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RAF West Malling in 1960

Royal Air Force Station West Malling or RAF West Malling was a Royal Air Force station located 1.6 miles (2.6 km) south of West Malling, Kent, England and 5.2 miles (8.4 km) west of Maidstone, Kent.

Originally used as a landing area during the first World War, the site opened as a private landing ground and in 1930, then known as Kingshill, home to the Maidstone School of Flying, before being renamed West Malling Airfield, and, in 1932, Maidstone Airport.

During the 1930s many airshows and displays were held by aviators such as Amy Johnson and Alan Cobham, flying from a grass runway.

As war approached, the airfield was taken over by the military, to become RAF West Malling in 1940, serving in the front line against the Luftwaffe. The station saw further service after the war, first with some of the RAFs first jet squadrons, and later as a US Naval Air Station.

After closure as an operational air station in 1969, West Malling acquired a more civilian guise, hosting several major Great Warbirds Air Displays during the 70s and 80s, until eventually closing completely as an airfield. The site is now developing into a new village community of mixed residential, commercial, and civic amenities, but still retains several features of its military aviation heritage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_West_Malling

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