Story of forgotten airfield is revealed in exhibition

Three roads on an industrial estate in Witney are the only reminder that an airfield that played a crucial role in both world wars once existed there. De Havilland Way, Range Road and Richard Jones Road on the Windrush Industrial Park are tantalising reminders of the airfield which once serviced Spitfires and Hurricanes damaged in the Battle of Britain. In a recent exhibition at the old Grammar School in Bampton, former RAF engineer Peter Davis set up a display outlining the fascinating history of the largely forgotten airfield. Mr Davis, 68, who has three sons and lives in Bampton, said: “There are 27,000 people living in Witney but hardly anyone remembers that there was an airfield there. It played a crucial role in the first and second world wars. I think it would be nice to at least have a plaque somewhere to remember it. More than 500 Spitfires and 500 Hurricanes were repaired there in the Second World War so it played a big role in the success of the Battle of Britain and the war effort.” The airfield opened in 1918 and remained in use until 1951. During that time it served as an RAF training unit, a base for tennis, horse racing and motorcycle speedway as well as for Witney and Oxford Aero Club and Witney Aeronautical College.

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