Penhale Camp

Penhale Camp, near Holywell Bay about six miles outside of Newquay

originally developed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 1939

as an emergency measure to train anti-aircraft gunners.

Evidence of the gun sites, searchlight batteries and defensive positions, such as pillboxes and trenches, still remain today 

The majority of the site is currently occupied by abandoned Nissen huts

simple pitched roof concrete block-built huts, workshops, ancillary buildings, a farmhouse and areas of hard-standing.

During the Second World War on July 7, 1940, 23 servicemen recuperating at Penhale following the Dunkirk evacuation are kille d

when the camp is target by German Luftwaffe.

It is a sunny afternoon that day

soldiers who just escape from one of the most hellish experiences of the early war years are relaxing. 

A single German aircraft flew over Penhale Camp, probably looking for the nearby St Eval airfield, and dropped four high explosive bombs.

Fifteen soldiers are kille d instantly, a further eight die from their injuries, and many more are seriously injure d

Three years later, the camp was occupied by American Army combat engineers as part of the build-up to the D-Day landings.

They built the 14 Nissen huts on the site. 

For the majority of the next 70 years, Penhale is used intensively for 24 hours a day by up to 700 people at any one time,

most recently for soldiers returning from Afghanistan for training and recuperation.

The end of an era came in 2010, when, after seven decades of MoD occupation, Penhale became surplus to requirements.


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