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Aircraft watch tower at secret WWII RAF base up for sale

Published 27/08/2015

Winkleigh Airfield aircraft watch tower (Clive Emson Auctioneers/PA)
Winkleigh Airfield aircraft watch tower (Clive Emson Auctioneers/PA)

A former aircraft watch tower at one of the RAF's most secret Second World War bases has been put up for sale.

The two-storey building at Winkleigh Airfield, Devon, along with 9.5 acres of land and disused outbuildings will go under the hammer next month.

The airbase was built in 1940 on remote moorland to defend Britain's western approaches from the Luftwaffe and was so strategically important that its existence was officially denied.

Auctioneer Scott Gray said: "More than 1,200 people were stationed there, including brave air crew from the RAF, USAF, Royal Canadian Air Force and Free Polish Air Force who flew secret missions against Nazi Germany in the Second World War from the airfield, which had colossal 15-foot thick concrete runways.

"Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mosquitos, Bristol Beaufighters, Fairchilds, B26 Marauders, Albacores, Defiants and Dakotas were all based at Winkleigh at some time.

"So too were the single engine, black-painted Lysanders, operated by the cloak-and-dagger boys of the RAF's special operations 161 Squadron."

The watch tower and land is being sold on behalf of the official receiver at Clive Emson Auctioneers on September 22 at St Mellion in Cornwall and has a freehold guide price of between £35,000 and £50,000.

Mr Gray added: "I am expecting plenty of interest in this very special piece of land, due in no small measure to its military significance.

"The tower is listed by English Heritage as a Scheduled Monument."

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