Tubney Wood Factory Vital During WWII

Close to Abingdon, there is a factory at Tubney Wood. It is not necessarily the most ostentatious building, but it does have some defining features. Those who know a bit about the Second World War might even be familiar with one or two of these features. Although the location is now used for a high-tech engineering firm called Oxford Instruments, the former factory at Tubney Wood played a much more important role in the days when the world was at war.

Some might get a peek at the former role played by the building simply by looking at the roof. Atop the former factory sits a dark, fairly cylindrical dome. This structure is referred to as a “fire-watcher’s shelter,” and was used by lookouts during the Second World War so that they could spot approaching bombers. Such a structure is a clear indication that the world done at Tubney Wood was of some value to the Allies. In fact, the factory was used to create BoforsGun barrels, the Bofors Gun being a powerful forty-millimeter anti-aircraft weapon. This gun is actually so dependable that it is still in use by the military to this very day.

This factory was not the first location chosen for such manufacture. There had been another in Coventry, but when that site was hit directly four times, a new location had to be chosen. Since Tubney Wood offered a setting that was fairly remote, it was deemed a fitting choice. In addition, the density of the surrounding tree life helped to shield the factory from view in the event that the enemy might attempt to subject this factory to a similar fate as the one at Coventry, The Oxford Times reports.

These guns were important to a number of WWII battles. Not only were they used during battles in the Pacific Theater, but they were also used in the invasion of Normandy and the inland battles that followed. The factory at Tubney Wood therefore helped in the manufacture of weapons that were highly useful in taking down enemy aircraft during some of the most vital battles of the Second World War.

Known as the “Hush-Hush Factory” due to its covert nature, the factory at Tubney Wood was an important factor in the Allies’ aerial defense system. Despite its importance, the factory has not been highly publicized; however, those who wish to know more about the factory can gain a fair bit of information from the recently expanded edition of historian Nigel Dawe’s book, entitled Tubney Wood at War: The Hush-Hush Factory.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE