We met up at the War Memorial on the airfield and were guided around by Linda who had a plethora of images taken of the airfield over the decades. She was ably assisted by Alan, Tony and Neil who were all very knowledgeable about the history of the site and each had their expertise in differing areas.
The airfield was heavily involved in the Battle of Britain.
Douglas Bader was based at Kenley and is famous for losing both his legs in a plane crash but he went back to fly many successful missions.
We were shown the E shaped blast pens which were designed and built to deflect the blast of German bombs away from the aircraft, and some of these are still intact from when they were originally built.
One of the most terrible onslaughts at the airfield was at lunchtime on Sunday 18th August 1940 when 9 low flying German planes attacked the airfield. There was total devastation but 4 of the attacking planes were brought down, 2 crashed and the other 3 were badly damaged.
Kenley is identified by English Heritage as “The most complete fighter airfield associated with the Battle of Britain to have survived”.
The airfield is now used by gliders for enjoyment and also for training.
We are organising a return visit next year to include refreshments in the RAFA.
We are delighted to welcome Christa Emmett as our new Surrey Hills Society Volunteer Coordinator which has been made possible by 2 years funding through the Trust Fund, the Community Foundation for Surrey and the AONB Board.
Christa will be working with local charities and other community groups to facilitate voluntary conservation activity in the Surrey Hills. She will be providing advice and support to parish councils and community groups in the Surrey Hills AONB to take practical action to implement and maintain conservation projects supporting the Society with fundraising.
Christa will also be ensuring effective communication and coordination of programmes with partners. She will be working in close cooperation with Surrey Wildlife Trust.
Christa says ” I am really excited to join the Surrey Hills family. My background is in ecology and conservation, however, I also have a fair bit of experience working with young people. Having grown up in the Surrey Hills, I am passionate about protecting this beautiful area and what it provides for both people and nature.
I hope I can use my experience to bring together volunteers, landowners, parish councils and other community groups to protect and enhance our local biodiversity. There are a range of exciting projects in the pipeline and I am eager to meet the large voluntary community of the Surrey Hills, to make these projects come to life.”
Gordon Jackson says “This is a new post within the Society and represents an exciting opportunity to develop the Into the Wild concepts that the Society has been supporting over recent years. All the evidence now shows that enabliing people to work in and enjoy the countryside is massively beneficial to mental and physical health. Christa brings special expertise which will enable us to take the Society forward and to work on important projects that will enhance the Surrey Hills.”