RAF St Mawgan

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RAF St Mawgan
RAF Trebelzue
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Near St Mawgan, Cornwall in England
RAF St Mawgan.jpg
RAF St Mawgan is located in Cornwall
RAF St Mawgan
RAF St Mawgan
Shown within Cornwall
Coordinates 50°26′05″N 005°00′47″W / 50.43472°N 5.01306°W / 50.43472; -5.01306Coordinates: 50°26′05″N 005°00′47″W / 50.43472°N 5.01306°W / 50.43472; -5.01306
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Site history
Built 1939 (1939)/40
In use 1940-Present

Royal Air Force St Mawgan or more simply RAF St Mawgan is a Royal Air Force station near St Mawgan and Newquay in Cornwall. In 2008 the runway part of the site was handed over to Newquay Airport. The remainder of the station still continues to operate under the command of the RAF. RAF St Mawgan used to have the widest military runway in the UK (300 ft) and is the home for the Cornwall Air Ambulance service.

Current role[edit]

RAF St Mawgan is currently home to Defence Survival Training Organisation (DSTO), which is a tri-service unit that teaches 'Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract' (SERE) methods for the Armed Forces in support of operations and training. They also conduct trials and equipment development.[1] The Royal Air Force maintains a small workshop on the station, enabling construction of components for the upgrading of aircraft across all three services. Accommodation on the airfield is often used by students of Agusta Westland's training facility at Newquay Airport.

Other lodger units located here at St Mawgan are Plymouth & Cornwall Wing of the Air Training Corps. The gate guard which is an Avro Shackleton aircraft will remain at RAF St Mawgan as long as there is a military presence.

History[edit]

Opened as a civilian airfield in 1933, it was requisitioned at the outbreak of World War II and named RAF Trebelzue, initially as a satellite of nearby RAF St Eval, but was expanded with twin concrete runways. In February 1943 it was renamed RAF St. Mawgan and in June 1943, the United States Army Air Forces took over and carried out a number of major improvements, including a new control tower and a further extension of the main runway. The airfield was put under care and maintenance on 1 July 1947.

In 1951, it reopened as a Coastal Command base for ASWDU (Air Sea Warfare Development Unit) where trials of new electronic equipment were carried out, to ascertain the suitability of the equipment for general use in Coastal Command, and for maritime reconnaissance, flying mainly Avro Shackleton aircraft, with support from a few Avro Lancaster aircraft. In 1956, No 220 and 228 Long Range Reconnaissance Squadrons were renumbered No 201 and 206 Squadrons and joined by 42 Squadron. RAF St. Mawgan also became the Headquarters of 22 (helicopter) Sqn. In 1965, no 201 Squadron and 206 Squadron moved to RAF Kinloss and were replaced by the Maritime Operational Training Unit.

No 7 Sqn, flying Canberras, operated at RAF St. Mawgan as target tugs from 1970 until 1982, with No 22 Squadron moving out in 1974. 42 Squadron and 236 Operational Conversion Unit moved to RAF Kinloss in 1992, taking away RAF St Mawgan's fixed-wing station-based aircraft, the Nimrods which had been at the station since 1969. In 1976 the film The Eagle Has Landed was filmed on the camp.

In 2005, RAF St Mawgan was one of the airfields shortlisted to house the new Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) in 2013, but in November 2005 it was announced by Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram, that it would be going to RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.[2]

In November 2006, No. 1 Squadron RAF Regiment moved to RAF Honington and No. 2625 (County of Cornwall) Sqn Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) was disbanded. Helicopter maintenance (HMF) also ceased here in that year. Until May 2008, RAF St Mawgan was primarily used as a Search and Rescue training camp and was home to 203(R) Squadron, equipped with Sea King helicopters. The SAR Force HQ was also located here. Both 203(R) Squadron and the SAR Force HQ moved to RAF Valley.

On 1 December 2008 the airfield part of the camp (including the civilian side) closed but the RAF still remain on a reduced area. This was to allow full control of the airport to be handed to Cornwall County Council, with work including a new ATC tower and runway lights. The airport received a full CAA license to operate in December 2008.[3][4]

St Mawgan used to be the home of the Joint Maritime Facility, commissioned 18 August 1995, a command for undersea tracking operated by the Royal Navy and United States Navy. It was announced in early 2009 that the JMF would close in order to save the US Navy £6.5 million per year, losing 22 jobs in the process.[5] Nuclear weapons (primarily B57 in depth bomb configuration) for use by the US Navy P-3 Orion, Royal Air Force Nimrod and former Dutch Navy P-3 Orion aircraft, were stored at the Naval Aviation Weapons Facility, situated at the west end of the airbase.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Saunders, Keith A. (1995) RAF St Mawgan (Britain in old photographs series), 126 pp. Stroud: Sutton (reissued by Universal Books 1998) ISBN 1-84013-195-0

External links[edit]