BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Historic London air base closes
Spitfires during an air show at Duxford
WWII fighter planes will fly past RAF Bentley Priory to mark its closure
The RAF base in north-west London which served as the command centre during the Battle of Britain in World War II has ceased its operations.

Two Spitfire fighter planes flew past RAF Bentley Priory in Stanmore to mark the official closing ceremony.

The base was Fighter Command's headquarters when Britain fought a four-month battle with the Luftwaffe to counter aerial attacks in 1940.

About 550 officers died in the battle which averted the invasion of Britain.

'Preserved for future'

All operations are being moved to RAF Northolt in north-west London and the base will close in 2008.

RAF Bentley Priory not only served as the nerve centre for the Battle of Britain, but played a central role during the D-Day Normandy landings.

King George VI, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US General Dwight Eisenhower monitored the landings from the Allied Expeditionary Air Force War Room, the bunker which was constructed under Bentley Priory.

In a statement Sir Glenn Torpy said: "There is obvious sadness that the RAF's operational use of Bentley Priory has come to an end.

"But we shall be very careful that the heritage aspects will be preserved for future generations."

The historic air base and its gardens will be opened to the public after the relocation.

RAF Bentley Priory played a vital role in the Battle of Britain


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific