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Author Topic: RAF Thorney Island  (Read 10853 times)
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We Wunt Be Druv

« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2012, 16:36:40 PM »

A Thorney thread on here,482180.0.html

Sussex Bonfire - a way of life, not just for Nov 5th
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« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2013, 21:58:44 PM »

 The large building in the background could be Thorney's water tower.
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« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2013, 10:24:22 AM »

Gloucestershire Echo - Thursday 02 April 1936

SUSSEX ISLAND AS BIG R.A.F. BASE. Changes After 1,000 Years At Thorney. Pleasant Thorney Island, for nearly a thousand years a quiet agricultural backwater of Sussex-by-the-Sea, is gradually being turned into a huge R.A.F. station and aerodrome, writes an "Echo" correspondent. The plough is slowly giving way to the tractor, and thatched cottages to huge hangars of brick and steel. The Air Ministry has acquired the "whole island" of 1,450 acres, and agriculture is being driven to the Southern seaboard. Actually Thorney is a peninsula, land having been reclaimed from the sea some 80 years ago.

Now the whole landward part of the island is gradually turning into a vast R.A.F. settlement, and agriculture is fighting a rearguard action. The last surviving farmer, Mr. A. Nilson, is still ploughing his furrows up to the gates of the great hangars, and he hopes to be able keep the Thorney tradition alive for some years. "It seems a pity," he said to me, pointing to his broad acres, "that all this should have to go. But national considerations must over ride private convenience and sentiment. England must have a strong Air Force, even if I have to be driven into the sea to get it."

PARADISE ON EARTH. Mr. Nilson farms 500 acres of the island to the south and employs half of the island labour. The rest has been either acquired by the Air Ministry or has found employment on the mainland. Cottages have been pulled down and families which for generations have tilled the island soil have migrated into Sussex and Hampshire. In his house above the sea, where in summer he races his yachts, Mr. Nilson is virtually King of Thorney. "I would not leave for anything," he said, "unless I had to. To me Thorney Island is a paradise on earth."

Public access to the island will remain, as the ancient Church of St. Nicholas and its churchyard are outside the jurisdiction of the Air Ministry. Listed as "Tornei, a manor of 32 villeins with eight ploughs" in the Domesday Book, Thorney has for centuries been justifiably proud of its beautiful old church. Since the death of the vicar at the end of last year no new incumbent has been appointed. But the church is still open to public inspection, and will remain so. Barracks, a school, a new church and a cinema are to be built for the R.A.F. And, of, course, water and electricity will be laid on, for the first time in the history of Thorney.

What does Thorney think of it all? Young Thorney is delighted... "It will brighten things up a lot," said one youngster. And old Thorney? An ancient carter stood, thought, and said: "Thorney started going downhill nigh 50 years ago — when they shut the only pub!"

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« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2013, 00:28:10 AM »

In 1934 Thorney was mentioned in a list of airfield bombing ranges (TNA file T 161/1147) and the entry was "At Thorney Island, as you know, we propose to use a portion of the surplus area we are acquiring." This pre-dates the airfield opening by a few years but obviously not the planning of it. What I can't figure out it which area are they referring to? The implication is that it is not the 1,100 yd radius bombing circle. On the 1945 plan (2583/45) it shows the expected area of the island being included but also the saltings east of the Thorney Channel up to coast line (MHWM?) near Chidham. Why would they require such a large area of marshy ground on the other side of a wide waterway? I know that Pisey Isalnd at the southern end of the airfield was used for RP and mine clearance testing but I cannot be sure this was the area referred to in 1934.
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« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2017, 11:25:54 AM »

What fantastic Photographs , i went there a few  times  With the Royal observer corps  in the 60s Fantastic memories of flying in the Beverly Hastings Andover Argosy and Hercules. and to watch a  hunter come in low over the  runway  after beating up  the Isle of White  not sure if it was true  but   it was said a woman fell off her bike  and reported  but  at that time no one knew  from where the Hunter had come from  friend of a friend but  believe it was  from a base in Devon or Cornwall 
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