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RAF West Malling (Hardback)

The RAF's First Night Fighter Airfield - WWII to the Cold War

WWII Modern Warfare Aviation in WWII Photographic Books WWII Photographic Books Royal Air Force

By Anthony J Moor
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 439
Illustrations: 225
ISBN: 9781526753236
Published: 7th October 2019


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This is the story of West Malling airfield, from its earliest days through its role in the Second World War – when several dramatic and tragic events occurred – and beyond into the Cold War.

Opened as a private landing ground after the First World War, the airfield at West Malling, then known as Kings Hill, became home to the Maidstone School of Flying in 1930. It was then renamed West Malling Airfield, and, in 1932, Maidstone Airport.

The airfield's RAF role came to the fore in June 1940, by when the station had been fitted with a concrete runway. The first aircraft arrived on 8 June 1940. As the UK’s first designated night fighter base, over the years that followed RAF West Malling was home to many famous pilots, men such as John Cunningham, Peter Townsend, Bob Braham and even Guy Gibson, later of Dambusters fame. During the summer of 1944, Mosquitoes, Spitfires and Mustang Mk.3s successfully destroyed many V-1s, as well as played their part in the D-Day landings.

Following the war, units such as Nos. 25 and 85 squadrons were equipped with Meteor NF fighters and de Havilland Vampires and Venoms, continuing West Malling’s strategic night fighter role into the Cold War. No.500 (Kent’s Own) Squadron also adopted RAF West Malling as its home in this period. A US Navy Facility Flight was also based at the airfield in the 1960s.

After closure as an operational air station in 1969, West Malling re-acquired its civilian guise, hosting a Gliding School, Short Brothers and several major Great Warbirds Air Displays during the 1970s and 1980s, until eventually closing completely as an airfield, for re-development.

Anthony J. Moor's exhaustively researched and highly-illustrated book is the first to tell the full story of the part West Malling played in the defence of the United Kingdom, and how it served the RAF for twenty-eight action-packed years.

As featured by

The de Havilland Aeronautical Technical School newsletter

An interesting work for aviation lovers who like well-documented stories.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

As featured in

De Havilland Moth Club

The RAF West Malling airfield started life as a private aerodrome in the 1930s, known as Kings Hill. This is a comprehensive history of an important RAF airfield in WWII and through the Cold War. – Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


What an amazing and insightful book this is. It really does have a wealth of I teresting stories from the bases origins through to the cold War and has alot of photos throughout.
This should be on the shelf of every aviation enthusiast and will be a reference book every collected will return to for years to come.
Written amazing and with such a Labour of love and it clearly shows throughout.

Amazon Customer, Richard Domoney-Saunders

Inspiring history of the first designated night fighter base - Anthony Moor's history of West Malling in Kent is an important piece of social and military history. Brilliant illustrations make this a must-read!

Books Monthly

An extraordinary title!

Watch the full video review here

Scale Modelling Now

About Anthony J Moor

ANTHONY JOHN MOOR was educated at the Royal Naval School, Tal Handaq, Malta GC. On his return to the UK he served a five-year apprenticeship with Hawker Siddeley Aviation, which began at the De Havilland Technical School at Astwick Manor, shortly after De Havilland Hatfield had been taken over by HSA. He later worked in Germany as a draughtsman with AEG Gas Turbines, and engineering companies in the UK. In the 1980s Anthony worked with Metair Aircraft Equipment at West Malling. He is the author of five previous books on former airfields in Kent, namely Brenzett ALG, the Home Defence airfield at Throwley, near Faversham, Detling, Lympne, and Ramsgate Airport, and has written numerous aviation articles. He lives in Ashford, Kent, with his wife.

Perfect Partner

RAF Hawkinge The RAF’s Wartime Frontline Airfield; From Dunkirk to the Battle of Britain and D-Day (Hardback)

As the nearest RAF station to Occupied Europe, the airfield at Hawkinge in Kent found itself quite literally on the frontline during the Second World War. However, Hawkinge’s association with British military aviation began more than two decades earlier, during the First World War. Already a pre-war airfield, it was in 1915 that the land was requisitioned for use by the Royal Fling Corps. The first personnel arrived a few months later to serve at was initially named Folkestone Field. Mainly used as a base for transporting aircraft across to France and the Western Front, a name change to Hawkinge…

By Anthony J Moor

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