RAF Grangemouth

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RAF Grangemouth
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Elevation AMSL 16 ft / 5 m
Coordinates 56°01′11″N 003°41′30″W / 56.01972°N 3.69167°W / 56.01972; -3.69167Coordinates: 56°01′11″N 003°41′30″W / 56.01972°N 3.69167°W / 56.01972; -3.69167
Map
RAF Grangemouth is located in Falkirk
RAF Grangemouth
RAF Grangemouth
Location in Falkirk
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
Tarmac
Tarmac

RAF Grangemouth is a former Royal Air Force station located 3 mi (4.8 km) north east of Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland. It was opened as the Central Scotland Airport in May 1939[2] and operated as a Civilian Air Navigation School (CANS) until early September 1939.

History[edit]

Second World War[edit]

From September 1939 - March 1941 it was used by 602 Squadron flying Supermarine Spitfires, 141 Squadron flying Bristol Blenheims and Gloster Gladiators and 263 Squadron flying Westland Lysanders. In December 1940 it was used by No. 58 Operational Training Unit (later renamed No. 2 Tactical Exercise Unit).

The air traffic control tower (watch tower) was of a pre-war civilian type. There were 10 Hangars, two were of a civil type and the other eight were of the Blister type.

In an attempt to reduce the number of crashes caused by over-shooting, the east/west runway was extended by about 300 yards in the summer of 1942. This runway intersected with the Inchyra Road runway and extended west to where Candie Crescent now starts off Overton Road. The Charlotte Dundas Shopping centre was built over part of the remains of this runway in 1960-1961.

Post war[edit]

After the war, it was used as a gliding school and by No. 13 Refresher Flying School, then by RAF Maintenance Command until closure in 1955.

Unfortunately at 0200 one Sunday in 1952 a fire started & some of the buildings were destroyed.

Present day[edit]

Today the site is now part of Inchyra Park, a light industrial area, the Charlotte Dundas Shopping Centre, and a housing estate. The shorter runway is now Inchyra Road, Grangemouth. Contrary to many reports, the vast majority of the site is NOT now covered by petrochemicals industry. Only a relatively small area east of Inchyra Road has such industry on it and which was only built on during the 1970s and thereafter.

Some of the hangars still remain intact at Latitude, Longitude 56.013348N, 3.707562W.[3]

In 2008 a memorial garden was unveiled, to commemorate those who died, planted on ground granted for the purpose and located on the perimeter of the original airfield. Within the garden, a wall features the names of each of the Polish fighter pilots who died at Grangemouth.

The memorial remembers the contribution of hundreds of Polish pilots who developed their skills at the airfield as members of No. 58 Operational Training Unit during the Second World War.

On Thursday 9 May 2013 a full size replica of a mk2 Spitfire was unveiled in the memorial garden

Timeline[edit]

Operational units and aircraft[edit]

Unit From To Aircraft Version Notes
No. 35 Elementary & Reserve Flying Training School 1 May 1939 Sep 1939 Hawker Hart
de Havilland Tiger Moth
?
?
No. 10 Air Observer & Navigation School 1 May 1939 Sep 1939 Avro Anson ?
No. 602 Squadron RAF 7 Oct 1939 13 Oct 1939 Supermarine Spitfire I [4]
No. 141 Squadron RAF 19 Oct 1939 28 June 1940 Bristol Blenheim
Gloster Gladiators
IF
I
[5]
No. 263 Squadron RAF 28 June 1940 2 Sep 1940 Hawker Hurricane
Westland Whirlwind
I
I
Detachment at RAF Montrose.[6]
No. 614 Squadron RAF 8 Jun 1940 5 Mar 1941 Westland Lysander II [7]

Other Units/Wings[edit]

No. 52 (Army Co-operation) Wing[edit]

1 November 1939 – 14 July 1940.[8] Further History Unknown at this time.

No. 58 Operational Training Unit[edit]

No. 58 Operational Training Unit was planned to form at RAF Grangemouth in October 1940 within No. 10 Group to train night fighter crews. This was changed in early December when it actually formed as a day fighter pilot training unit, using Spitfires and Masters. It was transferred to No. 81 Group at the end of December 1940 and disbanded in early October 1943 when it was redesignated No. 2 Combat Training Wing (changed again to No. 2 Tactical Exercise Unit at a later date).

In the event of a German invasion the OTU would have become No. 558 Squadron (and later also as No. 563 Squadron) to operate from RAF Turnhouse.

The unit reformed on 15 March 1945, at RAF Poulton in No. 12 Group, as half an Operational Training Unit equipped with Spitfires from the day fighter element of No. 41 Operational Training Unit until it was disbanded on 20 July 1945.

Codes used: -

  • PQ Dec 1940 - Oct 1943
  • P9 Mar 1945 - Jul 1945[9][10]

No. 4 Aircraft Delivery Flight[edit]

Commanding Officer Squadron Leader Eric Valentine Hulbert appointed 16 April 1943.

No. 2 Combat Training Wing[edit]

See No. 58 Operational Training Unit Above.

No. 2 Tactical Exercise Unit[edit]

See No. 58 Operational Training Unit Above.

No. 14 Maintenance Unit[edit]

History unknown at this time. No1 GRSS Burned down moved to Bishopbriggs

References[edit]

External links[edit]