Crail Airfield :: Shared Description

Crail was a major military air station used in both First and Second World Wars, and after 1945 during the Cold War.

In the summer of 1918 the aerodrome was recorded in a survey of RAF stations as ‘No. 27 Training depot, NW Area, No 2 Group’ whose function was ‘A Training Depot Station (Three Unit) for Fighter Reconnaissance’. Training Depots were established during 1917, after it was decided to concentrate flying training at a limited number of sites. Most were still under construction when the war ended. The Training Depot closed in 1919 and the First World War buildings were largely swept away; the aerodrome was re-established at the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 1940 the site was commissioned as the Royal Naval Air Station HMS Jackdaw and functioned as the main Fleet Air Arm base for training pilots in torpedo warfare.

The World War II airfield still has many of its buildings extant including many of the perimeter defences. Specifically of interest are the chapel and cinema/gym buildings, the control tower, attack training buildings and aircraft and engine repair shop (Northlight hanger).

The airfield follows the Naval pattern of four narrow hard runways and associated brick, concrete and corrugated iron structures.

The runways are part of the main operational side, the 'Technical Area' to the South-East. The recreation and living quarters of the 'West Camp' are located to the North-West. These areas are separated by the road between Crail and Balcomie.

Around 2000 personnel were stationed at Crail Airfield, both living at the airfield itself and billeted in Crail and the surrounding area.

The aircraft hangars and the great majority of the building interiors are the most significant losses at the site. Many buildings have been altered and are in a poor state of repair. Some farming still takes place in the area of the airfield along with car boot sales and amateur car racing events.

Canmore: LinkExternal link
Buildings at Risk (Register for Scotland): LinkExternal link

Crail Airfield is the best surviving example of a WW2 Fleet Air Arm airfield in the United Kingdom, its runways designated a scheduled ancient monument and several of its buildings Category A Listed (LB50557): LinkExternal link
by Andrew Curtis

6 images use this description:

NO6209 : Control Tower, Crail Disused Airfield by Andrew Curtis
NO6209 : Runways, Crail Disused Airfield by Andrew Curtis
NO6209 : Northlight Hangar, Crail Airfield by Andrew Curtis
NO6209 : Crail Airfield by Andrew Curtis
NO6209 : Northlight Hangar, Crail Airfield by Andrew Curtis
NO6209 : Crail Airfield by Andrew Curtis

These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Thu, 29 Aug 2019, Updated: Thu, 29 Aug 2019

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2019 Andrew Curtis, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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