Technical Site

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Burtonwood Aerial Site Map
Technical Site - Site Plan

= The objects shaded black are the original RAF Buildings.

= The objects that are 'line' shaded are later addition buildings.

Building No



Gaurdroom at Main entrance

35 & 36

HQ Buildings


RAF Stores



39 & 49

 Crash fire station section


 Fuel compound


Electrical Transformer Plynth


Oil store


Trailer Shed


Dome trainer


 Operations centre


Decontaminations centre (later base photo lab)

48 & 49

Additional stores


'J' type aircraft hangar


'K' type aircraft hangar


WW2 Control Tower


Ancillary to the control tower


Base operations centre


Central heating boiler plant




Tyre repair shop


Administration building


Air freight terminal


Covered  motor pool


Link trainer


Large extension to building 49


Wing administration offices


Transient hotel


 Snack bar & beauty parlour


Post Office & Bank

42, 43, 44

Where not built until the 1950's & consisted of a small hotel which had many rooms, but were far too small. So an off base ex royal naval camp was taken over at scotia north to supplement this role, which was located on Hesketh Meadow Lane, off the East Lancs Road in Lowton Near Leigh Lancs


Tech Site

Construction began on tech site in 1939 on farm land belonging to Brooke House Farm.

Tech site opened on the 1st of April 1940 and was used by the Royal Air Force No. 37 Maintenance unit, for the storage and modification of British aircraft transferred to the United States 8th Army Air Force in June of 1942 as Base Air Depot 1 (BAD 1) and became the centre for flight testing, overhaul, modification, and repair of all USAAF aircraft.

The USAAF left in 1946 but they would not be gone for long ....

In July 1946 No. 276 Maintenance unit RAF was formed as an equipment depot and the hangars were used for the storage of Spitfire's & Lancaster's.

In 1948, the USAF were back using RAF Burtonwood as a maintenance base for C54 Skymaster's and other aircraft for 200 hour inspections and servicing, turning out 7 aircraft a day during the Berlin Airlift.

In September 1953, Burtonwood became USAF Northern Air Material Area & during these dates from 1953 - April 1959 the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron with long range Boeing WB29, then later WB50D Super-Fortresses were stationed there.

Military Air Transport Services (MATS) Aircraft were also based here until 1958.

Tech site was the main headquarters, administration and stores and spares centre.

The buildings were built of permanent brick with slate roofing.

When entering the site, the guard room was on the left.

Opposite the guard room was an open square with the headquarters buildings located on either side.

Also, building 28 - a black dome gunnery trainer which had no windows.

This building should never have been built at Burtonwood, but many RAF stations were built to house both maintenance unit and flying training school.

The building contained a gun turret and a projector and the projector would project images of enemy aircraft on the walls for the gunner to be 'trained' to shoot at.

Aircraft Hangars

2 aircraft hangars were built .... building 6 'J' type, built to air ministry drawing number 5836/39 and building 9 'K' type built to air administry drawing number 3084/39.

The hangars were constructed of a steel lattice frame with a curved roof covered with 1/4" steel plate.

The side of the hangars had 2 brick annexes running the full length of the hangars built of brick constructed under a flat reinforced concrete roof.

The hangar doors were filled with gravel or sand to absorb any enemy gunfire.

The dimension of the hangars were:

Door openings = 150' Wide x 30' High.

The hangars are 300' Long comprising of 18 bays 16' 8" each in depth.

Covering 46,206 Sq feet.

The 'J' & 'K' hangars look identical, the difference being that the positioning & number of roof runway beams used for lifting gear are different for each hangar.

The 'J' has 2 half ton runway beams at each end of the hangar & 1 x 6 ton at the centre running the width of the span.

The 'K' has 10 runway beams running the full length of the hangar.

The 'J' had annexes along both sides of the hangar which were used for offices & workshops.

The 'K' had the same but being used for storage.

Control Tower Info

3 x Control Towers were  built on the airfield.

