R.A.F FRISTON. An ariel view, but Info wanted.

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16 years 8 months

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R.A.F. FRISTON. East Sussex.
Wanted Please any info / photographs of the base during WW2 to add to the following:-
These ariel photos show some feint outlines of tracks, roads and possible buildings, all centered around 'Gayles farm'. It had apparently two grass landing strips.
Google Earth's image of Friston is not very clear, and can find only one Google picture of part of the aerodrome which just shows tents. Yet, apparently, from 1943 it became a fully operational airfield, over 1000 strong.
To the North is Friston forest. To the West is now the Seven Sisters country park. To the East is Eastdean and the road to Eastbourne. To the South the airfield is about half a mile from the famous Seven Sisters white cliffs.
Thanks. FH.
Nov 2007 removed 1970's ariel photo of Friston airfield. Please contact if you want a copy.

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22 years 8 months

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The entry for Friston is quite extensive in Actions Station 9 - Military Airfields of the South & South East ISBN 0-85059-608-4

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19 years 1 month

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The only thing I know about Friston is that it was used for filming the "RAF Bodkin Hazel" sequences for Piece of Cake.

According to the book, "How they made Piece of Cake", it was home at one point to around 1,500 RAF personnel, most of them living in tents....

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16 years 8 months

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Many thanks to you both for replying,its great to be able to find the right book, but 1500 living in tents. I've seen some of the winter storms coming over those cliffs, it can be fun! FH.

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Having walked this area, living close by these days, the remains of the former airfield are hard too define, the field is occasionally used by local flyers but other than that is mostly consigned to history.

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Hi I dont have action stations 9 so this may be info you already know.
On multimap.com centred over the old airfield site at 1:25000 ,the airfield perimeter layout is almost identical to the 100 mtr line with G Farm as the eastern limit.
I have not been to friston for many years but i know it is sometimes difficult to figure out the advanced landing ground type airfield layouts.Quite often the only clues are 'Ministry' type concrete fence posts where the hedges were removed,I often pass Chattis Hill in Wiltshire and from the road the only clue is the spitfire sized gap in the hedge...I assume they took off downhill and landed uphill !!! what a place for a first flight!!
Multimap is a useful tool for airfield research because you can usually overlay the aerial photo and map together,although i could not get an aerial photo at friston this morning.

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17 years 6 months

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There is a booklet published in Sussex about the Friston area and covers the airfield and includes a map - I don't recall the author or publisher. Ken Delves recent book on Military Airfields of Southern England also covers Friston and shows a map of the airfiled.
It is/was shaped like a wishbone and this shape is still visible on current OS maps. Galyes farm is on the eastern side of the airfield. There was a larger grass runway wich runs in a NE/SW direction and a smaller fighter runway running roughly N/S. The larger was for emergencies.
You can get an early postwar aerial photo via this link

http://www.ukaerialphotos.com/

Just type the post code for Gayles farm or use the town choice and type Friston.

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To pictures from Friston in May 1943 when the Spit XIIs of 41 Squadron moved in.

The pilots in the one photo are: F/L Hugh Parry (with the sledge), F/O Herb Wagner (center) S/L Tom Niel (right). F/O Peter Cowell (holding the stake) Possibly MB854 EB-Z in the background, but I'm not positive on that.

Other photo shows the rather primitive conditions at Friston.

Dan

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16 years 8 months

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This is brilliant stuff, thanks to you all. FH.

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I perhaps should have added that the farmer's fields, which the airfield eventually became, were "borrowed" by the Piece of Cake production team and a suitable grass runway created for the film set.

The pics of the production show a very accurate recreation of an RAF airfield - it actually looked a lot like the pic in Dan's post!

(I've actually just started rewatching the series again - bloody brilliant stuff!)