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Lat/Long 50 47 15N/01 42 00W.Grid ref SZ 210986.USAAF Station No 455.(1944 RT Callsign "Recess",HF/DF D7F)

RUNWAYS: 07/25 1970x50yds. 12/30 1400x50yds. 36/00 1370x50yds.


Holmsley South ...Air Ministry plan 1944.


Holmsley South as it was in December 1946 shortly after closure(MoD)

Holmsley South - a recent aerial view

HOLMSLEY SOUTH(Plain Heath) was built during the summer of 1942,opening for flying in September whilst unfinished.The first users were RAF Coastal Command(until 12/43) after which control of the airfield passed to 2 TAF.In October 1944 Transport Command took over and continued as the main user untill the airfield closed in October 1946.On several occasions during the following years,aircraft landed at Holmsley in error ,thinking they were at Hurn.

IN DEcember 1946 Christchurch Council took over a large part of the airfield for temporary housing purposes and families were quickly installed in some of the Nissen huts.A local newspaper account can be seen here,here,here andhere

Eventually ,in the 60s,the runways were removed ,the land returning to forest/heathland.

I recently received the following from Geoff Bennett who, in the postwar years was a teenager living in the area.

My story of an errant Constellation movement at Holmsley South is still clear in my mind ,but hard to place in history. I did my fourth and fifth year of architectural studies at the Southern College of Art, Portsmouth in 1951 and 1952. On some weekends I would cycle home to my parents' home in Bransgore. On one such trip I had arranged to rendezvous with my girl-friend at Holmsley South. As we chatted beside the A35 road as it passes the airfield I spotted a Constellation on Finals for the main Soutwest- Northeast runway. Having watched many Marauders perform the same approach in 1944 I correctly surmised that it was about to land. After the aircraft had touched down, my girl-friend and I scrambled through the remains of the wartime boundary fence and cycled along the perimeter track, round the threshold of the runway on which the Connie had landed. We watched as the TWA (yes, TWA) bird screeched to a halt to avoid running into a post and barbed wire fence that ran across the runway at about 3/4 distance along it. Eventually the aircraft did a careful 180 and taxied back to the threshold. I was close enough to the runway that I could see passengers' faces as they peered out in wonder at the cattle and New Forest ponies nonchalantly grazing among the gorse bushes beside the runway. And I could not help wondering what explanation the pilots were trying to "sell' to the passengers. The aircraft then took off and headed west towards Hurn, probably its original destination, which is about eight miles away from Holmsley South.

Another less spectacular movement I saw,at about the same time happened on a Sunday afternoon. A Nord Norecrin F-BEMS landed and the pilot asked for directions to Hurn. That aircraft was painted overall in a rich blue(similar to the wartime blue of the PRU Spitfires) with a white line along the fuselage sides and white registration letters. I was a competent spotter in those days practising that art as a member of the Boscombe Post of the R.O.C.
Handley Page Halifax
In August 2002 a memorial was unveiled at Holmsley commemorating the twelve wartime airfields of the New Forest.The memorial is located at the western end of the field to the north of the 07 runway.
The picture above was kindly provided by Chris and Caroline Hayles.
The two pictures above were kindly provided by John Elcome.

Flying Units - RAF
58 Sq Whitley VII /Halifax II arr 2/12/42,dep31/3/43
58 Sq Halifax II arr29/6/43, dep 6/12/43
129 Sq Mustang III arr 22/6/44 ,dep 24/6/44
167 Sq WarwickI/III arr 1/10/44,dep30/3/45.
174 Sq Typhoon IB arr 1/4/44,dep 17/6/44
175 Sq Typhoon IB arr 1/4/44 ,dep 20/6/44
182 Sq Typhoon UB arr 22/6/44,dep 3/7/44.
184 Sq Typhoon IB arr 14/5/44,dep 20/5/44.
184 Sq Typhoon IB arr17/6/44,dep 27/6/44
232 Sq Liberator VII arr 2/45
245 Sq Typhoon IB arr 1/4/44,dep 25/4/44.
245 Sq Typhoon IB arr 30/4/44,dep 12/5/44
245 Sq Typhoon IB arr 22/5/44,dep 27/6/44
246 Sq York C1 arr12/44,dep 15/10/46
295 Sq Halifax V arr 1/5/43,dep 30/6/43
306(Polish) Sq Mustang III arr 22/6/44,dep 27/6/44
315(Polish) Sq Mustang III arr 22/6/44,dep 25/6/44
418 SQ RCAF Mosquito II arr 8/4/44,dep 14/7/44.
441 Sq RCAF Spitfire IXB arr 18/3/44,dep 1/4/44.
442 Sq RCAF Spitfire IXB arr 18/3/44,dep 1/4/44.
443 Sq RCAF Spitfire IXB arr 18/3/44,dep 27/3/44.
502 Sq Whitley II detachment arr 22/2/42
502 Sq Halifax II arr 2/3/43,dep 25/3/43
502 Sq Halifax II arr 30/6/43,dep 10/12/43.
547 Sq Wellington VIII arr 22/10/42,dep 10/12/42.
Glider Pilot Regiment, Horsa arr 5/43,dep 6/43.
330 BG B-24 arr25/10/42 dep 1943
394BG(584/585/586/587 Sqs) B-26(Aircraft Codes K5/4T/H9/5W) arr 24/7/44,dep 25/8/44
394th Bomb Group

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