Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

United Kingdom, Scotland: Tayside

This collection of airfields is © 2010-2013 by RonaldV
(Disclaimer).

 

Stracathro Added 6 Jan 2013 - Montrose Added 6 Jan 2013 - Kinnell Added 12 Jan 2013

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Stracathro

56°45'50"N 002°34'59"W

 

runway: ../.. - ..x..m - grass

 

Stracathro air field (RAF Stracathro) was an airfield 97 kilometers north-northeast of Edinburg.

I could not find when the airfield was built, but it appeared on German reconnaissance photos as Brechin airfield in late September 1940.

This site was originally planned as a relief landing ground.

Soon after opening in 1941 as a relief landing field for RAF Montrose, the site had a fatal crash of a Miles Master.

When 2 FIS (Flying Instructors School) took over at Montrose in January 1942, the RLG remained in operation.

The airfield normally had around 200 personnel assigned, but they were not lodged on the station.

Instead, they were shuttled here every day from Montrose.

No 1541 Blind Approach Training was formed at Stracathro in April 1943.

In December 1943 an Oxford and Hurricane collided over the field, killing two in the Oxford.

After the war was over, the site was used as a storage site until July 1948 and then Closed down.

 

Stracathro airfield, incorrectly identified by the Luftwaffe as "Brechin Landing Ground" in September 1940.
Note that the airfield did not open until the following July, so the Luftwaffe was actually VERY well informed!
(Luftwaffe, via scotlandsplaces.gov.uk)

 

In 2012 some buildings were still standing, albeit in a derelict state.

Most obvious to see from aerial photography is a semi circular taxi track around the east side fo the airfield.

On the south side of the airfield, a radio controlled model flying club was set up in 2009.

 

The taxiway was the most obvious remaining feature at Stracathro in 2007 (Google Earth).

 

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Montrose

The station crest for II Flying Instructor School at RAF Montrose.

 

56°43'42"N 002°27'07"E

 

Runway: ../.. - ...meters/...feet - grass

 

Montrose airfield (RAF Montrose) was an airfield 95 kilometers north-northeast of Edinburg.

The airfield was the first airfield, built in 1913, by what was then the Royal Flying Corps.

In the early years of the Twentieth Century an expanding German Empire began to pose a real threat to the security of Europe and Great Britain.

Germany also began to consider the North Sea as their own.

In 1912 the British Government responded to this by planning the creation of twelve "Air Stations" operated by the newly formed Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

The British Government declared the East coast of Britain a prohibited area.

in order to defend the Royal Naval Fleet and their bases at Rosyth, Cromarty and Scapa Flow it was decided that the first of the new air stations would be located at Montrose.

Being the first airfield, it should not be surprising that the airfield home to one of the oldest active squadrons in the world, II(AC) Sqn RAF.

On 13 February 1913, five aircraft of No.2 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, took off from Farnborough under the command of Major C.J. Burke and headed north to Montrose.

The 450 mile journey was completed in a series of stages and took 13 days (it should be remembered that the Wright
brothers had only made their first powered flight just over 9 years prior to that on 17 December 1903).

On 26 February the aircraft arrived at Upper Dysart Farm, 3 miles to the south of Montrose and the new home of 2 Sqn RFC.

Major Burke considered Upper Dysart to be less than ideal for an airfield and after surveying the area found a new location at Broomfield Farm, 1 mile to the North of Montrose..

At the end of 1913 three large hangers of Indian Army Shed design (known as 'Major Burkes sheds') were erected at Bloomfield.

In the new year of 1914 No.2 squadron relocated there.

World War I started on 28 July 1914 and in August II(AC) Sqn moved to France, during their absence the station was the birthplace of several new squadrons.

25 Sqn formed on 25 September 1915, 83Sqn formed on 7 January 1917 and 80 Sqn on 1 August 1917.

On 1 April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps merged with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) to become the Royal Air Force (RAF), the oldest Air Force in the world .

When the war ended, the airfield was closed.

 

5.30AM start at Montrose for the South by 2 Squadron R.F.C. in 1914 (flyingmachines.ru).

 

In 1935 the British government decided to expand the RAF in the face of a growing threat from Germany .

A key requirement was for more trained military pilots.

RAF Montrose, virtually unchanged from the First World War, was re-opened on 1 January 1936 as 8 Flying Training School.

Between that date and the end of the Battle of Britain an estimated 800 pilots trained and got their 'wings' at Montrose though not all of these became fighter pilots.

Many of the British WWII Fighter Aces were trained at Montrose.

Many Allied and nationals were to serve and train there, including Polish, Czech, American, Russian, Turkish and Free French personnel.

A bombing raid by the Germans in 1940 led to the loss of 6 personnel from the station.

Units that trained at Montrose were 111 Sqn, 603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn, 248 Sqn, 141 Sqn, 145 Sqn, 232 Sqn.

Besides serving as a training base, Montrose also served as an operational airfield for Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons which formed part of the air defences for Edinburgh.

Its aircraft flew regular mission over Norway.

After the war, the airfield became home to 63 Maintenance Unit, but as there were no tarmac runways, aircraft for repair were brought in and shipped out by road.

As a result, the airfield was permanently closed on 4 June 1952.

 

Montrose at some time during World War II

 

Luftwaffe Reconnaissance of RAF Montrose Scotland

The Germans were still carrying out reconnaissance missions in Scotland as late as April 1943, as is proven by this Luftwaffe photo (Flickr).

 

In 1983 a group of local enthusiasts grouped together to ensure that the history of RAF Montrose would not be forgotten.

A local man, Ian McIntosh, established the Montrose Air Station Heritage Trust (today known as the Ian McIntosh Memorial Trust).

Also, money was raised by the Montrose Aerodrome Museum Society.

In 1992 the trust purchased the Watch Office and ground which became the Montrose Air Station Museum.

Over the years the museum has added more buildings to house its increasing collection of artefacts, memorabilia and models.

Several historic buildings and hangars are still located at the former airfield.

The stations perimeter taxi track is still largely intact.

The flying field, however, is not, owing to many decades of neglect.

 

Aerial photo of the former airfield in 2006 (Google Earth)

 

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Kinnell

56°39'04"N 002°38'14"W

 

runway: 10/28 - 1260x44m (estim.) - tarmac

runway: 14/32 - 1000x44m (estim.) - tarmac

 

Kinneell air field (RAF Kinnell) was an airfield 85 kilometers north-northeast of Edinburg.

The airfield was opened in March 1942 as a satellite to RAF Tealing.

It was used by 56 OTU with Westland Lysanders used for target towing.

From October 1943 the unit was known as No. 1 Combat Training Wing.

As 1 TCW they were training pilots in air-firing and evasive action with Hurricanes and later Spitfires.

Later they were renamed again as 1 Tactival Exercise Unit and left in July 1944.

From August 1944 the airfield served as a satellite to RAF Montrose with 2 Fighter Interception Squadron until July 1945.

 

No photos of the airfield while in use have been located

 

44 Maintenance Unit was the last to use the airfield.

By the end of 1945 the airfield was closed.

The airfield has been returned to agricultural use, but its two runways still exist.

Also still standing until at least 2011 was the airfields control tower.

A farmer was using it as a shelter for his horses.

Several dispersals and taxitracks could still be recognised in aerial photography (Google Earth).

 

aerial view of RAF Kinnell in 2007 (Google Earth)

 

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If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in England, email RonaldV.

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