reproduced with permission)

The airfield housed a wing of Supermarine Spitfires during the build-up to Operation Overlord, which commenced with the Normandy Landings in June 1944. And on September 15, 1945 – barely four months after Victory in Europe Day, Predannack threw its gates open to the public for the first time to welcome 4,000 visitors to the Battle of Britain air display.

plane-graveyard-predannack-airfield-10 (Image: Dave Taskis, reproduced with permission)

After the war Predannack became largely disused, and a plaque unveiled on June 11, 2002 reads: “Like a breath of wind gone in a fleeting second only the memories now remain”.

abandoned-harrier-predannack-2 (Image: Dave Bellamy, reproduced with permission)

The expansive airfield now serves as a relief landing ground and training school for Royal Navy firefighters. The western side of the base is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, home to a variety of orchids, butterflies and snakes that are unique to the region.

predannack-plane-graveyard-3 (Image: John Ambler (website: John-Ambler.com), reproduced with permission)

But Predannack is perhaps best known today for the collection of derelict aircraft parked on weed-strewn wartime dispersals on the south side of the airfield.

predannack-plane-graveyard-5 (Image: John Ambler (website: John-Ambler.com), reproduced with permission)

Encompassing a variety of post-war RAF and Royal Navy aircraft types, from Harrier Jump Jets and Wessex and Sea King helicopters to a Canberra Bomber and Sepecat Jaguar, this aircraft graveyard has captured the attention of photographers and aviation enthusiasts in the area.

predannack-plane-graveyard-6 (Image: John Ambler (website: John-Ambler.com), reproduced with permission)

The neglected aircraft, some in better condition than others, are primarily used for crash rescue training, hence the wheels-up pose of the Jaguar (below). Some are new arrivals, while others have been on site for years.

predannack-plane-graveyard-2 (Image: John Ambler (website: John-Ambler.com), reproduced with permission)

And while the majority will ultimately be scrapped, their corroded hulks having borne the brunt of the south west winds whipping up off the Atlantic, occasionally one is saved and preserved.

Keep reading – Explore the Corroding Bombers on this Abandoned Russian Airfield

(Images: John Ambler (website: John-Ambler.com), reproduced with permission)

 
 


 
 
 

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