Copyright Kent Past 2010
The History of Kent
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History of Manston
Manston comes from the Old English ‘tun’ meaning ‘settlement, village’, combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, 'Mann's village'.
Manston church is dedicated to Saint Catherine and built in 1872 as a Chapel-
In 1901, the Isle of Thanet Poor Law Union opened a children's home at Manston. The homes comprised four pairs of houses and accommodated a total of 120 children.
Manston started its Aviation days as a Royal Naval Station in 1916, with a base at Bay for seaplanes. By 1917, had grown to include four underground hangars, its own railway line to , a power station to generate electricity, barracks for 3,000 men and even an indoor swimming pool.
After WW1, the School of Technical Training taught airmen in airframe maintenance and engine repairs. 1940 and WW2 brought the Battle of Britain. Barnes Wallis arrived, in 1943, to test his bouncing bomb at nearby before the Dam busters carried out their famous raid. Roland Beaumont arrived with the Typhoon, which came to be the most successful ground attack aircraft in WW2. The first jet fighters reached Manston, to attack the flying bombs. Manston had the longest and widest runway in Southern England to allow badly damaged aircraft returning from Europe a safe haven, with the Fido fog dispersal system permitting landings in any weather.
In 1950, it became an American airbase for just eight years. In 1960, Manston returned to the RAF as a major diversionary airfield for aircraft in trouble. The fire school trained RAF firemen in everything from aircraft fires to rescuing car crash victims. Civil aviation companies arrived and took 700,000 people on their first foreign holidays in one year. In the mid-
The RAF air sea rescue helicopters returned in 1974. At the same time, they recovered two of the prototype bouncing bombs from the beach at Reculver. Finally, in 1980, after a 40 year wait, married and single personnel received new houses.