Many of Britain’s airfields have hung on desperately to a small corner of history. Hawkinge is sadly one of those that has been buried deep beneath housing, schools and shops. Sadly, one of England’s most historic airfields, has finally been defeated not by Goring’s Luftwaffe, but by local planners.
Hawkinge was at the forefront of the Battle of Britain, it was repeatedly attacked by the bombers of the Luftwaffe. Because of its location, just minutes from France, crews would often have little warning and would have to take to the sky unprepared. Many returning aircraft would use its runways as a safe haven returning battle damaged and weary; Hawkinge fire crews were some of the busiest Britain was to have. It was used as a transport depot in the First World War, became a mecca for international pilots, saw some of the first ‘drones’ and was used in the filming of the 1969 film ‘The Battle of Britain’.
Today a small museum, utilises what’s left of the original buildings whilst housing creeps like poison ivy, ever further across the airfield.
The nearby cemetery is home to not only RAF pilots but also fallen Luftwaffe crews, ironically remaining in the land they tried to take all those years ago.
As part of a second aviation trail around historic Kent, Hawkinge is a must for any follower of history, aviation or the Battle Of Britain.
See the full story and Kent’s second trail here.