RAF Brawdy

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RAF Brawdy
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Near Brawdy, Pembrokeshire in Wales
RAF Brawdy badge.jpg
Amddiffynfa Y Gorllewin
(Welsh for The Western Fortification)
RAF Brawdy aerial view 1944.jpg
Aerial image of RAF Brawdy during 1944.
RAF Brawdy is located in Pembrokeshire
RAF Brawdy
RAF Brawdy
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 RAF station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Condition Closed
Site history
Built 1944 (1944)
In use
  • 1944–1946 and 1974–1992 (RAF)
  • 1946–1971 (FAA)
Fate Transferred to British Army in 1995 to become Cawdor Barracks.
Airfield information
Identifiers ICAO: EGDA, WMO: 03603
Direction Length and surface
02/20 2,321 metres (7,615 ft) Asphalt
15/33 1,950 metres (6,398 ft) Asphalt
Note Airfield no longer in use.

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]

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

On 1 January 1946 the station was handed over to the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy and became Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Brawdy or HMS Goldcrest II. It was initially used as a Relief Landing Ground for RNAS Dale. After the closure of 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]

The following squadrons were stationed here at various points during this period:[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

Between 1 September 1976 and July 1978 a detachment of 202 Squadron flying Whirlwind HAR.10s used the airfield.[8] By the late 1970s it operated BAe Hawk T.1A (234 and 79 Squadron).[4]

Closure of RAF station[edit]

As part of the rationalisation of advanced and tactical weapons training, flying ceased at Brawdy on 31 August 1992. A small number of RAF personnel remained including No. 202 Squadron and their Westland Sea Kings, which eventually left in July 1994.[9][10]

Cawdor Barracks[edit]

Brawdy was transferred to the British Army in 1995 and became Cawdor Barracks, the army's main electronic warfare base.[11][12] The name originated from the local Earls of Cawdor (who owned the Stackpole Estate).



  1. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 95.
  2. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 96.
  3. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 97.
  4. ^ a b c "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. ^ March, Peter R. (1998). Brace by Wire to Fly-By-Wire – 80 Years of the Royal Air Force 1918–1998. RAF Fairford: Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Enterprises. p. 158. ISBN 1-899808-06-X. 
  10. ^ "Brawdy". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust UK. Retrieved 31 March 2018. 
  11. ^ "RAF Brawdy". Forces War Records. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "14 Regiment Royal Signals". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 


  • 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]