Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - Translation: Marc Arys  © sbap 2017

Biggin Hill then and now
Today London Biggin Hill Airport (IATA: BQH, ICAO: EGKB) is an operational general aviation airport located in the London Borough of Bromley at the south-southeast of Central London. The airport was formerly the Royal Air Force station RAF Biggin Hill, and a small enclave on the airport still retains that designation. Biggin Hill is best known for its role during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War, when it served as one of the principal fighter bases protecting London and South East England from attacks by German bombers. Over the course of the war, fighters based at Biggin Hill claimed 1.400 enemy aircraft, at the cost of the lives of 453 Biggin Hill based aircrew.
The airport has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P804) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorized by the licensee (Regional Airports Limited). It specializes in general aviation, handling a spectrum of traffic ranging from private aviation to large business jets. It currently has no scheduled airline service, as flights using the airport are not permitted to carry fare-paying passengers.

 
 Biggin Hill today with the Heritage Hangar location (Google Earth)
 

History
The airfield was originally opened in 1916 by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) during the First World War. On 13 Feb 1917 the RFC transferred there and established it as part of the London Air Defence Area, using the adjacent Cudham Lodge estate which contained a huge undivided field, ideal for aircraft. The station was responsible for defending the capital against Zepellins or Gotha bombers. To this end, 141 Squadron of the RFC was based at Biggin Hill and equipped with Bristol Fighters.

 
 A view of the Royal Flying Corp (RFC) 141 Squadron Bristol F2B Fighter equipped (Coll Denis Eusicom)
  
Between the wars, the airfield was used by a number of experimental units, working on instrument design, ground based anti-aircraft defenses and night flying.
The base was closed between 1929 and 1932, during which period reconstruction work took place including the building of new hangars.
During the Second World War the airfield was one of the commanding bases for the Battle of Britain, with both Spitfires and Hurricanes from a variety of squadrons being based there. Because of its importance to the capital's defence, the airfield itself became a target. Between August 1940 and January 1941, the airfield was attacked twelve times, the worst of which wrecked workshops, stores, barracks, WAAF quarters and a hangar, killing 39 people on the ground.
Squadrons based at Bigin Hill during the Battle of Britain period:
No 32 Squadron from 4 June 1940
No 79 Squadron from 5 June 1940
No 610 Squadron 10th May 1940 to 27th May 1940 & 8th July 1940 to 31 Aug 1940
No 79 Squadron from 27 August 1940
No 72 Squadron from 31 August 1940
No 92 Squadron from 8 September 1940
No 141 Squadron from 13 September to 18 September 1940
No 72 Squadron from 14 September 1940
No 74 Squadron from 15 October 1940
No 609 Squadron. 1941 to 1942 (Blitz period)
  
 Biggin Hill in June 1941 (Coll Denis Eusicom) The excellent book of Bob Ogley (Coll Serge Van Heertum)
 32 Squadron Hawker Hurricane during refueling at Biggin Hill
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
Machine gun calibration for a 322 Squadron Spitfire at Biggin Hill
(Coll Denis Eusicom)
 

After the war, Biggin Hill was briefly used by the RAF's Transport Command, and then became a base for both regular and reserve fighter squadrons, flying Spitfires, Meteors and Hunters. A fatal incident involving the loss of three Meteors on 18 June 1951 caused the station's continued use by the military to be called into question.
However, in 1958 Biggin Hill ceased to be an operational RAF station, becoming the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre for the RAF. Due to the impending closure of the nearby original London Airport at Croydon, from 1956 much of the civilian light aviation from Croydon relocated to Biggin Hill and it became a joint civilian and military airport. Croydon closed completely in 1959, at which time Biggin Hill became a mainly civilian airport with only occasional military flying taking place.
Towards the end of 1963, the Orpington Urban District Council was approached by the Board of Trade as to whether the Council would purchase Biggin Hill airfield. In 1964, on formation of the London Borough of Bromley, which absorbed Orpington, the offer to purchase was open to the new borough. Protracted negotiations were held with the Board of Trade and later the Department of Trade and Industry. At a special meeting on 15 June 1972 the Council decided to purchase the airport. The purchase of Biggin Hill airfield was completed in 1974.
In May 1994, the airport was leased to Biggin Hill Airport Limited ("BHAL") for 125 years. BHAL is a subsidiary of Regional Airports Ltd. who previously owned London Southend Airport.
Meanwhile, the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre moved to RAF Cranwell in 1992, marking the end of active RAF involvement.
In 2001, the London Borough of Bromley, as freeholder of the airport, succeeded in an action in the Court of Appeal. The court ruling prohibits the airport operators from allowing tickets to be sold for flights into and out of the airport, thus preventing its use for scheduled or holiday charter flights, but allowing business aviation and corporate shuttles.
The airport has two runways, aligned roughly north-south and east-west, which intersect at their respective southern and western ends, forming an L shaped configuration. The longer north-south oriented runway (03/21) is 1.820 metres in length, making it usable by aircraft up to Boeing 737/Airbus A320 size, and it has an Instrument Landing System. Radar air traffic control (ATC) services are provided by Thames Radar at the London Terminal Control Centre, while procedural approach and VFR ATC services are provided by the airport itself. Despite the ban on scheduled services, Biggin Hill is used by a large number of business flights by business jets and similar sized aircraft. The airport has a passenger terminal, which provides facilities for such flights, including departure lounges, a licensed café bar, and customs and immigration facilities.
Today's RAF Biggin Hill is a small enclave on the western boundary of the airport to the south of the passenger terminal, containing the headquarters of 2427 Squadron of the Air Training Corps. Next to this is St George's Chapel of Remembrance. This brick built chapel was erected in 1951, to replace an earlier chapel destroyed by fire, and now serves as a memorial to all the aircrew who died flying from the Biggin Hill Sector. It is surrounded by a garden of remembrance and has gate guardians in the form of full-sized replicas of a Hurricane and a Spitfire, representing the aircraft that flew from the former airfield during the Battle of Britain. Air Marshal Hugh Dowding laid the foundation stone. The chapel was taken out of the RAF's control in 2015, and is now run by Biggin Hill Airport.

