Primarily an RAF radar base, RAF Kirknewton was home to a variety of units during the war. No. 289 Squadron RAF was formed there as an anti-aircraft co-operation unit on 20 November 1941. In June 1943, RAF Kirknewton was the site of an outstanding act of bravery when Sqn Ldr Peter Guy Ottewill rescued two airmen from a burning Bristol Beaufighter, earning a George Medal.
RAF Kirknewton was used as a temporary POW Camp for German officers during WWII, while they were awaiting transfer to the USA.
During the 1970s the area in trees to the west of the airfield (which now seems to be the home of some very up market housing) was used by the Army and known as Ritchie Camp. The unit in residence also had the run of the airfield site for driver training and other military activities. The units there included the Black Watch and The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
As part of the Future Force 2020 budgetary announcement in July 2011, Kirknewton is to be developed into a major Army base to host a Multi-Role Brigade. The first units are expected to move into Kirknewton in 2016-17. Additional troops will be stationed in Glencorse Barracks.
Plans to develop Kirknewton as an Army barracks were scrapped in March 2013.
- Obituary: Group Captain Peter Ottewill, Daily Telegraph, 13 February 2003 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1421881/Group-Captain-Peter-Ottewill.html
- David Hitt. "Kirknewton 1952-1966". Scott Mcintosh (East of Scotland Aviation Research). Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- Chorlton, Martyn (2008). Scottish Airfields in the Second World War: The Lothians. Scottish Airfields in the Second World War 1. Countryside Books. ISBN 9781846741067.
- http://www.raf.mod.uk/news/archive/future-force-18072011 Future Force
- House of Commons Library: Standard Note:SN06038
- Photo Archive An Edinburgh based reminiscence group's collection of people's photo albums. This links shows USAF personnel on the base and the neighbouring Inn.
- "RAF Kirknewton" (wiki). Secret Scotland. Retrieved 2009-08-22.