Dec 9th, 2010 | | Institutions | Portfolio | No Comments

RAF Bicester

Patrick Baty has carried out an analysis of the paint on the exteriors of many of the buildings on this site in order to learn about its wartime appearance

RAF Bicester was established in 1918. From 1918-1920 it was a three squadron training depot. It was closed from March 1920-January 1928 before becoming a one squadron bomber station. From 1939 until 1944 it concentrated on training (16 OTU). In 1943 it was a forward equipment unit for the invasion of Europe. After the War, 71 Maintenance Unit formed here for RAF (Southern) crash investigations.

RAF Bicester closed down on 31 March 1976. A short period of Care and Maintenance followed, and on 20 May 1976 the station was handed over to the Army. On 22 November 1978 it was made available to United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), and the Domestic site was converted into a USAFE Emergency Military Hospital. The hospital site was closed down along with RAF Upper Heyford in 1994.

I was commissioned to investigate historic paint colours and establish recommendations for appropriate paint colours in the redecoration of external joinery and metalwork on the site.

As well as sampling the buildings themselves I also carried out a thorough documentary analysis. Information from works such as this proved very useful:

It appears likely that four main colours were used on external wood and metalwork during the Second World War:

a) Mid. Brunswick Green;
b) White;
c) Pale Cream;
d) Black.

It is also apparent that a number of the buildings had camouflage paint applied to them.

Officers' Mess

The Officers’ Mess – one of the buildings on the site

RAF Bicester - Old Cookhouse
The Old Cookhouse

RAF Bicester - Building 32
Building 32

A copy of my report is now lodged in the archive of the Imperial War Museum.

Fourteen years after working on the accommodation half of the airfield I was asked to return and examine the ‘Technical’ side. This will be dealt with in another post. However, I took the opportunity of looking at the redevelopment of the earlier phase and was greatly impressed. The developers City & Country have made an outstanding job of converting it for residential use and it is now known as The Garden Quarter. Many images can be seen on that site and some of my own are below:

Sergeants Mess RAF Bicester
Sergeants Mess

Sergeants Quarters
Sergeants Quarters

View over the old Square

View Larger Map

Papers and Paints can provide you with the camouflage colours:


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