 
 St George's Chapel center with a Spitfire Mk Ia from 92 Squadron and a Hawker Hurricane Mk Ia from 32 Squadron (Both are replica's)
  

From 1963, Biggin Hill airport was the venue of the Biggin Hill International Air Fair, an annual airshow that usually took place towards the end of June. On 5 July 2010 Biggin Hill Airport Ltd cancelled the 25-year contract with Air Displays International without warning, a few weeks after the 2010 event, during which the Air Fair had attracted record breaking crowds.
For 60 years (untill 2016) an Air Scout centre has been located on the grounds of the airport. The centre allowed young people aged between 7 and 18 to take part in aviation activities with their scout groups. In 2016, Biggin Hill Airport Limited, which has historically claimed to support young people coming into aviation, rescinded its sub-lease to the Scout Aviation Centre in order to make way for new car parking spaces, giving them until 30 September 2016 to vacate their home of some 60 years.
The airfield still retains its history by the continued restoration projects running at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.

 
  

The Heritage Hangar was founded in early 2011 to house the activities of The Spitfire Company Limited, with the purpose of restoring a single Spitfire. From this time it has grown to the point where it has now a whole squadron's worth and completed its sixth airworthy example. Today the Heritage hangar is a hive of activity with several ongoing restorations and maintenance processes. In the past, access to Spitfires was only possible for some lucky few, but today the Heritage hangar allows you to take a tour around the facility and have a look the amazing work done by their technical team to put a Spitfire or others warbirds back in the air. You can also admire the maintenance work needed to keep those jewels in airworthy conditions.
Besides restorations, the Heritage Hangar not only shelters airworthy Spitfires, but also a Hurricane, a Harvard and a Piper Cub. Currently there is a Messerschmitt Bf-109E as well. The "Emile" is under restoration and maintenance process and let's hopes that on short term this German WWII fighter will be added to some warbirds airshow programs.
The Heritage Hangar offer also the possibility to make a flight in a two seat Spitfire, a once in a lifetime opportunity to fly in a genuine World War 2, combat veteran. Moreover this flight will take place from the same airfield that Churchill's few fought during the Battle of Britain.

Hangar n° 1

 Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk. XVIe  (TB885) This Spitfire was active at 322 (Dutch) Squadron from March till October 1945
 Long term restoration Splendid job... as new...
Supermarine Spitfire Tr.9  (BS410) Owned by Martin Phillips.
The plane was transported from Sandown, Isle of Wight to Biggin Hill 
on January 21st, 2016 to continue the restoration to full airworthy condition
BS410 crashed on May 13th, 1943 flown by
F/O Piotr Kuryllowicz who was taken Prisoner of War.
BS410 was assigned to 315 (Polish) Squadron with code PK-E
Supermarine Spitfire LF. Mk IXe  (LZ842) LZ842 served in Malta and Sicily, with 93 Sqn and 232 Sqn, 
before joining 327 (free French) Squadron around October 1944
In 1989 the remains were shipped to a UK buyer, before being 
traded again to a collector in Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia.
The aircraft suffered Cat B damage when making a forced landing 
at Mourmelon due to low fuel in foggy conditions. During the landing,
LZ482 overturned after hitting a bomb crater and was dismantled 
at Lokeren in Belgium.
 Stored at the end of the war, it was selected as one of the 136 Spitfires
transferred to South Africa. 80 were supplied free of charge and the
remaining 56 were on repayment terms. 53 were flown from the UK,
the remainder was shipped including LZ842, arriving in Cape Town on
April 28th, 1948
LZ842 was acquired by Peter Monk in 2003 and is
being restored to flying conditions
 Again, a splendid restoration job. Let's hope that LZ842 will be a guest in some of the future UK airshows
 Heritage Hangar has also a Rolls Royce engine collection A Rolls Royce Merlin III model
 An early model remaining from a crash... ...and the result on the blades
 
