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THORNEY ISLAND AIRFIELD

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  RAF THORNEY ISLAND
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Thorney Island Airfield was a former military airfield opened in 1938 and used during World War Two. It is now Baker Army Barracks.
The wartime airfield consisted of three concrete runways, equipped with aircraft hangars of Type C and Blister designs. By 1944 there was permanent accommodation for 3636 male and 508 female personnel. In the Battle of Britain it was used by fighter aircraft of 236 Squadron of 11 Group, Royal Air Force: this was the most heavily engaged Group in the battle. Its later wartime role was as an operational airfield for Royal Air Force Coastal Command. During World War Two the island was protected by both military defences (see linked records 1418406, 1418407, 1426484 and 1419548) and a sea wall (see 1426483). There was also a dummy airfield (bombing decoy) at West Wittering to draw enemy fire away from Thorney Island Airfield.
Flying at the airfield ceased in 1975, and the site became a naval base and from at least 1985 a barracks for the Royal Artillery (Baker Barracks). The airfield now lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty (AONB).

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