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Connections HR Ltd
20 Churchill Square
Kings Hill, Kent
Tel: 01732 897897
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History of Churchill SquareChurchill Square is on the site of West Malling Airfield; a private landing ground in 1930, housing the Maidstone School of Flying. The runways were of grass and there was a wooden clubhouse and a canvas hangar. It changed its name in 1932 to the rather grand name of Maidstone Airport. Over the years the aerodrome became well known and many displays were held here. Famous aviators, including Amy Johnson flew into Malling.
During World War II it was taken over by the RAF and the seven historic buildings of Churchill Square formed the accommodation and administration blocks for the fighter station from where Winston Churchill launched a large part of the Battle of Britain campaign in 1940. The runways were converted to asphalt and concrete, along with hangars, control tower and buildings which were expected of a front line airfield.
In the later war years, West Malling was also attributed with the destruction of the Doodlebug missiles. Squadron 29 under Wing Commander Guy Gibson (of Dambusters fame) devised various methods to achieve this task. The obvious one was to shoot them down but because of the fear of the explosion damaging the aircraft the distance for achieving a safe kill was too great and therefore was not really an option. The other method, which was just about as dangerous, was to fly along side the Doodlebug almost wing tip to wing tip. It was found that the turbulent airflow between the two wings caused the Doodlebug to stall mid-air due to the loss of lift on the wing surfaces. The Doodlebug would then fall to earth, hopefully not in a densely populated area. This method became the standard for West Malling squadrons.
The accommodation blocks - including Building 50 where we are based - are built in the shape of an "H". The RAF were aware that the airfield may well be a target for the German fighters and that the bombers would be likely to target the centre of the H, so built all the shower and toilet blocks in the centre. Suite 24 is thus based in what was the showers for the single airmen and women!
There is a moving memorial to the airmen at West Malling - click here