Messerschmitt Bf 109E1  (Wr 3579)
Built by Messerschmitt contractor Arado GmbH at Warnemünde in June 1939. Early 1940 the plane was upgraded to an E4 model. In April 1940 the plane was listed with LG2 at Westerland, coded "White 14", the Pilot was the Lt. Friedrich Geishardt. In July 1940, she moved to a new base at Calais-Marck, France. On August 10, 1940, Fähnrich Hans-Joachim Marseille joined I(J)/LG2. 
On one of his first combat missions reccorded on August 24th, he claimed his first victory, a Spitfire. A week later on September 2nd, he was flying the Wr 3579 in combat over Southern England where he claimed his second victory. On September 2nd, 1940 during the second mission of the day, LG2 were over Sheerness in combat with Spitfires of 74 Squadron. It was during one of these engagements that Wr 3579 was damaged and so Marseille headed back towards the French coast. At Calais-Marck, Marseille did a belly landing severe enough to classify the Wr 3579 as 50% damaged. Aircraft recovered by the Bergebattalion and transported to the Erla factory at Antwerp for repair, after which it was issued to JG77. On December 7th, 1941, Wr 3579 was damaged at 20% 
near its base of Alakurtti in Russia were the JG77 was based. On January 4th,  1942, the Wr 3579 arrived at Brinker Eisenwerke, Oslo-Kjeller for repair work
and upgrades. When the works were completed, the Wr 3579 was shipped to Norway on April 29th, 1942. The plane returned to its unit but, this one was renamed into JG5 and the aircraft got the marking "White 7". On August 2nd,  1942, while being flown by Lt Kurt Hammel, Wr 3579 was damaged in combat and forcelanded
on the front line. Firstly classified a 100% loss, the plane was soon reclassified 30% damaged,  but was never recovered.
Summer 1992, the Wr 3579 was discovered by the Russian Aircraft Recovery Group and transported to Moscow. Along the years the Wr 3579 had different
owners in USA & Canada (
Charleston Aviation 1992 - D.G. Price Museum of Flying, California 1999 - Ed Russell Aviation Group Ontario, Canada 2003) But finally the plane landed back in the UK. in November 2014. The Wr 3579 is close to the final about his restoration and is forseen for display and exhibition in the UK
 
 
 
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk IX (BR601)
BR601 was the sixth Spitfire Mk.IX, built at Southampton during 1942. She made her first flight at Eastleigh on June 16th, 1942. Arrived at Hornchurch on July 11th, 1942 the plane was allotted to 64 Squadron, (first unit to receive Mk.IXs). 21 October 1942, Sqdn Ldr Colin Gray suffered a burst tyre on landing, resulting in undercarriage collapse and wing damage. Repaired at 39 MU and issued to 453 (Australian) Squadron on April 2nd, 1943. 17 July 1943, issued to 129 (Mysore) Squadron, again at Hornchurch. 28 August 1943, reallocated to 316 (City of Warsaw Squadron), a Polish Squadron based at RAF Northolt. 28 September 1943, placed on charge with 165 (Ceylon) Squadron at Culmhead, moving to Colerne later that month. 19 March 1944, under repair again at Air Service Training, and repaired again at 8 MU on 29 August. 27 February 1945, sent to Vickers Armstrongs for modifications, going into storage at Lyneham with 33 MU. 27 January 1949, shipped to South Africa on board SS Clan Mackellar, arriving 13 March. 16 March 1951, now serialed 5631, issued to the Air Operation School at Langebaanweg Air Base, suffering three landing accidents and being relegated to a ground instructional airframe with 7 Squadron. 10 March 1955, sold to scrap merchants, South African Metal & Machinery Co, Salt River, Cape Town. Restored by apprentices from the Atlas Aircraft Corporation for static display on a pole in the scrap yard. Placed on display in 1976.
Sold to Doug Arnold in 1986 for £70,000 and stored at Biggin Hill. 1994, sold to Jet Cap aviation and moved to Bartow, Florida where it remained untouched.
Transported to the Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston, Texas. Acquired by Jeff Thomas in January 2008 and sent to Avspecs at Ardmore, New Zealand.
29 July 2009, acquired by Peter Monk, and fully restored for the Collings Foundation, Stow, Massachusetts, USA. First flight after restoration 31st August 2016.
 
