Royal Air Force Station Biggin Hill


With a section on Mesothelioma in memory of Jill Cracknell

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Aerial View (29K JPG)

Royal Air Force Station, Biggin Hill
Compiled by P.M. Corbell, (Airfield Historical Research Group)
– an Air-Britain Monograph

“What is Biggin Hill? The name has a homely sound, almost rustic, but there are squadrons in the R.A.F. as proud as having fought from here as regiments in the Army are of having “Blenheim” and “Alamein” emblazoned on their colours. In itself Biggin Hill was just a fighter station, not very large by jet-age standards, a rather untidy agglomeration of hangars and huts, offices, barrack blocks and Messes beside an airfield. Some buildings are modern, others bear the scars of war, patches of raw brickwork and the fading patterns of camouflage, but the eyes alone cannot discern the tradition that is Biggin Hill. It lies in dusty files and record and combat reports, in the treasured diaries and in memories of the men, and women too, who have served here.”

That description is taken from the Introduction to the book “Biggin Hill” by Graham Wallace and was written before the airfield was largely deserted by military aeroplanes, and had become better known for its flying club activities. In 1959, with the closing of Croydon, was leased to Surrey Aviation and the south camp was converted into a civil airfield, while the north camp still remains in Service hands.

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The Chapel at Biggin Hill Airfield with the fullsize replica of a Spitfire.
Picture curtsey of Joseph J. Merchant OMB. MUF. To see further pictures or to order your copy of the Biggin Hill Millennium Calender click here

Situated on a plateau on top of the North Downs, Biggin Hill became a household word as long ago as 1943, when the Station and its Sector airfields were the first to claim a thousand enemy aircraft destroyed Even the official veil of secrecy that shrouded the intimate details of Fighter Command operations at the time was laid aside to reveal to the World the claim of Biggin Hill. The event was celebrated by the most spectacular party of the Second World War. Over a thousand guests were invited and the top table was adorned by three large lobsters labelled Hitler, Mussolini and Goebals. Fifty London cabbies insisted on driving the pilots up to Grosvenor House free of charge for this celebration.

Originally Biggin Hill was used for early wireless experiments, but was then established in 1917 as part of the inner patrol zone of the London Air Defence Area. No. 141 Squadron, R.F.C., was posted in with Bristol Fighters, each of which sported a bright red cockerel painted on the fuselage. At this time Zeppelin attacks were falling off, and raids by the German Gotha bombers were increasing. Before the end of World War One Biggin was able to claim at least one of these raiders which was shot down on Harrietsham aerodrome in Kent.

After the war Biggin became the home of the Instrument Design Establishment but this was moved to Farnborough in 1922, and the aerodrome again became concerned with the air defence of England. Concentrated on Biggin Hill were several organisations on major experimental work to perfect our ground defences against air attack. Included in these units were the Army School of Anti-Aircraft Defense and the Searchlight Experimental Establishment,. The R.A.F. posted in No. 56 Squadron, equipped with Snipes and the Night Flying Flight.

Towards the end of of 1927 No. 56 Squadron, now with Siskins, was transferred to North Weald, and two years later the Night Flying Flight, equipped with Vimys also departed, leaving Biggin empty except for a skeleton staff. Reconstruction of the Station began in 1929, and three years later the new buildings and hangars were ready for occupation. Nos. 23 and 32 Squadrons moved in from Kenley equipped with Demons and Bulldogs, respectively. A new unit, the Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Flight was formed at Biggin to give training to the growing number of A.A. sites in the London area. Horsleys were in use at first, but these were replaced by Wallaces.

In December 1936, No. 23 Squadron moved out to Northolt, leaving No. 32 now with the Gauntlets in sole occupation until the newly formed No. 79 Squadron, also with Gauntlets arrived the following year.

The familiar pattern of air displays continued and each Empire Air Day, Biggin was thrown open to the public in much the same way as in the days of the more recent Battle of Britain Displays.

