A fitting memorial

Derek Knox, of Longhorsley History Society, remembers the installation of a memorial to World War I airmen

In 2018 the local history society was contacted by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust to inform us that we would be receiving an Indian granite plaque to commemorate there being an airfield here in World War I.

It was decided that the plaque should not be situated in the village but on Longhorsley moor where the airfield was. A site was eventually found, luckily probably where an old barn or outbuilding had been so creating a solid base. We then found some local stone which was then transported up to the chosen site by a farmer.

We cemented the base, arranged the stones, then cemented them before securing  the plaque to the stone plinth. The whole project of constructing the monument was done by Glyn Scott in sometimes dreadful winter weather in approximately 3 months.

The society decided there should be a ceremony to mark the opening and over 50 local people turned up to see the Mayor of Morpeth Jack Gebbard officially open it and then a fly past had been organised by some planes from Selby House Stanton and Eshott near Felton. There is a video of the day on YouTube entitled ‘Salute to Great War Flyers at Longhorsley Moor’.

History of the airfield
Land immediately adjacent to Longhorsley moor was acquired for a night landing ground designated for use by 36 (Home Defence ) Squadron in World War I. It replaced a landing ground at Beacon Hill to the West.

It occupied an area of land measuring approximately 88×400 yards. The airfield was available for use from January 1917 and by January 1918 it had also become a Day Landing Ground.It closed in June 1919 when the squadron was abandoned. There are no features remaining other than the line of the boundary fence along the moor which is about 800 yards long.

The 36 (Home Defence ) squadron was formed from an existing Home Defence unit based at Cramlington as a night flying unit. Initially its primary role was to patrol the skies of the Newcastle area and defend against attacks from German  airships. During this time the 36 Squadron flew various types of planes including the Sopwith Pup.