Airfield search

Ford (Yapton)

Major
Also known as: Ford Airfield Industrial Estate / Ford Airfield Market / Ford Junction / HMS Peregrine / RAF Ford / RAF Ford Junction / RFC Ford Junction / RNAS Ford / USAAF Station 362
County: West Sussex
Current Status: Housing / Industry / Leisure activity / Prison
Date: 1 March 1918 - 1980
Current Use: Disused
Used By: RAF / RAF (Norwegian) / RAF (Polish) / RFC / FAA / Civil / RAAF / RCAF
Landing Surface Types: Unpaved, later paved

Ford, the world’s most famous intruder airfield, originally opened in March 1918 for use by RAF and American squadrons prior to closing in January 1920. The site reopened for civil flying ten years later, becoming involved in early air-to-air flight refuelling experiments, and resumed military aviation connections from the end of 1937. Fleet Air Arm training units primarily employed Ford into World War Two but their base suffered extremely heavy damage and loss of life following a ferocious attack by Junkers Ju 87s on August 18 1940. As a result the RAF quickly returned and Ford gained prominence in its best known role as various intruder squadrons – notably No 23 – roamed enemy-occupied territory to attack targets at will with considerable success. Operational duties gradually altered to also include fighter-bomber sorties as the airfield became heavily involved through the vital D-Day period and beyond.

Ford kept busy during peacetime as the Fleet Air Arm returned in the summer of 1945 to enable first-line squadrons to form and work up to full readiness. Another major event occurred in August 1951 when No 800 Squadron formed at HMS Peregrine with Supermarine Attackers to become the first naval jet fighter unit. Eventually Ford was paid off or closed in November 1958 but this did not signal the end of flying by any means as civil aircraft continued to employ the airfield until all flying finally ceased in 1980. Today a wide variety of alternative uses which have become noticeable since the late 1950s are evident, ranging from industry and peripheral housing to leisure, an open prison and a popular Sunday market.


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

  • A. & J. Bull (Engineering) Ltd
  • A-Plant Ltd
  • Adur Ventilation
  • Arundel Brewery
  • Ashtead Plant Hire Ltd
  • Besmoke
  • Carrera Plant Hire Ltd
  • Climping Parish Council
  • Classic Mantels Ltd
  • Demon Designs
  • Favour Fairy
  • Fire Detection Products Ltd
  • Ford Air Rifle Ranges
  • Ford Electro Plating Ltd
  • Ford Parish Council
  • HMP Ford
  • John Booth Engineering Ltd
  • K T Services Ford Ltd
  • Malcolm Frederick Pearcey
  • Pavilion Systems Ltd
  • Polestar Cooling Ltd
  • Quantum Steel Ltd
  • Slindon Bakery
  • Sounds The Business
  • South Coast Skips Limited
  • Southdown Circuits Ltd
  • Stage Services
  • Styropack
  • Tarmac Topblock Ltd
  • The Flying Fortress
  • Transvac Systems
  • Unique Welding & Fabrication Ltd
  • Yapton & Ford Local History Group
  • Yapton Parish Council

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 8 Fighter Command Servicing Unit

