The Kent County Show 2014 will be celebrating 50 years at the Kent Showground at Detling. In addition to the Show’s own anniversary the Kent Spitfire will be flying over the showground on all three days, Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July to mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. The Kent Showground sits next to the site of the former RAF Detling Airfield a base that played an important part in D-Day which took place on 6th June 1944.
Minutes from mainland Europe, Detling was ideal for large fighter units to assemble and attack enemy positions. The airfield was home to three squadrons, 132, 184 and 602, led by Wing Commander RD Rule. The squadrons made up of Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs had two main duties; to escort bombers to their targets and attacking German V1 (flying bomb) sites. These bombs appeared towards the end of the war and launched from 96 specially built launch areas. The Allied forces managed to destroy 73, which slowed and stopped the destruction of many areas of Britain. During the build up to D-Day new Squadrons 80, 229 and 274 were tasked with attacking forward bases in Normandy to support the landings. The bombing of V1 sites continued until the site was de-commissioned in December 1944. The Airfield was used for demonstrations and training until it finally closed on 1st April 1956.
Part of the celebration will be the Corps of the Royal Engineers the highly acclaimed Military Band based only a few miles from the Showground at Chatham.