Lashenden (Headcorn) Airfield
|Lashenden (Headcorn) Airfield
Royal Air Force Lashenden
USAAF Station AAF-410
|Lashenden ALG airfield, August 1947 about two years after being closed. The reclamation by farmland is well underway with almost the entire airfield being restored to agriculture.|
|IATA: none – ICAO: EGKH|
|Operator||Mr. J.P.A. Freeman|
|Elevation AMSL||70 ft / 21 m|
|Sources: UK AIP at NATS|
Opened in 1943 during the Second World War, RAF Lashenden became a prototype for the temporary Advanced Landing Ground airfields that were built in France after D-Day, when the need for advanced landing fields became urgent as the Allied forces moved east across France and Germany. RAF Lashenden was used by the British Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and United States Army Air Forces before closing in September 1945.
After the war, the airfield reverted to farmland until, with the resurgence of interest in civil aviation in the 1950s, the current private grass airfield was opened.
Headcorn Aerodrome was first used for general aviation in 1927 when the local landowner flew with a group of friends.
The USAAF Ninth Air Force required several temporary Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) along the channel coast prior to the June 1944 Normandy Landings to provide tactical air support for the ground forces landing in France.
Lashenden was known as USAAF Station AAF-410 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location.
354th Fighter Group
On 17 April 1944 the 354th Fighter Group arrived at Lashenden from RAF Boxted, from where the group had already achieved fame for introducing the Rolls-Royce Merlin-engined North American Aviation P-51 Mustang into combat. Its combat squadrons were:
The 354th group headquarters left Lashenden for Cricqueville-en-Bessin, France (ALG A-2) on 13 June. The main party moved on 17 June, although the group's P-51s continued to return to Lashenden throughout the following week.
The departure of the Americans to France not only terminated Lashenden's association with Ninth Air Force flying units, but also its use as an airfield.
With the facility released from military control, farming resumed in 1945 but this was not the end of the land's association with aircraft. In the late 1960s, the landowners started using part of the former wartime east-west runway site adjacent to the A274, for private flying. A grass airstrip was built aligned 10/28 with a grass parking area for light aircraft. This led to the formation of Weald Air Services Limited, a small charter company, and later a flying school was set up and the airfield that became a busy center for light flying in the area.
Additionally, a small museum of aviation relics was established on the site, the Lashenden Air Warfare Museum.
The airfield is host to Headcorn Parachute Club, the only skydiving club in Kent. The club operates seven days a week during the summer months - it is closed on Mondays in the winter. The club operates a piston Britten-Norman Islander and a Cessna Caravan and regularly flies to altitudes between 10,000 and 12,000 ft (3,000 and 3,700 m) AGL. The club welcomes experienced parachutists and also offers introductory training (tandem, static line/RAPs and AFF). The club is home to national champions and world-record holders.
- Lashenden/Headcorn - EGKH
- "The Club's History". The Tiger Club. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
- Civil Aviation Authority Aerodrome Ordinary Licences
- Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now 1994. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-80-0
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present
- British Automobile Association (AA), (1978), Complete Atlas of Britain, ISBN 0-86145-005-1
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Headcorn Aerodrome.|
- Photographs of Lashenden (Headcorn) Airfield from the Geograph British Isles project
- Headcorn Parachute Club