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Whitstable at War - World War II

Allied Operations


In our earlier chapters, we have mentioned the air activity above Whitstable.... and much of it involved the desperate defence of Britain.

However, defence measures were not the only operations witnessed by Whitstable Natives..... 


There was certainly a lot of air activity over Whitstable. I believe the RAF used to fly training missions over the mud and, after the war, we would go trolling for spent bullets. But, come to think of it, they were similar to .303 rounds so they may well have come from ground training exercises. 

Geoff Kemp


Of course, a short distance along the coast at Reculver, RAF history was created. It was here that Barnes-Wallis' legendary bouncing bombs were tested prior to the "dambuster" raids on the Rhine valley.

As the war progressed and particularly after the Normandy landings, allied offensive operations became increasingly common. Local people witnessed the "what" and "how" of such initiatives but often didn't learn  the "where" and "why" until days, months or even years later....


A vivid memory at a later period is of one morning hearing a strange rumbling of aircraft flying relatively low and coming from the north. When I went outside, the sky was full of twin engined transports (DC-3s and Curtiss C 46s, I think) towing Horsa Gliders. I think this must have been the Arnheim raid (Operation Market Garden?).

Bill Dancer
British Columbia


They also welcomed US forces to the nearby airbase at Manston and saw new types of aircraft form across the Atlantic...


Towards the end of the war, dad and I were going up Bartletts field which ran up the south side of Rayham Road hill. A great roar of approaching low flying planes materialised as a squadron of Lockheed Lightnings. 

The twin boom configuration was entirely new to us and, by the markings, we concluded they must be at the end of a ferry run over from the USA.  

Bill Dancer


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