Spitfire base home to 24 RAF squadrons during WWII goes on the market for £1.5million after phone magnate decides to sell up
One of the best preserved Second World War airfields in the country has been put up for sale.
Perranporth, home of 24 RAF squadrons between 1941 and 1944, has been put on the market by former mobile phone magnate John George, with an asking price of £1.5million.
The 330-acre site in West Cornwall still features an original control tower, underground bunker, fighter shelters, pill boxes and the armaments depot which Mr George converted into the HQ of Jag Communications - once Britain's third largest independent mobile phones retailer.
Formed in 1989 in Cornwall, JAG Communications encompassed over 160 outlets in Cornwall, the South of England and Wales. At its height, over 600 people were employed across the UK.
As a result of the credit crunch, Jag was taken over by Go Mobile and Mr George quit the phones business. He has since set up an air taxi service in the Channel Islands.
An experienced pilot, Mr George bought the airfield four years ago to ease the commute from Guernsey where he is a tax exile.
He said: 'I bought Perranporth airfield because it was convenient'.
'I could land my plane and walk 100 yards from the end of the runway to be at my desk.
'When our shops went in 2010 we had to run down the head office and clearly I no longer needed an airfield.
'But I still love it. I've never thought of it as somewhere you own - more a place you look after until you pass it on.
'It just has an incredible atmosphere. You look out on a summer evening and think of all those crews who served here and you can't help but be affected by that.'
Perranporth was opened in April 1941 with a single runway and a large tent to serve as a barracks for the airmen. Officers were billeted in a local hotel.
The RAF planned at first to operate a single squadron of Spitfires to protect shipping and coastal towns from Luftwaffe raids.
But as the war moved on its role changed, and by 1942 two squadrons were based there, carrying out raids on northern France and escorting bombers in attacks on French ports.
The last Spitfires left in 1944 to be replaced by squadrons of Avengers and Swordfish tasked with hunting U and E Boats in the Atlantic.
Perranporth was never targeted by the Germans and according to English Heritage its 'defence landscape survives virtually as it was during World War II'.
The airfield is still fully operational and, despite competition from nearby Newquay Airport, has remained popular with both businessmen and holidaymakers visiting Cornwall.
Mr George, 51, says his estate agent, Savills, has already received more than 100 inquiries from potential buyers.
He said: 'It really is a fine example of our military heritage
'Whereas many RAF bases further east were bombed by the Germans, this one escaped damage.
'I want to see it thrive again and there's no doubt it can.'