Stow Maries First World War Aerodrome from the air

National Heritage Memorial Fund grant secures future for last remaining unaltered First World War aerodrome

Posted on centenarynews.com on 18 October 2013
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Britain's National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) has provided a £1.5 million grant to Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome Trust to save Europe's last unaltered First World War aerodrome.

Stow Maries, near Maldon, Essex, England, received the grant alongside additional support from Essex County Council, Maldon District Council and English Heritage.

The purchase of the site and the project to restore the aerodrome has been described by the NHMF as a "unique revival". 

                                                         Airside at Stow Maries 

Of the 250 aerodromes built during the First World War, only ten still exist, of which Stow Maries is the only one to have remained almost untouched since the end of the First World War.

It was built in 1916 as a direct response to increased attacks by German Zeppelin airships and later Gotha fixed-wings bombers on British mainland. 

Restoration

There are over 24 original Grade II* listed Royal Flying Corp operation buildings remaining including the original officers’ mess; other ranks’ mess; pilots’ ready room; blacksmith’s; ambulance station and morgue; motor transport sheds; and the aircraft workshop/ radio room.

                                                            Officers' Mess

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of NHMF, said: "Stow Maries gives us fresh insight into the pivotal new role that aviation played in the First World War". 

"The National Heritage Memorial Fund was set up as a memorial to those that gave their lives for this country and so with the Centenary starting next year, our Trustees felt Stow Maries had to be secured now for future generations".

Now that the future of the site has been secured, restoration plans, including for permanent hangars to be constructed and for original First World War aircraft to go on display, are underway.

                                                            Officers' Mess

Jeremy Lucas, Stow Maries Trust Chairman said that the next five years will see a "sustained commemoration at Stow Maries of the extraordinary human exploits and stories".

"This was the first war that was fought here at home through air-raids. By opening up this site, the public and particularly young people will gain a greater understanding of how as a nation we overcame it".

                                                            Officers' Mess

Source: National Heritage Memorial Fund press release

Date of press release publication: 15/10/2013

Images courtesy of the National Heritage Memorial Fund

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News