69h – St Leonard’s Grange to Needs Oar Point

As we left St Leonard’s Grange we passed Needs Oar Point.  It is just a field today, but for a brief period it was an airfield during World War Two.

Needs Oar Point

In 1943 the land was levelled, ditches filled in, hedges removed, and an airfield created.  On 10 and 11 April 1944 No 146 Wing, 84 Group of the Second Tactical Airforce moved in.  They immediately started flying sorties over France in preparation for the D-Day Landings.  Needs Oar Point eventually became home to some 100+ Hawker Typhoon fighter-bombers, attacking road, rail and radar sites.  Many of the men lived in tents in the field given the temporary nature of the airfield.  Casualty rates for Typhoon pilots was high.  They flew their missions low, providing close-level air support, and so if hit there was no height in which to bail out.

On D-Day and for the four weeks afterwards the aircraft which flew from here supported the ground troops and attacked German headquarters.  It is said that for a few days around D-Day itself, Needs Oar Point was the busiest airfield in Britain.  In July 1944 the squadrons based here were moved to Hurn for two weeks, before moving on again to bases built in Normandy.

For just eleven weeks this field played a critical part in the War.  It is now returned to its original use; were it not for the small memorial placed here people like us would pass it by without knowing of its importance.

Needs Oar Point Poem

Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • Needs Oar Point:  N 50° 46.680 W 001° 25.930

Walk #69 Statistics (of which this post forms the eighth part):

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2 Responses to 69h – St Leonard’s Grange to Needs Oar Point

  1. martyn west says:

    I stopped here for ages looking across the fields and trying to imagine what it must have been like during these times, for me a truly great walking memory.

  2. Very interesting. I’d never heard of this airfield and its significance. For that matter, Typhoons don’t get much of a mention for their role. And what a rather sad little memorial. RH.

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