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Old 15th Sep 2020, 19:33
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: 11 GROUP
Age: 73
Posts: 1,067
Kenley ops room

When i went to join 450 ATC Squadron at Kenley in 1959, the airfield had only just lost its 'flying' status apart from 615 Gliding School with the fretwork fighters. Kenley had a gate guard Spitfire and was in a 1940 time warp with camo buildings and multiple pock marks to show its wartime raids plus it still had its original ops room (bungalow in a bunker) although rather gutted inside. This 'Bungalow' had survived the 18th Aug raid and was Kenleys only ops room for the main part of the Battle until they relocated to a butchers shop in Caterham, as the bungalow was seen by then to be very vulnerable. That this rather 'ordinary' building that had directed Kenleys Squadrons for those crucial months was left to decay and eventually demolished in a works and bricks 'clean up' was unbelievable, as it was quite sound,and could have made a fitting ATC or Gliding school office. That this wonderful little airfield situated on a Surrey common had survived the Luftwaffe onslaught, and sent its Squadrons into the fray on a daily basis was not commemorated on any information plaques anywhere and it eventually lost is Spitfire to a French museum (or as i said joined its mates that never came back). The actual flying field is still in its wartime state never having been enlarged to take jets, although some of the original e pens were demolished for no good reason. It is only recently that an effort has been made to explain Kenleys part in the Battle,but it always surprises me how much we threw away of its real history. This was an 11 Group front line Sector 'trench', it never had the publicity of nearby Biggin, but held the line when it mattered and was never out of action. Its Squadrons were credited with 603 German aircraft shot down,and eventually housed a Canadian Wing.
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