1st Control Tower

1st Control Tower - to be built was a 'Fort' type on Mary Ann Site and this was to air ministry drawing number 207/36 concrete, as building of the airfield progressed it became apparent that the view of the main runway became obscured and therefore the 1st control tower was demolished.

(Photo USAAF 1942)

Burtonwood - Flying Control personnel - 1 May 1943 Cpl
Snellinger & S Sgt Zimmerman by original control tower

(Photo From The American Air Museum in Britain -
Ray Zimmerman Collection via Aldon Ferguson)

2nd Control Tower

2nd Control Tower - to be built was 'The RAF Control Tower' for 'All Commands' built to air ministry drawing No. 12779/41 & were sited next to the main runway 09/27 & this control tower was being used between 1942 - 1953.

Control Tower Tech Site October 1944

(Photo From The American Air Museum in Britain -
Ray Zimmerman Collection via Aldon Ferguson)

Burtonwood - 1944 Brenda Watson, girl friend of Capt
Maier- test pilot - with 2nd Lt Steinfeld on tower

(Photo From The American Air Museum in Britain -
Ray Zimmerman Collection via Aldon Ferguson)

View From The Top of The Tower (Hangar 'J' on The Left & Hangar
'K' on The Right) Showing a Parade in Progress on Tech Site 1945

(Photo From The American Air Museum in Britain -
Ray Zimmerman Collection via Aldon Ferguson)

Burtonwood Flying Control, New tower 20 Oct 1943 L-R Sgt Austin (Illonios),
S/Sgt Ray Zimmerman, Sgt Gordon C Stockinger, Sgt I Solomon & Pfc Bachrack.

(Photo From The American Air Museum in Britain -
Ray Zimmerman Collection via Aldon Ferguson)

Burtonwood Flying Control , 24 Sept 1943. L-R Pfc Bachrack, 2nd Lt Steinfeld, pilot,
pilot, Major Fred R Casoli (Officer Commanding), S Sgt Ray Zimmerman & Pfc Demos

(Photo From The American Air Museum in Britain -
Ray Zimmerman Collection via Aldon Ferguson)

Flying control flight planning inside the tower 14 April 1943.

Flying control Ray Ponczeke standing and Walter Schnellinger July 1943.

Flying control left to right, PEC Bachrack, SGT?, SGT Austin, 2nd LT
Steinfeld, SGT Ray Zimmerman, Major Fred, R? 
24 September 1943.

Flying control inside the control tower to the left is PFC Demos
and to the right S-SGT Zimmerman 24 September 1943.

Flying control  OPS officers WO Mcroy to the left
and Major Wm Buell to the right 6 May 1943.

6th aerial port squadron on technical site during 1955.

Passenger terminal, arrivals and departure lounge.


The East end of the passenger terminal on technical site, the aircraft apron passenger
stairs has the initials BOAC on the side British overseas airways corporation.

BOAC used Burtonwood on many occasions during the 1950s
using Boeing Stratocruisers, Lockheed Constellations, and DC-7cs

USAF C-124C Globemaster during May 1958. 

Burtonwood Flying Control March 1944 T/Sgt Hubert Christian from Mississippi
on top of control tower Standing on the QDM Boards With the 2 'K' Type
Hangars in the Background on 'A' Site.

(Photo From The American Air Museum in Britain -
Ray Zimmerman Collection via Aldon Ferguson)

Burtonwood Flying Control Van - 20 April 1943 ...
... Schnellinger & Ponezek, Ray Zimmerman outside.

(Note the signal lamp on the roof of the vehicle.
Also note Zimmerman holding a signal pistol)

(Photo From The American Air Museum in Britain -
Ray Zimmerman Collection via Aldon Ferguson)

3rd Control Tower

The new control tower, the 3rd to be built on the airfield was 80 feet high with an excellent view of both ends of the extended main runway & airfield.

The new tower was air conditioned and had a met office, duty pilot's room and comm's room and was operated by the USAF 1965th AACC.

