Hunsdon Airfield

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Hunsdon Airfield
RAF Hunsdon
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
RAF airfield map.jpg
Air Ministry Map of RAF Hunsdon
IATA: noneICAO: none
Summary
Airport type Disused
Owner Air Ministry
1941−1945
Operator Royal Air Force
1941−1945
Location Hunsdon, Near Ware, Hertfordshire
Elevation AMSL 262 ft / 80 m
Coordinates 51°48′26″N 000°04′16″E / 51.80722°N 0.07111°E / 51.80722; 0.07111Coordinates: 51°48′26″N 000°04′16″E / 51.80722°N 0.07111°E / 51.80722; 0.07111
Map
Hunsdon Airfield is located in Hertfordshire
Hunsdon Airfield
Hunsdon Airfield
Location in Hertfordshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03/21 4,200 1,280 Grass
09/27 5,250 1,600 Disused
08/26 Grass
14/32 Grass

Hunsdon Airfield is a largely defunct airfield near Hunsdon, Hertfordshire and 2.8 miles (4.5 km) north of Harlow, Essex, England. Some flying still takes place at the airfield by a local microlight club.

The airfield was used by the Royal Air Force between 1941 and 1945 under the name of RAF Hunsdon.[1][2]

History[edit]

487 Squadron RAAF

RAF Hunsdon, as Hunsdon Airfield was once known, become operational in 1941. The first unit to arrive at the Airfield (in May 1941) was No. 85 Squadron RAF, flying Boston Havocs.

In June No. 1451 Flight RAF was formed. This experimental unit flew Bostons with searchlights fitted in the nose of the aircraft. This experiment was not successful and the unit was reformed as No. 530 Squadron RAF in September 1942. Numerous Squadrons and Wings used the airfield during its operational life. Hunsdon is most closely associated, however, with the de Havilland Mosquito, which first arrived in 1943.[1]

On 18 February 1944,[1] Mk 4s' from No. 21 Squadron RAF, 464 Squadron (Australia) RAF, and 487 Squadron (New Zealand) RAF which formed No 140 Wing (Wing Commander P C Pickard DSO DFC) carried out Operation Jericho, otherwise known as the Amiens Prison Raid.[3]

The airfield was closed in 1945.

Units based at RAF Hunsdon[edit]

RAF units based here during the Second World War are:[1][4]

Squadron table[edit]

Ensign Squadron Aircraft From To To Notes
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 3 Squadron Hawker Hurricane IIB
Hawker Hurricane IIC
Hawker Typhoon IB
9 August 1941
9 August 1941
February 1943
October 1941
February 1943
14 May 1943
RAF West Malling Detachments at RAF Manston and RAF Shoreham.[5]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 29 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito XIII 19 June 1944 22 February 1945 RAF Colerne.[6] Squadron Code:RO.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 85 Squadron Douglas Boston I
Douglas Boston II
de Havilland Mosquito II
de Havilland Mosquito XV
de Havilland Mosquito XII
3 May 1941
July 1941
August 1942
March 1943
March 1943
November 1941
September 1942
13 May 1943
13 May 1943
13 May 1943
RAF West Malling.[7] Squadron Code:VY.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 107 Squadron Bristol Blenheim IV 3 May 1939 3 March 1941 RAF Leuchars As an detachment from RAF Wattisham.[8]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 285 Squadron Hawker Hurricane IIC
North American Mustang I
4 January 1945
February 1945
20 June 1945 RAF Weston Zoyland As a detachment from RAF North Weald.[9]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 287 Squadron Bristol Blenheim IV
Lockheed Hudson III
Westland Lysander III
Hawker Hurricane I/IIB/IV
Miles Master III
Boulton Paul Defiant I/III
Airspeed Oxford
Miles Martinet
Supermarine Spitfire VB
Bristol Beaufighter VI
Supermarine Spitfire IX
Hawker Tempest V
19 Nov 1941
19 Nov 1941
19 Nov 1941
19 Nov 1941
19 Nov 1941
19 Nov 1941
19 Nov 1941
19 Nov 1941
19 Nov 1941
3 May 1945
3 May 1945
3 May 1945
3 July 1944
3 July 1944
3 July 1944
3 July 1944
3 July 1944
3 July 1944
3 July 1944
3 July 1944
3 July 1944
15 June 1945
15 June 1945
15 June 1945








RAF North Weald


RAF Bradwell Bay
As a detachment from RAF Croydon







As a detachment from RAF Hornchurch.[9]

Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg No. 410 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito II
de Havilland Mosquito XIII
8 November 1943
29 April 1944
30 December 1943
18 June 1944
RAF Castle Camps
RAF Zeals.[10]
Squadron Code:?.
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg No. 442 Squadron North American Mustang III 23 March 1945 17 May 1945 RAF Digby.[11] Squadron Code:?.
Flag of New Zealand.svg No. 487 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito VI 31 December 1943 18 April 1944 RAF Gravesend.[12] Squadron Code:EG.
Flag of New Zealand.svg No. 488 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito XXX 9 October 1944 15 November 1944 B 48/Amiens/Glisy.[12] Squadron Code:ME.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 515 Squadron Boulton Paul Defiant II
Bristol Beaufighter IIF
1 June 1943 15 December 1943 RAF Little Snoring.[13] Squadron Code:?.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 530 Squadron Douglas Boston II (Turbinlite)
Douglas Boston III (Turbinlite)
Hawker Hurricane IIC
8 September 1942 25 January 1943 Disbanded This squadron only used Hunsdon during its timespan.[14]

Brief Stays[edit]

Ensign Squadron Aircraft From To To Notes
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 21 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito VI 31 December 1943 17 April 1944 RAF Gravesend.[15] Squadron Code:YH.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 151 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito XXX 19 November 1944 1 March 1945 RAF Bradwell Bay.[16] Squadron Code:DZ.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 154 Squadron North American Mustang IV 1 March 1945 19 March 1945 Disbanded.[17] Squadron Code:HG.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 219 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito XXX 29 August 1944 10 October 1944 B 48 Amiens/Glisy.[18] Squadron Code:FK.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 264 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito XIII 26 July 1944 11 August 1944 A 8/Picauville.[19] Squadron Code:?.
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg No. 409 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito XXX 1 March 1944 14 May 1944 RAF West Malling.[10] Squadron Code:?.
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg No. 418 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito II
de Havilland Mosquito VI
28 August 1944
November 1944
November 1944
21 November 1944
RAF Blackbushe.[20] Squadron Code:?.
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg No. 441 Squadron Supermarine Spitfire IX 27 April 1945 17 May 1945 RAF Digby.[11] Squadron Code:?.
Flag of Australia.svg No. 464 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito VI 9 April 1944 17 April 1944 RAF Gravesend.[12] Squadron Code:SB.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 501 Squadron Hawker Tempest V 3 March 1945 20 April 1945 Disbanded.[13] Squadron Code:SD.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 605 Squadron Douglas Boston III July 1942 February 1943 RAF Castle Camps As an detachment from RAF Ford.[21]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg No. 611 Squadron North American Mustang IV 3 March 1945 7 May 1945 RAF Peterhead.[22] Squadron Code:FY.

The Airfield today[edit]

Airfield Underground Battle HQ
War Memorial at Hunsdon Airfield

Today only a few original buildings remain of the former RAF Hunsdon. One such building is the Underground Battle Headquarters, which was designed to provide emergency organisation of airfield defenses should the airfield come under attack. Other remaining buildings include defensive pillboxes, a brick slit trench used as a defence position,the fire tender building now used as a store for the shooting club, a complete cantilever 'Oakington' type defence position, 20mm ammunition store, and a Small arms ammunition store. and on Number 3 dispersed site, there are the remains of latrines and air raid shelters, (although these are on Private land and permission to enter must be sought) . The last remaining blister hangar at Hunsdon was demolished in the mid 2000s as it was made unsafe after the 1987 'hurricane'.[citation needed]

Now closed, the original runways and perimeter track are now considerably reduced in size and used mainly by agricultural vehicles.[citation needed]

Hunsdon Microlight Club uses the three grass runways.[23]

All of the remaining buildings at Hunsdon Airfield are no longer accessible due to safety reasons.[citation needed]

On 22 May 2005, a memorial was unveiled and dedicated to the groundcrew, aircrew and support staff who were based at RAF Hunsdon from 1941–45.[24]

In June 2012 a new memorial commemorating the 126 air and ground crew who died while flying from or serving at RAF Hunsdon was unveiled.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "RAF Hunsdon - History". Unknown. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  2. ^ Hitching F & Hitching V. The Royal Air Force at Hunsdon 1941-1945, Published by The Hunsdon Local History and Preservation Society, 1990. ISBN 0-9506633-1-X
  3. ^ "Hunsdon (South Hunsdon)". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Unit information on War Memorial
  5. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 24.
  6. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 34.
  7. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 50.
  8. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 55.
  9. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 83.
  10. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 90.
  11. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 92.
  12. ^ a b c Jefford 1988, p. 94.
  13. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 95.
  14. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 96.
  15. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 31.
  16. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 62.
  17. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 63.
  18. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 72.
  19. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 80.
  20. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 91.
  21. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 99.
  22. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 100.
  23. ^ "Hunsdon Microlight Club". Hunsdon Microlight Club. Retrieved 8 October 2007. 
  24. ^ "RAF Hunsdon Memorial Day 22/5/2005". Hertfordshire Airfields Memorial Group. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6. 

External links[edit]