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RAF BIGGIN HILL

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BIGGIN HILL AERODROME, BIGGIN HILL AIRFIELD
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A former military airfield, opened in 1917 for use as a Radio Signals Unit involved with early radio experiments. In 1918 it was part of London's defence system as a "Home Defence Aerodrome". After the end of World War One until 1922, the site briefly became the temporary home of the Instrument Design Establishment. The base was remodelled in the period 1929-1934. This nationally important site is however particularly famous for its role in the Battle of Britain as a fighter station, during which the airfield was repeatedly attacked by enemy aircraft. It was also thecenre for the Biggin Hill Sector, with an operations room and staff. The flying field has been altered with later runways being added, but the original World War two defence posts and fighter pens were extant in 2003. Some of the built fabric associated with the interwar years also survived to 2003, and an English Heritage report produced in that year suggested awarding Listed Building Status to a number of the buildings. Notable examples are the officers' mess and a group of domestic and technical buildings including married quarters, mostly constructed between 1930-1934. Despite having the runways extended for jet aircraft in 1957, the fighter base ceased to be operational in 1958-9. However the Royal Air Force maintained a presence at the North Camp site (actually located to the east of the flying field) until 1992. The technical site and married quarters sections of the base are now a designated Conservation Area. The flying field area has been used as a civil airport since 1959.

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