View from Technical Site with WW2 Control Tower across the motorway
in the background can be seen the 2 'K' type hangars on 'A' site August 1987

Fire alarm break glass call point on the East door gantry of hangar 'K' August 1987

North annex flat roof of hangar 'J' with Mary Ann site in the background August 1987

South facing annex of hangar 'K' August 1987

Looking into hangar 'J' from the first landing of the control tower August 1987

South East facing doors of hangar 'J' August 1987

Looking inside hangar 'J' from the South East doors August 1987

Stanton air raid shelter entrance next to hangar 'K' August 1987

Inside the Stanton Square Type air raid shelter August 1987.

This type of shelter is usually built in an arch shape and the square shape is unique to Burtonwood. The same type was built on 'E' site and there may well have been others on the airfield.

The only other example to be seen on a WW2 airfiled is at Kingscliffe airfield in Northamptonshire. They were manufactured by the Stanton iron works at Ikeston and were built of pre cast concrete segements.

Demolition of the 'J' type hangar in November 1987

Closer view as the photo above.

USAF Control tower with the remains of hangar 'J' in the background November 1987.

Looking Towards Technical Site from the Excavated
Apron off Mary Ann Site November 1987

North West facing View of hangar 'J' August 1987

Hangar 'J' Annex with the extended door gantry on the left August 1987.

Note Hangar 'K' just visible in the background on the left.

South West view of hangar 'J' August 1987

Passenger terminal entrance August 1987.

This was constructed in front of hangar 'J' annex.

The New Control Tower August 1987

(Note: The vent you can see is the air conditioning condenser outlet)

View from the control tower balcony across the aircraft parking apron August 1987

Time Clock Base & Electrical Isolators inside the Control
Tower on 1 of the Landing's August 1987

Looking Inside Hangar 'J' from the 2nd Intermediate Landing of the Control Tower August 1987

Passenger Terminal Main Electrical Switch Room August 1987

Looking inside Hangar 'J' August 1987

(Note: Through the windows you can see the new passenger terminal)

Inside the NCO Club August 1987

The new passenger terminal was disused when the USAF left technical site.

Then the US Army arrived and part of it was then used by them as their NCO club in the early 1970's.

Inside the NCO Club August 1987

(Note: The pillars that you can see on the left are supporting the side annex concrete flat roof)

Spine Corridor inside the New Passenger Terminal August 1987

The New Passenger Terminal Checking-in Area August 1987

Major Building Work Info

In January 1953 the USAF started major building work on Tech Site by demolishing part of the North Annex of hangar 'J' to make way for a new control tower and passenger terminal.

Sir Alfred McAlpine Company LTD won the £750,000 contract for this work.

Also at this time the main runway 09/27 was extended to 9,000 feet long and 250 feet wide at a cost of £1,500,000.

The new passenger terminal was built for the huge increase of freight and arrivals and departure of US Military Personnel and their families flying in and out of Burtonwood to the Unite States.

British Overseas Airways Corporation used the terminal in 1955 operating 6 flights per week using Stratocruisers flying to New York.

The terminal building housed a bank, customs, American Express, cafeteria, shop, lounge, check-in and offices for support staff.

The terminal building handled 260,000 passengers and air-lifted £72,000,000 of freight each year.

The terminal building became known as 'The Gateway To Europe'

In April 1959 the USAF left and all flying activity ceased.

Tech Site was handed back to the RAF but was not extensively used.

The American's returned again, this time the US Army, in February 1967.

They took over 'site 8' called 'The Header House'.

The US Army had no use for 'Technical Site' but used the hangars to store their helicopters in their for a while.

They also used part of the disused passenger terminal as their NCO club for a while.

The last fixed wing aircraft to use 'Technical Site' were the glider's of 635 Air Training Corp's gliding school.

The gliding school moved out in 1983 when 'Tech Site' was finally demolished.

