Since it is a bank holiday the weather was obviously not grand and certainly not as good as the last couple of days but we decided to take a chance and make the most of increased travel freedoms and head 60 miles or so to the airfield at Kenley. It was quite blustery but remained dry so we did OK.
Kenley airfield came in to existence in 1917 but its heyday was in WWII when it was one of the three main fighter stations responsible for the defense of London, alongside Biggin Hill and Croydon and it was extremely active during the Battle of Britain. It was attacked by the Luftwaffe more than once and suffered particularly heavy damage on August 18th 1940 but remained active throughout the war. Fighter Command relinquished the airfield in 1959.
Kenley is still in use as an airfield and is occupied by 615 volunteer gliding squadron. However, as flying activity is limited the heritage aspect of the field is now promoted and access is encouraged, even on to the runways on non flying days. Most of the original blast pens survive although few other buildings remain but information boards are all around the airfield concentrating on the Battle of Britain and the often well known pilots who were based at Kenley at the time.
We walked the whole perimeter track and here are some images from the day.
Just along the road is Whyteleafe and in St Luke's church are several graves of the fallen at or from Kenley airfield including a number of aircraftsmen that died in the attack of 18th August 1940. The section of graves at the back revealed a surprising number of deaths from crash fatalities in the 1920s and 1930s which I guess emphasise the dangers of flight in the early days of military aviation.