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Military site : airfield

Built during 1917-18 as an RAF Training Depot Station (TDS), Tangmere was handed over to the US Army Air Service (USAAS) as a TDS for large Handley Page (HP) 0/400 bombers.

However, delays in delivery prevented the start of training before the Armistice on 11th November 1918. American personnel moved in from Ford with a few smaller aircraft types after the Armistice, but soon left to return to the USA. At that time, Tangmere had a grass airfield, seven Belfast Truss hangars and one large HP shed.

Closed in 1920 but kept by the Air Ministry, Tangmere re-opened in 1925, became an RAF fighter station in 1926, and remained so until 1958 when it was transferred to Signals Command.

Allocated briefly to the Eighth Air Force as a fighter base in 1942, and again briefly as a tactical fighter base in 1943, the station was never occupied by USAAF units during the Second World War. It was transferred to Transport Command (later Air Support Command) in 1963, by which time it had two hard runways and three Cold War era T2 hangars, as well as many preserved historic buildings. Tangmere closed in 1970 and the airfield was sold in 1979.

Part of the site is occupied by the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, founded in 1981.

Detailed history

A new research project in collaboration with the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, led by Dr Ross Wilson, of Chichester University’s History Department, and assisted by volunteers from Chichester Community Development Trust, will document the lives of the American military personnel who were based at Tangmere aerodrome and other sites along the Sussex coast from 1917 to 1919. See the Museum's website for further details:

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known



  • Gilmore Daniel

    Military | Major | Pilot
    Born in 30th November 1917, he enlisted in the RCAF, 20 July 1940 in Winnipeg. Posted to No.2 Initial Training School (Regina) on 31 August 1940. Promotion to Leading Aircraftman (22 October 1940) marked his graduation from ITS and was posted on that...

  • Howard Hively

    Military | Major | Fighter pilot | 4th Fighter Group
    Howard Hively hailed from Columbus, Ohio, and Norman, Oklahoma. While becoming interested in oil leases and attempting to form an aero-exploration firm, he saw a poster in a Dallas hotel inviting him to join the RAF's Eagle Squadrons. He applied, was...

  • Malcolm MacLeod

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 25th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 654BS, 25BG, 8AF USAAF. Lost an engine on take-off for weather mission and crashed in de Havilland DH98 Mosquito XVI NS630. KIFA 22 November 1944. ...

  • Arthur Roscoe

    Military | Flying Officer | Pilot
    In and around aviation from an early age, a true 'hangar rat', applied to join West Point academy but failed the medical examination. Whilst working at LA Metropolitan Airport when he found out about the Knight comittee. Enlisted RAFVR 2-41, service...


  • 42-29741 Corn State Terror

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/2/43; Gt Falls 17/2/43; Salina 5/3/43; Assigned 303BG Molesworth 15/4/43; transferred 368BS/306BG [BO-V] Thurleigh 17/4/43; 324BS/91BG [DF-F/D/P] Bassingbourn 11/9/43; battle damaged over Schweinfurt 14/10/43 with Lt Christensen...

  • 42-30088 "Squawkin' Hawk II"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 8/4/43; Kearney 16/4/43; Wendover 2/5/43; Hill 12/5/43; Wendover 18/5/43; Kearney 22/5/43; Dow Field 27/5/43; Assigned 349BS/100BG [XR-E] Thorpe Abbotts 9 June 1943. Severe battle damage over Stuttgart 6 September 1943 with Sumner...

  • 43-37705 The Little One

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 13/5/44; Kearney 23/5/44; Dow Fd 30/5/44; Assigned 510BS/351BG [TU-T] Polebrook 1/6/44; 511BS [DS-F]; ...

  • NS514

    Take off accident. Malcolm J Macleod (pilot) USAAF. RAF Tangmere, Sussex, 22/10/44. Written off Damaged Beyond Repair.

  • P8033

    Supermarine Spitfire P8033 Mk IIa, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • P8392 'Magnet'

    Supermarine Spitfire P8392 Mk IIa, built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • AA877 'Manchester Chairman'

    Supermarine Spitfire AA877 Mk Vb, Const #2227 Built at Eastleigh. ...

  • EN182

    Supermarine Spitfire EN182 Mk IX Const #3601, Built at Eastleigh. ...

  • EN127

    Supermarine Spitfire EN127 Mk IX, Const #3595, Built at Chattis Hill. ...

  • EN899

    Supermarine Spitfire EN899 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircaft Factory. ...

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Date Contributor Update
09 March 2017 09:17:13 Lucy May Changes to history, person associations and aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:18 AAM AAM ingest

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Roger Freeman, The Mighty Eighth War Manual (London, 1991)

Chris Ashworth, Action Stations 9: Military Airfields of the Central South and South-east (Cambridge, 1985)