There were twelve airfields in the New Forest area, during World War II, as the accompanying map shows. In addition, the map displays the location of Eastleigh (Southampton) and Hamble airfields, which were associated with production and distribution of the Supermarine Spitfires and Seafires, assembled at the factory on the southern edge of the then Eastleigh airfield.Although Hurn (now Bournemouth International Airport) is located outside of the New Forest area, during WWII it was operationally integrated with the other airfields and similar operations were carried out from there. The four ‘Advanced Landing Grounds’, Bisterne, Winkton, Lymington and Needs Oar Point, were constructed in late 1943, as temporary airfields, to support the D-Day invasion of France in June 1944. They had various types of metal tracking laid on grass for the runways. Christchurch was also a grass ‘Advanced Landing Ground’ airfield in WWII, with the Airspeed aircraft factory attached. Sway was a small ‘Emergency Landing Ground’, used as a diversion airfield, when raids were expected at the major concrete runway airfields at Hurn, Ibsley, Holmsley South, Beaulieu and Stoney Cross.
The total number of servicemen and women working on the airfields in 1944 numbered around 25,000, with around 10,000 civilians supporting them in various supply and maintenance roles.