Airfield search

Bekesbourne (Bridge) (Canterbury)


Did you know?


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) / Bekesbourne Aerodrome / RAF Bekesbourne / RFC Bekesbourne / Canterbury Aerodrome
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 (main role) / General aviation (main role)

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
  • British Hospitals Air Pageant
  • Kent Flying Club
  • National Aviation Day Ltd

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



001IWM (H(AM) 1112).jpg

A rigger standing by Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a, A8913 'B2' flown by Lieutenant K K Muspratt of No 56 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Possibly taken at Bekesbourne, late June 1917. © IWM (H(AM) 1112)

002View across the former flying field - 25 May 2014.png

View across the former flying field, 25 May 2014. © Richard Flagg

003Type 24 Pillbox - 25 May 2014.png

Type 24 Pillbox at Bekesbourne, 25 May 2014. © Richard Flagg


Aerodrome Road at Bekesbourne, 4 June 2015.

Home Defence Flight Station(s):

Detling / Throwley

Home Defence Landing Ground(s):

Allhallows / Biggin HillBroad Salts / Broomfield, Kent / FrinstedGuilton / Hunton / Leigh Green / Marden, KentPett / Pluckley / RyeSole Street / South Ash / Swingfield / West Malling (Kings Hill)

© 2024 ABCT All rights reserved.
Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust is registered in England and Wales. Registered Office: Suite 1, 7th Floor 50 Broadway, London, England, SW1H 0BL
Registered Company No. 08940364. Registered Charity No (England and Wales): 1156877. Registered Charity No (Scotland): SC041123