Davidstow Airfield and Cornwall at War Museum

Newsletter September 2014

Link to the web page here – September 2014 (some information may not be readable unless you do)

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The very pleasant weather that we have had during late August and (so far) in September has meant that we have been able to spend a valuable amount of time painting some of the new items that have been acquired by the museum. The photographs below show the progress made so far with Sheila (assisted by Pauline) painting the Hunter, Robbie painting an Avon engine of the type used in a Hunter and Steve (assisted by Peter) painting the radar unit and its ladder. We very much appreciate the effort put in by our volunteers, particularly as Pauline travels quite a long way to come to the museum and Peter even further with an 80 mile round-trip from Plymouth.


Having thoroughly cleaned the existing paintwork the next stage was to carefully photograph all of the various markings for future reference. After that the whole aircraft was painted with a grey primer/undercoat.

It had been decided from the beginning that the colour scheme would be that of the “Black Arrows” as research had shown that this aircraft was part of that squadron.

Having chosen black it was then necessary to change the colour of the roundels. In its camouflaged colours the aircraft had Red/Blue roundels but in a black colour scheme these needed to be changed to Red/White/Blue.

Work is still progressing with Sheila and Pauline now getting down to the fine detail stage of adding the specific markings that appear on the aircraft, including squadron markings. Hopefully by the time the next newsletter is published we will be able to include photos of XG164 in her final state.

Meanwhile in another part of the museum an Avon engine is being very carefully repainted by Robbie. Although this particular engine did not come from XG164 it is of the type that would have been used on Hunters, as well as many other aircraft.


In July we had a photo of one of our stalwart volunteers, John, pressure-washing the radar. That phase has now been completed and any remaining rusty patches have now been sanded down. At this point Sheila picked up a paint brush and started the very time-consuming task of applying an undercoat followed by the red and white squares on the base unit.

Once the base unit had been completed (well, nearly!) it was time to start the high-level work on the dish and Sheila decided to hand over this task to Steve. If you have every tried painting something that is, in effect, wire mesh then you will know how difficult this is.

Meanwhile Peter volunteered to help with the painting but as it wasn’t practical to have two people on top of the radar unit he readily offered to paint some of the smaller items – at ground level!

When all of the current painting is finished the next job will be to have “Cornwall at War Museum” painted across the front of the dish as a very large and effective advert for the museum. Achieving this could be interesting as I understand it involves creating a transparency of the wording, projecting it onto the dish, tracing around the letters and then painting them. Hopefully there will be some interesting photos of this for publication next time.

If any of our volunteers (present or future) would like to pick up a paint brush to help at the museum then they would be very welcome as there is always plenty to do, both inside and outside. Davidstow weather is not particularly kind to us here and the exterior of the buildings need as much attention as the proverbial painting of the “Forth Road Bridge” to keep them looking presentable!


There will be much more on this project in forthcoming newsletters but for now we thought you might like to see a photo of the engine under the control of Martin, our mechanical engineer and Project Manager. The engine was built in 1944 and is very similar to those used in WW1 for the trench railways, which is the intended use here at the museum. There are lengths of track stored around the museum and rolling-stock awaiting collection. This is obviously not a short-term project and if you would like to volunteer to assist in track-laying or any other aspect of the project you would be very welcome – particularly if you are ex-railway and have Permanent Way experience!

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Telephone: 07799194918

Address: Nottles Park, Davidstow, Camelford, PL32 9YF