Air Ministry Drawings & Building Design

Every aerodrome was drawn to a plan and every plan was given a drawing number. The Air Ministry drawing numbers for RAF Davidstow Moor are 4946/44 and 4947/44. The drawings had a schedule of buildings, which was a list of all the buildings on the drawing. For each individual building they also showed a building number or map reference, building type [i.e. Nissen/Handcraft], the building's Air Ministry drawing number [1297/41] and a type column containing additional information [i.e. Rotary]. The aerodrome plan showed the exact position of every building that was planned. However not every building planned was always built and not all buildings on the aerodrome are on the plan. RAF Davidstow Moor had three T2 hangars but some plans only show two. There are the bases of two buildings on the technical site that are not on any plan.

Buildings constructed during World War 2 on RAF stations were built to standard Air Ministry type designs and each one had a drawing number. The drawing number was suffixed by the year, i.e. 41 for 1941. Building drawings are an essential tool for the airfield historian but cannot be taken in isolation. What is on the ground often differs from what is on the plan. The drawing may show a building to be constructed of temporary brick but in fact it has been constructed of concrete block. Ground work and local knowledge is very important.

The buildings at RAF Davidstow Moor were intended to be temporary structures and were built mainly of temporary brick or concrete, both of which were cement rendered to weather proof them. Temporary brick walls, also known as half brick, were used with 4½ inch brick laid in 'stretcher bond' only. This is a method where the wall contains single bricks laid with the length of the brick placed along the length of the wall and the wall 4½ inches thick. Brick piers were placed at ten feet centres to help support the steel roof trusses and to reinforce the wall. This type of wall was normally cement rendered on the outside. Important technical buildings were built of permanent brick with a minimum thickness of 13½ inches to support flat reinforced concrete roofs and for blast protection. Bricks were laid in 'English bond' with both headers and stretchers.

RAF Davidstow Moor had prefabricated temporary structures of two types: Nissen hut, which in kit form can fit in the back of a 3-ton truck, and the Handcraft hut. The Nissen hut was developed in the First World War and brought back into use in August 1941 when the timber used in aerodrome buildings began to run out. They could be used to house station personnel, as mess rooms, equipment stores, picket posts, shops and offices. They were made out of corrugated steel sheeting with a metal frame, had a wooden door and could be fitted with windows. The ends of its semi-circular shape were constructed of wood, brick or concrete block. Built on a concrete plinth they were approximately 16 ft by 36 ft and could be extended by building two or more together. They could also be reduced in length to make a smaller building for use as a picket post. They were also produced in 24 ft and 30 ft widths to make buildings such as large mess rooms and stores.

Handcraft huts commenced construction on 1 May 1942 and were constructed of pre-shaped asbestos troughing which had seven faces giving the familiar threepenny bit shape. They were 18 ft by 36 ft and had no internal framing. They were used for the same purposes as the Nissen hut and came into their own when steel was in short supply.

Below is a list of all the Sites on RAF Davidstow Moor. You can navigate your way through the sites by clicking on the button.