Lat/Long 50 47 15N/01 42 00W.Grid ref SZ 210986.USAAF Station No 455.(1944 RT Callsign "Recess",HF/DF D7F)
RUNWAYS: 07/25 1970x50yds. 12/30 1400x50yds. 36/00 1370x50yds.
Holmsley South ...Air Ministry plan 1944.
Holmsley South as it was in December 1946 shortly after closure(MoD)
Holmsley South - a recent aerial view
IN DEcember 1946 Christchurch Council took over a large part of the airfield for temporary housing purposes and families were quickly installed in some of the Nissen huts.A local newspaper account can be seen here,here,here andhereEventually ,in the 60s,the runways were removed ,the land returning to forest/heathland. I recently received the following from Geoff Bennett who, in the postwar years was a teenager living in the area.My story of an errant Constellation movement at Holmsley South is still clear in my mind ,but hard to place in history. I did my fourth and fifth year of architectural studies at the Southern College of Art, Portsmouth in 1951 and 1952. On some weekends I would cycle home to my parents' home in Bransgore. On one such trip I had arranged to rendezvous with my girl-friend at Holmsley South. As we chatted beside the A35 road as it passes the airfield I spotted a Constellation on Finals for the main Soutwest- Northeast runway. Having watched many Marauders perform the same approach in 1944 I correctly surmised that it was about to land. After the aircraft had touched down, my girl-friend and I scrambled through the remains of the wartime boundary fence and cycled along the perimeter track, round the threshold of the runway on which the Connie had landed. We watched as the TWA (yes, TWA) bird screeched to a halt to avoid running into a post and barbed wire fence that ran across the runway at about 3/4 distance along it. Eventually the aircraft did a careful 180 and taxied back to the threshold. I was close enough to the runway that I could see passengers' faces as they peered out in wonder at the cattle and New Forest ponies nonchalantly grazing among the gorse bushes beside the runway. And I could not help wondering what explanation the pilots were trying to "sell' to the passengers. The aircraft then took off and headed west towards Hurn, probably its original destination, which is about eight miles away from Holmsley South.Another less spectacular movement I saw,at about the same time happened on a Sunday afternoon. A Nord Norecrin F-BEMS landed and the pilot asked for directions to Hurn. That aircraft was painted overall in a rich blue(similar to the wartime blue of the PRU Spitfires) with a white line along the fuselage sides and white registration letters. I was a competent spotter in those days practising that art as a member of the Boscombe Post of the R.O.C.