RAF Hornchurch

RAF Hornchurch

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RAF Hornchurch

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RAF Hornchurch was an airfield in the south of Hornchurch in what is now the London Borough of Havering. Known as Sutton's Farm during the First World War, it occupied of the farm of the same name and was situated east north-east of Charing Cross. Although the airfield closed shortly after the end of World War I, the land was requisitioned in 1923 due to the expansion of the Royal Air Force and it re-opened as a much larger fighter station in 1928. The airfield was ideally located in bomb alley to cover both London and the Thames corridor from German air attacks. It was a key air force installation between both wars and in to the jet age, closing in 1962.


In 1915 the London Air Defence Area (LADA) was established and a number of airfields were constructed around London with the specific aim of defending the capital from the growing threat from enemy airships. Sutton's Farm, along with its neighbour Hainault Farm, to the north-east, were selected due to their location covering the eastern approaches to London. They were designated Landing Grounds Nos. II and III respectively and joined the existing airfields of North Weald, Rochford and Joyce Green. Suttons Farm airfield became operational on 3 October 1915, initially with two BE2c aircraft. As the number of aircraft increased at the airfields around London, it was decided to organise them into 39 Home Defence Squadron, which was formed in April 1916, under the command of Major (later Brigadier-General) Thomas...
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