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KENLEY AERODROME

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  KENLEY AIRFIELD, RAF KENLEY
DESCRIPTION + /

A military airfield used in both World Wars. It remained in Ministry of Defence hands until 1999 when it was sold. It was originally chosen as a Royal Flying Corps airfield and was built on part of Kenley Common in 1917, with at least one Belfast Truss aircraft hangar. The airfield buildings were rebuilt between 1931-1933, the actual airfield was expanded in 1939 and again in 1943. It is especially important as a survival of a Battle of Britain fighter airfield: although fewer buildings survive than at other sites, Kenley Aerodrome is unique in having all of its 12 fighter blast pens intact. During the Battle of Britain in 1940 the site was heavily attacked and repairs resulting from the damage caused can still be seen on surviving buildings. By 1944 the site had two concrete runways and a number of Blister aircraft hangars. Active flying ceased in 1959, but for part of the Post-war period the site was used as a military base for the army (this was noted as its use in 1985). The site was considerably changed in the post-war period: the World War One buildings were demolished by 1964, the remaining hangar and control tower were destroyed in 1978 and the sector operations block was demolished in 1984. Some altered workshops survive as do the officers' mess and airmens institute: these last two buildings have been listed (please see TQ 35 NW 66 and TQ 35 NW 67 for further details). The perimeter defences were said to have been demolished in 1984, However some other defensive installations survived at least into the late 1990s (see TQ 35 NW 69 to TQ NW 70). In 2000 a war memorial situated in one of the blast pens was dedicated to all the personnel who had served at the airfield between 1917 and 1959.

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