 
 
 
  
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb (EP122)
Originally ordered on 23 August 1941, EP122 was part of the fourth order placed with the Castle Bromwich Aeroplane Factory comprising 904 aircraft built as Mks Vb and Vc’s. On the 8 June 1942 it was crated for shipment to the North African theater of operations. Shipped to Gibraltar on board the S.S. Guido on 12 June it was assembled at the local M.U. and delivered to Malta the following month and immediately pressed into service in defense of the island from sustained German and Italian air raids. EP122 was flown by 19-year old American volunteer, Sgt Claude Weaver III of Oklahoma City, he shot down two Bf 109s on 22 July, followed by another pair the next day and a half-share in a Ju.88 the day after that! Weaver had shot down a Bf109 on his first operation from Malta on 17 July 1942 and rapidly became the youngest Allied ace of World War II. He was decorated with the DFM, for destroying five enemy fighters and sharing in the destruction of a bomber within a period of one week. His score was up to ten before he was shot down over Sicily, force-landing another Spitfire, BR122, on a beach, and was taken prisoner on 9 September 1942. Weaver escaped, walked 300 miles and returned to operations with No.403 (RCAF) Sqdn in the European Theater in late October 1943 and claimed two more victories before he was shot down and killed whilst on a “Ranger” mission in the Amiens area on 28 January 1944. EP122 became the regular mount of Wg Cdr J.M. Thompson of No. 185 Sqdn and took up his personal code of JM-T. Thompson was leading a flight of eight Spitfires on 14 October, which engaged the second Luftwaffe raid of the day, when he shot down a Ju88. Thompson had pioneered head-on attacks whilst serving with No.111 Sqdn during the Battle of Britain and had been posted to Malta in July 1942 with Sir Keith Park, the new A.O.C. EP122 eventually joined No.1435 Sqdn as L but on 27 March 1943 it crash-landed on the edge of the cliff at Dwejra Bay, Gozo. EP122 was pushed over the cliff-edge into the bay shortly after. Subsequently parts from EP122 were recovered from the sea bed in the mid 1970’s. Restoration began and she now fly’s as an example of one of the most significant aircraft to have been involved in the defense of Malta.
 
  
  
Supermarine Spitfire Tr Mk 8  (MT818)
Vickers-Armstrong Ltd, Eastleigh, January 7, 1947-1956 and registered as G-AIDN. Prototype 2-seat trainer, first flight September 1946 as N32.
Stored at Chilbolton between 1952 and 1956. Sold to Vivian Bellamy, Eastleigh, September 1956 and  sold in September 1963 to John S. Fairey, Eastleigh (later Andover). In 1967 the plane was acquired by John S. Fairey & Tim Davies, Andover, 1967. In 1976 bought by Mike S. Bayliss, Baginton. Passed to George F. Miller, Baginton (later Dinas Powis) in 1978. Damaged while landing, February 6th, 1978. Rebuilt started in 1982 and shipped to Texas. Marked as MT818/G-M.
George F. Miller from Houston, Texas bought the plane in 1983 followad by Jack A. Erickson/Erickson Aircrane Inc/Erickson Group, Medford, Orlando in July 1986. Registered as N58JE and restoration completed. First post restoration flight was held in April 1987. As from 1997 the plane was operated by Tillamook NAS Air Museum, Tillamook, Orlando, until 2002.
 
 
 
  
Supermarine Spitfire Tr.9 (MJ627)
Built at Castle Bromwich, autumn of 1943, the plane made his first flight  on November 27th. Stored at 9 MU, Cosford until the spring of 1944. On March 13th, MJ627 arrived at General Aircraft for further checks which were almost certainly conducted at Hanworth, Middlesex. Entered service with number 441 (Silver Fox) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on September 25th, 1944 and served with the RAF from Advanced Landing Ground B70 Antwerp/Deurne in Belgium. She was given the codes 9G-Q. On September 27th, 1944 Pilot Officer Bregman took off in MJ627 to patrol the Arnhem area and was credited with the downing of a Bf109. The combat film of his victory still survives. Remaining with 441 Sqn, MJ627 was kept busy during the latter part of 1944 and the following sorties were recorded:
November 6th - Flying Officer F.E.Manette was tasked to cover 216 Lancaster Bomber aircraft that were targeting Gelsenkirchen.
November 10th - Flight Lieutenant Smith flew an 'op' to Minoru, escorting Dakotas to Paris.
November 27th - Flying Officer B.M. Mackenzie gave top cover for Lancasters to Cologne.
November 29th - Flying Officer Bregman flew as a withdrawal escort for 270 Lancasters.
December 8th - Flying Officer Bregman escorted 220 Lancasters to the Heinbach Dam with 
the Squadron then landing at Brussels as the weather had closed in at home base. 
December 27th, 1944 441 Sqn. moved to Skeabrae, Orkney Islands, Scotland for defence of the Naval Fleet. March 9, 1945, following a routine patrol, MJ627 experienced engine problems that resulted in a forced-landing. On September 11th, 1945, MJ627 was repaired at Air Service Training, Hamble.
MJ627 was sold to Vickers Armstrong Ltd on July 19, 1950 for conversion to a Tr9 Trainer. MJ627 was sold to the Irish Air Corps, given the markings IAC 158 and delivered to Baldonnel, near Dublin on June 5th, 1951, staying until withdrawal on April 20th, 1960. In 1989 MJ627 was moved to Coventry, Warks, for assembly at Dollar Air Services and had its first engine runs in 1992. First post-restoration flight was held on November 8th, 1993 - timed to coincide with its original first flight 50 years previously at Castle Bromwich. In view of MJ627's operational history it was finished in number 441 Sqn colours, and coded 9G-Q with invasion stripes.
Now based at Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar and YOU can fly in it. Enquire today!
   
