Airfield History

RAF Deanland was planned as an Advanced Landing Ground in order to provide support for the D-Day Landings on 6th June 1944, with construction started in Spring 1943

The first aircraft to take to the air on D-Day flew from RAF Deanland, providing top-cover over the OMAHA and GOLD landing beaches.

Copies of the original War Department maps of the Airfield, and photographs of the construction phase may be seen at Deanland. An extensive history of the Airfield with full details of resident Squadrons, and the aircraft which they operated, has been compiled. The Airfield operators hold much of this information and will supply details upon request.

On 6th June 1994, the 50th anniversary of D-Day, Deanland held a special memorial day. Air Marshall Sir Neil Wheeler, who was with Churchill on D-Day, presented a plaque to be hung in Ripe Parish Church. The plaque was commissioned by the owners of Deanland and drawn by Karl Suttner a Firle resident.

  • The Memorial Plaque

    Commissioned by the operators, drawn by Karl Suttner
  • Plaque Presentation

    The Vicar of Ripe, Sir Neil Wheeler and Gerry Price
  • Memorial Tree Planting

    Catherine Price and Sophie Brook

Also on the 6th June, an oak-tree was planted at the western end of the airfield entrance-road. This tree is a memorial to those pilots who flew from Deanland and died in operations. The Downlands Flying Group comissioned and donated a brass plaque to record the commemorative planting. Originally positioned in front of the tree, owing to the growth of the tree it has now been moved to the wall of the adjacent hangar.

The climax of this day was the overflight of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight who conducted two fly pasts of the airfield.

The airfield was dormant for a time post-war, but the land came into the ownership of Richard Chandless. Richard, a farmer, reactivated the site as an airfield in 1963. Richard operated his own aircraft and he was, for a number of years, the main UK agent for Avions Pierre Robin demonstrating and selling new and used aircraft from Deanland.

Richard invited a number of other aircraft owners to keep their machines at Deanland. During Richard's time Deanland became a very active airfield both day and night and lights were installed shortly after the runway was reactivated. It was used by a number of local business men, farmers and visitors to the area. With Glyndebourne Opera House close by, it was very normal to see both light aircraft and helicopters parked while there owners enjoyed the opera.

It was from Richard that the present owners bought the airfield in 1991. It is currently operated by Deanland Airfield LLP. It has been the present operators stance that Deanland should remain the premier home for light aviation in East Sussex - if not the south of England!

Wartime Action at Deanland

PDF files to download and read

Stuttgart Raid

Combat Mission 67

B17 Crash