‘Lost’ WWII air turret discovered on Radlett airfield site by curious St Albans lorry driver

Tony had been driving past the turret for many years before he decided to explore further

Tony had been driving past the turret for many years before he decided to explore further - Credit: Archant

A rare Second World War artefact that was discovered last year by an inquisitive lorry driver has been granted listed status.

In 2014, Tony Clarke, 60, of St Albans, was on his break when he stopped by the former Radlett airfield, south of the A414, to look closer at an object he had ‘always been curious about’.

He said: “I’ve been driving past it for many years then one day I pulled into the layby near it to have a look at it and take some photos.”

He later posted pictures to prominent Facebook group ‘St Albans Past and Present’, where some eagle eyed members confirmed that is was an Alan Williams Turret.

The turret was used by members of the military in the Second World War to fire machine guns and tank rifles, and around 200 were installed around the UK.

After Tony contacted English Heritage last year, which has since divided into Historic England, he was thrilled to find out it had been registered as Grade II listed.

There are not thought to be many left as most were sold for metal, so the discovery of the Radlett airfield turret is a rare find.

Most Read

He said: “There were only 35 known in existence, this is now 36, and apparently it is in the most perfect condition compared to the other ones. This is the most complete one in the country.

“I’m happy with the outcome, but St Albans Past and Present has to take the credit for it as I wouldn’t have been able to do it without their help.”

A Historic England overview said that the ‘virtually intact’ turret had been granted the status for various reasons.

One part of the overview said it was of historical interest as a ‘poignant reminder of the world events which have impacted on this country’.

For more information on the turret, click here.

Radlett Airfield is currently earmarked for a massive rail freight depot.