West Malling Avenue

On the post-war Ernesettle Estate there are many streets named after notable World War II flying bases, among them – West Malling Avenue.

Situated just outside the historic village of West Malling in Kent, the airfield first became operational in 1939 and in 1940, during the Battle of Britain, was home to 141 Squadron (flying Defiants) and 66 Squadron (flying Spitfires).

In January 1943 the RAF base was put under the command of Peter Townsend, the twenty-nine year-old pilot who had, in February 1940, shared in the destruction of the first enemy aircraft to be shot down over Britain during the war.

A very distinguished RAF Officer, Townsend was appointed Equerry to the King in February 1944, a position he held until the King’s death in 1952.

Meanwhile the airfield, which was operational until 1967 and then still used for recreational flying for a number of years, is now the site of King’s Hill, a mixed residential and business development.

West Malling is an extremely affluent area and in 2004 it was recorded as having the highest average income per head and the greatest percentage of houses with occupants earning more than £100,000 per year. The entertainer Chris Evans lives nearby.