The West Gate
This is all that remained of the West Gate in 2011. The guard hut which was there when Phil was a boy has been demolished and just the concrete base remains. Even the gateposts have been removed by 2021. It is possible to see the Small Arms Ammunition Stores in the farmer’s field in the background and some wireless masts inside the current boundary of RAF Portreath.
The Domestic Site
Accommodation for the airmen when RAF Portreath first opened in 1941 was in Bell Tents around the airfield. As the war progressed things did improve and eventually this domestic site was built housing an airmen’s mess, a cinema, and other facilities. The buildings are still used today by a variety of small businesses and as residential accommodation.
No. 1 HAA Site at Carvannel
The rubble seen amongst the vegetation in the foreground is all that is left of the Heavy Anti-Aircraft battery which was on the cliff edge with a view up the coast to the airfield on the opposite side of the Portreath valley. The airfield can be picked out by the radar dome. The hill in the background is St Agnes Beacon which was home to a Chain Home Low radar station.
The Sector Operations Room at Tregea Hill
This style of Sector Operations Room was nicknamed ‘The Gin Palace’ by the RAF and was a marked step up from Tehidy Barton when it opened in 1943. The nerve centre was the large room with a plotting table and numerous telephones from where all the aircraft flying over Cornwall were controlled. In the 1980s it became a public house. The building has now been converted into flats.
The East Gate
This is the gate on the Porthtowan side of the airfield on the old lane that ran across Nancekuke Common that the aerodrome was built on. The Sanger Pillbox on the left is modern. The radar dome of RRH Portreath is visible as the white golf ball on the right.
The WAAF Site
This consisted of over 20 Nissen huts which each housed 25 WAAFs with a sergeant and two corporals. All that is left on the site are the concrete bases and the occasional piece of pipework. There have been suggestions to turn it into a nature reserve.
The Sector Operations Room at Tehidy Barton
Having operated in a room above Glasson’s Bakery when the airfield first opened, this purpose-built Ops Room must have seen like luxury. It must have been a welcome sight for P/O Len Harvey on Sunday 7th June 1942 in a sequence of events that earned him the Distinguished Service Order. To find out why you’ll have to buy the eBook.
The Decoy Bunker
As part of the airfield defences, a dummy airfield operated at night by a system of lights designed to reflect an active airfield. They were all controlled from this bunker. The picture is looking in the entrance passage. To the right was a generator room which provided the power and to the left was the control room where the operators flicked the switches to create the desired effects. The fact that the Germans bombed the fields nearby suggests it was effective.