Married Quarters

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 116

This may be a stupid question but....Having been around quite a few 1930's airfields in the RAF my question is- who lived in the quarters during the war? Many aircrew moved from base to base on a regular basis and many more unfortunately never finished the tour. What would morale have been like as many quarters were well within sight of the runway/landing field etc? was there any form of welfare also...over to you. Thanks in advance..
Original post

Member for

16 years 2 months

Posts: 8,505

Most likely people like the Station Commander, SWO, MO etc. People who were not on the strength of any of the based units.

Member for

10 years 4 months

Posts: 703

As I understand it, the majority of service families were evacuated from base accomodation on the outbreak of war due to worries about them being caught up in bombings of the airfield. There are also numerous cases of civilian houses close to airfields being abandoned for the duration, again for fear of bombing. A number of these empty houses were commandeered for station personnel.
Profile picture for user pagen01

Member for

12 years 2 months

Posts: 10,647

There were married quarters specifically built for wardens (typicaly 6-8 on an airfield) aswel, would assume these to be manned permanently by home guard and regulars that couldn't be deployed to front-line duties. I'm guessing the type of airfield also has some baring on this, ie fighter and bomber seeing massive personnel changeovers, but the ASUs possibly having more stable manning? Adlertag is correct aswel, when the classic 1930s expansion period airfields / stations were built it was seen as a good idea to encompass all the tech and domestic buildings together within the boundary, this included fuel installations being close to hangars and offices, schools and medical sections all being fairly close to the airfield. By the early 1940s (after bitter experience) the folly of this was realised a bit and that is when stations became much more dispersed in layout with the accomodation sometimes being sited on areas quite far. St Athan (1938 all on station) and Llandow (1940 very dispersed) are great example of both types, and being very close to each other and even sharing some of the same station architecture are a good way of comparing the two layouts. One large civilian house nearby to Llandow was commandeered as the Battle Head Quarters site, this fits in with ATs last sentence.
Profile picture for user Phillip Rhodes

Member for

15 years 2 months

Posts: 1,260

At RAF Driffield many of the married quarters accommodated dozens of servicemen and aircrew during the war, with every room being occupied. Like many aerodromes the original design and layout wasn't large enough to accommodate the increased numbers needed to keep an airfield running. Some of the officer married quarters I understand had dozens of men billeted in each, with probably only the most senior of officer/s still retaining an entire house to themselves. A good website to check out is: http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/forum.php
Profile picture for user J Boyle

Member for

14 years 11 months

Posts: 9,617

Martlesham Heath had a row of "Married Quarters" dating from the 30s. When I was at Bentwaters in the late 80s, I lived in one of the Martlesham Heath units as they were being used as single officer quarters with 4 flats to a building. The flats had two bedrooms upstairs and one bath and a kitchen and a front sitting room downstairs. I heard they were originally for married NCOs but I have no idea how they were configured back then or how similar my flat was to the way they were back in the day. If anyone knows more, I'd be interested to learn more anout them.
Profile picture for user pagen01

Member for

12 years 2 months

Posts: 10,647

Our very own REF has done good photo tours of Bentwaters so hopefully he will post something here.

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 116

Thanks all for the info. Some friends of mine lived in the quarters at Colt and said that they still had the camo paint on the outside of the house. The barber at Coningsby works from one of the old houses and there is no way in the world one of your DFS sofas (other brands are available) would fit into it.!
Profile picture for user PeterVerney

Member for

10 years 5 months

Posts: 1,020

We lived for a while in a MQ at Hullavington. The door to the living room was immediately across the little hall from the front door. Both doors had sizable gaps at the bottom so if the wind lay anywhere near the front of the house the little mat would flap up and down.
Profile picture for user pagen01

Member for

12 years 2 months

Posts: 10,647

We lived for a while in a MQ at Hullavington.
My favourite expansion period station! Referring back to a previous post, it still has the camo paint on some of its buildings.
Profile picture for user PeterVerney

Member for

10 years 5 months

Posts: 1,020

I started and ended my flying at Hullavington. Started as a pupil on Ansons and moved round to become a staff nav, 6 years later, still on Ansons. At least moved on a mark, from T21 to T22 :D
Profile picture for user pagen01

Member for

12 years 2 months

Posts: 10,647

Excellent! Fantastic place, even now while in Army ownership.

Member for

5 years 4 months

Posts: 14

An interesting site for Married Quarters is at www.welbeckestate.com - look under the heading 'Management Profile and Projects' and you will see they have owned 36 ex MOD sites, mainly MQs since 1979. The 'Aviation' heading is worth a look if you like Dakotas or Devons/Doves