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Bekesbourne (Bridge) (Canterbury)


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No 2 Squadron and its Westland Lysanders discovered on arrival at Bekesbourne in May 1940 while trying to support the Dunkirk evacuation how the previous civil owners had left in such a hurry that 600 gallons of aviation fuel had been left behind in storage tanks.

Also known as: Beakesbourne (misspelling) / RAF Bekesbourne / RFC Bekesbourne
County: Kent
Current Status: Farmland / Housing
Date: 1914 (unconfirmed) - June 1940
Current Use: Disused
Used By: RAF / RFC / Civil
Landing Surface Types: Unpaved
Aircraft Roles: Army aviation / Fighter / General aviation

Bekesbourne, in Kent, was a major First World War fighter airfield. Originally opened in 1914, main occupant No 50 Squadron remained ready to defend London and south-east England against Zeppelin and later Gotha bombing raids. Between both World Wars it became a popular civil airfield and was home to the Kent Flying Club. Interestingly, Britain’s first private civil pilot E.D. Whitehead Reid, a Canterbury doctor, flew from here in the 1920s to attend to patients.  

During May/June 1940 Bekesbourne was briefly revived as a military airfield for Westland Lysander Army co-operation aircraft to support the Dunkirk evacuation. A Great War General Service hangar disappeared in 1998 for new housing but a number of original buildings associated with the airfield still survive as private dwellings, including the Officers’ Mess and combined station chapel/NAAFI.


The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):

  • Bekesbourne with Patrixbourne Parish Council
  • Bridge & District History Society
  • Canterbury Library

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 2 Sqn
  • No 13 Sqn
  • No 50 Sqn
  • No 56 Sqn
  • Kent Flying Club

Photographs from the unveiling of the ABCT memorial marker on 23 February 2009:



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