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RAF Tangmere in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- RAF Tangmere during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

RAF Tangmere


In November 1916, a pilot flying in fog was thankful to make a safe landing in a clear area at Tangmere. His report concluded that the area would be ideal for an aerodrome.

Squadrons stationed at RAF Tangmere

  • No. 1 Squadron from 1927 to Sept 1939 & 23 June to 1 Aug 1940.
  • No. 43 Squadron. Sept 1939 to 18 Nov 1939 & 31 May 1940 to July 1940 & 16 Jun 1942 to 1 Sep 1942
  • No. 219 Squadron. 12 Dec 1940 to 23 June 1942.
  • No. 607 Squadron. 14 Nov 1939 to 15th Nov 1939 & 22nd May 1940 to 4th Jun 1940


   No 43 Squadron was formed on the 15th of April 1916 at Stirling. They proceeded to France in January 1917 as an Army reconnaissance squadron. After undertaking the first ground attack mission against enemy troops in June 1917, this became their primary function.

The Squadron formed part of the army of occupation in Germany but was disbanded in December 1919. It was re-formed at Henlow in 1925 as a fighter squadron. At the outbreak of war in 1939 the Squadron was flying Hurricanes from RAF Tangmere.

Airfields at which No. 43 Squadron was based during the war:

  • December 1926-November 1939: Tangmere
  • November 1939-February 1940: Acklington
  • February-May 1940: Wick
  • May-September 1940: Tangmere
  • July-August 1940: Detachment to Northolt
  • September-December 1940: Usworth
  • December 1940-February 1941: Drem
  • February-March 1941: Crail
  • March-October 1941: Drem
  • October 1941-June 1942: Acklington
  • June-September 1942: Tangmere
  • September-October 1942: Kirton-on-Lindsey
  • October-November 1942: Moving to Gibraltar
  • November 1942: Gibraltar
  • November 1942-March 1943: Maison Blanche, Algeria
  • March-April 1943: Jemappes, Algeria
  • April-May 1943: Tingley, Algeria
  • May 1943: Nefza, Tunisia
  • May-June 1943: Mateur, Tunisia
  • June-July 1943: Hal Far, Malta
  • July 1943: Comiso, Sicily
  • July-August 1943: Pachino, Sicily
  • August 1943: Panebianco, Sicily
  • August-September 1943: Catania, Sicily
  • September 1943: Cassala, Sicily
  • September 1943: Falcone (Palermo), Sicily
  • September-October 1943: Tusciano, Italy
  • October 1943-January 1944: Capodichino (Naples), Italy
  • January-May 1944: Lago, Italy
  • May-June 1944: Nettuno, Italy
  • June 1944: Tre Cancelli, Italy
  • June 1944: Tarquinia, Italy
  • June-July 1944: Grossetto, Italy
  • July 1944: Piombino, Italy
  • July-August 1944: Calvi Main, Corsica
  • August 1944: Ramatuelle (st Tropez), France
  • August-September 1944: Sisteron, France
  • September 1944: Lyon/ Bron, France
  • September-October 1944: La Jasse, France
  • October-November 1944: Peretola, Italy
  • November 1944-February 1945: Rimini, Italy
  • February-May 1945: Ravenna, Italy
  • May 1945: Rivolto, Italy
  • May-September 1945: Klagenfurt, Austria


9th September 1939 Into France

18th Nov 1939 Moved to the North

31st May 1940 Return to Tangmere

7th June 1940 

18th June 1940 Evacuated from France  With the enemy vanguard almost within striking distance, No.1 squadron was evacuated on the 18th June, the last RAF unit to leave France. After a few days at Northolt, it returned to RAF Tangmere.  More info.

18th June 1940 Evacuated from France

1st August 1940 Relocated

6th August 1940 Aircraft Lost

16th Aug 1940 Airfield Bombed

16th August 1940 Eagle Day

19th August 1940 Relocated

8th Sept 1940 Return to the north

9th Sept 1940 Moved for respite

20th Sept 1940 

30th Oct 1940 Recuperation

29th November 1940 Sorties Over France

26th February 1941 On the move

27th April 1941 Many moves

16th June 1942 On the Move

1st Sept 1942 Operations

6th Oct 1944 Moves

8th Dec 1944 Move

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have served at

RAF Tangmere

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Meirion "Tommy" Thomas 166 Squadron

My Grandfather, Meirion Thomas, served at Kirmington during the war with 166 Squadron and flew in Lancasters. he was also in Number 1 Squadron at Tangmere at the start of the war. This is a long shot but if there is any one with information on him or knew of him or has any photos, please get in touch.


