Stapleford opened as Essex Aerodrome in 1933 as a base for Hillman's Airways, which provided a service to Paris and other European cities using De Havilland DH.84 Dragon and DH.89 Dragon Rapide biplanes. The airfield was requisitioned shortly after the start of World War II as RAF Stapleford Tawney. By the end of March 1940 the airfield was ready to become a satellite station for North Weald (see earlier trip report). The first squadron to make regular use of Stapleford was 151 Squadron, making patrols from the base from August 1940. Other units to use Stapleford included the secret 49 flight, formed in August 1940 as the operational air-arm of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). They were intended to use Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys to drop agents and supplies behind enemy lines. Westland Lysanders would be used to pick up agents as well as other important people. Because of heavy Luftwaffe attacks on North Weald, the flight moved to Stapleford on 4 September. Stapleford played an important part in the preparations for D-Day and many units arrived.
From Lelystad to Stapleford
From Stapleford to Lelystad