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Lat/Long 51.05.30N 02.18.45W .Grid ref ST777325 .550 ft feet ASL.Ident ZL: USAAF Station #450.(1944 RT callsign"Pipet")
RUNWAYS:Grass N-S 1600 yds,E-W 1417 yds, SE-NW 1417 yds
Air shot of Zeals in 2000,the perimeter can be clearly seen.
Zeals Aerodrome is(was) located just across the county border in Wiltshire,but is included here for the sake of completeness.It is about 4
miles NNW of Gillingham.
The airfield opened in May 1942 under the control of 10 Group Fighter Command,but in August 1943,control passed to the USAAF as part of the
build up for D-Day.Control passed back to the RAF on 11th March 1944.By late 1944,the success of the invasion led inevitably to a rundown in activity,and the airfield was no longer needed by the RAF
On 18th May 1945 the airfield passed to the Royal Navy for use by the Fleet Air Arm as "H.M.S.Humming Bird"for use training crews for carrier
operations.This was a very short-lived,and the base closed for good at the beginning of 1946, and the land was returned to agricultural use.
Zeals Control Tower in 2003.( Top photo by Shaun Churchill,lower by Kevin Byrne who actually lives there in what is one of several ex-control towers now in use as a homes).~
66Sq,Spitfire VB and VC,24-8-42 to 26-9-42
66Sq,Spitfire VB and VC,29-9-42 to 8-10-42.
66Sq,Spitfire VB and VC,9-10-42 to 1-11-42.
66Sq,Spitfire VB and VC,14-11-42 to 23-12-42
118 Sq,SpitfireVB,24-8-42 to 23-12-42
132 SQ,Spitfire VB,28-2-43 to 5-4-43
174 Sq,Hurricane IIB,12-3-43 to 5-4-43.
184 Sq,Hurricane IID,12-3-43 to 5-4-43.
263 Sq,Whirlwind I,19-6-43 to 12-7-43.
286 Sq,Hurricane IIC,Oxford,Defiant,26-4-42 to 31-8-42
286 SQ,Martinet,28-7-44 to 28-9-44.
410 Sq, Mosquito XIII18-6-44 to 28-7-44.
421 Sq,Spitfire VB,detachment arr 11-10-42,full squadron arr 1-11-42,dep 14-11-42.returned(date?) dep 23-12-42
488 Sq,Mosquito XIII,12-5-44 to 29-7-44
604 Sq,Mosquito XII,25-7-44 to 28-7-44.
No.3 Glider Training School ,10-44 to 12-44.
Glider Pick up Flight.8-1-45 to 19-3-45.
790Sq Seafire,Firefly, 1-4-45 to late 45.
Aircrew from 66 Squadron at Zeals in 1942(Photo via Shaun Churchill)
21 WS,Oct 43 to March 44
No 1( later renamed No.5) Tactical Air Depot. Arr Oct 43, dep Mar 44.
To Dorset Airfields
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