In 1915 land just to the west of Romford, Essex was taken over for a landing site, an aerodrome was constructed and it was named Hainault Farm after the nearby farm of that name. The following year it housed one flight of No. 39 (Home Defense) Sqn. from April to August. One other flight was based at Suttons Farm and one at North Weald Bassett. These gave cover for the eastern approaches to London. On July 24th, 1917, these flights formed the core of No. 44 Sqn. (Home Defense) which was formed at Hainault Farm and was to remain there for the duration of the war.


Current picture of aerodrome site [Frank Cheesman]


The aerodrome itself had maximum dimensions of 950 x 750 yards. Its area was 100 acres, of which 12 acres were occupied by the station's buildings. Its height above sea level was 140ft. The surface was grass with a subsurface of soil and clay. The land was moderately undulating and wet in winter. Its general surroundings were open with large fields in the neighbourhood of the aerodrome.  Accommodations included 4 Aeroplane Sheds (each 90ft. x 60ft), 2 M.T. Sheds (each 60ft. x 30ft.), Workshops, Technical Store, Plane Store, Oil Store and Petrol Stores (2), Offices, Guard House, Ammunition Store, and Wireless Telegraphy Hut.


Repair Hangar

"A" Flight Hangar

"C" Flight Hangar

"B" Flight Hangar

[JMB /  GSL Collection]


Regimental buildings included an Officers' Mess, Officers' Quarters (2), Sergeants' Mess, Regimental Institute, Regimental Stores, Men's Huts, Reception Station and Coal Yard.

There were 24 Sopwith Camels in the Squadron· Personnel, included 28 officers, 19 W.O's and Sergeants, 18 Corporals, 159 Rank and File, 12 Women and 17 Household Women, for a total complement of 253.

Transport included 1 motor car, 7 light tenders, 5 heavy tenders, 6 motor cycles, 4 sidecars, 3 trailers, 2 repair trailers and 1 ambulance.  Click here to view the government assessment of Hainault Farm.

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