|Tarrant Rushton Airfield
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Ordinary people, part of an extraordinary story - from 1943 to 1980
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Teatime on Saturday, September 30th, 2000, saw the remarkable and unexpected commemoration of Tarrant Rushton's last flight on the day it closed - exactly 20 years to the day since it happened.
To visit the page, click HERE or follow the hyperlink down the left-hand column below.
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work of Europe's Resistance forces.
Supplying Europe's Resistance forces.
The work of the Special Operations Executive.
Special Operations Executive agents in the field.
Resistance escape lines.
Welcome to the secret Royal Air Force base that helped to win the Second World War and, in Civvy Street, went on to play an important part in international post-war aviation research for more than 30 years!
The 300 acre Dorset airfield, home to 3,000 people in war and 1,000 in peace, may have been demolished and now returned to agriculture but thanks to this web site you can make it come alive again!
It's so simple, so easy and so fascinating to travel back in time!
To see any of the thumbnailed pictures to a whole screen size, simply click on them with your mouse cursor!
|Once home to 3,000 people, Tarrant Rushton Airfield
in Dorset played a vital role during the Second World War.
Under the Royal Air Force, its Halifax four-engined bombers manned by young aircrews, little more than teenagers, flew dangerous secret missions deep into Occupied Europe.
The young men of 298 Squadron and 644 Squadron ferried troops and equipment in gliders and dropped Special Operations Executive agents, arms and equipment to brave Resistance forces from the south of France to Norway.
Home to the Royal Air Force and the Glider Pilot Regiment - the latter with its massive Hamilcar and Horsa gliders - Tarrant Rushton landed the first troops in Normandy on D-Day in June, 1944.
It also played an important part in the Arnhem invasion of September, 1944, and the final push into the heartland of Germany with the Rhine Crossing operation of March, 1945.
Arduous and low radar-dodging flights of up to 12 hours saw RAF Tarrant Rushton's young aircrews drop secret agents across Europe, as well as supplies and arms to the Resistance, as well as SAS Army troops behind German lines.
In 1947, Tarrant Rushton Airfield became home to Flight Refuelling. Founded by the famous pre-war aviator and entrepreneur Alan Cobham.
The enterprising company was heavily involved in the year long life-saving Berlin supply airlift starting in the summer of 1948 against the Soviet Union-backed East Germany.
From the windswept Dorset airfield and natural plateau, the company also developed in-flight refuelling, refurbished jets for the world's air forces as well as building pilotless target drone aircraft for the Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.
Staff at Tarrant Rushton carried out a wide range of internationally important aviation research projects - from the ill-fated TSR2 jet project through to the Harrier jump jet and even the supersonic Concorde - until the airfield's closure in 1980 and its swift demolition that winter.
Now, the former base is a huge 300 acre ploughed field. You would never believe it had such a dramatic, poignant and important history. But now you can thanks to this comprehensive website!
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