Wednesday 7 January 2015

Camden Airfield

Macquarie Grove Flying School 1930s (Camden Images)

A small airfield with a big history

Aviation buffs come to Camden to visit a little airfield that has a glorious history from the early 20th century. It still retains much of its original character located on the Nepean River floodplain at Macquarie Grove, including being surrounded by Hassall Cottage (1815) and on the other by Macquarie Grove House (1930s). Camden Airfield has a wonderful wartime history that few know about. Pay a visit to this hidden gem on Sydney's rural-urban fringe.

Camden Airfield Hut No 72 (I Willis)

Camden Airfield Hut No 72

The last remaining hut at Camden Airfield from the Second World War is still standing. It is Hut No 72. It is located adjacent to the current carpark.
Huts were built at the airfield for the arrival of the RAAF Central Flying School in 1940. Other flying schools were built at Bradfield Park in Sydney and Narromine around the same time. In December 1941 the personnel at the school included 45 officers, 422 airmen, with 48 officers and 81 airmen in various training courses. There were around 35 huts on the airfield that were used to accommodate the personnel and a variety of other uses.

Camden Airfield Macquarie Grove flooded in 1942 (Camden Images)

32 Squadron RAAF, Camden Airfield, 1942-1944

Camden has hosted 32 Squadron RAAF since the time of the Second World War. The members of the squadron have developed a special relationship with the local community that has been marked by tragedy and celebrations. 
The members of  32 Squadron arrived in Camden in September 1942 after seven months of hazardous operational duties supporting Allied Forces in New Guinea and the surrounding area, including New Britain. The squadron had been ‘hastily formed in the field’ in February 1942 with personnel drawn from other units.1  Large scale air attacks on Rabaul in January 1942 had resulted in the virtual elimination of the 24 Squadron,  and this was followed by the invasion of New Britain by the Japanese forces (23 January 1942).

  A wartime photo of A6-15, with Central Flying School at Camden. The Collection p6525-0080

 RAAF Central Flying School Camden 1940-1942

Australia’s entry into the Second World War created a demand for trained pilots. In July 1940 the Commonwealth Government acquired 468 acres of land on the Nepean River floodplain at Macquarie Grove `for defence purposes’ for an airfield. The site had been inspected in January 1940 for the RAAF by Wing-commander EC Bates (RAF). He had found it eminently suitable for the establishment of a flying training school. The Air Board had taken control of the airfield in April with the initial expectation for the airfield to house 150 men and 50 aircraft. According to reports the airfield had an ideal location with a long runway (1100 feet), clear approaches, room for expansion and existing hangars. 

Read more here 
For more information on aircraft in image A6-15 click here

No comments:

Post a Comment