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Thread: West Malling

  1. #1
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    Default West Malling

    Hi guys..

    I have a very keen interest in RAF West Malling so will be adding pics and bits about the airfield, its history and remains...Although the site is now a business and residential area there are still quite a few bits of the old airfield here....and im always looking for more!

    Be great to find out what you all know as well. Im lucky to be friends with local historian Robin Brooks who has wrote books on many airfields and his help has been invaluable

    I hope you will like my pics etc when I upload them..

    Lee

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    Soz I havent got round to adding anything yet...work has got in the way..How rude lol lol! I will def be adding my pics and bits on my next days off!
    I have lived this way or about 4 years now and have researched this site as much as possible. I believe ( with the help of Robin...old maps/books etc etc) that I have located all the remaining buildings/ pilboxes etc. I am chasing up a lead that there is a massive underground shelter in the area as well that is on a site where some 'travellers' live! I also have quite a few paranormal/ghostie type incidents as well that I will add if you like? Lee

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    lee999,

    My late father was based, for a short time at West Malling wit 96 Sqn!

    Chris

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    Guys,

    Here is the first of my pics here at the Former RAF West Malling...The control tower!! Dating from 1942 this is one of the best examples of art deco towers remaining...and is now thankfully ,grade 2 listed! It has only been in the last couple of yrs that the windows have been boarded up and it stands proud amongst the housing development here.
    As for the towers future....To start with numerous people tried to get the tower turned into a museum ( fab idea) but that sadly never happened. Since then a local 'bar/restaurant' has submitted planning applications for it to be turned into a bistro...then a deli and private residence....all declined so far! When I find out more ill update you all!
    Anyways..I was lucky to get permission to go inside. Albeit a summers day the place had a very nostalgic feel and I definately did not feel alone!! These are some of the pics....Enjoy!

    The tower from the outside..





    View to where the runway was....how its changed!



    A couple on the inside..




  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee999
    Chris..

    Ta for adding the comment...Did your father tell you much about his time here etc?

    Lee
    Sadly no but I know he wasn't there for long. He was posted to an MU overseas in 1943 (I think, need to check) and spent the rest of the War in the Med.

    Nice tower shots. You sure it's from 1942? It looks to date from the 1930s but I'm very happy to be proven wrong on that! Good to hear that is Grade II listed though. That might give it some protection. Any idea why the planning apps have been turned down?

    Chris

  6. #6
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    Its an art deco design which would be the 30s Chris but from the books etc I have they all refer to 1942 build...It was on 2 levels and then later in the war the third level was added. The airfield was bombed heavily during the Battle of Britain and fully operational shortly after. If anyone knows more then it would be great to know...im still learning as well ;0)

    As for the towers future...I think Liberty trust who run Kings Hill did not think a museum would be viable ( sadly!) ..As time has gone by housing has got closer to the tower...so the applications were turned down due to the licensing hours being shorter and limits on functions etc due to the close proximity. What we dont want is for it just to be left there to be damaged etc. I will contact the council for an update guys

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    It looks the standard wartime pattern.
    I think it was the 2328/39 if i am correct.Might be wrong tho as there was the concrete version and the brick version.
    Will have a bit of a look about and find out.

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    Sorry I was wrong .It is a 5845/39 pattern.

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    Look forward to it Richard!

    Here are a couple of pics of the old officers mess..Now named 'Gibson Building' ( Guy Gibson was based here prior to his dambusters heroics) , geade 2 listed and now used by the council....Some alleged hauntings here as well!



    In this one you will notice faded camouflage and roof repairs following bomb damage


  10. #10
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    Here is the only remaining Picket Hamilton fort at West Malling..

    For those of you that were unaware...a lot of airfields had 2-3 of these at part of the airfield defence. They rose up out of the ground having been flush to the surface...and were small 1-2 man machine gun points in case of paratrooper/airfield attack.
    The ones here at West Malling are case for debate I think? I have liased with a local historian and from his research and from the other books I have they mention either 2 or 3 of them being here. When the airfield was still here Robin Brooks and loads of the cadets looked for them all...and only 2 were found. This one ( hard to find but preserved as an item of historical interest) and another that was removed by Robin Brooks and taken to the Duxford air museum. Was there another? Do you know? We believe it was removed/destroyed when the concrete runway was laid post war maybe.


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