 
 RAF Velocette MDD 350 VW-Kübelwagen Typ 82
 

Hangar n° 2

   
Hawker Hurricane Mk X  (AE977)
Built as Hurricane Mk I by Canadian Car & Foundry, Spring 1940. Initially delivered to RAF in September 1940. Converted to Sea Hurricane Mk.X by July 1942. Crashed on December 5th, 1942 while being piloted by Squadron Leader Douglas Trevor King RNVR. Classified as "beyond economical repair". Found in 1960 and placed in storage until 1994. Tom Wallis & Tony Ditheridge/Hawker Restorations Ltd., Milden, UK, bought the plane on April 21st, 1994. The restoration began in 1994 and the Hurricane was registered as G-TWTD. First flight June 7th, 2000, Painted in the scheme of Gp Capt Douglas Bader, Commanding Officer, 242 Sqn, circa 1940. Marked as AE977. Tom Friedkin/Chino Warbirds Inc, Chino, California, USA. bought the plane in October 2001 and was shipped from Southampton to Galveston. Trucked to Houston, Texas for assembly. Based at Planes Of Fame for a while, the plane was shipped back to the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Ltd in 2012. The plane was then registered as G-CHTK in March 2013. Currently painted to represent Hurricane Mk.I P2921 "Blue Peter" flown by Pete Brothers of 32 Squadron, Biggin Hill during 1940.
  
 
 
 
Noorduyn AT-16 Harvard IIb  (FE788)
Completed on the July 23rd, 1941 by
Noorduyn at Cartierville, Montreal, the Harvard was delivered to the Aylmer the following month becoming RCAF 3064. On its delivery flight from Uplands to Alymer, it suffered aileron lock up over Trenton, where the pilot F/Lt "Bitsy" Grant made a precautionary landing there. It soon entered service with the 14th SFTS at Alymer, where it served with both A and C flights with the line number "59" painted on the side of the fuselage.
In June 1942, it suffered an accident at R-1 (St.Thomas Relief Field), where the Harvard flown by a J.Kerman allowed the aircraft to strike the ground heavily when landing. Cause of the accident was put down to pilot error. Five months later, it had another accident when taxiing. The Harvard was then placed into storage, pending a rebuild.
Rebuilt in May 1944, RCAF 3064 was once again placed into storage, until 1948 when it was transferred to the 1st Flying Training School at Centralia, north of London, Ontario. Three years later it was on charge with No.424 Auxiliary Air Force Squadron at Hamilton. In 1952, a MN31 Radio Compass was installed, thus making the Harvard a Mk.2A. This was a RCAF only designation and should not be confused with the Mk.IIA that was built by North American and supplied to Commonwealth countries. Canadian Mk.2A's were post-war conversions of standard Mk.II's and Mk.IIB's to armament and wireless trainers. In November of the same year, the aircraft was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy at HCMS Shearwater, Nova Scotia with either VC920 Sqn or VT40 Sqn Instrument Flying School. After being overhauled by Aircraft Industries of St.Johns, Quebec, the Harvard was struck off charge. On the April 15th, 1957 the Harvard was delivered to the Italian Air Force (AMI) and was allocated the serial MM54137. By 1965, it was on charge at Lecce and was known to be serving with the Scuola Volo Basico Iniziale Aviogetti by September 1972 at the latest. In September of the same year, it was transferred to the Reparto Volo Regione Aerea No.2, where it wore the codes RM-12. The 14th of June 1974 saw the Harvard make its last Military flight, after which it was placed into storage at Bergamo. Total hours to date were 9,539 hours. Disposal was handled through the USAF, as the aircraft was supplied to Italy under the MDAP. On the November 21st, 1981, the Harvard arrived at Southampton docks with three other airframes. These had all been purchased by Robs Lamplough and had been roaded through France before being shipped across the Channel. All four machines were stored at Botley in Hampshire, after spending a few weeks at the old Supermarine works at Woolston. April 1983 saw the Harvard acquired by Tim Lane and was then moved to Toller Porcorum in Dorset the following month. The registration G-BKWZ was originally allocated, but this was soon changed to G-CTKL, these being the owner's initials. After four long hard years of restoring the trainer, the first engine runs were made on the April 21st, 1987. The first flight post restoration by the well known warbird pilot Norman Lees of the Harvard formation team "Radial Pair" with Gary Numan was held on June 10th, 1987. The plane was then acquired by Jeff A Carr at Dunkeswell on September 8th, 1987. At this period the Harvard is painted to represent a SNJ-3 of the US Navy in 1941. The aircraft was owned by a NATA member Anthony Williams and was based at North Weald, Essex. There were plans to paint the aircraft in it's original colour scheme, the colours it wore when it first saw service at Alymer in 1941. In 1998 the Harvard was acquired by A.P. Williams. On May 15th, 2001 the plane passed to Mike Simpson and was based at North Weald. Moved in 2003 to Rochester, Kent where it was overhauled and repainted by the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society ( MAPS) as FE 788, a Harvard IIB, which had been operated by A & AEE at Boscombe Down from December 1943 until it was struck off and scrapped on September 4th, 1954. Since 2011 the aircraft resides at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar. 
 
