During the Second World War many airfields were built across the south of England. The New Forest had 12 airfields and Beaulieu was one of the largest.
RAF Beaulieu opened in 1942 and played its part in the Battle for the Atlantic with both RAF and later Czech squadrons stationed here. It had several roles including a coastal command centre, a D-Day fighter base and searching out U-boats to protect vital supply convoys.
In early 1944 the RAF flew Typhoons from here; from March to August the United States Army Air Force flew Thunderbolt fighters and Marauder bombers including missions supporting the battle for Normandy.
From late 1944 to 1950 the site was used by the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment to test parachutes, gliders and early types of helicopter.
At its height there were three runways, two hangars, ammunition dumps, tens of accommodation blocks and even a cinema and a gym.
The site was returned to the Forestry Commission in 1959. Many concrete roads and hard standings still remain as does the original water tower now used by Roundhill Campsite. Information source: The Forestry Commission Memorial Panel