Throughout the 1930s, RAF Manston became established as one of the most important airfields in the country. No. 48 Squadron arrived at Manston in December 1935 and was equipped with the Avro Anson, the RAF’s first monoplane with a retractable undercarriage. From No. 48 Squadron was formed the School of Air Navigation, Nos 206 and 234 Squadrons, and along with the School of Technical Training, Manston was at the forefront of technology and training.
On the outbreak of war in 1939, No. 3 Squadron was the first fighter squadron to arrive at Manston and others would soon follow. No. 600 Squadron operated from Manston and on one occasion it lost five Blenheims out of six that had been dispatched to attack Rotterdam. Such was the intensity of the attacks by the Luftwaffe, Manston was put out of action and authorities prepared for the German invasion. Tunnels and trenches were dug and the airfield became a focal point of British resistance. The Battle of Britain effectively became The Battle of RAF Manston.
Joe Bamford served for six years in the RAF (1968-74) as an assistant air traffic controller and served at Manston and Akrotiri in Cyprus. Bamford previously contributed to Fonthill Media with the critically acclaimed Tales from the Control Tower.
John Williams was a former archivist/historian at the Spitfire Museum and is a local historian for Margate Museum and Margate Cemetery Walks.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Extent: 176 pages
Illustrations: 50 black-and-white photographs