BLACKBUSHE(Hartford Bridge)
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Updated 12 Nov 2014
Other Blackbushe pages ....U S NAVY FASRON 200... Blackbushe visitors 1957.

RT Call "MAXMUS"(WW2),
Code GAOA(till 1960).EGLK.
Lat/Long 51 19 30N/00 50 30W.
Grid ref SU 806595.
320 feet ASL.
10 miles SSE of Reading.
Ident "BB"

RUNWAYS(1946):08/26 200x50 yds,14/32 1400x50 yds,01/19 1400x50 yds.

RUNWAYS(1970):08/26 1286x46 m,14/32 884x46 m,01/19 869x46 m.

RUNWAYS (2000):26/08 1342x46 m.Also 08/26 (GRASS) 500x18 m .

Blackbushe air shot
Blackbushe from the air at the end of WW2.The detail has been marked in to show the runways etc.more clearly

In October 1941 a site at Hartfordbridge Flats was requisitioned for the construction of an airfield.Work started almost immediately and the airfield, now known as Blackbushe,was opened as "Hartford Bridge"on 1/11/42.In fact ,even before it was opened,the RAE from nearby Farnborough,had been using the site for glider trials.At first part of 70 Group,the airfield became part of 2TAF on 15/11/43,and on 2/12/44 the name was officially changed to "Blackbushe".The airfield was transferred to 46 Group/Transport command in March 45.Transport Command continued to be the main users until the airfield closed on 15/11/46.

HP Hermes
Handley Page Hermes of Airwork.

On February 15th 1947 the airfield was transferred to the Ministry of Civil Aviation,and re-opened as "Blackbushe Airport".Blackbushe soon became a major centre for charter and cargo operators such as Britavia,Eagle Aviation,Airwork etc.

Stirling OO-XAS at Blackbushe in 1949.
A June 1955 Eagle Airways timetable. Blackbushe to Innsbruck & Belgrade.

An additional occupant,arriving in 1955, was the US Navy,who built a large hangar in the NE corner of the field.In spite of,or perhaps,because of all this activity,Blackbushe was eventually forced to close on 31/5/1960.

Blackbushe 1970 layout
Blackbushe runway layout in 1970

In spite of closure in 1960 ,Blackbushe refused to die.The airfield formally re-opened again on 6/10/62(although a small number of light aircraft operated by the Blackbushe Aero Club had remained during the closure ),this time as a GA airfield.At the time of writing this,Blackbushe is a busy and popular General Aviation field,and hopefully ,will remain so for the foreseeable future.Visit the Blackbushe Airfield Website.

Blackbushe 2000
Above -Blackbushe runway layout in 2000 and below a recent airshot
16 Sq, MustangI/spitfire XI,arr 29/6/43,dep 16/4/44
21 Sq, VenturaI/II,arr 19/8/43,dep 27/9/43.
88(HongKong)Sq, Boston IIIA/IV,arr 19/8/43,dep 16/10/44
107 Sq,Boston IIIA,arr 20/8/43,dep 1/2/44.
107 Sq,Mosquito VI,arr 23/10/44,dep 19/11/44.
128 Sq,MosquitoXVI,detachment 10/45.
140 Sq,Spitfire/Blenheim/Ventura/Mosquito,arr 16/3/43,dep 7/4/44>
162 Sq, MosquitoXX/XXV,arr 10/7/45,Disbanded 14/7/46.
171 Sq,Tomahawk,arr 11/7/42,dep 25/8/42.
161 Sq,Mustang IA,arr 7/12/42,Disbanded 1/2/43
167 Sq,Warwick CIII,arr 27/3/45,disbanded 2/46
264 Sq,Mosquito XIII,arr 7/4/44,dep 26/7/44
301(Polish)Sq,Warwick CIII,arr 4/4/45.dep 2/7/45.
305 Sq,Mosquito VI,arr 23/10/44,dep 25/10/44.
305 Sq,Mosquito VI,arr 30/10/44,dep 19/11/44.
322(Dutch) Sq ,Spitfire XIV arr 4/44,dep 20/6/44
342(Free French) Sq BostonIIIA/IV,arr 6/9/43,dep 17/10/44.
418 Sq,Mosquito,arr 21/11/44,dep15/3/45
430 Sq TomahawkI/II,Formed from 171 Sq 1/1/43,dep 8/1/43.
605 Sq,Mosquito VI,arr 21/11/44,dep 15/3/45.
613 Sq,Mosquito VI,arr 23/10/44,dep 25/10/44.
613 Sq,Mosquito VI,arr 30/10/44,dep 20/11/44.
622 Sq Valetta C.I.arr 1/11/50,Disbanded 30/9/53.

In 1955 the U.S.Navy moved in with FASRON 200,a naval liason unit.They operated a number of R4D-8 aircraft(C-117D Super Dakotas)on communication services to other US bases in the UK and Europe.THE unit also had a number of SNB-5(Expeditor)aircraft,and in 1958/59,two R4Y-1(C-131) VIP aircraft.When the airfield closed in May 1960 the unit moved out to West Malling.

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