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Coordinates: 52°55′52″N 2°39′04″W / 52.931°N 2.651°W / 52.931; -2.651 Tilstock Airfield is an airfield located in Shropshire, England

Located close north of the village of Prees, it is 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the village of Tilstock, and 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Whitchurch.

Prees Heath Army CampEdit

Opened in 1915 as a training base for the British Army, it had a capacity for 30,000 men for training in trench warfare.[1][2] It additionally acted later as a store for supplies, with its own railway depot feed by a 1 mile (1.6 km) branch line from the LNWR's Crewe and Shrewsbury Railway. As casualties mounted, it became a hospital with a fully fledged barracks.

The scale and size of the camp brought about the appointment of the first female police officers in the Shropshire Constabulary, to manage and restrain local women from heading to the camp.[3]

After the war ended, the facilities were downgraded, with the British Government keeping ownership of the site for Army training purposes.

Prees Heath internment campEdit

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the site became an internment camp for screening Austrian and German refugees,[2] with capacity added for holding 2,000 men by the erection of a large tented village.[4] Later converted to a prisoner of war camp, it closed 4 Oct 1941.[5]

RAF TilstockEdit

Construction of an airfield was completed by mid 1942, the airfield opening on 1 August that year,[6] with a classic three concrete runway RAF "star" arrangement. The name 'Whitchurch Heath' being used until 1 June 1943, when RAF Tilstock was adopted. Between 1 September 1942 and 21 January 1946, the airfield was used by No. 81 Operational Training Unit and No. 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit Royal Air Force for the training of pilots and crews in the operation of Whitley, Stirling and Halifax heavy bombers. During the 1950s, Auster AOP.6 'spotter' aircraft of No. 663 Squadron RAF used the facilities of the otherwise non-operational airfield during weekends for liaison flights with Royal Artillery units.


Located near the junction of the A41 and A49, the airfield is still being used today at weekends for skydiving. Skydivers have used the airfield for Tandem Skydiving and running Parachute Jump Courses since 1966. The direction of the remaining runway is 33 (330) and 15 (150).


  • Smith, David J. (1981). Action Stations : 3. Military airfields of Wales and the North-West. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 0-85059-485-5. 

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