Battle of britain airfields

RAF Fighter Command

Battle of Britain Monument, Victoria Embankment, London
Active
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Defence of Great Britain
Engagements Battle of Britain

During the Battle of Britain, the defence of the UK's airspace was divided up within RAF Fighter Command into four Groups, each comprising several airfields and squadrons.[1]

The groups involved, 10, 11, 12 and 13, saw very different levels of activity during the battle. No. 11 Group, responsible for the defence of London and the south-east saw the heaviest fighting, and pilots were often rotated among the groups to allow them to rest and recuperate after several weeks of fierce contact with the enemy. Each group was commanded by an Air Vice-Marshal, who served under the head of Fighter Command during the battle, Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding.

Organisational structure

Key:

  • HQ = Group headquarters
  • SS = Sector station
  • SA = Satellite aerodrome

File:No 10 Group RAF Crest.jpg

10 Group

10 Group defended Wales and the West Country and was commanded by Air Vice-Marshal Sir Quintin Brand.

Station Name BoB
Role
Grid
Reference
Station
Opened
Flying
Ceased
RAF Station
Closed
Current Use External Link
RAF Box HQ ST843707 1940 N/A 2000 Decommissioned, in use by Defence Equipment & Support MOD DE&S
RAF Middle Wallop SS SU306385 1940 - 1 September 1957 2 Regt Army Air Corps and School of Army Aviation AAC Middle Wallop
RAF Filton SS ST590802 1916 - Bristol Filton Airport Bristol Filton Aerodrome
RAF Boscombe Down SA SU176393 1939 - MoD Boscombe Down MOD/RAF Boscombe Down
RAF Colerne SA ST800712 1940 - 21 Signal Regt, Royal Signals, Bristol UAS, 3 AEF RAF/BUAS
RAF Exeter SA SY002937 1937 - Exeter International Airport, The Hunter Flying Club Hunter Flying Club
RAF Pembrey SA SN403042 1939 - 1957 Pembrey Airport, Pembrey Sands AWR Support, Pembrey Circuit Circuit
RAF Roborough SA SX504902 1931 2011 Plymouth City Airport Plymouth Airport
RAF St Eval SA SW873685 1939 1959 6 March 1959 RAF St Eval HIVE, MOD Ariel Field RAF St Eval HIVE
RAF Warmwell SA SY756887 1937 1945 Crossways Village Crossways, Dorset

File:11 Group RAF Crest.jpg

11 Group

11 Group covered the southeast of England and the critical approaches to London and was commanded by Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park.

Station Name BoB
Role
Grid
Reference
Station
Opened
Flying
Ceased
RAF Station
Closed
Current Use External Link
RAF Uxbridge HQ TQ061836 1918[a] N/A 31 March 2010 Battle of Britain Bunker remains open. Hillingdon House, the HQ of 11 Fighter Group, to be refurbished as restaurant Visit to Ops Room
RAF Biggin Hill SS TQ416610 1916[b] - 1992 London Biggin Hill Airport, Planned heritage site & conservation area Conservation Plans
RAF Debden SS TL562350 1937 1960 21 August 1974 33 Engineer Regt EOD, NATS Radar Station NATS
RAF Hornchurch SS TQ532846 1915 1962 July 1962 Hornchurch Country Park, Housing Estate, Conservation Area Conservation Area
RAF Kenley SS TQ329579 1917 1959 Housing and conservation area
RAF Northolt SS TQ097850 1915 - - Current RAF Station, HQ Music Services, 63 Squadron, RAF Regt (QCS) RAF Northolt
RAF North Weald SS TL488047 1916 - 1964 North Weald Airfield North Weald Airfield
RAF Tangmere SS SU909060 1917 16 October 1970 Tangmere Military Aviation Museum Museum
RAF Croydon SA TQ310636 1939 30 September 1959 1946 Business park, museum
RAF Detling SA TQ813597 Light industry, agriculture
RAF Eastchurch SA TQ982701 HM Prison Swaleside Swaleside Prison
RAF Ford SA SU993028 HM Prison Ford Ford Prison
RAF Gosport SA SU592006 HMS Sultan, Rowner Housing Estate Rowner Project
RAF Gravesend SA TQ670716 Riverview Housing Estate, Golf Course, Cascades Leisure Centre Golf Course
RAF Hawkinge SA TR211395 Kent BoB Museum, Housing Museum
RAF Hendon SA TQ217905 1908 1957 1987 RAF Museum, Hendon Police College, Grahame Park Housing Estate Grahame Park
RNAS Lee-on-Solent SA SU561020 1917 - 29 March 1996 HM Coastguard, Unlicensed Private Airfield, Maritime & Aviation Industry Daedalus Aerodrome
RAF Lympne SA TR114353 1916 1984 1 January 1946 Industrial Park
RAF Manston SA TR334663 1916 - 31 March 1999 Kent International Airport, Defence Fire Training and Development Centre DFTDC
RAF Martlesham Heath SA TM242454 1917 1963 Major British Telecom site
RAF Rochford SA 1939 - 1946 Now London Southend Airport London Southend Airport
RAF Stapleford Tawney SA Stapleford Aerodrome
RAF Thorney Island SA SU762025 1938
RAF Westhampnett SA Goodwood Circuit
RAF West Malling SA TQ680555 1930 1969 Kings Hill a mixed development of (eventually) around 2,500 homes and 1 million square feet (93,000 m²) of commercial space.

File:12 Group RAF Crest.jpg

12 Group

12 Group defended the Midlands and East Anglia and was led by Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory.

Station Name BoB
Role
Grid
Reference
Station
Opened
Flying
Ceased
RAF Station
Closed
Current Use External Link
RAF Watnall HQ SK 506 454 1940 N/A Housing / Industrial / Nature Reserve[c] Subterrannea Britannica
RAF Church Fenton SS 1 April 1937 Home to 3 sqn, 1 EFTS and Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron
RAF Digby SS
RAF Duxford SS TL 458 460 1918 1961 Imperial War Museum Duxford
RAF Kirton in Lindsey SS
RAF Wittering SS
RAF Coltishall
SA Bure (HM Prison)
RAF Fowlmere
SA 1918 Fowlmere Airfield
RAF Leconfield
SA
RAF Tern Hill
SA

File:No 13 Group RAF.jpg

13 Group

13 Group covered the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and was commanded by Air Vice-Marshal Richard Saul.

Station Name BoB
Role
Grid
Reference
Station
Opened
Flying
Ceased
RAF Station
Closed
Current Use External Link
RAF Newcastle HQ Housing Estate
RAF Acklington SS NU230010 1938 1972 HMP Acklington
RAF Dyce SS Aberdeen airport
RAF Turnhouse SS NT156734 1916 Edinburgh Airport
RAF Usworth SS NZ340585 1916 Factory for Nissan cars
RAF Wick SS ND363527 1939 1978 Wick Airport
RAF Catterick SA SE250968 1914 Part of the Catterick Garrison complex.
RAF Drem SA NT505810 1917 1946 Decommissioned
RAF Grangemouth SA NS946820 1939 1945
RAF Kirkwall SA
RAF Sumburgh SA Sumburgh Airport
RAF Castletown SA ND220668 1940 1944 1945

See also

References

Notes
a ^ From 1915 - 1918 Hillingdon House (the estate of which became RAF Uxbridge) was used as a convalescence home for Canadian troops.
b ^ Opened as a wireless testing station. Flying commenced in 1918. Source: Biggin Hill Airport Website
c Subterrannea Britannica
Citations

External links

  • Article about the Battle of Britain from North Weald Airfield History
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