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Key buildings at RAF Northolt listed

Battle of Britain 70th anniversary.

Three buildings at the heart of operations during the Second World War at RAF Northolt were listed yesterday at Grade II by Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose.

“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain it seems entirely fitting to list these buildings which played such a pivotal role during the second World War and beyond,” said Mr Penrose.

“Their national significance and historical importance merit the protection provided to them by listing and serve as a reminder of the great sacrifice, courage and determination showed by all those who worked at RAF Northolt during the war years.”

Churchill’s hangar

The buildings comprise a C-type hangar, former Squadron Watch office, and former ‘Z’ sector Operations Block. The hangar was used throughout WWII to house Churchill’s personal aircraft in which he flew to many important meetings of the Allied leaders. The Watch office which also served as the Aircraft Readiness room during the Second World War had an undisputed role in the Battle of Britain and was the building from which RAF Northolt’s pilots were scrambled.  And the Operations Block was the prototype of the ‘Dowding System,’ a method of communication allowing the command chain to communicate to intercept enemy aircraft, the first such system in the world.

“The nation has a duty to recognise the great sacrifices made by those serving in our Armed Forces,” said Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox. “The bravery that was displayed during the Battle of Britain continues to inspire generations of Servicemen and the Government’s decision to list these buildings will ensure the achievements of those who fought in the battle are never forgotten.”

The decision to list the buildings are on the basis of advice from English Heritage. Grade II listing means that the architectural merit of the buildings must be taken account of in any future applications to develop the site.

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