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1940s Society Shop >  Activities >  Places to Visit >  Lashenden Air Warfare Museum >  History of the Airfield

History of the Airfield

A little about it's wartime history.

History of the Airfield

Headcorn (Lashenden) Aerodrome has been in existence since the 1920's when the local landowner flew from here with his friends, until the outbreak of World War II when all civilian flying ceased.

It was taken over by the Airfields Board in 1942 and prepared for operational service.

On the 6th August 1943, 127 Wing Royal Canadian Air Force moved to Headcorn (Lashenden) from RAF Kenley.
The wing comprising of 403 and 421 Squadrons flying Spitfire IXb's under the command of Wing Commander 'Johnnie Johnson'. The Canadians moved on at the end of August.

The airfield was then passed over to the United States 9th Air Force and upgraded by the construction organisation.

On the 13th April 1944 the airfield was taken over by the 100th Fighter Wing, 19th Tactical Air Command,
9th Air Force using Shenley Hall as its headquarters. For some reason they called Headcorn aerodrome "Lashenden" and the aerodrome at Egerton "Headcorn", this has led to much confusion for historians ever since.

On the 17th April the operational aircraft arrived in the form of the 354th (Pioneer Mustang) Fighter Group comprising of the 353rd, 355th and 356th Fighter Squadrons flying the North American P51B Mustang. The 354th Fighter Group flew bomber escort missions as far as the polish border from here during their stay. The 354th Fighter Group left Headcorn on 22nd June when they moved to A2 at Criqueville on the French coast and the airfield closed.

During the 1960's when civil aviation started to increase, the airfield reopened and now has over 40 aircraft on the site, with many of them being vintage aircraft.

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