A MAJOR study is under way into the feasibility of turning a rural wartime relic into an important site of wartime historical significance.

The study, funded by the Hanson Concrete Trust, is investigating the likelihood of restoring the former RAF Ibsley airfield control tower to its former glory.

Initial findings have revealed that although the tower been battered by the wind and the rain for the past 60 years, it is capable of being restored.

If the project proceeds, the historic tower could become a valuable museum interpretation centre to record a crucial period in Britain's wartime history for future generations.

Mike Halpin, a member of the RAF Ibsley Historical Group, told The Forest Journal that the delicate environmental area in which the control tower was built was unlikely to ever become a "major visitor centre".

"Our interpretation of the Ibsley Airfield would be some sort of interaction centre for children," he said.

"We have to be extremely careful if the building is renovated and opened up because it sits in an environmentally sensitive area."

Both the U.S. and British army were based at the Ibsley airfield, together with the eighth fighter group.

About 30,000 army officers were located there and the village is reputed to have housed at least five spies, including the famed Lord Haw Haw, an announcer on the English language propaganda radio programme Germany Calling, broadcast by Nazi German radio to audiences in Britain.

The Grade 2 listed Moyles Court was the station headquarters during World War II and it was also the main centre of operations for 31 British, Commonwealth and American fighter and bomber squadrons.

Ibsley Airfield was used as the main location in the making of the classic 1942 movie The First of the Few, which starred David Niven.

It was based on the life of RJ Mitchell, the inventor of the Spitfire, the main fighter aircraft that flew from the Ibsley centre.

Pilots from the 118 and 501 squadrons took part in the filming between operational sorties.

RAF Ibsley opened on February 15, 1941. Flying activities ceased in 1946 and the station finally closed in 1952.