At the time of the Munich crisis, No. 601 (County of London) Auxiliary Squadron, with Demons joined Nos. 32 and 79 Squadrons, but fortunately the immediate crisis passed, and both the regular squadrons were able to re-equip with Hurricanes before World War Two began. When that happened, No. 601 Squadron again returned from Hendon, Its Demons having given way to Blenheim Is.

During the “phoney” war, No. 79 Squadron became the first to claim aircraft when it shot down a Dornier Do 17 on November 2nd, 1939. This was the first of the thousand.

The days of Dunkirk saw feverish activity at Biggin with constant patrols over the beaches by Nos. 242 and 79 Squadrons flying Hurricanes. By the time the Battle of Britain was well under way, Biggin Hill had become a Spitfire station operating with such squadrons as Nos. 92, 72, 74 and 610. Between August 18th, 1940 and January 7th, 1941, the aerodrome was attacked twelve times. On August 18th, KG 76, a Luftwaffe bomber unit, sent in a high level and low level attack with Dornier Do 17s and Junkers Ju 88s, but the main damage was the cratering of the landing ground. In the second of two attacks on August 30th, a small formation of less than a dozen bombers at low level reduced Biggin Hill to a shambles with 1,000 lb. bombs. Workshops, stores, barracks, W.A.A.F. quarters and a hangar were wrecked, and 39 were killed. The next day a high level attack did further extensive damage including a direct hit on the Ops block.

Again, on September lst there were two attacks, the second of which by Dornier Do 17s, hit runways and the Sector Operations Room. The defence teleprinter network was wrecked by a 500 lb. bomb and three members of the W.A.A.F. working on until the last moment received the M.M. for bravery.

Despite the heavy damage the Luftwaffe inflicted on Biggin Hill. it remained operational throughout the whole course of the Battle. For one week however the damage was so severe that only one squadron could operate from it.

The enemy was now turning to night attacks to supplement its dwindling day raids. Into Biggin came No. 141 Squadron with Defiants to continue the task which it had begun twenty-two years earlier. The squadron celebrated its return to Biggin by claiming two Heinkel He llls and a Junkers Ju 88 in two successive nights.

When Spring came the following year, the enemy turned eastwards to Russia instead of renewing the onslaught on the U.K. Released from its defensive role, Fighter Command turned over to the offensive and Festung Europa began receiving daily attention from the R.A.F.

At first of limited scope and size, the air offensive mounted in strength over the next three years. During the summer of 1941 the arrival of the first Spitfire VBs with its two cannon and four machine guns gave a new impetus to the Station’s rapidly mounting score. In August 1942 the combined raid on Dieppe, code-named “Operation Jubilee” was mounted, and the Biggin Wing claimed 15 enemy aircraft destroyed for the loss of only six pilots. The Fw 190, which was more than a match for the Spitfire VB, now in its second summer, appeared in 1942 and caused a temporary setback to our air superiority. The Spitfire IX was the answer and Biggin Hill received its first consignment during August 1942.

Now the tide was running in the R.A.F.’s favour, and the Biggin Hill squadrons were taking part in every type of Fighter Command operation. These consisted of circuses, rhubarbs, rodeos and ramrods, to mention but a few of the code-names involved.

During these three years of continuous front-line fighting the pace at Biggin and its Sector stations, Lympne, Hawkinge, Gravesend and West Malling was hectic. Periodically squadrons had to be withdrawn and rested in quieter sectors. They were replaced by others from the north and west of Britain, some of the pilots of which had already become well-known for their deeds; men like “Sailor” Malan (who became Commanding Officer of Biggin Hill in 1943), Alan Deere, Jamie Rankin, Stanford Tuck, and many others including Allied pilots from Poland, Holland, Belgium and the U.S.A.

On June 13th, 1944, one week after D-Day, the first V1 flying bombs made their debut over England. The close proximity of Biggin Hill to London brought it within the defensive balloon barrage belt and at the end of June the Station had to be evacuated to allow the balloon crews to take over. The airfield lay in “bomb alley” and itself received a number of hits and near misses. In September 1944 however, Station Headquarters returned from Redhill and Biggin Hill again resumed the offensive fighter role, escorting R.A.F. Lancasters and Halifaxes in daylight attacks on Germany.

