RAF Tempsford, a remote Second World War airfield between Cambridge and Bedford, was designed by an illusionist to give over-flying enemy pilots the impression it was a disused airfield. Home to the RAF’s Special Duties Squadrons, it was only used on the clear nights on either side of the full moon. Flying low and without lights, brave pilots and aircrews carried many hundreds of tons of arms and supplies to resistance groups north of the Arctic Circle, east to Czechoslovakia and Poland, southeast to the Balkans and south as far as the Pyrenees and Italy.The Tempsford Academy tells the story of William Stephenson, the man sent by Roosevelt to assess Britain's potential to resist German invasion in 1940, his meeting the men running Britain's secret service and being shown round SOE’s training facilities, weapons, R&D sites etc. He persuaded the President to send William Donovan, subsequent head of OSS (what became the CIA), to see how the Americans could establish an intelligence network in London. Offices were set up in London and establishments for the training and deployment of US secret agents into occupied Europe as well as assisting the SOE in supplying the resistance. Until an airfield was built for their clandestine operations, agents were flown out from RAF Tempsford: Churchill’s Most Secret Airfield.
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Born and brought up in the industrial north-east of England, Bernard O’Connor went on to teach Humanities and English in Taiwan, China and Australia. Now living near Cambridge, UK, he has researched and published widely on the social, economic, environmental and archaeological impact of the nineteenth century coprolite industry, the geology, archaeology and history of the Mawddach estuary in North Wales and his local area on the border of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.
Much in demand as a public speaker, his most recent publications have been RAF Tempsford: Churchill’s most Secret Airfield and Women of RAF Tempsford: Churchill’s Agents of Wartime resistance.