Latitude 54°54'35"N Longitude 3°16'30"W

ACQUISITION Purpose built on requisitioned land. Construction commenced in 1942.


OPENED June 1943.


COMMISSIONED 07 September 1044.


PAID OFF 28 February 1958; 31 March 1958 to Care & Maintenance status.


CLOSED (to flying) 13 December 1957.


DISPOSAL No longer required the station was put up for disposal 24 April 1959..


C.O. Captain B.L. Husskisson, D.S.C. (Ret), 1944

Commander M.O. Ellwood. D.S.O. (Ret) 1945

Rear Admiral L.E. Rebbeck, C.B. 1946

Captain F.G.S. Bowring, 1948

Captain R.P. Targett-Adams, 1949

Captain C.B. Pratt 1949

Rear Admiral A.J. Tyndale-Biscoe, O.B.E.1953

Captain D.P. Mansfield 1956

Commander F.C. Terry, M.B.E.  1957

FUNCTION Reserve Aircraft Station. All weather airfield. No3. Ferry Flight.

R.N. Receipt and Despatch Unit.


ADDRESS R.N. Air Station


Nr. Kirkbride,




The airfield lies on the NE. entrance of Moricambe Bay, an inlet on the SE. shore of Solway Firth, and 2 miles WNW. of Kirikbridde.


The small village4 of Anthorn. on the NW. bank of the rover Wampool, adjoins the airfield's E. boundary. Carlisle lies 11 miles E. by S.


LANDMARKS The Solway Firth and Moricambe Bay.


ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS A secondary road links the airfield with the main Kirkbride-Carlisle road. Railway station at Kirkbride, 33¾ miles (R), on L.N.E.R. single track line to Carlisle.
CONTROL Control Building on the E. side of the airfield, 160 yds. inside perimeter track.
Keeps watch 0800 to sunset or 1800, whichever is the earlier, Mondays to Fridays; 0800 - 1200 on Saturdays; as required for night flying; as ordered by A.F.O. (Air) Home for essential commitments.


ELEVATION 30' above M.S.L.


RUNWAYS Three, Concrete.

03/21 QDM. 035°-215° .... 1200 x 30 yds.    1400*

09/27 QDM. 094°-274° .... 1400 x -- yds.     2000*

15/33 QDM. 155°-335° .... 1200 x -- yds.     1600*

*Requires heavy works


TRACKS 40' perimeter track.




APPROACH Recommended sector, mean QDM. :


WIND INDICATOR Wind socks on N. side of the landing area, neat perimeter track, and on SW. side of landing area neat compass base.
HOMING - VISUAL By day None.
By night None.


Beacons YG. and 251 MS.


By night Glim lamps and floodlight.




COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT M/F & H/F 2 transmitters, 5 receivers.
VH/F 4 transmitters, 4 receivers.
Call signs R/T ANTHORN.
Identity letters






ACCOMMODATION Living quarters in two camps, one about ½ mile (R) and the other 1½ miles (R) E., of the airfield.


Officers: 75
Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings: 825
W.R.N.S. Officers: 13
W.R.N.S.  Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings; 183


COMPASS BASE Two, tarmac, diameter 70'.


DISPERSAL Five areas with A/C standings. in conjunction with the hangar areas.


HANGARS In five areas, dispersed around the airfield.
Number /Type Size Door Height Door Width
11 Pentad 185' x 105' 25' 105
22 Fromson 70' x 92' 17' 55'
MEDICAL Sick bay in SE. corner of airfield.


METEOROLOGICAL Office in Control building. Limited meteorological service by Naval personnel.


Aviation: 34,000 gallons
M/T: 4,000 gallons
Oil : 4,000 gallons
TEST BASE Three A/C Radar test bases available.


TEST BUTT Two test butts and 25 yd. ranges, on W. side of airfield.


WORKSHOPS Workshops to special scale.


VISITORS Visitors parking area.


EXPLOSIVES Explosives area east of the 21 end of runway 03/21.

Air to sea


Air to air

Air to ground and R. p. Firing  
Live and practice bombing  
Practice bombing  

Assault training

Information taken from B.R. 1807  Handbook of Royal Naval Air Stations Dec. 48




List of first and second line squadrons, station flight and other flying units based at this location



Fleet Requirements Unit

Moved here from RNAS Burscough 03.05.46.Moved to RNAS Arbroath 26.06.47.

Operated 2 x Martinet, 6 x Seafire, 8 Mosquito.

801 Moved here from RNAS Arbroath 21.05.48.  Moved to RNAS Culdrose 20.10.48.

Operated 12 x Sea Hornet F.20.

802 Disembarked from H.M.S. VENGEANCE 06 - 31.10.49.

Operated 13 Sea Fury FB.II

807 Moved here from RNAS Stretton 14.01.54.  Equipped with 18 x Sea Furty FB.II - A/C withdrawn while at Anthorn. Personnel moved to RNAS Brawdy 05.05.54  to re-equip with Sea Hornets.
812 Disembarked from H.M.S. THESEUS 04.06.52 to re-equip. 12 x Firefly 5 exchanged for 8 x Firefly A.S.6. Moved to RNAS Lee-on-Solent 04.07.52,
813 Moved here from RNAS Arbroath 31.05.48

Equipped with 12 Firebrand TF.5. Moved briefly to RNAS Stretton 6-12.06.48 before moving o RNAS Culdrose 23.10.48.

824 Visited here from RNAS Eglinton 17 - 18.07.54.

Visited here from RNAS Eglinton 54.

Equipped with 8 Avenger A.S.4.






Click here for a list of Primary sources

Additional sources:


Admiralty Fleet Orders:


Confidential Admiralty Fleet Orders:


Flight deck Magazine, Winter 1957/58 edition P.56

Navy News, November 1957

Naval Historical Branch, document Ref: S.9354, Dec 1977











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© 2013 Tony Drury


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