Biggin Hill also became a Transport Command terminal for services to the various parts of Europe now freed from enemy domination. The first unit to fly from Biggin on transport duties was a detached flight of No. 168 Squadron, R.C.A.F., which operated seven Dakotas on the Mailcan service.

Soon after the end of the war in Europe, Biggin Hill was transferred from the famous No. 11 Group, with whom it had given such sterling service, to No. 46 Group, Transport Command. It now became even busier, and in July 1945, to take one example, 18,463 passengers were landed at the aerodrome from the Continent, many of them in the Dakotas of No. 168 Squadron, R.C.A.F., and No. 314 Squadron, U.S.A.A.F. In December 1945, No. 168 Squadron returned to Canada, being replaced it Biggin Hill by the Dakota of No. 436 Squadron. This was also a R.C.A.F. squadron, and services were flown to such places as Schipol (Amsterdam) Evere (Brussels), Munster and their home base at Down Ampney in Gloucestershire. No 436 Squadron returned to Canada in June 1946.

In August 1946, Biggin Hill was handed to Reserve Command, under whose control it remained until November 1949, when it again reverted to Fighter Command. Two Royal Auxiliary squadrons, Nos. 600 (City of London) and 615 (County of Surrey) reformed at Biggin Hill in 1946 and remained the sole flying units until 1951 when they were joined by a regular squadron, No.41. At first the Auxiliaries flew Spitfires, but both converted to Meteors in 1950, while No. 41 Squadron with Meteors later converted to Hunters.

But the writing was on the wall for Biggin Hill as a fighter station. In March 1957, both Nos. 600 and 615 Squadrons were disbanded in common with all the other Auxiliary Squadrons up and down the country. Then, with the contraction of Fighter Command and the fact that the air space over Biggin was becoming too crowded with airliners flying to and from London Airport, No. 41 Squadron disbanded at Biggin and gave its number plate to No. 141 Squadron at Coltishall in January 1958. Attending the ceremony at Biggin was Group Captain Jamie Rankin who had flown from Biggin in 1940.

This transfer marked the end of an era for Biggin Hill, for it had now been relegated to a non-operational status. The R.A.F., however, still retained the North Camp to house the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre, whilst one of the now demolished post-war black hangars contained a fine collection of World War Two aircraft, including a Junkers Ju 88, Me 109, Me110, FW 190, Heinkel He 111, Fiat CR 42, Vickers Wellington and a Mitsubishi “Dinah” from Japan and a V1 and V2. An annual event in the North Camp was, until the late 1970s, the “Battle of Britain” Open Day, which occurring in September, brought a temporary return of R.A.F. aeroplanes and many thousands of spectators.

chapel.jpg (18132 bytes) The Chapel at Biggin Hill Airfield

The R.A.F finally left Biggin Hill in October 1992, when the Selection Centre moved to RAF Cranwell. Today, the RAF’s 75 year pressenceat Biggin Hill and in particular the 454 allied aircrew who gave their lifes in the Second World War on operations from the Biggin Hill Sector, are commemorated in St George’s Royal Air Force Chapel of Remembrance. The Chapel which is a living church is situated on the Main Road between the cicil air terminal and Biggin Hill village, its entrance flanked by full-scale replicas of a Hurricane and a Spitfire. It was built and dedicated in 1951, replacing the first station church made in 1943 from 3 wartime huts and destroyed by fire in 1946. The present Chapel retains something of the internal appearance of the original church, and has an atmosphere of great tranquility and peace, but it is of course more ornately furnished and has exceptionally fine stained glass windows, designed by Hugh Easton, as well as a number of other interesting artefacts. Some 12000 people visit the chapel each year, and in addition to regular weekly services, special commemorative services are held on Battle of britain Sunday and Remembrance Sunday. The Chapel is open daily from 1000 to 1600 (times vary slightly depending on the day of the week) and visitors are always most welcome. Opening hours can be confirmed on 01959 570353. If you would like to help assure the future of the chapel, details concerning membership of the Friends of St George’s Chapel can also be obtained from the same number.

