Post War: 1990s end of an era

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1990s end of and era

In June 1994, the establishment played a major part in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of D-Day, when many modern and historic and historic aircraft and VIPs, including that of Queen Elizabeth, and the personal helicopter of the President of the United States of America used Lee prior to the Spithead review and commemorations in the Solent and off the Normandy Coast. The station hosted a large concert in Dunning Hangar with a band of HM Royal Marines and the well known wartime singer Anne Shelton.

WV911 AW Sea Hawk at Lee on Solent June 1994

HMS Daedalus closure, 1996

With the shrinking Navy, further rationalisation became necessary at Lee. Training was moved to the Marine and Air Engineering School at HMS Sultan in Gosport and other units were transferred to appropriate establishments. Routine naval flying operations ceased in 1993 apart from occasional activation for exercises, 814 Sea King squadron was perhaps one of the last front-line squadrons to visit in April 1993. Air Engineering training continued until Christmas 1995 when the school transferred to HMS Sultan, School of Marine Engineering, and School for Aircraft Handling.

HMS Sultan crest

HMS Daedalus was finally paid off and formally closed as a Naval Establishment on 29th March 1996, ending 79 years of continual naval aviation presence.

In December 1996 a Ministerial decision was made to allow the Coastguard to continue  its  operations at Daedalus, therefore some aviation activity will continue on the site. In addition, the Home Office, on behalf of the Hampshire Constabulary, made an application to the Secretary of State for Defence (March 1997) to purchase the main (western) runway.

An then began a period of uncertainty and potential opportunity. The Ministry of Defence put the site on the market for sale, and in the mid 1990s, the Local Government authorities, Hampshire County Council, Gosport and Fareham Borough Councils looked into the options for development of the area in their joint Daedalus Development Strategy. " of the largest re-development sites in Hampshire offers enormous potential for business development...". The 39ha southern section of the site was being marketed by the MoD through Hillier Parker (London - contact Jasper Masters).

The Development Sites - Daedalus

See the Daedalus Land Use Planning chapter for further details about land use planning and strategies at Daedalus into the 21st Century



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