Sunday 16th June 2019 marks the last time we will hear fast jets flying over Dunsfold. The final Wings and Wheels airshow will have concluded. It is the last because the redevelopment of the airfield will soon be welcoming the construction vehicles to try to pull up the runways and perimeters with the aim of building thousands of square metres of industrial space and 1800 houses. I wonder if any of the construction team will appreciate the significance of what they are demolishing, digging up and dragging into a ditch somewhere.
In 1942 farmland, beech woods and farmhouses were requisitioned by the Government to build the bomber base that was to be Dunsfold Airfield. There was a proviso – and a covenant was agreed to return the lands to agricultural use once the military need had passed.
In 1995 Waverley Borough Council overturned that covenant in court. The airfield was sold to a speculative developer and eventually a plan was formulated by the developer to build a new town of around 3000 homes.
In between, Dunsfold has played a unique role in the golden age of British aviation. The pages of this website are testament to that and a paragraph or two here can not sum up the diversity of the 60 years of flying operations. I write this as I sit in my garden with 7 of the Red Arrows repositioning overhead ready for their final approach over Dunsfold’s runway 5 miles away. It has not escaped me that they are flying Dunsfold Hawks – it is like the children being invited back to attend the family funeral by the man that dug the grave. As the singleton’s form up for the last time I have to admit I am moved – the roar of the Adours fades into the distance, and I can’t help thinking that in digging up Dunsfold we have lost a tangible link to something important.
Image of Red Arrows: Dave Crosby Flickr. All other images as credited on original pages on Dunsfoldairfield.org