As already related the south camp was leased to Surrey Aviation Ltd. in 1959 and early that year the Surrey and Kent Flying Club celebrated their arrival at Biggin by holding a breakfast patrol. Biggin Hill’s days as a civil operated aerodrome were about to commence.

One of the first events in the Biggin Hill civil calendar was its fairly intensive use by a considerable proportion of the entrants in the Daily Mail London to Paris Air Race in July 1959. Among the aircraft that filtered through Biggin were a Miles Student, Jet Provost, Cessna 310. Hunter T.66, Spitfire VIII and a Tiger Moth.

When Croydon Airport was finally closed on September 30th most of the operators who had not already made the move flew over Biggin Hill. These included Maitland Air Charters and Air Cour for whom a second hangar was taken into use.

More recently, Biggin Hill has seen a very popular event, Travel Fair, held yearly since 1963. In 1965 the highlight of display was the return of an Avro Lancaster from Australia for preservation in this country.

Today Biggin Hill, as the most popular light aviation centre south of London can boast a collection of thriving lightplane clubs and charter companies, among them being Classair, Surrey and Kent, Flairavia, Vendair, Alluette, Civilair and Air Couriers.

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52 thoughts on “Royal Air Force Station Biggin Hill”

  1. My gran Violet Townsend also worked at the base during WW2. It would be lovely to hear from anyone who has any photos of her.

  2. I lost my father at the beginning of june on the fourth he was 91 and served at biggin hill in 415 squadron in the fifties and would like to give him a mention his name was micheal Stanley raven and his funeral will be on the 14th of july at Guildford crematorium I have come over to biggin hill with him however no longer.

  3. Hi I hope you can help at the weekend we was at biggin hill for the spitfire flight for my dad and we went up in the van and what an amazing sight for us I had my 8yr old son with me and the smile and looks on his face said it all . So we got talking and my mother in law said her father in law was a mechanic there in ww2 and was a spitfire and hurricane mechanic and I would like to find out more or any pics of him and the crew his name was William Pidduck thanks for any help

  4. Just wondered in anyone had any information regarding the crash of a Spitfire on the edge of Sweivlands Road during WW2 please? I used to live in Wood Road (off Upper Drive) and the story I had was that it was man RCAF aircraft with engine trouble trying to land on farmland. Unfortunately it came down short and crashed on a wooden bungalow with everything destroyed in the ensuing fire. Sadly the pilot was lost. It was at least a Mk V Spitfire as it was armed with a mixture of .303 machine guns and 20mm cannon as evidenced by the heat exploded she’ll cases that I used to find on the site as a child? Somewhere I still have a couple of small pieces and it would be nice to find out more.

  5. My father Roy Albert Blackburne was ground crew with 610 (County of Chester) Squadron during the Battle of Britain. Sadly he preferred never to talk about his wartime experiences there and in India and Burma. He left behind lots of photographs and memorabilia which I am now putting into book form. Having done a lot of research into the Battle I have learned so much and have the greatest respect for that generation who we owe so much too.

    1. Thank you for your post Sandra. We do indeed owe so much to that generation. If you would like me to include any photos on the website please any photos on the website please let me know let me know. Regards, Paul

    2. Dear Sandra
      Hope this email finds you and your family well in these uncertain times?
      In reference to a email you registered on the Biggin Hill Website dated 19th October 2019, Glad to hear that you are putting together a book in regards to your late father’s service in the Royal Air Force during WW2.
      I am myself am publishing a new book this year titled The pictorial history of RAF Biggin Hill — 1917 — present.
      I wondered if you had any photographs of No. 610 Squadron which have never been published before? Showing your father and ground-personnel etc. If you would like to contribute to the forthcoming book, you will be of course listed in the Acknowledgements Page and credited under any photographs used. Please contact me either way.
      Sending you my best wishes
      Richard C. Smith

  6. I’ve often wondered when passing the empty disintergrating barracks, if this could be refurbished for ex service men who are may be homeless or in need. Is this possible? What a tribute that would be to the memories of other.

