BEAULIEU Airfield was built in 1942,opening in August with 19 Group,RAF Coastal Command,and was used mainly as a basefor anti-submarine patrol work.In
February 1944 the airfield transferred to 2 TAF(2nd Tactical Air Force)for preparation for D-Day.Another change in command in March 1944 saw the arrival of the 9th Air Force/USAAF who stayed until
the end of August.Following the departure of the USAAF,in December 1944 the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment(AFEE) arrived .Involved in experimental work with glider towing,parachute drops
etc,the AFEE used the old East Boldre Airfield site which was literally right next door, on the far side of the Lymington-Beaulieu road, as a drop zone.
In September 1949 the AFEE staged a Battle of Britain display . Participating aircraft included Hastings(3) , Valetta,Hamilcar glider,Horsa glider ,Harvards(3),Oxford, Devon,Ambassador,Canadair C-4,Bristol Freighter, Viscount,Bristol 171, Cierva Air Horse Skeeter, C.30 Autogiro,Westland Sikorsky S.51, S-51 Spraycopter, Supermarine 510, and Hawker Tom Tit flown by Neville Duke.Over 30,000 people attended the display.
In September 1950 the AFEE moved out to Boscombe Down and the airfield was without any flying units.Placed on Care and Maintenance,Beaulieu remained
inactive.On 1st April 1953 control passed once again to the USAF and was upgraded,but in the event no further flying units arrived.On the 8th September 1955 the airfield was handed back to Air
Ministry control,in whose care it remained until November 1959 when it was finally handed back to the Forestry Commission.Eventually ,the runways were torn up ,leaving only a small section near the
Lymington road which is used as a model aircraft flying area.
A relic of Beaulieu's past lives on in the area.One of the hangars was dismantled after the war and taken to Ashley,near New Milton. It was re -erected on a site on the northeastern corner of the junction between Ashley Lane and Ashley Common Rd and is now used by a motor repair company .
Beaulieu seen from the air in 1944.
A 2009 shot of Beaulieu -looking SE towards the Beaulieu River.The site of the World War 1 airfield is on the far side of the road running left-right beyond the runway intersection in the middle of the picture.(Photo from Paul Smith)