The history behind RAF Detling

18th May 2018

Nowadays the Detling show-ground hosts hundreds of events every year with thousands of people attending, but back in 1934 it was an airfield for the second world war.

An envelope of documents had been discovered in Hawkridge and Company solicitors in Gillingham dating from 1929 to 1960 detailing the purchases of land by George Foster who was then forced to sell his property and land to the Secretary of State for Air.

Shortly after it was transformed into a airbase for the British Air Force and RAF Detling was formed.

The first document dating 8th July 1929 is a Land Search covering the land fronting onto Maidstone Road for the sale. At the time it was owned by Thomas Golby until he sold it to George Albert Foster.

The mortgage detailed the vendor was to pay £450 on 31st October 1929. Today, that equates to £20,603.43. The buyer, George Albert Foster was to pay 15 shillings a week (25 pence) for 19 years. At the time the mortgage was written, the average living wage at the time was £5 a week and a beer was tuppence a pint!

The following document details the questions that the secretary of state for air, Kingsley Wood, sent to George Foster. The photograph on the right shows that the vendor (Mr Foster) did not pay any Tithe Redemption Annuity. At the time, tithe wars' were taking place all over the country.

The Tithe War erupted when land owners were forced to pay a tenth of the land tax to the church. In Kent, it was seen as unfair and people rioted to express their anger.

Throughout the years which these documents cover several searches were conducted. This is still done by solicitors today to make sure they are not getting conned into buying a property which hasn't been fully checked. The images above show the people that are interested in buying the property/ land.

The next document in the envelope showed the contract Mr Foster had to sign to say he no longer owns the property. The owner had to sign the document to show he had read it and the secretary of state, Kingsley Wood, also signed it!

The land was then in the Government's name and the land was formed into RAF Detling!