Kenley airfield heritage project appeals for volunteers

Organisers of a Lottery-funded project to revive one of London’s historic Battle of Britain airfields are appealling for volunteers to sign-up before Friday this week to help the scheme really take-off.

Another image from the archive collection of Croydon's local studies library: 1940, and an RAF Hurricane paid for in war bonds bought in Croydon

From Croydon’s local studies library: 1940, and a Hurricane of the kind flown from RAF Kenley, which was paid for in war bonds bought in Croydon

The launch of the Kenley Revival Project will be held on the Kenley Airfield Friends’ Group Heritage Day on Sunday September 11.

But to help assign the many tasks to make the day run smoothly, the organisers have issued an urgent appeal for those willing to give up a couple of hours of their time to sign up before Friday this week, August 5.

“We need volunteers from 11.30am to 5.30pm on the day for a variety of roles,” the Kenley Airfield Friends said.

“We envisage this being two two-hour shifts, with a two-hour break to enjoy the day. There will be a variety of tasks: stewarding and car park attendants, litter pickers, monitoring events and attractions or manning stalls, and generally assisting with the crowds.

“We need as many hands on deck to make this a successful launch event for the project.”

Kenley Airfield is one of the last remaining World War II air bases still in near-complete condition. The former RAF Kenley served as a military airfield from World War I, and during the 1939-1945 war it was one of three main fighter bases – the others being Biggin Hill and Croydon – which flew Hurricanes and Spitfires in defence of London.

The Friends’ group last year secured a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £881,000 to help preserve what is left there and better present it as an historic feature for future generations.

The very popular Heritage Day next month will feature all the regular attractions plus some new ones, including a full-size replica Spitfire and Hurricane, a Battle of Britain exhibition trailer which contains memorabilia, information and other items for visitors to read through, with a re-enactor in RAF uniform to guide people through the exhibits.

There will also be model aircraft displays, 1940s food tastings, guided heritage walks, live 1940s music, plus BBQ, tea, coffee and cakes, local community and trade stands, military vehicles, classic vehicles and long wave radio demonstrations.

And there will be a land train running around the perimeter track with a live commentary so that those less able to get around can see Kenley and learn about the significance of Kenley Airfield’s heritage.

The organisers’ appeal for volunteers says, “Please do get in contact even if you cannot commit to the above but would still like to help. These roles are flexible and we need as much help as possible. Once you have registered your interest there will be a briefing session on the week of the event as well as a on-the-day briefing on the Sunday morning.”

To register your interest or for more information, email

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