Kenley Fighter Station 1940.
The airspace over Britain was divided up into 4 groups, with air fields in each area, all with the task to repel invading forces and enemy aircraft. 11 Group was the largest of the groups, as this covered London and the South East, both the most densely populated part of the UK, and closest to the European mainland, where Luftwaffe planes were attacking from.
The fighter stations of the Battle of Britain have all changed since the war in different ways. Whilst some are museums dedicated to telling the story of the Battle of Britain others are now housing estates, where it is hard to believe such dramatic events took place there, just 75 years ago. Of the four Group HQ's; RAF Box (10 Group HQ) is used by the MoD for Defence equipment. RAF Uxbridge (11 Group HQ) still has the underground operations room as it was during the war and is open to visitors. RAF Watnell (12 Group HQ) is now a mix of housing and industrial units as well as a nature reserve. RAF Newcastle (13 Group HQ) is now a housing estate in the northern suburbs of the city. However, a group do have access to the underground tunnels and there is potential for it to open to visitors in the future if funds were provided for restoration work and make them safe for public access.
Some of the airfields continue to have an aviation use, with some even being large civilian airports. For example RAF Exeter is now Exeter International Airport, RAF Rochford is now London Southend Airport. RAF Dyce is now Aberdeen Airport and RAF Turnhouse is now Edinburgh International Airport. A few continue as RAF bases, such as RAF Northolt.
Other more unusual uses include RAF Acklington and RAF Ford, now both HMP, rather than RAF. For those not in the UK reading this, this stands for HER MAJESTY'S PRISON! RAF Westhampnett is now Goodwood Motor Circuit. RAF Usworth in 13 Group is now home to a huge Nissan car factory. RAF Martlesham Heath in 11 Group, is now a key British Telecom site.
Below is the full list of fighter plane airfields in the four groups. Any fighter station which has a museum that is open to the public is linked to their visitor website.
Area covered - Wales and the West Country
Commander - Air Vice Marshall Sir Quintin Brand
RAF Box HQ
RAF Middle Wallop
RAF Boscombe Down
RAF St Eval
Area covered - South East England & London
Commander - Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park.
RAF Uxbridge HQ
RAF Biggin Hill - The Ghosts of Biggin Hill, old documentary. HERE
RAF North Weald
RAF Tangmere Tangmere 1985 documentary about the WWII airfield. HERE
RAF Hendon (Main RAF museum in the UK, located in North London.)
RAF Martlesham Heath
RAF Stapleford Tawney
RAF Thorney Island
RAF West Malling
Area covered - Midlands and East Anglia
Commander - Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory.
RAF Watnall HQ
RAF Church Fenton
RAF Duxford (Best preserved WWII air base in Europe. Imperial War Museum branch)
RAF Kirton in Lindsey
RAF Tern Hill
Area covered - Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Commander - Air Vice-Marshal Richard Saul.
RAF Newcastle HQ (Not currently open to the public. It could be in the future if conserved.)