  7. My father Martin Thomson was possibly stationed at Biggin hill in 1946-48. He was a batsman. Wonder if anyone was stationed there at that time, my dad talked about walking the perimeter to a village dance and that there was only one street light from the village to the base. He also mentioned a chapel en route and that a hedge ran along the side of the road but the land dipped behind the hedge. He also mentioned that there was unusual goings on in the base (relating to possible hauntings)!!?
    I have my father’s leaving papers but it doesn’t mention from where.

  8. I am looking for anyone who might know, or have heard of, Avis Sullivan. She was a telephonist at RAF Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain. Any information would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  9. I served with 2600 City of London aux. sqn. from 1954 to 1958 before going into full time service, in all the history of biggin I have seen there has been no mention of this sqn. please could somebody put this right

  10. I have a Spitfire compass to which i was told was from a crashed spitfire at Biggin Hill from 1941. It is in great condition but lives in a box which is a shame. Would the museum be interested in it?

  11. In about September 1941,I was a baby living across the Main road from the Airfield by Saltbox Hill. We were bombed out when a large bomb destroyed the Saltbox Cafe area leaving a huge crater about 40 ft deep and 100 ft wide. My mother and I just escaped into a next door neighbors shelter and according to my mother we just got in about 1 minute ahead of the blast that wrecked our and 2 other adjacent houses. We later in 1946 moved back to the house which was rebuilt and owned by the Nevard Family. Does anyone know any more information on the exact date of that raid as I try to put together a memoir for my kids ?. I went to Cudham Cof E School commonly called Jail Lane up to age 11. I continued to live in Biggin Hill until 1958 until I went into the RAF and later on moved to the USA. I saw a lot of evolution at the Airfield including Harvard Trainers, Spits, Hurricanes, transition to Meteors (Meat boxes as the were commonly called locally) including the 2 terrible crashes at the end of the runway across the main road. Later were the Hawker Hunters and while in the RAF with No 1 Squadron Tangmere we were sent to Biggin Hill to take part in a patrolling exercise. We lost 3 or 4 planes due to fires and mishaps, fortunately no one killed but not very illustrious. My father was an Army Captain involved with AA also at Biggin Hill until we were bombed out the we were housed in Devonshire. I looked at the bombing maps but the do not show the location or dates of the big bomb that just missed us.

  12. my grandfather was stationed there during ww2 his name was george dunn i never met him and trying to find information about him i have never seen a picture of him , that is all the information i have on him any help please email me at
    many thanks martin dunn

    1. I know George Dunn who is now 94 years old.He served in Bomber Command and flew 43 missions and was awarded the D.F.C for the mission to Peenamunde. He is still remarkably active today and still attends Bomber Command Events .
      Probably a co-incidence!George never served in Fighter Command to my knowledge and was never at Biggin Hill.

  13. Many years ago I was given a Spitfire propeller blade which was presented to the wartime manageress of the NAAFI at Biggin Hill , when she retired, I would love to put a name to this lady. If anyone has any information I would be very grateful.

  14. Hello
    Thank you for a very interesting website.

    My father Bertie Brain was posted to Biggin Hill in 1949/50 and ran the Link Trainer section for four years or so . The link was in a very solid box of a building which is still there just behind the Chapel.

    I would love to know if anyone recalls this period. I can recall some events very vividly including some meteor crashes (for example I was in the school bus that a meteor almost hit when failing to get airborne)

    Please get in touch

  15. My uncle, 113797 Victor Albert Lane Wren, was one of the 39 killed on the 30 August, 1940. Are you able to tell me please if his name appears on a memorial anywhere? Thanks in anticipation.

