Cawdor Barracks

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Cawdor Barracks
RAF Brawdy
RNAS Brawdy
HMS Goldcrest
Flag of the British Army.svg
Near Brawdy, Pembrokeshire in Wales
Brawdy Airfield, Brawdy, Pembrokeshire - - 477566.jpg
Cawdor Barracks
Cawdor Barracks is located in Pembrokeshire
Cawdor Barracks
Cawdor Barracks
Shown within Pembrokeshire
Coordinates 51°53′01″N 005°07′26″W / 51.88361°N 5.12389°W / 51.88361; -5.12389Coordinates: 51°53′01″N 005°07′26″W / 51.88361°N 5.12389°W / 51.88361; -5.12389
Type Barracks
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator British Army
Controlled by 14th Signal Regiment
Site history
Built 1944 (1944)
In use 1944-1992
Battles/wars Second World War
Cold War
Airfield information
Elevation 111 metres (364 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
00/00  Concrete
00/00  Concrete
Number Length and surface
01 25 metres (82 ft) Concrete

Cawdor Barracks is a military installation 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 an operational airbase 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.
Fairey Gannet AEW.3 of 849 Squadron based at RNAS Brawdy in 1970

The following squadrons were also here at some point:[5]

RAF Brawdy[edit]

In February 1974 the Royal Air Force returned to RAF Brawdy with D Flight of 22 Squadron taking up residence with their Westland Whirlwind HAR.10 search and rescue helicopters.[6] In September of the same year No. 229 Operational Conversion Unit, later the Tactical Weapons Unit (TWU), joined D Flt 22 Sqn having been forced to relocate after the closure of RAF Chivenor.[4]

The station was home to Hawker Hunter aircraft of the TWU. The gate guardian at the base was initially a Supermarine Spitfire, but this was replaced in the early 80s by Hawker Hunter FGA.9 (XE624). This airframe was subsequently sold to Steve Petch, a private collector.[7]

Between 1 September 1976 and July 1978 a detachment of 202 Sqn flying Whirlwind HAR.10s used the airfield.[8]

By the late 1970s TWU operated BAE Systems Hawk T.1As of 234 Sqn and 79 Sqn Squadron.[4] The RAF withdrew in 1992, the airbase was transferred to the Army and renamed Cawdor Barracks.[4]

Army Barracks[edit]

The barracks were established, on the site of the former RAF Brawdy airfield, in 1995.[9] They took their name from the local earls of Cawdor (who owned the Stackpole Estate) and the site became the main electronic warfare base of the British Army.[4] As such the barracks became home to the 14th Signal Regiment ("14 Signals"), the British Army's electronic warfare unit.[10] The Regiment remains on site and has a HQ squadron[11] and five signal squadrons, one of which is based at RAF Digby:[12]

  • 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare)
    • Operations Support Squadron
    • 223 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)
    • 226 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)
    • 237 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)
    • 245 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)

In November 2016 the Ministry of Defence announced that the site would close in 2024.[13]



  1. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 95.
  2. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 96.
  3. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 97.
  4. ^ a b c d e "RAF Brawdy". Forces War Records. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Brawdy". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 32.
  7. ^ "Cold War Jets Collection". Archived from the original on 17 June 2001. Retrieved 31 January 2007. 
  8. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 68.
  9. ^ "14 Regiment Royal Signals". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "14 Sig Regt (EW)". British Army. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Regimental History" (PDF). British Army. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "224 Signal Squadron". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "A Better Defence Estate" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. November 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 


  • 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]