Joesphe Salmon Groundcrew

I'm just looking to see where my grandad served during the War. I was told he was based at Tangmere, and also served in India with the RAF.

It would be great if I could find out more information on his career in the RAF and what squadron he served in'

mark salmon

BSM. John Ray 133 Field Regiment (Welsh)

I have details of the Regiment's posting as Depot Regt, School of Artillery in 1943 when they were in Chichester (Tangmere). My Father Jack Ray, went with the Regiment when they were incorporated into the 2nd Canadian Division in Holland and Germany in 1944.

John Ray

Colin "Jock" Sinclair 41st Sqd.

Colin Sinclair was an electrical engineer in 41 Squadron- based at Tangmere on the first night of the War. At retirement in 1970 he was a Wing Commander.

Rowena Sinclair

F/Lt. Kenneth Freeman Mills DFC 219 Squadron

Goggles worn to maintain night vision whilst in the messroom.

Successful combat as depicted in the

Beaufighter details

K. F. Mills in 264 Squadron

Kenneth Freeman Mills DFC served in Bristol Blenheims, later converting to Bristol Beaufighters in 219 Squadron based at RAF Tangmere. He flew over 36 sorties and was involved in destroying a Heinkel He III. He then moved on to 264 Squadron flying Mosquitos from RAF Colerne, Wiltshire and RAF Predannack, Cornwall.

Peter H Mills

Flt.Lt. Miroslav "Tony" Liskutin DFC. 145 Squadron

Miroslav Liskutin was recently reunited with his Spitfire, MK912 which is still flying, out of Biggin Hill. He is now in 2015 96 years old and in fairly good health. An amazing man with an amazing background. On D Day he flew from Tangmere on invasion cover, and when he had to make an emergency landing to re-position equipment which had been dislodged by enemy fire, he was probably the first aeroplane to land in France during the invasion.

Able.Sea. Frank Lomax MID. HMS Sleuth

Frank Lomax served on:
  • HMS Raleigh, 3rd July 1940 as an ordinary seaman.
  • HMS Drake 10th September 1940.
  • HMS Defiance 2nd October 1940.
  • HMS Dolphin 6th February 1941.
  • HMS Maidstone 26th April 1941; 27th June 1941 as Able Seaman; 3rd July 1941 Able Seaman.
  • HMS St Angelo (SC) 18th July 1941; (HM Sub Urge) 16th September 1941. (Sub lost 28th April 1942); (SC) 16th November 1941.
  • HMS Talbot (HMS Sub Una) 28th February 1943.
  • HMS Dolphin (S/M's) 2nd March 1943.
  • HMS Ambrose (S/M's) 14th May 1943.
  • HMS Ambrose (HM Sub Sea Dog) 12th October 1943.
  • HMS Forth (HM Sea Dog) 15th August 1944; (S/M's) 29th November 1944; (HM Sub Sleuth) 10th January 1945.
  • HMS Maidstone (HM Sub Sleuth) 12 January 1945.
  • HMS Dolphin (HM Sub Sleuth) 1st October 194; (S/M's) 22nd February 1946 Released Class A.

He was Mentioned in Dispatches: for Distinguished Service (HM Sub Unseen) No. 1 1st June 1943 - Parchment. and for Distinguished Service (HM Sub Sleuth) No. 2 18th December 1945 - Parchment.

Frank William Lomax

James Smee 219 Sqdn. (d.8th May 1942)

My uncle was killed in air crash at Tangmere while in 219 Sqdn. in 1942 any information or photos around that time would be appreciated.

Update: The only fatal crash between the dates 7-8 May 1942 was: Beaufighter R2267. Pilot 1380996 Sergeant James Kenneth Smee, age 20. Son of Mr John Smee and Mrs Valetta Smee of Mayfield, New South Wales, Australia. Buried in Hayes and Harlington Cemetery. AI Operator 926261 Sergeant Claude Stanley Bassett, age 22. Son of Mr Arthur Henry Cash Bassett and Mrs Gertrude Alice Bassett of Ropley, Hampshire, England. Buried in Hillingdon and Uxbridge Cemetery. They were flying Night Fighter Duty on Search Light co-operation and took-off from Tangmere 8 May 1942 0005 hrs and crashed 0359 hrs.

Ken Smee

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