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The popular Knightstone Tea Rooms & Restaurant served as the original watch office for the airfield.

Also known as: Harrowbeer Aerodrome / RAF Harrowbeer / Roborough Down / Yelverton / Yelverton Business Park
County: Devon
Current Status: Industry / Open land / Public roads
Date: 15 August 1941 - 1950
Current Use: Disused
Used By: RAF (main user) / RAF (Czech) / RAF (French) / RAF (Polish) / FAA / RCAF
Landing Surface Types: Paved
Aircraft Roles: Air-sea rescue / Anti-aircraft co-operation / Communications / Fighter (main role) / Fighter-reconnaissance / Naval aviation / Radar calibration / Trainer

Harrowbeer, opened on 15 August 1941, played a major part in winning World War Two by accommodating numerous RAF fighter squadrons which mounted relentless offensive sorties against enemy targets.

Primarily Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Typhoon units achieved significant results through their fighter-bomber, bomber escort and convoy patrol duties. Further squadrons later proved highly active around the D-Day period in the summer of 1944 and ensured the Normandy invasion would be successful by closely supporting Allied ground forces and attacking a wide variety of targets such as German shipping and radar sites.

Another notable wartime event here was this airfield’s leading role in the early development of properly organised RAF air-sea rescue squadrons as No 276 Squadron maintained its headquarters at Harrowbeer between October 1941 and April 1944, saving many lives in the process.

After the Second World War ended in Europe Harrowbeer closed as a station within RAF Fighter Command on 13 May 1946. Thereafter it remained open in a lesser capacity for communications and gliding until it finally closed during 1950. Just over ten years later a plan emerged for it to replace Roborough as Plymouth's airport but the proposal fell through and much of the airfield was demolished in the 1960s. However, this disused airfield remains popular locally and elsewhere, as evidenced by guided walks by the Harrowbeer Interest Group.


The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):

  • Buckland Monachorum Parish Council
  • Dartmoor National Park Authority
  • Knightstone Tea Rooms
  • Leg O'Mutton Inn   
  • Lubricants South West                 
  • Maristow Estate
  • Polish Saturday School in Plymouth
  • RAF Harrowbeer
  • RAF Harrowbeer - 70th Anniversary Event
  • St Paul's Church, Yelverton
  • Team Systems
  • The Yelverton Carpet Company
  • Tim Lambie
  • Yelverton & District Local History Society

 Main unit(s) present:

  • No 1 Sqn
  • No 19 Gp Comms Flight
  • No 19 Sqn
  • No 26 Sqn
  • No 64 Sqn
  • No 78 (Signals) Wing Calibration Flight
  • No 82 GS
  • No 126 Sqn
  • No 130 Sqn
  • No 131 Sqn
  • No 156 (General Reconnaissance) Wing
  • No 165 Sqn
  • No 175 Sqn
  • No 183 Sqn
  • No 193 Sqn
  • No 229 MU
  • No 263 Sqn
  • No 266 Sqn
  • No 275 Sqn
  • No 276 Sqn
  • No 286 Sqn
  • No 302 Sqn
  • No 312 Sqn
  • No 329 Sqn
  • No 401 Air Stores Park
  • No 414 Sqn
  • No 500 Sqn
  • No 610 Sqn
  • No 611 Sqn
  • No 616 Sqn
  • No 691 Sqn
  • No 834 Sqn
  • No 838 Sqn
  • No 2738 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2847 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2883 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2891 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • Force 135 (RAF Element)

Photographs from the unveiling of the ABCT marker on 13 August 2011:









001IWM Czech.jpg

Pilots of No 312 (Czech) Squadron RAF lined up after being decorated by Dr Eduard Bene, the Czech President in exile, at Harrowbeer. © IWM (D 10206)

002IWM Walrus.jpg

A Supermarine Walrus of No 276 Squadron based at Harrowbeer, taxying toward a pilot in the water during an air/sea rescue exercise in the English Channel. © IWM (CH 9027)

003IWM Typhoons.jpg

Nine Hawker Typhoons presented to the RAF by the Brazilian "Fellowship of the Bellows" and officially handed over to No 193 Squadron by the Brazilian Ambassador, Dr J J Moriz de Aragao at Harrowbeer. © IWM (CH 11393)

004IWM Anson.jpg

Ground crew packing a dinghy and its supplies for installation in an Avro Anson Mark I, air-sea rescue aircraft, of No. 276 Squadron RAF at Harrowbeer. © IWM (CH 9021)

005IWM Anson 2.jpg

An Avro Anson Mark I, air-sea rescue aircraft of No 276 Squadron RAF, based at Harrowbeer, Devon, dropping a dinghy container over the English Channel. © IWM (CH 9025)

006IWM Harrowbeer.jpg

Personnel and aircraft of No 276 Squadron RAF assembled at Harrowbeer. The aircraft are an Avro Anson, a Supermarine Spitfire and a Supermarine Walrus. © IWM (CH 9017)


A dispersal bay at Harrowbeer, 11 December 2005. © Tony Atkin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


View looking across the former airfield at Harrowbeer, 11 December 2005. © Tony Atkin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


The Signal Square at Harrowbeer, 5 May 2019.

President Truman visiting Harrowbeer during the Second World War. Courtesy of CriticalPast

Aerial footage of Harrowbeer, c. 2015. Courtesy of Keith Roberts

Parent(s)/HQ Airfield(s):


Decoy Airfield(s):

Roborough Down

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