 
 
Supermarine Spitfire LF MkXVIe  (RW382)
The plane was built in 1945 and delivered from Castle Bromwich to No.6 MU at Brize Norton on July 20th. Delivered to No.604 squadron RAuxAF on April 1st, 1947,
serving until April 14th, 1950, when it was retired to No.33 MU Lyneham. She Joined No.3 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Cooperation Unit at Exeter (coded "A") on June 11th ,
transferring to the Control and Reporting School at Middle Wallop on October 17th. The plane was retired on July 14th, 1953, when it flew to No.45 MU at Kinloss, and moving on to No.29 MU at High Ercall two weeks later. Stored on December 14th, 1954 the plane was later on reallocated to No.609 squadron at Church
Fenton as instructional airframe (7245M) on November 28th, 1955. Transfered to RAF Leconfield between 1957 and 1973 as gate guard as RW729/DW-X. RAF Henlow.
Used in Georges Hamilton movie the Battle Of Britain (1969), but for static scenes only. The plane moved after to RAF Uxbridge in April 1973 and remain  ther until 1988 displayed on pole. Tim Routis/Historic Flying Ltd, Cambridge, bought the plane in August 1988 and after the plane was acquired by David Tallichet/MARC, Chino, California in 1989. The next owner was Tim Routis/Historic Flying Ltd, Audley End and the plane was registered G-XVIA. The RW382 did his first post restoration flight on July 3rd, 1991 at Audley End. Later in 1991, the plane was transfered to Military Aircraft Restoration Corp, Chino, California. In 1994 the new owner was Bernie F. Jackson from Manitoba, Canada. Based in the UK between 1991 and 1995, tle plane was finaly dismantled for shipment to the US and departed UK on February 13th, 1995. In hand of Thomas F. & Bernie Jackson, Glenbrook, Nevada as from August 21st, 1995, the plane registered N382RW was victim of a crash in Blue Canyon, California on June 3rd, 1998. In 2011 the plane was registered G-PBIX and was shipped back to UK destination the Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd. 2011 for restoration in flying conditions. The RW 382 did his first flight at Biggin Hill on September 18th, 2013 in hand of Clive Denney.
 
 
 
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk Vc  (EE602)
On September 11th, 1942 the Spitfire LF MK Vc EE602 came out of Westland facilities located in Yeovil, Somerset. When built, EE602 was fitted with the universal "C" wing configuration, allwoing it to be fitted either with 8 machineguns, 4 x 20mm canons or a mix of 4 x .303 machine guns and 2 x 20mm canons. It was fitted with a Rolls Royce Merlin 46 engine, producing 1,415 bhp at 3,000 rpm and +16 ib/sq. in. boost at 14.000 ft.
EE602 started out with 66 Squadron. 66 Squadron was the second Spitfire Squadron to come into existence and fought in the Battle of Britain. She then went to 129 Squadron, in recognition of the large sums of money the Indian Government raised through the sale of War Bonds some squadrons were named after Indian provinces and 129 was named "Mysore" Squadron. Its final squadron was 453 Squadron (RAAF). EE602 completed over 100 Missions including escorting the Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" back to the English coast after her now famous 25th Mission when she affected to the 129 squadron, until she was damaged in a taxying incident and taken off charge. Individuals, companies, clubs, or counties could buy their own Spitfire. They had to collect £5,000 for their donation. One such company
was the Uruguayan railways. Run at the time by British expats. You will see on EE602's side "Central Railways Uruguayan Staff". She was
formally "presented" to 129 Squadron on May 31st, 1943. After a painstaking restoration lasting more than three years, EE602 now flies again in the markings it wore while serving with 129.Squadron.
 
