Ford Airfield (HMS Peregrine) Centenary

Ford Airfield (HMS Peregrine) Centenary

Exhibition (2018)

The Yapton & Ford Local History Group is going to commemorate the centenary of Ford Airfield with an exhibition to be held in the Yapton & Ford Village Hall & adjacent playing field on Saturday 9th June 2018.

There will be displays consisting of descriptions and photographs of all the main occupiers over the past 100 years along with exhibitors from as many flying related concerns as possible.


Among the displays will be the construction of the airfield for the RFC and the US Air Service followed by the newly formed RAF which used the airfield to de-commission squadrons after the war. Ford Motor Company leased the airfield for their short lived Tri-Motor operation and Sir Alan Cobham’s Flying Circus exploits mesmerised the local population during the pre-war years. The story of his experiments with inflight refuelling by his company, Flight Refuelling also receives a mention.

With WW2 looming, the Royal Navy took over the base and the story of their tenure is well covered culminating in the disastrous air raid with 28 people losing their lives on the 18th June 1940. Amongst the documents are tales of courage by sailors, Wrens and civilians during and after the attack. Following this devastating attack, Ford became an RAF station for the rest of the war.

The Fleet Air Arm returned in the post war period until the government deemed the base surplus to requirement and closed it in 1958. Other famous names associated with the airfield as well as Sir Alan Cobham, were Lettice Curtice (Air Transport Auxiliary pilot) who learnt to fly with Yapton Aero Club and Wing Commander Johnnie Johnson, Britain’s most successful fighter pilot.

The list of exhibitors is growing by the week. Those that have already committed or who are very interested include:

Constructive Heritage
AirAces of Chichester
Aldingbourne Modellers
Military Vehicle Trust
Tangmere Military Aviation Museum
Littlehampton Museum
University of Chichester
Border Digital – Slide Show
Rob Carter (Re-construction of a Wyvern cockpit)
Association of Wrens
Triumph Roadster Club
Tony Sergeant – Aviation Artist
Mark Hillier- Westhampnett Airfield Historian and Author
John Bell – Lancaster Bomb Aimer – Illustrated Talk
Lee Carpenter – Aviation Photographic Display
Norman Langridge – Original WW2 Air Raid Siren (Hand Operated)
Ford Air Rifle Ranges
Yapton Parish Council
Clymping Parish Council
Ford Parish Council
Rural Associates
Gary & Colett Love
Tesco Stores
Wickes DIY
Cobham PLC
Yapton & District Cottage Gardeners Society
Yapton & Ford Village Hall

The exhibition will include a slide show and a photographic exhibition of aircraft ancient and modern as well as a range of aviation paintings by local artist Tony Sergeant. There will also be an opportunity to purchase Mark Hillier’s (author of ‘A Fighter Command Station at War’) latest book on RAF & Luftwaffe uniforms.

Refreshments will be available for purchase in the Village Hall.

We would like to hear from anyone who has any information or memorabilia relating to the airfield and we would welcome anyone who would like to be involved with the project. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.

A brief history of the airfield from its inception in 1917 can be found here.

Allen Misselbrook
March 2018

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