Airfield History.

This is some of the history of our Airfield which was obtained from the Imperial War Museum, London.

Opened in 1941 under 25 (Armament) Group, Castle Kennedy was first occupied by the CGS ( Central Gunnery School) from
July 3rd, although most of the flying was done from nearby West Freugh because of waterlogging. No. 10 AGS ( Air Gunners

School) formed on July 24, 1941 with Defiants

Stranraer and district model flying club

and Lysanders.

stranraer and district model flying club

The unit moved to Barrow on December 16 1941, the CGS having already moved out earlier during the month.

The airfield was then closed for the construction of 2 concrete runways and 3 AGS reformed here on April 20 1942. By now, three Callender-Hamilton hangers had been erected and the living quarters and instructional sites had been completed in the grounds of Loch Inch Castle.

The AGS was moved to Mona in Anglesey on December 19 1942 to make room for 2 TTU

( Torpedo Training Unit), a new organization forming under 17 Group,

 with Beaufighters 

stranraer and district model flying club

and Beuforts.

stranraer and district model flying club

 

No 2 TTU was absorbed by 1 TTU on September 29 1943 and the airfield was allocated to Flying Training Command on October 25. It had been offered to the Navy earlier in the year to meet one of their requirements but this was not acted upon.

No 3 AGS returned to its old home in November 1943, bringing Ansons 

stranraer and district model flying club

and Martinets.

stranraer and district model flying club

 

Luce Bay was the air-to-air firing area, a typical course having about 90 pupils. The duration depended on suitable flying weather, but was usually about seven  weeks, during which each gunner did 16 hours in the air but many more on the ground learning how to manipulate a power turret.

It's routine but vital job done, the school disbanded on June 21 1945, the airfield then passing to 41 Group Maintenance Command.

No 57 MU ( Maintenance Unit) Wig Bay then used it as a service manned Sub Storage site, no 104.

The first aircraft, 15 Wellingtons,

stranraer and district model flying club

were flown in towards the end of June although the main type stored was the Mosquito,

stranraer and district model flying club

some 40 being in hangers on the station in October 1945. The aerodrome was now closed for flying but available in emergency.

In 1955 it was reopened for car ferry flights by Bristol 170's  

of Silver City Airways. 

A Newtownards service was flown until 1957, after which the airfield was used occasionally by light aircraft. Two of the three hangers are still to be seen but the 9 Blisters are long gone.

 

BREAKDOWN OF UNITS AND AIRCRAFT :-

No 3 Air Gunners School,

Formed 20/04/42 in No 25 Group Castle Kennedy; 07/42

establishment 38 + 18 Botha  & 18+9 Battle TT

 ; 19/12/42 MONA;

04/43 establishment 23 Anson & 25 Martinet; 03/11/43 Castle Kennedy; 10/44 establishment 33 Anson

& 26 Martinet; 03/45 establishment 26 Wellington & 26 Martinet; Disbanded 21/06/45. AIRCRAFT - Battle

(P2252); Wellington III, X (HE477 Q); Anson I (LT362 T-13); Botha I (W5076); Martinet TT.I (HP219);

Manchester I (R5829)   ; Queen Martinet

(HN 909); Defiant I (N1552) Lysander. Support aircraft - Moth (X5127)

 ; Tutor (K3387).

 No 5 Air Gunners School:-

Was to form 24/07/41 at Castle Kennedy, but cancelled.

No. 10 Air Gunners School :-

Formed 24/07/41 in No25 Group at Castle Kennedy; 08/42 establishment 47 + 23 Defiant, 14+7 Lysander; 28/04/43

returned to No 25 Group; 04/44 Establishment 17+8 Anson, 12+6 Martinet; 05/45 establishment 10 Wellington,

19 Martinet ( but 11 Martinet short, replaced by 12 Spitfire)

; Disbanded 30/06/46.

AIRCRAFT - Defiant (AA310 49); Anson I (MG104 23); Wellington III, X (NC825 8); Battle TT.I (HP277 H); Harrow (K6962),

Support Aircraft - Magister (T9768); Spitfire IIb, Vb (AD451 37); Tutor (K4837); Moth (DG579); Manchester (L7283); Wellington

T.10 (HE742 FFA-L); Horsa II (TL555 FFD-O); Master II (AZ255) Codes Used - FFA  to FFD (1946/47)

CENTRAL GUNNERY SCHOOL :-

23/06/41 Castle Kennedy. 30/12/46 strength 9 Wellington X, 13 Mosquito VI, 20 Spitfire XVI, 16 Martinet, 6 Master II, 12 Meteor III,

1 Proctor ; 01/11/54 to Fighter Command; Disbanded in No.81 Group 31/12/54 to form the Fighter Weapons School and the Coastal Command Gunnery School.

AIRCRAFT - Hurricane I; Harvard I, IIb (N7045); Hampden (P1313 VD-C) Defiant I ( N161); Halifax III (PN446); Beufort I (JM553); Wellington

I, Ia/c, III, X, XIII (BK199 M); Beufighter I, X, XI (KW278); Spitfire I, IIa, Vb/c, IX, XVI (P7973 RA); Tiger Moth II ( T7352); Martinet (MS845 S);

Hudson I (N7404); Mustang I (AG636); Battle I (V1234); Manchester I.II.III (DL771); Blenheim I,IV (V5449 VD-A); Whitley V (N1363);

Albemarle (P1439); Lysander I,II (R9131); Mosquito FB6 (HP989 FJT-A) Lancaster B7/FE (NX645 FJS-C); Lincon B2 (RF473 FJS-B); Balliol T2 (VR594 FJU-B); Meteor F3,F4,T7,F8 (WE917 FJX-J); Sabre F2

(XB540 A); Vampire FB5, T11 (VV559 FJW-A); Venom FB1 (WE369 A) Tempest TT5 (SN321 FJU-D); Proctor C4 (NP326 FJU-Z); Oxford

(V4204) Codes Used - Post-war FJR - FJX

 

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