Source: Britain from Above
Republished the Operation Crabstick pictures – proper captions etc. to follow. Click here for the Gallery.
We have just re-published the set of the late Phil Connolly’s photos of the Airport, shortly before the demolition of the tower. Click here for the Gallery
Gravesend Airport Heritage Project is a group set-up to research, explore and commemorate the wartime RAF station at Gravesend in Kent and its former existence as London East Airport. The Project owes its existence to a Facebook Group founded in November 2013, which showed that there was an active group of people interested in exploring and keeping-alive the Airport’s history and also, that there was generally a lack of knowledge elsewhere, of the role that this site played in the early years of aviation and during World War II
This website is not intended to be a replacement for the Facebook Group; which we still intend to continue as the main ‘discussion’ area of the Project. This website is intended to be a repository for images and other media relating to the Airport; that is searchable and accessible in a way that is not possible within the Facebook format.
Today, 10 April is the anniversary of the loss of P/O Peter Kevin Heller in 1944 (aged 20), while operating from RAF Gravesend with 122 Squadron. His Mustang III crashed into sea off the Dutch coast, after being hit by flak. He was seen to bail out – but not recovered. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
I’ve recently been in correspondence with Ivor Owens, who researched and wrote about the Airport in the early 1970’s. Ivor has kindly agreed to let me have some of his work and correspondence for publishing on our sites.
First-off is a letter from record-breaking aviator Alex Henshaw, writing in 1976 about his recollections of Gravesend – and also expressing his concerns about the lack of commemoration of the airfield.
“I am somewhat surprised that your own Civic Authority have not sufficient pride in their own Town to commemorate the historic value of the old Airfield.”
“…I would have thought that the present Authority would have had a greater sense of their own historical value, even if circumstances demand that it be buried under a housing estate”.