RAF Brawdy

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RAF Brawdy
RNAS Brawdy
HMS Goldcrest
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Brawdy, Pembrokeshire
RAF Brawdy aerial view 1944.jpg
RAF Brawdy in 1944
RAF BrawdyRNAS BrawdyHMS Goldcrest is located in Pembrokeshire
RAF BrawdyRNAS BrawdyHMS Goldcrest
RAF Brawdy
RNAS Brawdy
HMS Goldcrest
Type Royal Air Force installation
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Controlled by  Royal Air Force
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Site history
Built 1944 (1944)
In use 1944-1992 (1992)
Battles/wars Second World War
Cold War

RAF Brawdy is a former Royal Air Force satellite station located 6.3 miles (10.1 km) east of St Davids, Pembrokeshire and 9.8 miles (15.8 km) south west of Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, Wales. It was operational between 1944 and 1992 being used by both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy before the site was turned over to the British Army and renamed Cawdor Barracks.


The Pembrokeshire base was officially opened on 2 February 1944 as a satellite station for the nearby RAF St Davids with No. 517 Squadron RAF moving in a day before with the Handley Page Halifax Mk V before changing to the Mk III in March 1945. The squadron moved to RAF Chivenor on 30 November 1945.[1] The next squadron to move in was 521 Squadron from December 1944 until May 1945 as a detachment operating the Boeing Fortress II.[2] Between 2 February 1944 and 27 April 1946 595 Squadron aircraft may have been based here with a variety of aircraft as a detachment.[3]

Fleet Air Arm use[edit]

On 1 January 1946 the station was handed over to the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy and was initially used as a Relief Landing Ground for RNAS Dale. It was commissioned as HMS Goldcrest on 4 September 1952 and in March 1953 the first Hawker Sea Hawk entered service with 806 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Brawdy. From 1963 till 1971 Fairey Gannets and Hawker Hunters were based at Brawdy in 849 NAS and 738/759 NAS respectively. The Gannets were primarily used in Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and the Hunters for advanced flying training including low-level Navigation, ground attack and air-to-air weapons training. The Royal Navy left in 1971 and the base was allocated to the Department of the Environment.[4]

Sea Hawk F1s of 898 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Brawdy, 1954.

Back to Royal Air Force control[edit]

In February 1974 the Royal Air Force returned with D Flight of 22 Squadron taking up residence with their Westland Whirlwind HAR.10 search and rescue helicopters.[5] In September of the same year No. 229 Operational Conversion Unit (later the Tactical Weapons Unit) joined D Flight having been forced to relocate after the closure of RAF Chivenor.[4]

The station was home to Hawker Hunter aircraft of the TWU, and the gate guardian at the base was initially a Supermarine Spitfire, this was replaced in the early 80s by Hawker Hunter FGA.9 (XE624). This airframe was subsequently sold to Steve Petch, a private collector.[6]

Between 1 September 1976 and July 1978 a detachment of 202 Squadron flying Whirlwind HAR.10s used the airfield.[7]

By the late 1970s it operated BAe Hawk T.1A (234 and 79 Squadron).[4] The RAF withdrew in 1992 and the base was renamed Cawdor Barracks.[4]



  1. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 95.
  2. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 96.
  3. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 97.
  4. ^ a b c d "RAF Brawdy". Forces War Records. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 32.
  6. ^ "Cold War Jets Collection". Retrieved 31 January 2007. 
  7. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 68.


  • Jefford, C.G, MBE, BA, RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External links[edit]