Beaulieu Aerodrome
  Beaulieu Aerodrome by John Lewis
As a very young boy Beaulieu aerodrome was used as a air base by the Royal Navy to tow target gliders for the navy gunners to practice. Well my grandmother came from Bucklers Hard and her sister lived there her whole life married to Fred Hendy and lived next to the Maritime Museum.

Great Uncle Fred worked at the boat yard in the village and swore that some of the gliders that was used for target practice had a pilot and waved to him as the tow plane route after take off was down the Beauieu River.

No one believed him, but many years later I was working at a company called Setmasters and a part time caretaker called Harry who came to this area with the Royal Navy said it was a dream posting no rush or tear and he found a lady and settled here. Being such a layed back posting they use to get up to all sorts, one being making a dummy up in the glider cockpit with helmet, goggles etc. To make it life like they found that if they attached a length of wire to one arm out of the window with a piece of rag on it, once in the air the rag made the hand wave.

Great Uncle Fred did see something wave to him but it was a dummy not a pilot.
Buckler's Hard c1940s
Beaulieu Airfield, 4 March 1944

RAF Beaulieu   Beaulieu Heath   Wikipedia
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

Buckler's Hard c1940s
Beaulieu Airfield, 4 March 1944