Stories

Keep up to date with history...

Stories

The Diary of Sergeant Wladyslaw Mordasiewicz

Sergeant Wladyslaw Mordasiewicz was a Polish serviceman who served in the 302 Polish Fighter Squadron during the Second World War. In 1941, 302 Squadron was stationed at RAF Kenley for five months, where Sergeant Mordasiewicz served as an office orderly from 7 April to 5 September.  Despite only a short stay, he was able to recount in his diary some notable and interesting occurrences during his time at Kenley. Sergeant Wladyslaw Mordasiewicz (photograph courtesy of Krzysztof Mordasiewicz) Sergeant Mordasiewicz travelled to many RAF bases with 302 Squadron, beginning with Leconfield in Yorkshire, followed by, in order of arrival: Northholt, Tangmere, Kenley,…

Continue reading

Stories

ATTACK ALARM – Hammond Innes’s portrait of Kenley’s Hardest Day

Attack Alarm is an espionage novel written by author Hammond Innes, who was stationed at Kenley as an anti-aircraft gunner during the Battle of Britain. Not a great deal is known about Innes’s service in the Royal Artillery between 1940-1946, but his book written and published during the war offers an invaluable and detailed account based on his time at Kenley, most notably the devastating attack on 18 August 1940, Kenley’s Hardest Day. ‘Attack Alarm’ by Hammond Innes Hammond Innes was born further south from Kenley, in Horsham, Sussex, in 1913. He began his career as a journalist writing for…

Continue reading

Stories

Kenley’s First Wartime Christmas.

Here is the entry in RAF Kenley’s Operations Record Book ** for the first wartime Christmas Day of 1939: 25.12.39 State of the weather Mainly cloudy at first, with cloud between 5,000 and 6,000 ft. gradually lowering. Sky obscured by fog from midday onwards.  Visibility moderate at first, fog developing from 0900 hours onwards.  Very little wind all day. General The first Christmas Day of the war. Everyone’s thoughts naturally turned to the question of how many Christmas days would pass before the war finished. Weather was cheerless. A very successful Christmas dinner held by the airmen in the Institute…

Continue reading

Stories

An unexpected guest at dinner – June 1927

Due to its proximity to London, RAF Kenley received many famous visitors over the years. Possibly none more so than the 25 year-old Charles A. Lindbergh in June 1927, following an epic 33½ hour first solo crossing of the Atlantic from New York to Paris in his aircraft the Spirit of St Louis. Lindbergh’s plane After touching down at Le Bourget aerodrome in Paris on 21 May 1927, he was feted for a week like a film star. On 30 May, at the invitation of King George V, Lindbergh flew his fabric-covered Spirit of St Louis to England. Dr. George…

Continue reading

Stories

#kenleyremembers

To commemorate Remembrance Sunday Kenley Revival Project have worked with a member the Kenley Airfield Friends Group to create info graphics detailing the lives of 7 Kenley pilots who served during the Battle of Britain and their service as a symbol of lives lost in conflict. This will be shared on our social media accounts and on our website from Monday 7th November until the commemoration event on the airfield on Sunday 13th November. These will be released at 11am Monday-Sunday on our social media accounts and in our ‘stories’ section of the website.

Continue reading

Stories

A poppy for The Few

After the busy events of last year’s 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Kenley Aerodrome, we find ourselves once again preparing to gather around St Luke’s Church for Remembrance Sunday, falling this year on 13 November. It’s also that time of year when we remember those who served their country by making a donation for a poppy. The Poppy Appeal marks the beginning of annual Remembrance events, starting slightly earlier, on the 27 October. So as we begin to wear our poppies to commemorate the 76th anniversary of The Few and all who served in the Armed Forces,…

Continue reading

Stories

Kenley pilots remembered at St. Luke’s

There’s a small church to the east of Kenley aerodrome in the village of Whyteleafe – St Luke’s. A quintessential English parish church, its connection with RAF Kenley is a sad but nonetheless proud one, for its beautiful graveyard is home to a spot called “Airmen’s Corner”. Flight Lieutenant Felix Woollard’s grave at St. Luke’s Here lie the bodies of 37 airmen from WW2. And as a grim reminder that in its early days flying was inherently dangerous, there are also the graves of 18 young pilots who, in training for war, lost their lives in flying accidents at and…

Continue reading

Stories

Local artist depicts 1940 bombing

Graphic artist Simon Grant recollects one of his earliest memories was of his father pointing out a Spitfire fighter when they drove past Victor Beamish Avenue, the main entrance to RAF Kenley. The Spitfire, a ‘gate guardian’, had been used about ten years earlier in the movie Reach for the Sky filmed on and around Kenley aerodrome in 1955-56. ‘Another Day Begins’ by Simon Grant Simon is currently the creative director at RLH Advertising and Marketing in Surbiton. Born at Redhill hospital in 1960, as a child he lived in nearby Whyteleafe Road and grew up with stories from WW2…

Continue reading

Stories

Does anyone remember Kenley?

Are there any memories left of this long-abandoned WW2 RAF fighter aerodrome? Now a haven for a gliding club, dog walkers, cyclists and joggers Kenley, England’s best preserved Battle of Britain airfield, lies on the southern border of London and the Surrey countryside. During the Battle of Britain in 1940 RAF Kenley was a key Sector station controlling Biggin Hill and Croydon a few miles to the east and west respectively. It’s a highly evocative place, with WW2 concrete runways and perimeter taxiway still intact as are many E-type aircraft revetments. Built on a former golf course and common land in…

Continue reading

Stories

My Path to a Battle: Childhood Memories of RAF Kenley

The paths of my contribution to The War began on 14th May 1927 – just a couple of weeks before Charles Lindbergh set the magic air alight when he flew over my nearby pram at Purley to land in front of the exited crowds awaiting his tumultuous arrival at Croydon Airport. His world stirring ‘Spirit of St Louis’ had quite providentially arrived on the very doorstep of my part of Surrey. Flying was really sensational in the 1920s and thirties and the ‘Spirit’ had entered into many peoples’ hearts and minds – and which was to rub off on me…

Continue reading