View Full Version : RAF Lympne 1940 - can anyone help?

25th Sep 2014, 19:49

I've exhausted every source in my reach - David Colley's book on Lympne, Anthony Moor's new book on Lympne, the RAF Lympne operations record Book for the summer of 1940, and many "thin" online sources...

And I'm hoping someone here can direct me to the information I need, or can themselves throw some light on this question...

David Collyer notes....and he was apparently serving at Lympne in 1940...that in mid-August after the heavy damage suffered on the 12th and 15th of August, RAF Lympne was "closed for operations" - it had been a forward dispersal field for Biggin Hill, like Manston was for Kenley - and it was "evacuated". Collyer's various picture captions note that billeting was found for some personnel in and around Lympne Village, and the NAAFI was set up in the village hall.

But there's ALSO a note in Richard overy's book on the Battle Of Britain that repairs to the damage suffered at Lympne on the 12th of August 1940 was initially slow - because "construction workers" from Lympne had been sent to Manston to help with the damage suffered there the day before!

There's no mention in the Operations Record Book of the Care&Maintenance Unit at Lympne - no live squadron posted there since June - of this transfer...OR of any "construction work" going on as of the 12th of August...

Does anyone know if these "construction workers" were actually RAF personnel from Lympne transferred to Manston? Sadly, Overy doesn't footnote a reference for this information. At present I'm thinking that they were - because he goes on to note that repairs were effected by the Airministry sending some of their "own" workers, and raising local labour from local firms...I.E. something different to what had departed for Manston...so that would to me read as if the "construction workers" trucked off to Manston were actually RAF workers.

Can anyone help?

25th Sep 2014, 21:50
I always thought they used Irish navvies.

26th Sep 2014, 19:38
No, definitely local labour...the RAF had a lot of problems with them being unwilling to work after various follow-on raids in August, and five locals from the Romney Marsh area were killed during a raid on Lympne, including what appears from their headstones to be a pair of brothers.

The Air Ministry also had a scheme pre-positioning repair teams centrally in depots between clusters of airfields...but the problem on 12th August seems to have been the sheer amount of damage done at Hawkinge, Manston and Lympne - buildings damaged or destroyed, hangars damaged, holes in flightlines needing filled etc. - overl;oading their plans locally, it required an extra 350 workers in total at Manston, for example.

27th Sep 2014, 03:43
Does it make any difference...? I'm guessing they were MOW or local Contractors.

29th Sep 2014, 09:14
Reminds me of joke doing the rounds at the time ..
A P/O figher pilot during the BoB was having a chat with a civillian
workman on his base and the conversation got round to pay.
The pilot was surprised that they both earned the same amount.
But the civvy workman said: 'But of course, I work through alerts'......