Essex Aerodrome open in 1933 and was requisitioned after the start of World War II as RAF Stapleford Tawney. Dispersal points and accommodation buildings were erected by the end of March 1940 and the airfield become operational as a satellite station for North Weald.
No. 151 Squadron started making patrols from the base from August 1940 transfering to RAF Digby, Lincolnshire.
No. 46 Squadron arrived in September, having lost all their Hurricane fighters when the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious was sunk while evacuating the squadron from Norway.
RAF Stapleford operated the secret 49 flight as the operational air-arm of the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
In March 1943, Stapleford was taken out of Fighter Command and placed under the command of No. 34 Wing of the Army Co-operation Command.