    1. Dear Derek
      Your uncles name is not on the Reredos (Roll of Honour) at St.Georges Chapel Biggin Hill.He is remembered with Honour at Ilford Cemetery I hope this may be of interest if you can give me any information or a picture of him I would be very pleased
      Laurie Chester. Custodian at the R.A.F For the last 20 Years but now retired but still very interested in the people who served at B H

      1. Sorry, I have no pictures of my uncle, Victor Albert Lane Wren, I was only nine years old when he was killed.

    2. I am doing some research for the New Memorial Museum that is being built at Biggin Hill. It is due to open in November 2018. Your uncle’s name has cropped up in may research, hence this reply. I haven’t seen any memorial to those who were killed in this incident. We are hoping to have some sort of recognition of all those who were killed on Biggin Hill during the war. In the meantime you may wish to refer to Bob Ogley’s book ‘Ghosts of Biggin Hill’ pages 121 to 126.

    3. Derek
      There is no memorial to the 39 people killed on the 30 August 1940 at Biggin Hill. In case you don’t know your uncle is remembered with honour at ILford Barkingside cemetery
      Laurie Chester

  16. Hi my father Russell Smith “Rusty” was stationed at Biggin Hill 1953 to 1956, it was there that he met my mother Yvonne Crippen who worked in a cafe near the base. They married in 1956 and on the 26th May 2016 will be celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary. I am wondering if there is anyone out there that served with him or any one who has any photos of the time. thanks here hoping it would be a great surpise for them

    1. My dad was at biggin hill 1951 to 1955. His name was John Atwill. He was chief engineer/mechanic. Would love photo of the men who worked with him. Jill

  17. I spent four very happy years stationed at Biggin Hill, working in the Aptitude Testing Section of OASC from 1964. It was always a lovely station, evoking many nostalgic memories of it’s past history and the twice yearly airshows were great fun to be part of, with a ringside seat. Quite dismayed when the Station finally closed it’s gates and visiting the site now it looks just as though the gates were locked yesterday. The buildings, mess and barrack blocks look the same, simply a little forlorn. Whilst that might be a sad thing, it still has the ability somehow to engender an air of mystery and nostalgia.

    1. Gentlemen, I slot in quite comfortably between you both having served in Aptitude for one of the happiest & proudest years in my RAF career in 1981-1982, J/T Veale (RAF rtd)!

    2. Hi, I worked on the medical board between, 1968/1969, and 1971. I was at RAF Muharraq between those dates then to RAF Hospital Cosford after.

    3. Hi, I worked on the medical board between, 1968/1969, and 1971. I was at RAF Muharraq between those dates then to RAF Hospital Cosford after. Oh and I served in the Medical centre.

  18. Hi an interesting history. Little known is the fact that in about 1949/50 Biggin Hill was for a while home to one or more units of the USAF Strategic Air Command (SAC) bomber force which was based there on temporary (TDY) duty rotation(s) from their base(s) in the States. I have a vivid memory as a toddler living in Petts Wood and seeing three extremely low flying B-29s on one occasion. I did not dream this and have seen the most cursory reference in print and I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has information on this period of Biggin’s history.

    1. I have published my autobiography after spending 53 years on R.A.F.Biggin Hill and later Biggin Hill Airport. My first visit to Biggin Hill was in 1951 and then attached to the R.Aux.A.F. 1954 -1957. Part 1 of this publication covers the unwritten history, the transition from a military to civil use. Available from Amazon “Biggin Hill Airfield Beyond the Bump 1”

      1. Biggin Hill on the Bump is a great book to read, actually Joe has written a second book also. for any one interested in a good read I recommend this book.

  19. Unfortunately the Blackhawk was never reengined or upgadred, as requested many years ago.DMO promised the MRH90. Underpowered for Afghanistan.Note Huey 2 being used extensively by US State Department as well as upgadred S61.Also Turbo Caribou.Obviously such elegant and cost effective solutions are alien to those who frequent Russel Hilland dream of their bloated taxpayer retirement package.

  20. I am dismayed to find no mention of 23 Squadren moving from Biggin to Coltishall Norfolk in 1957. As I was with the Squadren at that time and 41 Squadren seems to have inherited our history.

