RAF Ibsley was one of 12 RAF and USAAF airfields in the New Forest, Hampshire in
WWII. It helped defend Southern England and played its part in the D-Day invasion
in 1944 and was operational between 1941 and 1946, finally closing in 1952.
It was used as the location for the filming of 'The First of the Few' premièred in1942,
starring David Niven and Leslie Howard, who also directed. RAF Ibsley appears at
6mins 20 secs into the film which can be seen on YouTube here. The film’s Anniversary
was celebrated at the 2012 Revival, see paragraph below or in Menu above.
RAF Ibsley is located about 2 miles north of Ringwood, Hampshire to the east of the
A338. Further information about RAF Ibsley can be found on the website of the RAF
Ibsley Historical Group.
RAF IBSLEY today
Although most of the airfield site has been dug up for gravel, leaving behind a complex
of lakes, several buildings and the derelict Watch Office type 518/40 remain.
518/40 WATCH OFFICE (control tower)
The Airfield Heritage Trust took on responsibility for the tower in January 2012
with a long term lease from its owners, Sembcorp Bournemouth Water who have since
passed the area back to Somerley Estates the original pre war owner. The Trust intends
to refurbish the tower to create a heritage centre for the airfield and to interpret
the part played by aviation in the New Forest area during WWII.
PLEASE NOTE The Watch Office site is a protected bat roost and the area is privately
owned, hence there is currently NO public access.
The Airfield Heritage Trust has started an Oral History project to record the memories
of surviving personnel around the world who served at RAF Ibsley, and those who lived
and worked around the airfield. See links page for the New Forest Remembers project
which features one such interview. Please contact our Oral History specialist by
if you, or anyone you know has:
- any stories
- kept photographs
- collected memorabilia
about RAF Ibsley, or any of the New Forest airfields.
Next RAF IBSLEY REVIVAL 2015
Our first Revival in 2012 was a great success and we thank tremendously Moyles Court
School for hosting and helping us along with all our sponsors especailly .