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RAF Hawkinge

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RAF Hawkinge

RAF Hawkinge
RFC Hawkinge
RFC Folkestone
Near Hawkinge, Kent in England
Spitfire Mk Vs of No. 91 Squadron lined up at Hawkinge during May 1942
RAF Hawkinge is located in Kent
RAF Hawkinge
RAF Hawkinge
Shown within Kent
Coordinates
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Air Force (1918–1961)
Royal Flying Corps (1915–1918)
Condition Destroyed
Site history
Built 1915 (1915)
In use October 1915-8 December 1961 (1961)
Fate Housing estate and museum
Battles/wars First World War, Second World War
Airfield information
Elevation 164 metres (538 ft) AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
00/00  Grass field

Royal Air Force Hawkinge or more simply RAF Hawkinge is a former Royal Air Force station located 2.2 miles (3.5 km) north of Folkestone, Kent and 7.1 miles (11.4 km) west of Dover, Kent, England. The airfield was used by both the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force during its lifetime and was involved during the Battle of Britain as well other important aerial battles during the Second World War.

History

First World War

During the First World War the airfield was called RFC Folkestone until 29 December 1916 and RFC Hawkinge later on.[1][2] The only squadron present during this period was No. 25 Squadron RFC between 19 and 20 February 1916 with Vickers F.B.5's, Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2B's and Morane-Saulnier L's.[3]

A Aircraft Acceptance Park was in residence between 27 July 1917 and 12 October 1917 before being renamed to No. 12 Aircraft Acceptance Park which stayed until May 1919.[4]

Inter-war years

Between the wars a number of squadrons were posted here:

Second World War

It was from Hawkinge that air liaison was maintained between the Royal Air Force and the British Expeditionary Force during the fighting in France and the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. As long as communications remained open targets were selected in accordance with requests from the BEF and Hawkinge was one of the advanced re-fuelling bases when maximum range was required for operations over France. It was a fighter airfield for squadrons of No. 11 Group, and was so severely damaged by German bombing and machine gun attacks during the Battle of Britain that it had to be abandoned temporarily.[12]

Hawkinge Cemetery is near the site of the aerodrome and most of the 95 Second World War casualties buried there were airmen. About a quarter were killed during the Battle of Britain. Most of the war graves are in a special plot east of the chapel, including 59 German graves, which are together in a group at the south-eastern corner.[12]

A number of squadrons were posted here:

  • 1 Squadron RAF as a detachment between 18 June 1940 and 23 July 1940 with the Hawker Hurricane I.[5]
  • 3 Squadron RAF as a detachment between 13 November 1939 and 28 January 1940 with the Hurricane I.[13]
  • 16 Squadron RAF between 17 February 1940 and 13 April 1940 with the Lysander II.[6]
  • 25 Squadron RAF returned during the Second World War on 10 May 1940 staying for two days still with the Blenheim IF.[7]
  • 26 Squadron RAF between 6 October 1944 and 11 October 1944 with the Hurricane IIC.[7]
  • 41 Squadron RAF initially between 30 June 1942 and 8 July 1942 with the Supermarine Spitfire VB then again between 12 April 1943 and 21 May 1943 with the Spitfire XII.[14]
  • 65 Squadron RAF between 30 June 1942 and 7 July 1942 with the Spitfire VB.[15]
  • 66 Squadron RAF between 8 October 1942 and 9 October 1942 with the Spitfire VB & VC's.[15]
  • 79 Squadron RAF between 1 July 1940 and 11 July 1940 with the Hurricane I.[16]
  • 91 Squadron RAF reformed here on 9 January 1941 with the Spitfire IIA & VB versions until 2 October 1942, however the squadron returned 9 October 1942 this time staying until 23 November 1942. 91 Squadron returned again on 11 January 1943 still with the Spitfire and stayed until 11 January 1943. The squadron returned for the last time on 21 May 1943 with the Spitfire XII and stayed until 28 June 1943 when the squadron moved to RAF Westhampnett.[17]
  • 124 Squadron RAF between 7 April 1945 and 10 April 1945 with the Spitfire HF IXE.[11]
  • 132 Squadron RAF between 29 September 1944 and 14 December 1944 with the Spitfire IXB.[18]
  • 245 Squadron RAF as a detachment between 12 May 1940 and 20 July 1940 with the Hurricane I.[19]
  • 277 Squadron RAF as a detachment between 7 December 1942 and February 1943 with the Lysander III, Supermarine Walrus and the Boulton Paul Defiant I. A detachment returned on 15 April 1944 with Supermarine Sea Otter before leaving during April 1944. The squadron returned on 5 October 1944 with the Sea Otter, Spitfire VB and the Vickers Warwick I before disbanded on 15 February 1945.[20]
  • 278 Squadron RAF as a detachment from 15 February 1945 with the Spitfire VB and the Sea Otter during October 1945 when the squadron was disbanded.[21]
  • 313 Squadron RAF between 21 August 1943 and 18 September 1943 with the Spitfire VB.[22]
  • 322 Squadron RAF between 31 December 1943 and 25 February 1944 with the Spitfire VB & VC. The squadron returned with the same aircraft on 1 March 1944 and stayed until 10 March 1944.[22]
  • 350 Squadron RAF initially between 1 October 1943 and 12 October 1943 with the Spitfire VB. 350 Squadron then returned on 31 October 1943 with Spitfire VC's and stayed until 30 December 1943. The squadron again on 10 March 1944 with Spitfire IXB's and stayed until 14 March 1944. The squadron returned for the last time on 8 August 1944 with Spitfire XIV's and stayed until 29 September 1944.[23]
  • 402 Squadron RCAF between 8 August 1944 and 30 September 1944 with Spitfire IX's & XIVE's.[24]
  • 416 Squadron RCAF between 14 August 1942 and 20 August 1942 with Spitfire VB's.[25]
  • 441 Squadron RCAF initially between 1 October 1944 and 30 December 1944 with Spitfire VB's & IXB's. The squadron returned on 3 April 1945 with Spitfire IX's. It left on 29 April 1945.[26]
  • 451 Squadron RAAF between 2 December 1944 and 11 February 1945 with Spitfire IXB's & XVI's. The squadron returned on 3 May 1945 with Spitfire XVI's staying until 17 May 1945.[27]
  • 453 Squadron RAAF between 2 May 1945 and 17 May 1945 with Spitfire LF XVI's.[27]
  • 501 Squadron RAF between 8 and 10 October 1942 with Spitfire VB's & VC's. The squadron returned on 21 June 1943 with Spitfire VB's & IX's before leaving on 21 January 1944 to RAF Southend.[28]
  • 504 Squadron RAF between 28 February 1945 and 28 March 1945 with Spitfire IXE's.[29]
  • 567 Squadron RAF initially as a detachment between 14 November 1944 and 1945 with Miles Martinet's, Hawker Hurricane IV's and Airspeed Oxford's. The squadron returned on 13 June 1945 with full squadron strength and replaced the Martinets with the Spitfire XVI's. 567 Squadron left on 21 August 1945 going to RAF Manston.[30]
  • 605 Squadron RAF between 21 May 1940 between 28 May 1940 with Hurricane I's.[31]
  • 611 Squadron RAF between 31 December 1944 and 3 March 1945 with Spitfire VII's and IX's.[32]
  • 613 Squadron RAF as a detachment between November 1939 and April 1940 with Hinds and Hectors.[32]
  • 616 Squadron RAF between 14 August 1942 and 20 August 1942 with Spitfire VI's.[32]

Post war

After the war, the station hosted the Home Command Gliding Centre, and is fondly remembered by many Air Cadets as the place where they first learned to fly in Slingsby Mk III and Slingsby Sedbergh TX Mk.1 gliders.

Current use

The site has been largely built over, but part is occupied by the Kent Battle of Britain Museum.[35]

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 147.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 32.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 23.
  6. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 29.
  7. ^ a b c Jefford 1988, p. 33.
  8. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 37.
  9. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 43.
  10. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 50.
  11. ^ a b c Jefford 1988, p. 58.
  12. ^ a b [1] CWGC Cemetery Report, Hawkinge Cemetery.
  13. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 24.
  14. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 38.
  15. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 45.
  16. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 49.
  17. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 52.
  18. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 59.
  19. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 77.
  20. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 82.
  21. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 83.
  22. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 86.
  23. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 88.
  24. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 89.
  25. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 90.
  26. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 92.
  27. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 93.
  28. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 94.
  29. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 95.
  30. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 97.
  31. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 99.
  32. ^ a b c Jefford 1988, p. 100.
  33. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 75.
  34. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 103.
  35. ^

Bibliography

External links

  • Kent Battle of Britain Museum
  • Hawkinge Village Website
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