About DAHS

Dunsfold Airfield History Society Limited ( DAHS) has the aim to preserve those features of Dunsfold Airfield that have significant historic or architectural interest, in order to retain for posterity the unique contribution of the airfield to our national aerospace heritage.

It exists to research and make public the history of what has been called ‘Surrey’s most secret airfield’*.

Welcome to our new website!

Dunsfold Aerodrome is an important part of Britain’s technological, military and economic history.  It is the birthplace of some of the most iconic and economically successful aircraft in Britain’s aviation history –  the Hawker Hunter and the BAe Hawk were developed and manufactured here. It is the home of the most influential military aircraft of the past 60 years – the Harrier "jump jet"– the first operational VSTOL military aircraft that was the blueprint for many evolutions and variants exported across the World.

Dunsfold Airfield has many unique buildings and structures.  The airfield was built as a medium-bomber base in World War 2 and swiftly the ownership moved to aircraft manufacturer Hawker and later British Aerospace. This means many of the original wartime features of the airfield were preserved from redevelopment or demolition during the following decades.  Similarly the development of the Harrier VSTOL aircraft required the building of unique test facilities – many evident today.  These structures represent Dunsfold’s significant place in the development of perhaps the most influential range of military aircraft ever produced.

Dunsfold also played a pivotal part in the historic Berlin Airlift - 21,000 flights to supply goods to besieged West Berlin between 1946 and 1950.

 

 

How can you help?

Dunsfold Airfield History Society is keen to encourage you to help us preserve the valuable and unique heritage that is Dunsfold Airfield.

You can do so in a number of ways:

  1. You can become a free member of the Society by subscribing to this website with a simple email registration.
  2. You can add to the information on this website, via the comments sections on each page, via the forum, or by contacting us directly.
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History

Dunsfold Aerodrome is an airfield in Surrey, England, near the village of Cranleigh. It extends across land in the villages of Dunsfold and Alfold.

It was built by the Canadian Army and civilian contractors as a Class A bomber airfield for Army Co-operation Command. It was commanded by the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942–1944 and was known as Royal Canadian Air Force Station Dunsfold. Under RAF control it was RAF Dunsfold.

Post war it was used by Hawker Siddeley and then its successor British Aerospace.

Dunsfold Airfield was cleared of woodland, farmland and buildings to form the Canadian Air Force airbase in 1942. Units of Canadian troops cleared land requisitioned from the people to form runways, perimeter roads and after little more than one month the first aircraft had landed. The old Brighton Road from Godalming was relocated so that it no longer ran through the site at Pains Hill. The old cast iron milestones were amended by one mile to reflect the additional mileage diversion. Most farm buildings and farm houses were removed with the exception of the Chiddingfold Kennels (now Honey Mead), Primemeads Farmhouse (originally Stillwells Farm) and Broadmeads Cottage (now referred to as Canada House). The latter was moved to the southern perimeter and now stands alongside Benbow Lane.
The three runways and perimeter track are very complete, built with a pioneering form of construction and still retain original features such as light fittings and cast iron drainage channels. In 1942 this airfield was an expression of a technical and social innovation of the period to meet demands of the war time. It has been adapted to suit the needs and development of the Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft with the VTOL platforms for these ‘jump jets’.

Research and Sources: Surrey History Centre, Airfield Research Group, Brooklands Museum Archive, Imperial War Museum –March 2017