History of RAF Madley

In the early days of WWII, 3 full size runways and dozens of buildings were created on arable land adjacent to the villages of Madley and Kingstone in Herefordshire, to accommodate an RAF radio signals training school. During the years of the war the population of Kingstone village grew from 292 (taken from the 1931 census) to over 5000.

Mowlem the building contractor, who did the bulk of the work, brought in 36 bus loads of workers each day. When completed the No. 4 Radio Signals School, as it was known, included barrack huts, a NAAFI, a barbers shop, a tailor, shoemaker, a cinema, gymnasium and a church annex. In October of 1943 the RAF converted the grass covered airfield into a reinforced airstrip adding various types of aircraft hangers at the same time. Some of these hangers are still in use today as part of the industrial site development that happened after the RAF closed down the station in the 1950's. The aircraft flying out of RAF Madley during this time were Dominies, Lysanders, Tomahawks, Hurricanes and Mustangs.

At the end of the war the infamous Rudolph Hess, Hitler's deputy, was imprisoned locally for a short time before he was secretly flown from the airfield in 1946 to Nuremberg where he stood trial for his war crimes. He was consequently found guilty as charged and imprisoned for life.

The RAF closed the Signal School and Airfield at Madley in the 1950's leaving the site to revert back to farmland and market gardening.

This photograph shows a sculpture commissioned by MESC and is a representation of a De Havilland Dominie aircraft. This aircraft was flown during WW2 at RAF Madley and was known as the flying classroom due to its use in the training of RAF Wireless Operators.

MESC commissioned the artwork from a local sculptor Dave Preston of P & O Crafts Ledbury Herefordshire in 2005. It is our tribute to the work of the service personnel who trained during WW2 at RAF Madley. It is made from galvanised steel and looks out towards the Hangers and the Runway of RAF Madley.

If you would like to buy the book The History of the Madley Airfield , written by Fiona Macklin , it is available from MESC for £4.95 plus £1.50 postage ( UK ),

Please make cheques payable to MESC and send, with your postage details to :

MESC, (RAF Book)
c/o BT Madley
Hereford ,

Tel : (0)1981 251616