THORNEY ISLAND.The short runway(12/30 )became disused in later years.
Actually in West Sussex(just) but for many years Thorney Island had a Hampshire postal address.Construction of the airfield at Thorney Island started in 1935.The project took rather longer than planned and the airfield did not open until 3/2/38 ,as part of 16 Group, Coastal Command.The station transferred briefly to no.17(Training) Group in March 38 before reverting to Coastal Command on 1/11 38 .On 15/7/47 the station passed to Fighter Command(No.11 Group),and in May 1950 to No.21 Group ,Flying Training Command.In January 62 control passed to No 38 Group ,Transport Command ,who remained in command until 31/10/75 .When Transport Command departed,the only remaining occupants were the SAR Squadron who eventually left in January 1976.On 31/3/76 the airfield was officially closed.Plans for use by the Navy,and later,as a general aviation field for Portsmouth both fell through. For a couple of years Britten-Norman rented hangar space to store Islanders,but there was no further use of the airfield.In August 1982 the Royal Artillery took over and they continue to use the base today.For more information on the Royal Artillery activities at Thorney visit the 21st Air Defence Battery Website
From Mike Bish, the two photos below show the crash of Hastings TG508 which occured on the 7th March 1962.The aircraft wing was hit by a huge crosswind which lifted the aircraft before the tail wheel had touched down and slewed the aircraft around heading toward the control tower. Fortunately the wheels snapped and it slewed to a halt just short of the CT bursting into flames. Pilot was Flt. Lt. Butler and Flt Engineer was M/Eng C G Bish. Crash occurred at 09.40 on 7 March 1962. All crew and students aboard managed to get out unharmed..
Since around 1991 Microlight aircraft have been flying here and using a hangar on the Southwestern corner of the field.
A recent view of Thorney Island from the air.
This picture,by Tony Exelby shows XS644 ,Andover C.1 with 46 Squadron at
Thorney Island in 1975.XS644 was painted in a unique grey and green colour scheme
with pale grey undersides.