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RAF WEST MALLING

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  WEST MALLING AIRFEILD
DESCRIPTION + /

A former World War Two military airfield and Pre-War civilian airfield. It was first opened in 1930 as a private airfield, later in 1932 being registered as Maidstone Airport. In 1940 it became a Royal Air Force station, part of Royal Air Force Fighter Command's crucial 11 Group protection the south-east and London. For much of the Battle of Britain the airfield was renderd unusable by German bombing. Later it became a nightfighter station. In 1944 it was involved in "Operation Diver", which was the defence against the V1 "flying bomb" attacks. By 1944 the airfield had two runways constructed from Sommerfeld Track steel matting and concrete, with Type J and Blister design aircraft hangars. After the war the airfield was used as a rehabilitation centre for returning Allied prisoners of war. The airfield was inactive in 1960 and was sold to the County Council in 1970. In 1972 it was used to temporarily house Ugandan Asians who had been expelled from that country. The airfield is now a housing estate, supermarket and local government offices: the latter reusing some of the old military buildings. A number of the original fighter station buildings are extant , please see TQ 65 NE 73 to TQ 65 NE 78 for details of the indivdual buildings. The site of an observation tower is recorded as TQ 65 NE 79.

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