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Historic England Research Records

Thorney Island Airfield

Hob Uid: 1430956
Location :
West Sussex
Chichester
West Thorney
Grid Ref : SU7590002600
Summary : Thorney Island Airfield was a former military airfield opened in 1938 and used during World War Two. It is now Baker Army Barracks. The wartime airfield consisted of three concrete runways, equipped with aircraft hangars of Type C and Blister designs. By 1944 there was permanent accommodation for 3636 male and 508 female personnel. In the Battle of Britain it was used by fighter aircraft of 236 Squadron of 11 Group, Royal Air Force: this was the most heavily engaged Group in the battle. Its later wartime role was as an operational airfield for Royal Air Force Coastal Command. During World War Two the island was protected by both military defences (see linked records 1418406, 1418407, 1426484 and 1419548) and a sea wall (see 1426483). There was also a dummy airfield (bombing decoy) at West Wittering to draw enemy fire away from Thorney Island Airfield. Flying at the airfield ceased in 1975, and the site became a naval base and from at least 1985 a barracks for the Royal Artillery (Baker Barracks). The airfield now lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty (AONB).
More information : Thorney Island Airfield, Hampshire (sic- it is in West Sussex), SU 762 025. A former military airfield opened in 1938 and used during World War Two. It is situated on Thorney Island. The wartime airfield consisted of three concrete runways, equipped with aircraft hangars of Type C and Blister designs. By 1944 there was permanent accommodation for 3636 male and 508 female personneI. Its wartime role was as an operational airfield for Royal Air Force Coastal Command. In 1985 the site was used as an Army barracks. (1)

During World War Two the island was protected by both military defences and a sea wall. There was a dummy airfield (bombing decoy) at West Wittering to draw enemy fire away from Thorney Island Airfield. Flying ceased in 1975, the site became a naval base then a barracks for the Royal Artillery. The airfield now lies within an Area of Oustanding Natural beauty (AONB). (2)

During the Battle of Britain, RAF Thorney Island was part of 11 Group. It was the base for fighter aircraft of 236 Squadron, from 4th July 1940. (3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Military airfields in the British Isles 1939-1945
Source details :
Page(s) : 196
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Chichester Harbour Conservancy 2005 "Chichester Harbour ANOB"; http://www.conservancy.co.uk; accessed 05-JUL-2005
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Royal Air Force, Crown Copyright 2005 'Battle of Britain: 11 Group'. <> [Accessed 09-JUL-2010]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Opened 1938
Monument End Date : 1938
Monument Start Date : 1938
Monument Type : Military Airfield
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : 1975 to Navy
Monument End Date : 1975
Monument Start Date : 1975
Monument Type : Military Base
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Flying ceases 1975
Monument End Date : 1975
Monument Start Date : 1975
Monument Type : Military Airfield
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Army from at least 1985
Monument End Date : 1985
Monument Start Date : 1985
Monument Type : Barracks
Evidence : Extant Building
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 (Type C), Blister Aircraft Hangar
Evidence : Structure, Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0004509
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 70 SE 73
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1426483
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1465098
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1426484
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1418406
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1418407
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, THE DEFENCE OF BRITAIN PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-04-01
End Date : 2002-03-01