RAF100 Centenary Baton Relay comes to Kings Hill
The RAF100 Centenary Baton Relay - which honours Royal Air Force personnel over the last 100 years - came to Kings Hill to commemorate the site’s history as RAF West Malling.
The 100-day relay is visiting every region of the UK - and several overseas including the Falkland Islands, Washington DC, the Middle East and Afghanistan. A specially designed baton has been made from materials used in RAF aircraft over the past 100 years.
The RAF100 South East Baton Relay team arrived at the Control Tower at Kings Hill where they were met by Susan Davies of Liberty Property Trust and Kings Hill Parish Councillors Sarah Barker, Chris Brown, Dave Waller and Ray Cassidy.
Also there was a one-off £275,000 Red Arrows Aston Martin Vanquish which was specially designed and raffled to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund. It was won by ex-serviceman Humphrey Bradley.
“It was an incredibly moving moment when they arrived,” said Susan Davies of Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust. “We are very proud of Kings Hill’s heritage and it was an honour to be included.
“It was especially touching as someone had left flowers anonymously on the RAF roundel outside the Control Tower in memory of a family member, who, the message said, had flown from here.”
RAF West Malling was officially opened in 1941, having been acquired as a fighter command sector station two years earlier. Home to as many as four day and night fighter squadrons at a time, the base was active in missions over France and Germany as well as intercepting doodlebug flying bombs launched towards London from the French and Dutch coasts.
It remained in use until the early 1960’s as Britain’s premier night fighter station and then became home to several squadrons of the US navy. It was returned to the RAF in 1964 and sold by the Ministry of Defence in 1971.