Technical Site Buildings

Building 38 is the building in the middle of the photo & was the main workshops.

Building 6 is the 'J' type hangar (in black).

Building 36 is the corner building on the right of the photo and was the HQ buildings.

View From The Control Tower

Building 23 is the latrine block and is the building to the right of the black dome.

Building 54 with the chimney stack is the central heating boiler house.

Building 32 is the main stores & is the large building on the right with 3 pitched roofs.

Building 28 is the black dome on the left of the photo
(photo above & photo below) and was the gunnery trainer.

The synthetic gunnery training dome was developed by the naval officer Henry Stephens and was constructed of reinforced concrete and was 25 feet tall and 40 feet wide.

Stephens worked with Kodak to develop a cinematographic apparatus which projected the stop-frame films onto the interior walls of the dome.

The gunners undergoing training were supplied with a small projector which shone a spot of light at the exact point where the operators were firing.

this gave the instructor some idea of the estimation of the trainee's accuracy.

as the gunners pulled the trigger the soundtrack played the noise of a firing shot- with a duration of approximately five seconds  - is the time it took to empty the cartridge of ammunition.

the gunners wore yellow filter goggles so only the instructors could see the flash of light.

43 of this type of Synthetic gunnery training domes were constructed in the country and only 6 survive today. 

This is building number 28 and is the synthetic gunnery training dome during 
the year 1983 on tech site
constructed of reinforced concrete and built to air
ministry drawing number 73/42. This example at Burtonwood has been demolished.
This illustration shows the working of the dome trainer
Air ministry drawing of the dome trainer.
Side elevation  plan of the dome trainer.

Building 35 - Station HQ Drawing No: 2878/37

In this period being used by USAAF Northern Air Material Area.

Lockheed Constellation Connie Airliner 1950's on the
Apron in Front of the New Passenger Terminal.


View From The Top of The New Tower With WW2 Control
Tower & Site 'A' in The Background August 1987.

Building 2 is the WW2 Control Tower.

Building 3 is the Ancillary to the Control Tower.

View From The Tower Where 'Mary Anne' Site Used To Be Looking East August 1987

View From The Tower Towards The End of Runway 0927 (09 End) With
Hanger 'K' in The Background Looking West August 1987.

View From The Tower Showing WW2 Control Tower With 'A' Site in The Background &
The M62 Running Along Where The Main Runway 09/27 Used To Run August 1987

Steps To The Roof of The Control Tower To Gain Access To Aerials Etc August 1987

The State of The Tower in 1987 Showing Broken Glass Panels Etc August 1987

The Front - View of The USAF Tower August 1987

The Side - View of The New Tower & Terminal Building August 1987

The Compressor For Air Conditioning Inside The New Control Tower August 1987

SWA Cables in Riser Inside New Control Tower August 1987

Electrical Panel Inside New Control Tower August 1987

A Service Shaft With its Concrete Covers Removed in The New Tower Looking Up From The Bottom (Each Square is Floor). Access To Each Floor Was By Steel Ladder August 1987

A Service Shaft With its Concrete Covers Removed in The New Tower Looking Down From The Top (Each Square is Floor). Access To Each Floor Was By Steel Ladder August 1987

Tech Site August 1987.

The Sign In The Middle Has:

'RAF Burtonwood' Written On it.

Tech Site Terminal Entrance August 1987

Vertical Shot of 1 of The Apron Lighting Tower's on Tec Site August 1987

USAF control tower was the 3rd control tower and was built in 1953.

It had 6 vertical steel ladders and 5 intermediate landings.
This gave access to the control room at the top of the tower.
The landings also housed electrical and air conditioning equipment.

The front and rear elevations of the tower was fitted with full
height glazing for natural light onto all the landings.

The control tower was the last building to be demolished
on technical site in April 1988 by Fred Dibnah.

Fred Dibnah photos taken by Pete Boardman Pete was a
long term member of the RAF Burtonwood association.

Pete sadly passed away in 2007.


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