Control Tower (1970’s)

The replacement Control Tower installed in the 70’s. Photo taken 1979
Brick built with a concrete slab roof that was asphalted.
Internally the floors were concrete with a tiled finish
It originally had the air traffic equipment, a boiler house (oil fired), radar and radio workshops. All covered an area 2400 sq ft.
The Radar installation was an ex-RAF AR1 system, later removed when BAe left the airfield.

Dunsfold Airfield given approval for 1800 homes.

The Secretary of State has now decided on the fate of the airfield.  After the 3 week long Planning Inquiry on the development plans his Planning Inspector  approved the proposals and the Secretary of State has agreed with that judgement.  The full details of the decision is here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/695972/18-03-29_DL_R_Dunsfold_Park_3171287.pdf

Grade II Listing for VTO Pads and Engine Running Pens

Engine running pens and VTO blast grid at Dunsfold Airfield, Cranleigh, Surrey – Awarded Listed Building Status

The latest news from Historic England is published here:

Following the application to add the above building to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, we have now considered all the representations made and completed our assessment of the building. Having considered our recommendation, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has decided to add the Engine running pens and VTO blast grid at Dunsfold Airfield to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. They are now listed at Grade II.

VTO Tethering Pad during the early development tests of vertical take off and landing
Engine running pens

Please click on the link below to download a copy of Historic England’s advice report, which gives the principal reasons for this decision. The List entry for this building, together with a map, has now been published on the National Heritage List for England, and will be available for public access from tomorrow. This List can be accessed through the Historic England website.

http://services.historicengland.org.uk/webfiles/GetFiles.aspx?av=57C7E905-875A-49E1-A270-FFAC5B70BDE6&cn=06233F8A-F95E-43A7-81CC-09EBF700A043

The local planning authority will now be preparing the statutory notices required under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

Video: VTO Pads in use during the development of the P.1127:

DAHS Editor’s note:  This brings the total of Listed Structures on the Airfield site to 5:

Primemeads Farm – Grade II

VTO Blast Pads – Grade II

Engine Running Pens – Grade II

Royal Observer Corps Monitoring Post – Grade II

Canadian War Memorial – Grade II

Duncan Simpson

Duncan Simpson    23rd December 1927 –  7th December 2017

Duncan Simpson. Photo from Tangmere Military Aviation Museum

We very much regret to announce the death on 7th December of Duncan Simpson OBE CEng FRAes FIMechE

Duncan was at the forefront of UK military aviation for many years.  He played a key role in the development of the Hunter fighter, the Harrier and Sea Harrier, and led development of the Hawk advanced trainer also flown by the Red Arrows.

His link with Dunsfold is inextricable –   Simpson joined Hawker in 1954 and became Hawker’s Chief Test Pilot in 1970, notable that he flew the P.1127 as well as making the first flight in a Hawk.  He was Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in 2002, and in 2011 received the Guild’s Award of Honour in recognition of his outstanding lifetime contribution to aviation.  He was also a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Latterly he  served with distinction as the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum’s Honorary President from 2007 until 2013.

His son John contacted the Heritage Society to inform us of his father’s passing:  “He died peacefully at his home on Thursday 7th December 2017 having endured severe ill health since early 2015.  We are aware of the highly valued relationship he had with all those at Dunsfold. We would very much appreciate it if you could please pass on this message to others who remember him.  Any former colleagues or close friends we would very much like to hear from.  Messages can be sent to dmssimpson@btconnect.com .     A Memorial Service is being held at St Clement Danes WC2R 1DH on Tuesday 24th April at 11am and after at the RAF Club W1J 7PY.  Any donations please to the RAF Benevolent Fund.

A Memorial Service to celebrate his life will take place at St Clements Dane’s on Tuesday, 24th April 2018″

A short profile of Duncan is here.

Crash of two RAF B-25’s at “Pallinghurst” Rudgwick 7th Jan. 1944

Collision and crash of two RAF North American Mitchell II bombers at “Pallinghurst”, Guildford Rd, Rudgwick on 7th January 1944.

Jan. 7th 13.35 hrs. North American Mitchell II, FR396, Code letter ‘K’ of 180 Squadron collided over Alfold with Mitchell II, FL682, Code letter ‘N’ of 98 Squadron. This occurred as they awaited their turn to land in bad weather after operations to bomb a target in Occupied France (180 Squadron on Primary Target a V1construction site at La Sorellerie II at 12:58hrs from 12,000ft and 98 Squadron on Alternative Target (because of cloud over the Primary) a V1construction site at Mesnil Au Val at 12:55hrs from 12,000ft). Crew members of both aircraft all killed.

Aircraft ‘K’ of 180 Squadron and ‘N’ of 98 Squadron were not noted as having or not having dropped their bomb load. Aircraft ‘B’ and ‘X’ of 180 Sqdn. and aircraft ‘V’‘P’‘S’‘U’ and ‘X’ of 98 Sqdn. did not bomb due to cloud cover obscuring the target. Each aircraft carried 8 x 500lb Medium Capacity bombs.

One Mitchell FL682 crashed 200 yds north-east of “Pallinghurst”, Guildford Rd, Rudgwick (now the Japanese Rikkyo School) on the County Boundary (nr. Stables), approx 2.5 miles south-east of Dunsfold airfield. This 98 Sqdn. aircraft had probably not dropped its bombs load due to cloud cover obscuring the target. One or more bombs exploded when the aircraft it hit the ground or fell out nearby as the aircraft descended. Other unexploded bombs were defused.

Continue reading “Crash of two RAF B-25’s at “Pallinghurst” Rudgwick 7th Jan. 1944”

Crash of 180 Sqdn. B-25 August 25th 1944

An enquiry came into the Society for information about a B-25 that ditched in the sea off Beachy Head in 1944.  Flight Officer Hodder had survived being shot down and his family were researching the details.  There were no known pictures of his aircraft Daily Delivery.

We managed to trace Daily Delivery (photo below) but the crew was not F/O Hodder’s crew.  This photo was taken a few weeks before the crash, but further research by colleagues of DAHS determined that the 180 Squadron crews rotated aircraft as operational restrictions dictated.  So the question was which aircraft was ditched in the sea? F/O Hodder’s later memoirs of the event are written below, with the Squadron ORB recording the official account.

D – Daily Delivery at Dunsfold. Informal group portrait of RAF ground staff with RAAF and Royal New Zealand Air Force air crew of a Mitchell bomber squadron, 180 Squadron RAF with the Second Tactical Air Force. Left to right: two RAF ground crew, Jock (Fitter) and Alf (Rigger); 422248 Flying Officer (FO) Jack B O’Halloran, pilot of Sydney, NSW, (later Flight Lieutenant and DFC); 417379 Pilot Officer James Crosby (Jim) Jennison (later Flying Officer and DFC) of Adelaide, SA; 422175 FO Reg J Hansen of Sydney, NSW; FO Harry M Hawthorn, RNZAF of Hastings, NZ

Continue reading “Crash of 180 Sqdn. B-25 August 25th 1944”