 
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk XVIe  (TE184)
Built at Castle Bromwich and delivered to No.9 MU at Cosford on May 30th, 1945 to be placed in store. October 12th, it was transferred to No.20 MU.
On September 16th, 1946, the plane moved to No.6 MU at Brize Norton. September 7th, 1948, TE184 issued to No.203 Advanced Flying School (later renamed No.226
Operational Conversion Unit). February 27th, 1950, transferred to No.607 RAuxAF based at Ouston. June 13th, placed in store at No.33 MU Lyneham. November 9th, transferred to Gunnery School at Leconfield. January 30th, 1951 Cat.3R damage sustained. February 27th, she was recategorised as Cat.5(GI) and TE184 was converted to ground instructional use and delivered to No.64 Reserve Centre at Long Benton, Newcastle upon Tyne, with the maintenance serial 6850M. In 1952 the plane moved to No.1855 squadron ATC at Royston, Lancs on static exhibition until February 1967 when it was taken to RAF Bicester. Used as a static airframe in the film "The Battle of Britain" from Guy Hamilton. August 1970 transferred to No.5 MU Kemble for restoration and respray as "LA-A".  Moved to No.23 MU Aldergrove late 1971 for storage for the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. March 1977 placed the aircraft on outside display, but it was soon seen to be deteriorating in the maritime climate and it was placed inside as a conservation measure. Sold to Nick Grace in 1986. Registered G-MXVI to Myrick Aviation Services on February 2nd, 1989 and rebuilt as a high back Mk.XVI with first flight done on November 23rd, 1990. Sold to Alain de Cadenet in 1995, the plane was transferred to Hawker Restorations on December 5th, 1996. The TE184 was repainted in free French Air Force markings in 2002. Restored at Booker by PPS. TE184 took to the skies again after overhaul by PPS in the hands of test-pilot Jonathon Whaley on February 20th, 2009. The TE184 is currently owned by Stephen Stead.
 
 
 
Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk IX (TA805)
Built at Castle Bromwich late 1944. The plane was delivered to RAF as TA805 in 1945. Accepted by 39MU on January 3rd, 1945. The TA 805 was allocated to 183 Squadron on June 24th, 1945. Later, transferred to the 234 Squadron on August 2nd, 1945. After the war, the plane was sold to the South African Air Force and was delivered on March 11th, 1949. Sent for scrapping at South African Metal & Machinery Co, Salt River, Cape Town in 1954. After years the TA805 was acquired by the South African Air Force Museum located at Snake Valley Airbase in 1981. Steve Atkins from Oxford, UK bought the plane and this one  was stored at Isle-Of-Wight for restoration project in 1989. The plane remain there until 1995. On April 29th, 1996 the TA805 was bought by Peter Monk & Mike Simpson and was registered G-PMNF.
Restored to airworthy by Airframe Assemblies located at Sandown, UK, the plane did his first flight post restoration at Duxford in December 2005. The TA805 is now based at Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar since 2011.
 
 
 
 Piper L-4H Grasshopper 44-329854 
wears the markings of the 381st Bomb Group
De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 (WP901)
was built in 1952
 
 
 Willys jeep... ...and a second one
 

Wrecks and Relics

  

Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia  (P9372)S
Pilot Officer W.C.Watling of No 92 Squadron was wounded on September 9th 1940. He baled out of his Spitfire I (P9372) near Biggin Hill after being attacked by enemy aircraft. This is an early picture of a 92 Squadron Spitfire MkIa, The GR codes date it to the Spring of 1940 and the lack of an armour plated windscreen 
dates it to before the evacuation of Dunkirk.  (Archive picture: Coll Serge Van Heertum)
 

Supermarine Spitfire F Mk XIVe (RM927)
Was delivered to the Belgian Air Force as SG-25 on November 14th, 1947. After a ten years career the plane was sold to a scrapyard located at Oostende and remained there for ten years between 1957 and 1967. The wreck was afterward displayed on a company roof with wings axed off.
In 1967 the plane was bought by J.D. Kay/Manchester Tankers, Ltd, Charnock Richard, Lancashire and was delivered by road. On March 22nd, 1969 SG25 was bought by A.W. Francis from Southend. The plane was transferred to John Lowe & Larry Matt from Riverside, Illinois in 1969. Then stored at Victory Air Museum Mundelein, Illinois. until 1978. Taken back by Larry in 1982, the rebuild started until 1985. The plane was then sold to Don L. Knapp/DK Precision from Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1987. Sold to Vern Schuppan, also in Florida in 1995. In ther year 2000 the plane was transfered in the UK for a full restoration process.
(Archive picture : Coll Serge Van Heertum - The SG25 / IQ-W on the left in company of the SG108 / IQ-V)

 


Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk. IXc (MK912) 
Built at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, Early 1944, the plane was delivered to the Royal Air Force in March 1944.
MK912 was transferred to 312 Squadron (Czech), mid 1944. It is thought to be the first allied aircraft to land in newly liberated France after D-Day when
loose radio equipment during a sortie led to an emergency landing in France. After the was the plane was stored pending further overhaul.
Delivered to Royal Netherlands Air Force as H-119 (later H-59) in July 1946. The plane was then shipped to Java and assigned to the 322 Squadron in May 1947.
MK912 returned to Holland in 1950. Afterwards the plane was delivered to the Belgian Air Force as SM-29 on June 4th, 1952. Sadly the plane was damaged in 1953 and placed in storage. Transfered to the Technical School of Saffraenberg in 1955 and set on display as a gate guard until 1988. Transfered to the Musee Royal de l'Armée of Brussels, the plane was bought by Guy Black/Historic Aircraft Collection Ltd on June 22nd, 1989. The restoration started at Audley End in 1992, but put into storage at Paddock Wood, Kent between 1993 and 1995. MK912 was then acquired by Karel Bos/Bosal Group/Silver Victory, Antwerp-Deurne Airport, Belgium in 1997 and went back to Audley End to complete the restoration. The plane made his first post restoration flight on September 8, 2000. Sold to Historic Flying Limited, Audley End (later Duxford), the plane remained to this owner until 2002. The plane was bought later on by Ed Russell from Ontario, Canada in 2003. MK912 was sold in 2011 to Peter Monk and based at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, Biggin Hill, Kent. Sadly, on August 1st, 2016 MK912 was victim of a crash at Biggin Hill due to an engine power failure during take off. Fortunately the pilot was only slightly injured.
(Archive Picture: Coll Serge Van Heertum / Crash picture: Coll Denis Eusicom)
 

