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Duxford Aerodrome

...continued from the DC-3 Society Newsletter.

With the departure of the USAAF in October 1945 Duxford once again became an RAF station. In 1949 the station was briefly closed for upgrades to make it better suited to jet aircraft in the new Cold War era, this included the concrete runway and jet pans that remain today. The base was home to Gloster Meteors, Gloster Javelins and Hawker Hunters before it was closed in 1961, the final RAF departure being a Meteor NF.14 on August 1st 1961.

After its closure the airfield was used substantially for the filming of the 1969 Battle of Britain film which saw one of the original hangars destroyed for a bombing sequence. In the early 1970’s Duxford became a store sight for the Imperial War Museum and the first airshow was held there in 1973, the airfield celebrating its 50th year of airshows in 2023.

With the site open to the public daily since 1976, the Imperial War Museum collection, (supplemented by a fleet of historic civilian aircraft owned by the Duxford Aviation Society), has developed into one of the world’s leading aviation museums.  In 1997 The American Air Museum in Britain was opened at the airfield in a specially built exhibition hangar to tell the stories of US service personnel in the United Kingdom.

Alongside the museum the airfield is home to a thriving warbird population including the highest density of airworthy Supermarine Spitfires in the world and it is a major hub for general aviation in the UK. In 2019, Duxford hosted the largest gathering of DC-3/C-47/C-53 aircraft in modern times when 22 examples of the type assembled for the 75th anniversary of D-Day during the Squadrons previous tour to Europe. With its rich Anglo-American history Duxford will be a highlight of the 2024 Legacy Tour with thousands of spectators expected to attend the D-Day 80th commemorations there on June 1st and 2nd.

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