On 23rd May, 1942, two pilots were injured, as well as one precious Spitfire lost and another damaged in an awful friendly fire incident involving Kenley's Canadian 402 Squadron and 91 Squadron from Hawkinge.
On 28th July, 1943, Squadron Leader 'Buck' McNair of 421 squadron, RCAF, escaped with his life when the engine of his Spitfire failed, forcing him to ditch in Channel. However, the injury he sustained that day eventually ended his flying career, though he kept it secret and returned to flying in combat within a month...
On 21st March, 1943, No.403 squadron, RCAF, attended a short church service in their dispersal hut at RAF Kenley.
RAF Kenley is more commonly known for its role in the Battle of Britain or the Canadian Wing, under “Johnnie” Johnson, but it also featured heavily in the Battle of France. Between 10 May and 25 June 1940 eight squadrons, or parts thereof, were based at Kenley.
Following their departure from Kenley on 21 April 1941, 615 Squadron continued to operate the Hawker Hurricane as their mount on travels to Wales, Kent and finally India. Stationed at Alipore, near Calcutta (Kolkata), it was not until 30 September 1943 that they began swapping their Hurricane IIs for Spitfire Vs.
Kenley was never set up to accommodate large aircraft but we know from the Station diary, that there was the odd occasion when damaged bombers did land there in desperation as they limped home from raids over the Continent.
This letter dated 20th July 1945, was sent to Flight Sergeant "Pat" Glover by Petrus "Dutch" Hugo, who had risen up the ranks since the two had been stationed together at Kenley during the Battle of Britain.
A love letter with a difference from Kenley's best-known Wing Leader - James Edgar 'Johnnie' Johnson - the RAF's top-scoring fighter pilot of World War II.
on 4th September, 1941, G-AAVB, a de Havilland DH80a Puss Moth attempted to land in a crosswind at Kenley. It swung on landing and was damaged beyond repair, although the pilot escaped unhurt. This little aircraft had an interesting history.
One of Maidstone's most tragic wartime incidents happened on 10th October 1940, when a Kenley Hurricane, of No.253 squadron, crashed into houses in Albion Place.
On 29th April, 1942, R.A.F. Kenley received an unpublicised visit from King George VI, accompanied by Sir Sholto Douglas. He ...
On Friday 14th October, 1939, Leslie Victor Knights (30), his wife Queenie Hilda Mary Knights (28),and their two children John (5) and Doris Jeanette (14 months), were found dead from gas poisoning at their home at Parkway, Addington. The chain of events which led to this tragedy had begun with the seemingly trivial matter of a wrongly addressed letter..
"My number three man called that he was going down and I saw him bale out"
On 31st May, 1942, 485 New Zealand Squadron lost two pilots after combat with FW190's. Flight Sergeant Stan Browne and Flight Lieutenant Matthew "Garry" Barnett both baled out in the Abbeville area but made it back to England despite being captured!
10 August 1944 would be the blackest day for 615 Squadron and not due to enemy action...
After a period of intense action at Kenley during the summer of 1940, 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron were posted north to Prestwick to rest and re-group. While their memories of their time in Scotland were mostly happy, some of them witnessed a horrific accident which left an indelible mark on them.
Kenley is well known for the presence of its Canadian Wing formed in September 1942, later becoming 127 Wing, under ...
Squadron Leader MacDonell's memories of a poignant moment for the prisoners of Stalag Luft III.
We are indebted to Peter Parsons for sending in the information he has about his Father's service with 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron, much of which comes from Jack's Service file and a letter written to him in 1999 by Vic Milner, who served alongside Jack on 615's ground crew.
In August 2019, we were visited by the family of Flight Sergeant William George Rose, who served in RAF Kenley’s ...
On 10th May 1940, Germany attacked the Low Countries and what became known as ‘The Blitzkrieg’ was on. That morning No.3 Squadron's pilots were at their base at RAF Kenley. The day was bright and clear although the early morning peace had been disturbed when a section of Hurricanes had been scrambled to investigate an unidentified aircraft approaching the coast.
The International Bomber Command Centre have kindly allowed us to reproduce this extract from Arthur John Ball's memoir which relates to the author's time serving at Kenley soon after completing his RAF basic training
On 13th July, 1943, a routine Fighter sweep for 403 squadron came to a disastrous conclusion for F/O James Ian ...
‘On 27th August, 1943, Flying Officer Livingston ‘Cap’ Foster, of No.403 squadron RCAF, crash landed near Manston, without sustaining serious ...