Supermarine Spitfire Tr.9  (MJ772)
This Supermarine Spitfire LF. Mk IX, coded MJ772 was built at Castle Bromwich in 1943. On December 20th, 1943 the plane was delivered to RAF Lyneham.
Finally the MJ722 was assigned to the 341 Squadron (Alsace) on January 20th, 1944. MJ772 carried out about 50 operational sorties before being damaged
as "Cat.Ac FB". After repair, the fighter was assigned to the 340 Squadron (Ile de France) on June 22nd, 1944. By August 19th, 1944 MJ772 was with No.84 GSU (Ground Support Unit) at Thruxton, and a few days later with No.33 MU Lyneham. September 27th, 1944 the fighter was allocated to No.83 GSU (Ground Support Unit) at Bognor/Sussex, and then from November 1944, Westhampnett /Sussex. The MJ772 was damaged again on January20th, 1945 as "Cat.Ac".
Repairs were carried out on her and the Spitfire was back on duty in February with No.83 GSU. On July 19th, 1945, No.49 MU (Maintenance Unit) were ordered to move aircraft, including MJ772, to Heston Aircraft, where it underwent a major inspection, before awaiting collection in December 1945. A move to 29 MU High Ercall, Shropshire, followed in January 1946, where it stayed until sold to Vickers Armstrongs Ltd in July 1950. As Vickers had a contract from the Irish Air Corps for two-seat Spitfire trainers (Spitfire Tr. Mk. 9), MJ772 was one of those converted for this purpose. This Spitfire flew with the Vickers test serial G-15-172 and was Serialled 159 on delivery to the Irish Air Corps at Baldonnel in 1951. Code 159 served with "A" Flight Fighter Squadron of the IAC for a number of years, until withdrawn from use in January 1960 with 1402 flying hours.
In 1963 the plane was bought by J. Crewdson/Film Aviation Services, Biggin Hill, but the plane was dismantled and stored. In March 1964 the remains of MJ772 were sold to COGEA Nouvelles based at Ostend in Belgium. After shipping to Belgium the plane was again stored and remained dismantled until 1965. In 1965 the plane was bought by N.A.W. Samuelson, Elstree and finally registered G-AVAV on November 8th, 1966. After a needed restoration, MJ722 made his first post restoration flight in July 1968. As a movie star, the Spitfire was flown in the Battle of Britain movie prdouced by Guy Hamilton. Sadly, on July 9th, 1968 the plane was victim of a crash landing, but was repaired. In December 1969 the plane was sold to Sir W.J.D. Roberts and based at Shoreham until 1971. In December 1971 the plane was acquired by the Strathallan Collection at, Auchterader in Scotland, December 1971. The plane remained there until 1974 when it was sold to Doug Champlin/Windward Aviation of Enid in Oklaoma. The plane received the registration N8R and remained there till the year 1980. In 1981, MJ722 changed again of owner and the new one was Champlin Fighter Museum at Mesa in Arizona. The plane crashed in 1981 at Amarillo in Texas and was ferried back to Mesa for repair. MJ722 was then rebuilt as a single seat fighter in 1992. The "new" MJ722 made his first flight in October 1985. The plane remained with the Champlin Fighter Museum until the year 2000 when being transferred to the Boeing Museum Of Flight at Seattle in the Washinton state were it remained until 2003. There is a gap in this aircraft's history between 2003 and 2010 when the plane was bought by AirFighterAcademy GmbH in Germany. The restoration started and after a couple of year of work, MJ722 came out again in a two seats version. The plane was registered D-FMKN. Sadly the plane made an emergency landing at Woodchurch near Ashford on September 9th, 2015. Fortunatelly the pilot Rob Davies was unhurt during the crash but the plane was seriously damaged.
(Crash Piture: Coll Denis Eusicom, IAC : Coll Serge Van Heertum)
 

On the airfield

 
Beagle B-206 Basset CC.1 former RAF XS773. The plane was sold on the civilian market and got G-BCJF as registration. 
Became N181WW in the first part of the 2000's
 
Westland WS58 Wessex HC.2 XT671 (left) and XS674 (Right)
XT671 was sold on the civilian market and became G-BYRC
Westland WS58 Wessex HC.2 XV729
Sold and prepared for a Ghanean Company as 9G-AEL
 
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