From the Sunday Express
May 3rd 2009SUPPORTERS of Battle of Britain heroes have been banned from their spiritual home, just months before the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.
The famous 610 fighter squadron has had links with Hooton Park in Cheshire since 1936 but now the 610 Squadron Association has received a letter “barring” it from the historic airfield.
The Hooton Park Trust, a Lottery-funded charity that runs the site, plans to rent out the Listed hangars that once housed the squadron’s Hurricane fighters for storing caravans.
The squadron’s moment of glory came in 1940 when, flying Spitfires out of Biggin Hill in Kent, they provided cover during the Dunkirk evacuations.
The Squadron lost 11 pilots in the Battle of Britain but during the war destroyed 132 enemy jets with 46 “probables”, plus 50 V1 flying bombs. It was also a pilot from 610 Squadron who shot down the Germans’ first jet fighter, the Messerschmitt 262A-I.
After the war, the men of 610 returned in triumph to Hooton Park and joined the jet age themselves, flying Meteor fighters. The association was founded when the squadron disbanded in 1957 and has been based at Hooton Park ever since.
A spokesman for the association said that members were upset and angered by the tone of the eviction letter, which said they were “barred from the site” and “required to remove all equipment”.
He said: “Our quit notice came out of the blue. We don’t know what we’ve done wrong.
“We were working on plans to commemorate the anniversary of the war starting and the role played by 610.Now we are homeless and have taken refuge in an old fort on the Mersey.”
A spokeswoman for the Hooton Park Trust last night said that former members of 610 Squadron were welcome at the former airfield but declined to comment on any dispute with the association.