RAF Ibsley Watch Office

Wartime monument to human courage

Donate now to support this appeal


provides a tin of paint to replicate the wartime decorative scheme

could support the sensitive repair of crumbling and damaged brickwork

could support repairs to the unique concrete viewing balcony


Please enter a donation amount
Ibsley window view hero 1600x345

D-Day at RAF Ibsley 

From its runways, between 1941 and 1944, both RAF and USAAF airmen flew out into hostile skies to defend Britain with great courage and at huge personal cost.

D-Day, also codenamed Operation Neptune, was part of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord. Beginning on 6th June 1944, D-Day saw the mass landing of Allied troops on the Normandy beaches, with associated airborne operations. The operation is the largest seaborne invasion in history and began the liberation of France, and Western Europe, laying the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

In the months running up to D-Day on 6 June 1944, RAF Ibsley would have been busy and crowded, like all the wartime airfields across the New Forest. Members of the USAAF 9th Air Force were stationed there; at one point that month there were over 150 P-47 Thunderbolts massed on the airfield and almost 3,000 American personnel on site.

Read here what it was like 80 years ago, as told in a fascinating oral history interview with 2nd Lieutenant replacement pilot Jacob Cooper of the 9th USAAF 48th Fighter Group. (Interview by Iain Barnes for the Ibsley Airfield Heritage Trust and published by the New Forest Remembers Project.)

Or, learn more about the 48th Fighter Group and their role in Operation Overlord in this article published by RAF Lakenheath.

  • P-47 Thunderbolts at Ibsley June 1944

    P-47 Thunderbolts lined up at RAF Ibsley in June 1944 ready for their assigned mission.

  • 2nd Lt Jake Cooper, 493rd Sq, 48th FG 600x400

    2nd Lt. Jacob Cooper, 493rd Sq., 9th USAAF 48th Fighter Group at RAF Ibsley. Credit: nfknowledge.org

  • Harry Rees 600x400

    Harry Rees was an RAF Band Sargeant and was stationed at Ibsley in June 1944. His son shared his story with a donation to our appeal.

  • Ibsley before exterior 600x400 (1)

    A rare surviving example of its type, the Watch Office is in an extreme state of dereliction.

  • Ibsley window view 600x400

    From these windows airmen and officers hopefully waited for the safe return of their squadrons.

With your help we can still bring this important fragment of our wartime history back from the brink of collapse, remembering the brave people who once worked and flew here.

How your donation could help

  • window

    £500

    could help replace lost and damaged Crittall windows with energy efficient equivalents

  • tools

    £125

    could support repairs to the unique concrete viewing balcony

  • brickwork

    £60

    could support the sensitive repair of crumbling and damaged brickwork

  • architect_engineer

    £30

    provides a tin of paint to replicate the wartime decorative scheme

Progress so far

74% £796,230 left to raise

Help us achieve our target

A wartime monument to human courage

RAF Ibsley Watch Office once played a crucial part in Britain’s fight against the dark forces of Hitler’s planned invasion. The building at the former Second World War airfield in the New Forest now stands derelict and in peril.

  • Harry Rees and squad 600x400

    "My father served in the RAF at Ibsley from June 1943 to May 1944.

    He was a Band Sergeant responsible for music and entertainment on the base and raising morale.”

  • Getting ready 600x400

    “My mum's childhood home was on a main road at Blashford.

    She remembered American airmen throwing chocolate for her and her sister from the back of a lorry going to Ibsley airfield.”

  • Bill Lovegrove 600x400

    “I’d like to remember my father, Lt Bill Lovegrove.

    He was sent on reconnaissance towards Dunkirk in June 1940, but was mortally wounded.”

  • Dennis Harwood 600x400

    “Both my parents served in the RAF during the Second World War.

    My mother worked in radar in the WAAF and my father in police and security.”

  • Squadron leaders Henry Park 600x400

    “My father trained to be a bomb aimer and co-pilot in Bomber Command.

    Luckily he and his crew returned home safely from the war and he went back to work on the farm.”

Help rescue this precious fragment of wartime history


provides a tin of paint to replicate the wartime decorative scheme

could support the sensitive repair of crumbling and damaged brickwork

could support repairs to the unique concrete viewing balcony


Please enter a donation amount

June 2024 update

We continue to develop our project to rescue RAF Ibsley Watch Office, with ecology surveys ongoing this year as part of the planning process. Our hope is to start work in 2025, yet the project will not be possible without your support.

Other ways to donate

By phone

Please call us on 01628 512124 to make a donation over the phone.

By post

Please mail any donations by cheque or CAF voucher to:

 

RAF Ibsley Appeal
The Landmark Trust
Shottesbrooke Park
Broadmoor Road
White Waltham
Maidenhead
SL6 3SW

Leave a gift in your Will

We depend on the generosity of individuals, and gifts in wills play a vital role. Every gift, small or large will help protect important historic buildings, as well as the flora, fauna and marine life on Lundy.

 

Find out more

Stories of great courage

Your wartime memories

Rescuing RAF Ibsley

A talk by Landmark Historian Caroline Stanford

RAF Ibsley's wartime history

Uncover the building's history