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Historic England Research Records

London Manston Airport

Hob Uid: 1402686
Location :
Kent
Thanet
Monkton, Minster, Acol, Manston
Grid Ref : TR3300066200
Summary : A former military airfield used in both World Wars and the Post-War period. It was first opened in 1916. During World War Two the airfield was used in the Battle of Britain as a fighter airfield by 11 Group Number 604 and 600 Squadrons. By 1944 the airfield had a single very broad 3000 yard long runway with dispersals and hardstandings to the north side. There were reused World War One hangers and Blister type aircraft hangars, the fate of these is unknown. A World War Two decontamination centre is still extant. At least part of the accommodation for personnel was semi permanent in nature. From 1969 to 1999 part of the airfield was run by civilian airlines. The site now houses two adjacent museums, the Manston History Museum and the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Building, run by the MoD. The former museum was established in what was the airfield's Motor Transport Section's garage, in 1997. The Memorial building was purpose built. The RAF station closed in 1999 but the airfield continued to be used for further flying as a civilian airport.
More information : Manston Airfield: the NGR given in the Holliss and Willis gazatteer is incorrect (TR 332 599 sic). By 1944 the airfield had a single 3000 yard long runway with dispersals and hardstandings to the north side. There were World War One portable Callander hangers and Blister type aicraft hangars. At least part of the accomodation for personnel was semi permanent in nature. (1)

The correct NGR for the approximate centre of Manston Aerodrome is TR 330 660 (NAT). (2)

During the Battle of Britain Manston Aerodrome was used by RAF 11 Group Squadrons Numbers 604 and 600. (3)

The airfield was first opened in 1916 as a Naval Air Station. In the interwar years the airfield was used to train airmen. The long World War Two runway was also particularly broad so as to facilitate the landing of damaged aircraft returning from operations over the continent. In 1944 the airfield was used by the first jet fighters to combat flying bombs. From 1950 to 1958 there was an American military presence at the airfield. From 1969 to 1999 part of the airfield was run by civilian airlines. The site now houses two adjacent museums, the Manston History Museum and the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Building, run by the MoD. The former museum was established in what was the airfield's Motor Transport Section's garage, in 1997. The Memorial building was purpose built. The RAF station closed in 1999 but the airfield continued to be used for further flying as a civilian airport. (4)

The RAF station's decontamination centre is extant and in good condition. The website "Underground Kent" contains external and internal photographs of the building. (5)

For details of Manston's WWII role as an emergency runway for RAF Bomber Command see Mike Osborn's article in Airfield Review No 82. The site was chosen for this role in preference to a potential (unidentified) location near Canterbury. (6)

Summary in Gazetteer. (7)

For a detailed description of the site including plans, photographs and details on the squadrons which used the military airfield please refer to the source. (8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Military airfields in the British Isles 1939-1945
Source details :
Page(s) : 134
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:10000, 1975
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Source Number : 3
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : MoD, Deltaweb. 2000. "Battle of Britain"; http://www.raf.mod.uk/bob1940/html; accessed 08-SEP-2004.
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Figs. :
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Source Number : 4
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : MoD. Undated. "RAF Marston History Museum" http://www.rafmanston.co.uk/history.html; accessed-08-SEP-2004.
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Source Number : 5
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Barry Sewart. 2002. "Underground Kent"; http://undergroundkent.co.uk/raf_manston_desontamination_area.htm; upated 25-AUG-2004. Accessed 08-SEP-2004
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Source Number : 6
Source : Airfield review
Source details :
Page(s) : 24-35
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 82, 1999
Source Number : 7
Source : Kent's Defence Heritage
Source details : Gazetteer Part 2: KD209
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : THE MILITARY AIRFIELDS OF BRITAIN; SOUTHERN ENGLAND, KENT, HAMPSHIRE, SURREY AND SUSSEX
Source details :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : World War I from 1916
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1916
Monument Type : Military Airfield
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : World War II
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Military Airfield, Aircraft Hangar, Blister Aircraft Hangar, Garage, Decontamination Building
Evidence : Structure, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : 1969-1999 part civilian
Monument End Date : 1999
Monument Start Date : 1969
Monument Type : Military Airfield, Airfield
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : New use 1997
Monument End Date : 1997
Monument Start Date : 1997
Monument Type : Museum
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : 1999 Civilian Airport
Monument End Date : 1999
Monument Start Date : 1999
Monument Type : Airport
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TR 36 NW 238
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1413779
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1413716
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1465070
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1413716
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, NHPP: WORLD WAR II TEMPORARY AIRFIELDS
Activity type : THEMATIC SURVEY
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31