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Thread: West Malling

  1. #501
    Senior Member cliveh's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF West Malling

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin View Post
    Hi Clive.

    There is an event being held at the West Malling War Memorial on 16 May to Commemorate the Dambusters Raid and Wg Cdr Guy Gibson. After the ceremony, invited guests are going back to the refurbished Control Tower for a reception. The event is being attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, and is being organised by Malling and District Council and the owners Liberty. It is hoped that there will be a flypast by 2 Spitfires from the BBMF to close the ceremony.

    Robin.
    Thanks Robin - I'm sure that will be a great event - I take it you'll be there? I hope they'll be some photos of it in the local press

    cliveh

  2. #502
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    Default Re: RAF West Malling

    Clive...

    On page 37 ( thread 364) there is a pic of the shelter and im sure its the one I found ( if not identical) ..I had been over that way numerous times then stumbled across this in some brambles and undergrowth....It had the stairway going down and then you turned left into the shelter itself. It was still totally undamaged and I assume thats because it was so tucked away. I had hope the JCB crew would miss it but they told me they had filled in a shelter The pic may/may not be the shelter entrance ( or escape hatch part) but im sure the entrance was bigger due to the stairwell. That area was always interesting to look around as you always felt more was to be found ( there is a bomb crater in that area...mentioned further back on thread) ..I think a metal detector may have some finds if anyone is into that...Id def be up for having a further hunt to see if anything else lurks under the modern day rubbish ( cans...bottles etc)

    Lee

  3. #503
    Senior Member cliveh's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF West Malling

    Quote Originally Posted by lee999 View Post
    Clive...

    On page 37 ( thread 364) there is a pic of the shelter and im sure its the one I found ( if not identical) ..I had been over that way numerous times then stumbled across this in some brambles and undergrowth....It had the stairway going down and then you turned left into the shelter itself. It was still totally undamaged and I assume thats because it was so tucked away. I had hope the JCB crew would miss it but they told me they had filled in a shelter The pic may/may not be the shelter entrance ( or escape hatch part) but im sure the entrance was bigger due to the stairwell. That area was always interesting to look around as you always felt more was to be found ( there is a bomb crater in that area...mentioned further back on thread) ..I think a metal detector may have some finds if anyone is into that...Id def be up for having a further hunt to see if anything else lurks under the modern day rubbish ( cans...bottles etc)

    Lee
    Lee - I saw navigator's pic of the shelter. Later in the thread in post #370 he says it was in Hoath Wood which is where the W/T site is. There is definitely something underground there as you can see if my photos in post #475.

    Perhaps we could meet up one weekend soon to have a good 'root around' in those areas?

    cliveh

  4. #504
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    Default Re: RAF West Malling

    Hi Clive..

    Yes it would be good to arrange something

    Lee

  5. #505

    Default Re: RAF West Malling

    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    Guys - I've been thinking about the shelter Dave80 discovered in the orchard on the other side of the A228. Why is it there? Who was it providing shelter for? It seems a long way from the airfield to be stuck out there on its own! I just wonder if their was something else nearby there at one time that we've missed? Anyone else have any thoughts?

    cliveh
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the radar site in those orchards (where the farm is now)?

  6. #506
    Senior Member Peter4456's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF West Malling

    The site on the other side of the A228 opposite the old Main Gate is marked as 'WT' on the requisition plan and it's a place I've always wanted to look at - the big gate put me off when we did our airfield walk earlier this year! It definitely looks like the protected building is still there and here's the mast shown in a post war photo.

    Main Gate.JPGWM Aug 1961.tif
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #507
    Senior Member cliveh's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF West Malling

    Dave - That would explain the shelter being there. Do we have the radar site on a plan anywhere?

    Peter - That means there was two W/T sites then; this one and the one in Hoath Woods?


    cliveh

  8. #508
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    Default Re: West Malling

    The old officers mess in the building previously known as 'Douces Manor' has been converted to exclusive apartments. However, the 'Twitch Inn' in the basement which airmen such as John Cunningham used to frequent, is now leased to the Malling Society and is open on certain days of the year. It was so named because the crews of 85 Squadron flying Beaufighters and Mosquitos, when on ops at night, would often get a twitch. When night ops were cancelled, a scrubbing brush was placed upon the bar indicating ops were scrubbed. The ceiling has many names smoke written of the men of the squadrons. David Langdon, the famous cartoonist, was based at Malling as an intelligence officer and he drew many cartoon characters on the walls. Sadly these have now disappeared.
    Robin.

  9. #509

    Default Re: West Malling

    Hi all. New member here, joined the site a couple of weeks back. I moved to Kings Hill late last year, before that I was in Leybourne for 10 years so always knew of the airfield's existance and was fascinated with the history. Glad I found this site! So far I have located the bunker in the trees by the construction road, the flarepath sockets by the football pitches, and the p/h fort (which is still fenced in).

    Someone asked about the current state of the development of the tower, so took a couple of pics last week. I doubt it'll be finished before the Dambusters anniversary next month, but it looks a lot better than this time last year.

    Tower 1.JPGTower 2.JPG

    Next up is to take a closer look at the Bofors tower and try to locate the nearby bunker, after that I will look for the battle HQ in Flite Wood. I've been driving and cycling up and down the West Malling bypass for years, but never ever noticed the tower before. In winter you can see it as clear as day!

  10. #510
    Senior Member cliveh's Avatar
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    Default Re: West Malling

    welcome to the Forum cyclingnut & thanks for the Control Tower pics

    cliveh

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