With most Bournemouth Airport histories stating that the history of Hurn can be traced back to 1941, it’s actually very easy to forget that the current Bournemouth Airport site in Hurn is actually the third time that Bournemouth has had an aiport. The first, at Ensbury Park Aerodrome, closed in 1928, the second was Christchurch Airfield which was known as Bournemouth Airport from 1928 until 1939, and the third is the one currently located at the village of Hurn. RAF Christchurch was actually based on the former Christchurch Airfield which was itself a busy small airport, flying school and light aviation centre.
The first RAF connection came in 1938 when members of the Bournemouth Flying Club joined the Civil Air Guard Scheme and started training pilots, and this continued right up to the outbreak of war the following year. This site was involved in RDF and Radar research and worked in conjunction with other sites at Worth Matravers near Swanage and another at Steamer Point in Christchurch which is now a popular nature reserve.
During 1939 the Air Defence Experimental Establishment was built on the northeast corner of the airfield, and opened in September that year.
In 1940, the Ministry of Production had a factory installed on the airfield, and later that year brought Airspeed in to manage production of a variety of aircraft. Airspeed, a division of De Havilland, were brought in later that year to manage the factory and commenced with production of the Airspeed Oxford Training Aircraft.