Digital Archive: Photograph of the Runway layout at Madley Airfield
Layout of Madley Airfield c. 1944.
In the early days of WWII, 3 full size runways and dozens of buildings were created on arable land adjacent to the villages of Madley and Kingstone in Herefordshire, to accommodate an RAF radio signals training school. During the years of the war the population of Kingstone village grew from 292 (taken from the 1931 census) to over 5000.
Mowlem the building contractor, who did the bulk of the work, brought in 36 bus loads of workers each day. When completed the No. 4 Radio Signals School, as it was known, included barrack huts, a NAAFI, a barbers shop, a tailor, shoemaker, a cinema, gymnasium and a church annex. In October of 1943 the RAF converted the grass covered airfield into a reinforced airstrip adding various types of aircraft hangers at the same time. The aircraft flying out of RAF Madley during this time were Dominies, Lysanders, Tomahawks, Hurricanes and Mustangs.
Madley was visited by General George S Patton Junior on June 3rd 1944, and in 1946 Hitler’s deputy, Rudolph Hess, arrived there secretly to board a flight for Nurembourg to stand trial for war crimes. Hess had been held as a prisoner of war near Abergavenny - reputedly at Pen-y-Fal Mental Hospital - since 1941.
The RAF closed the Signal School and Airfield at Madley in the 1950's leaving the site to revert to farmland, market gardening and light industrial units.
A high definition version of the layout is available for download as a JPEG file.