  • No 10 Sqn

  • No 11 Gp TT Flight

  • 14th Carrier Air Group

  • No 15 (Fighter) Wing

  • No 16 Sqn

  • 18th (Training) Wing

  • No 19 Sqn

  • No 22 Sqn

  • No 23 Sqn

  • No 29 Sqn

  • No 50 TS

  • No 65 Sqn

  • No 66 Sqn

  • No 88 Sqn

  • No 96 Sqn

  • No 97 Sqn

  • No 107 Sqn

  • No 115 Sqn

  • No 122 Airfield

  • No 122 (Rocket Projectile) Wing

  • No 122 Sqn

  • No 125 Airfield

  • No 125 (Fighter) Wing

  • No 127 Sqn

  • No 129 Sqn

  • No 131 (Polish) (Fighter) Wing

  • No 132 (Norwegian) (Fighter) Wing

  • No 132 Sqn

  • No 133 (Polish) (Fighter) Wing

  • No 141 Sqn

  • No 144 (RCAF) (Fighter) Wing

  • No 144 Sqn

  • No 148 Sqn

  • No 149 Sqn

  • No 161 GS

  • No 170 Sqn

  • No 174 Sqn

  • No 192 Sqn
  • No 215 Sqn

  • No 256 Sqn

  • No 287 Sqn

  • No 288 Sqn

  • No 302 Sqn

  • No 306 Sqn

  • No 308 Sqn

  • No 315 Sqn

  • No 317 Sqn 

  • No 331 Sqn

  • No 332 Sqn

  • No 405 Repair & Salvage Unit
  • No 418 Sqn

  • No 441 Sqn

  • No 442 Sqn

  • No 443 Sqn

  • No 453 Sqn

  • No 456 Sqn

  • No 602 Sqn

  • No 604 Sqn

  • No 605 Sqn

  • No 611 Sqn

  • No 700 Sqn

  • No 700X Flight

  • No 702 Sqn

  • No 703 Sqn

  • No 703A Flight

  • No 703W Flight

  • No 703X Flight

  • No 708 Sqn

  • No 720 Sqn

  • No 745 Sqn

  • No 746 Sqn

  • No 750 Sqn

  • No 751 Sqn

  • No 752 Sqn

  • No 762 Sqn

  • No 764 Sqn

  • No 767 Sqn

  • No 771 Sqn

  • No 778 Sqn

  • No 781 Sqn

  • No 782 Sqn

  • No 787 Sqn

  • No 793 Sqn

  • No 800 Sqn

  • No 801 Sqn

  • No 802 Sqn

  • No 803 Sqn

  • No 804 Sqn

  • No 806 Sqn

  • No 807 Sqn

  • No 809 Sqn

  • No 810 Sqn

  • No 811 Sqn

  • No 812 Sqn

  • No 813 Sqn

  • No 814 Sqn

  • No 815 Sqn

  • No 816 Sqn

  • No 818 Sqn

  • No 819 Sqn

  • No 820 Sqn

  • No 821 Sqn

  • No 824 Sqn

  • No 825 Sqn

  • No 826 Sqn

  • No 827 Sqn

  • No 829 Sqn

  • No 830 Sqn

  • No 831 Sqn

  • No 890 Sqn

  • No 895 Sqn

  • No 897 Sqn

  • No 1488 (Fighter) Gunnery Flight

  • No 1832 Sqn

  • No 1833 Sqn

  • No 1840 Sqn

  • No 1840A Sqn

  • No 1841 Sqn

  • No 1842 Sqn

  • No 2701 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2704 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2709 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2710 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2718 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2720 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2736 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2739 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2758 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2766 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2767 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2791 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2795 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2806 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2813 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2829 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • Ayling Aviation

  • Fighter Interception Development Sqn

  • Fighter Interception Development Unit

  • Fighter Interception Unit

  • Night Fighter Development Wing

  • Night Fighter Training Sqn

  • Royal Navy Observers School

  • School of Naval Co-operation

  • South Downs Flying Club

  • Yapton Aero Club

c. 1982 aerial.jpg

Aerial view of Ford airfield, c. 1982. © Dave Welch.

geograph-194956-by-Simon-Carey.jpg

The entrance to Ford Airfield, 2 July 2006. © Simon Carey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

IWM (A 33095).jpg

A scoop designed to lift people from the sea using a helicopter being demonstrated at Ford, 11 January 1955. © IWM (A 33095)

geograph-733351-by-Simon-Carey.jpg

Part of a runway at Ford, 21 March 2008. © Simon Carey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

IWM (A 33099).jpg

A new transport stretcher being tested at Ford, January 1954. © IWM (A 33099)

IWM (CH 4048).jpg

'Evelyn', a No 23 Squadron Douglas A-20 Havoc starts up at Ford at the beginning of another night sortie, 28 November 1941. © IWM (CH 4048)

IWM (CH 10089).jpg

Electricians testing and charging aircraft batteries at Ford in May 1943. © IWM (CH 10089)

IWM (CH 9231).jpg

Aircrews of No 605 Squadron RAF relax in their crew room at Ford, before night intruder operations during the Second World War. © IWM (CH 9231)

IWM (HU 92143).jpg

Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXs of No 453 Squadron RAAF starting up at Ford during the Second World War. © IWM (HU 92143)

IWM (CH 12890).jpg

Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXB of No 602 Squadron RAF is guided out from its dispersal at Ford during the Second World War. © IWM (CH 12890)

IWM (CH 12889).jpg

Pilots of No 132 Squadron with their Commanding Officer and his Spitfire LF IX at Ford, 27 April 1944. © IWM (CH 12889)

IWM (Q 66102).jpg

A Handley Page bomber under construction at Ford, 24 October 1918. © IWM (Q 66102)

IWM (Q 58348).jpg

A Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2e aircraft landing at the Ford, 25 October 1918. © IWM (Q 58348)

IWM (Q 113464).jpg

Temporary hangars and Farman aircraft at Ford, 24 October 1918. © IWM (Q 113464)

IWM (Q 111623).jpg

Handley Page workshops being constructed at Ford, 22 October 1918. © IWM (Q 111623)

Fleet Air Arm aircraft at Ford, 1957. Courtesy of British Pathé

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Plan of Ford, c. 1940s. © Royal Navy Research Archive. Click here for more information.

Parent(s)/HQ Airfields(s):

Lee-on-Solent

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