Thatched outbuilding at Ford Farm

Ford Farm 2.jpg

The War Department acquired land here for the Ford Farm Airfield in 1917, renamed the following year as RAF Old Sarum.

 

This building and the adjacent windmill got in the way and this Airco DH 6 two-seater military biplane (DH as designed by Geoffrey De Havilland) was not the only plane to hit it. The two sets of wings separated by the fuselage are clearly visible as is the propeller.

Here it was a trainer plane but they were also used as antisubmarine bombers in WWI. It served with the RFC, RAF and RNAS. None survives today. The crew sat in basket chairs, the plane was lightly built and ditched planes were reported to have said to remained afloat for 10 hours. †

Ford Farm 1.jpg

We think technology moves apace today. The Airco DH 6 first flew against submarines in 1917, it first flew in 1916, Geoffrey de Havilland first flew the Airco DH 1 in 1915 and the Wright brothers North Carolina first powered flight was in December 1903.

Kerry O’Connor

The photograph is by kind permission of Dr Hugh F Thomas. It is also available in “Wiltshire Airfields in the Second World War”  David Berryman, 2002 page 159 but predates that conflict.

The map is from the 1894-1903 Ordnance Survey 25” Second Edition Map accessed via Know your place West https://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/?edition=wilts and so predates the airfield.

† BAE Systems Heritage https://www.baesystems.com/en/heritage/airco-dh6

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