Today, walkers on Woodbury Common will inevitably come across many remnants of bricks and concrete, with much of the World War Two foundations buried in the undergrowth, giving the impression of undertaking an archaeological survey of a long lost ancient civilisation. Three out of the four solidly-built decontamination buildings still survive – one of which is almost completely covered by ivy and growth. The brick-built firing-points and butts, of the several rifle ranges on the common, can still be seen.
The grid reference number for the location of the Dalditch Camp remains have been added to all of the below photos. By clicking on the grid reference number at the bottom of the photo, you will be directed to gridreferencefinder.com, where a ‘pin’ will mark the exact or very near location onto the modern landscape.
Nissen huts were erected for accommodation, mainly in blocks of four, housing twelve men in each hut. They were constructed of a wood-surround, with a corrugated roof and interchangeable windows – depending on their ‘life purpose’. Each hut had a coke-stove installed, as the main source of heating. Oil lamps were used, preceding electric lights. When the building of Dalditch Camp was complete, a total of 378 Nissen huts were erected.
There were twelve mess-hall complexes in Dalditch camp. They were made up of either two or three buildings. One building would be the Officer and Sergeant’s mess, and the other building(s) were for the recruits and lower ranks.
Almost all of what survives of most mess halls on the common, are the stairs which lead to a separate galley. One mess hall in the Wheathill area of the camp has two sets of stairs. One set for each of the two parallel galleys/ a kitchen area, which come together into a longer singular galley.
There were several different firing ranges in Dalditch Camp. There were three ranges – shooting at a distance of 25 yards (23 Metres), and one range to a longer-distance of 300 yards (274 Metres). These ranges would have been used by the recruits or cadets, to practice their marksmanship skills.
Many measures were taken to divert German bombers away from Exeter Airport (Then called RAF Exeter, and was built in 1937). A mock airstrip was built on the common in 1941, with electric lighting along its runway. It proved successful, as it is recorded that the Luftwaffe bombed this site on the night of the 26th April 1942, when German bombers unloaded their remaining bombs when returning back from a raid at Bath.
Still Standing Structures.
After the war, almost all of Dalditch Camp had been demolished – but there are some buildings and features in the camp area that are still standing.
Walled drain structure, just a matter of yards from the vehicle inspection pit. – 24/2/2018 – SY 04679 84281.
A small water management area, near to 300 yard firing range at Frying Pans.