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Adv Landing Ground - Staplehurst, Kent.

The USAAF Ninth Air Force required several temporary Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) along the channel coast prior to the June 1944 Normandy invasion to provide tactical air support for the ground forces landing in France.

 

Staplehurst airfield was one of the first batch of ten ALGs approved for construction which started in January 1943.  All had 1 March 1943 as the target date for completion but this was too optimistic in the prevailing wet winter weather conditions and the airfield was not ready for occupation until later in the spring.

 

It was a prototype for the type of temporary airfield which would be built in France after D-Day, when the need advanced landing fields would become urgent as the Allied forces moved east across France and Germany.  It was originally planned to support light bombers and thereby would need a bomb store near the site.  However, in a review of airfield building plans, this original requirement was dropped, so Staplehurst was of similar specification to other ALGs in the district.

 

The airfield consisted of two wire-mesh Sommerfeld Track runways, the main being 4,200 ft (1,300 m) aligned 10/28 and a secondary of 3,300 ft (1,000 m) at 01/19. Pierced Steel Planking (PSP) was also used in the construction of the hardstands and perimeter track along with several temporary hangars of wood and canvas.

 

Tents were used for billeting and also for support facilities; an access road was built to the existing road infrastructure; a dump for supplies, ammunition, and petrol drums, along with a drinkable water and minimal electrical grid for communications and station lighting.

 

The memorial now at this site, is located just off Chickenden Lane near the site of the former airfield.

It was dedicated on June 6th 2010, and was attended by 95 year-old Col. John R. Ulricson who flew his P-51 "Lolita" from the Airfield, his son . Local fundraising efforts included bottles of “Ulricsons Finest Staplehurst Ale” which on the label show Ulricson in front of his "Lolita", which reportedly made him smile.

There was a flypast that included a P-51D "Big Beautiful Doll".

The dedication was preceded by a service at the church in Staplehurst.

 

The memorial was designed and built by The Stone Shop.

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