    1. My late father, Laurence Francis Henry Rudyard was seconded to B H during the war for bomb damage repair(runways). He was a surveyor with the local authority. Has anyone any record of this? Keith rudyard

  21. My mother was a plotter for the Spitfire at Biggin Hill during the 2nd World War. I was wondering if there might be any photographs or even a veterans association for her age group which she might contact to chat about old times. She is now 95 years old. She was known as Ethel Baker when at Biggin Hill.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Lorraine

      My mother – Miss Clare Keating – died shortly after the war. But she was a radio operator at Biggin Hill feeding your mother’s plotting data to the pilots on route to engage incoming bombers. Do you or your mother have any idea how one might dig up staff documents and photos from the war years?

    2. Hi Lorraine, have only just found your blog on the Biggin hill site.
      Hoping it is not to late but my mother was a plotter at Biggin for some time. Her name was Megan Richards and was trained at Kimmel Park ( I believe that the spelling is correct ) .
      I presume your mother was trained there also. I have a group photo of the entire group I could send you, perhaps ther may be a few familiar faces among them.
      David Young

    3. Hi Lorraine,
      My mother who died in 2005 at age 85 was also a plotter at RAF Biggin Hill, but she was there during the Battle of Britain and lived through a dozen bombings, if not more. After Hitler turned to Russia the bombing slowed up and everyone could breathe a bit easier. She went on to cipher school, became an officer and ended her war service at the end of November, 1942, married, pregnant and unable to fit into her suit any longer. At that point she was the senior WAAF officer in charge of the 250-WAAF contingent at RAF Wigtown in Scotland where she met her future Canadian husband the first day of arrival. She my brother and I arrived in Canada on March 23rd, 1945 under the Warbride Program to be reunited with my father who had returned to Canada in June of 1944 on compassionate leave to visit a dying mother. He was grounded due to his eyesight so did not get back to his family in Harrogate since they were only sending occasional pilots over at that point. He ended the war as Station Adjutant (commanding) No. 10 Early Flying Training School at Pendleton, Ontario outside of Ottawa, my first home as a baby in Canada. When you see the destroyed Ops Building photo from Biggin Hill in 1940, my mother then known as Patty Leonard, survived a direct hit of the bomb that destroyed the building that day in 1940.

  22. I bought the book of 141 pilot signatures from WW 2 taken by RAF steward the Rexene covering the book was cut by Douglas Bader from one missed years many signatures DFCs, including Stanford Tuck, who has 2 DFC’s. Due to my disability gained as a fireman 34 years ago +2 years of ill-health. I have been unable to display them as I would like and am considering selling I had suggested to RAF Fairford would they like to bring them up as I lived close by. They said they are too valuable to be left unattended? Perhaps in an email me if you have any ideas as the 75th anniversary. He’s been taken in 1940/41

  23. My husband died of a massive heart attach on May 9th 2014 he was a member of the Allowet flying club in the 1970 and many a week end I would sit on the grass watching him practice his landings with his friend Peter Wayne.

    Life has not been good as I was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in November 2013 which has jumped to my bones and spine. I have Bernard’s ashes in my bedroom and I was making enquires if you have plot’s to scatter his ashes in the Chapel ground or a plot to bury an urn.
    Bernard loved to fly and I thought if this was possible I would feel he was in a very happy and fulfilling place which I need to complete so my daughters do not have to deal with both of us.

    Many thanks
    Pauline Davis

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    I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope that we can team up together to provide more quality resources for the users of your website.

    Chelsea Montanaro

      1. Thought you’d like to know my father Bernard (Brookie) Brookes was the chef at Biggin Hill in the Mess and made the wonderful cake to celebrate the 1000th kill mentioned in the article. I still have an original menu for the dinner signed by many of the pilots who attended. Dad met my mother, Eileen in the kitchens there and spent 35 happy years together up to his death in 1980. Mum is still alive and well in Bournemouth and will be 91 in June. Happy to discuss if you are interested. Dave Brookes. MOD employee of 39 tears now at MOD Corsham, Wilts. 07833 192505/01225 719609

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