Chris Budgen has a story and request…

    As some members will no doubt already be aware, I am researching the history of Dunsfold Aerodrome with a view to publishing a comprehensive history of the airfield from 1950 – 2000, that is, the period following the grant of use to Hawker Aircraft Ltd until the closure under BAE Systems. A key part of this history will be the inclusion of the memories of former staff so that the story is told through their eyes. To this end, I would be grateful to hear from anyone able to share their memories, photographs or other documents to assist in the fullest telling of the story of Dunsfold.
    My family was unusual in that they had a presence at Dunsfold for longer than most; my great grandfather was a farm-hand for the Hall Place estate (upon which a large part of the airfield was constructed) and started working the land in the 19th century. In 1942, as the Canadians began their work on constructing the airfield, my father – then a tender apprentice with the Guildford Gas Light & Coke Company – assisted in the laying of electrical supply cables into the site.
Dunsfold History

Once his National Service was completed, he returned to the aerodrome as an electrical fitter working for Skyways Ltd on Lancastrians and Dakotas. With Skyways going into receivership in 1949, he was made redundant but returned in 1954 to work for Hawker and stayed for the next 40 odd years.

In the 1960s my mother began work cleaning the offices and control tower and stayed for the next 15 years. Finally, I began work at Dunsfold in 1979 and remained until closure in 2000 – not a bad record for one family, though not unique either.

By 1980, myself and several others began discussing the idea of researching and publishing a history of the airfield and started to quietly build our knowledge (pretty scanty) of its past. Eventually this came to nothing and was overtaken by events. Alan Siney went on to publish his small history of the area prior to construction of the airfield and Paul McCue published a more complete history, mainly of the wartime use of the airfield.

With Dunsfold Aerodrome’s demise now imminent with the threatened construction of a new town on the site, the time has come to capture its history and our memories for posterity. If you can assist with information, please contact me at .