Latitude 51°42'50"N Longitude  5°11'20"W

ACQUISITION Transferred from RAF No. 19 Group 05 September 1943


COMMISSIONED 07 September 1943 - commission transferred from RNAS Angle.


CLOSED 31 March 1948 to Care & Maintenance Status.


PAID OFF 31 October 1948




C.O. Lt. Cdr. (P) J. H. Gibbons 30 Aug 43


FUNCTION Twin Engine Conversion Course

Fighter OTU

Night Fighter School

RN Aircraft Direction School


ADDRESS R.N. Air Station,






LOCALITY The airfield lies on the coast ½ mile N.W. of of the village of Dale and 2 miles N. of St. Anne's Head, the W. entrance point if Milford Haven. 

The town of Milford Haven lies 5 miles R. (By road 8 miles.)

Haverfordwest lies 10 miles N.E. (By road 13 miles.)

Pembroke Dock lies 11 miles E. by S.


LANDMARKS St. Anne's Head and Milford Haven.

Skomer and Skokholm islands lying 3½ miles W.N.W. and 2½ miles W.S.W. respectively.


ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS Access to the main Dale - Haverfordwest road passing ½ mile W. of the airfield.

Station at Haverfordwest on G.W.R. line to Cardiff;.


CONTROL Control Building on the E. side of the landing area,  inside the perimeter track.


SIGNALS Ground signals area adjacent S.W. of the Control building.


ELEVATION 195' above M.S.L.


RUNWAYS Three, Tarmac.

04/22 QDM. 036°-216° .... 1,165 x 50 yds. 

11/29 QDM. 110°-290° .... 1,400 x 50 yds. 

16/34 QDM. 164°-344° .... 1,295 x 50 yds. 


TRACKS 50 foot perimeter track


OBSTRUCTIONS Navigation None.
Circuit None.
Approach None.


WIND INDICATOR One, near Control building.


NIGHT FLYING R.A.F. Airfield Lighting Mark II, modified for certain lights in view of the airfield's proximity to the coast.
HOMING—VISUAL By day - Not known.
By night - Not known.
HOMING--RADIO D/F - H/F (type DFG 25).
Beacons - Not known.
APPROACH—VISUAL By day - Not known.
By night - Not known.


VH/F None.





ACCOMMODATION Living Quarters in 5 camps dispersed close N.E. and E. of the airfield.



Officers: 50
Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings: 250
W.R.N.S. Officers: 5
W.R.N.S.  Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings; 171


ARMOURIES To accommodate 4 squadrons.


COMPASS BASE One 100' compass base, one 70' base.


DISPERSAL 11 large A/C standings; 6 in E. dispersal area and 5 dispersed around perimeter track.


HANGARS Main hangar and dispersal area to the E. ; two smaller areas to the N. and S.


Number /Type Size Door Height Door Width
2 Pentad (Squadron) 185' x 110' 25'   100'
9 Mains (Squadron) 60' x 84' 17' 55'
6 Mains (Storage) 60' x 84' 17' 55'
3 Pentad (Reserve Servicing) 185' x 110'  25' 100'
1 Pentad (A.R.S.) 239' x 113'   25' 100'
2 T2 (A.R.S.) 185' x 110' 25' 100'
List includes hangars listed separately as workshops


MEDICAL Sick Bay on airfield, medical inspection hut in communal camp adjacent N.E.


METEOROLOGICAL Full meteorological service by Naval personnel.


FUEL AND OIL Aviation: One 72,000 gallon installation (100 Octane)

One 48,000 gallon installation (100 Octane)

One 24,000 gallon installation (87 Octane)

M/T: 1.050 gallons (one pump).

Two refuelling aprons leading off the perimeter track on the E. side of the airfield.

Oil: Drum storage only.
TEST BASE One Aircraft Radar Base in eastern dispersal area.


TEST BUTT M.G. test butt and 25-yd. range available.


WORKSHOPS 3 Reserve Servicing Hangars (185' x 110' x 25' x 100 - 110') and 3 A.R.S. hangars, one (239' x 113' x 25' x 110') and two (both 185' x 110' x 25' x 100 - 110'); Workshops to 4 - 6 squadron scale.


EXPLOSIVES Explosives area adjacent W. of the N. end of runway 16/34.

Practice stocks to provision 2 Training squadrons.



Air to ground


Air to air

Dive bombing  
Low dive booming  
R.P. Range  

A/S Bombing

Information taken from CB 4368 B. Admiralty Handbook of Naval Air Stations Aug. 45




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

748 No. 10 Naval operational Training Unit

Moved here from RNAS Yeovilton 01.09.44. Moved to RNAS St. Merryn 14.08.45.

Equipped with Corsair, Harvard, Firefly, Hellcat, Seafire, Wildcat.

762 Twin Engine Conversion Unit

Moved here from RNAS Lee-on-Solent 31.03.44 Moved to RNAS Halesworth 03.12.45

Operated Beaufort (I & T.II), Beaufighter II, Blenheim IV, Oxford, Wellington XI.

784 Night Fighter Training Squadron

Moved here (Satellite Brawdy) from RNAS Drem 15.01.46. Disbanded (Satellite Brawdy) 10.09.46

Operated Firefly I.NF, Hellcat II.NF. Harvard II.

790 Fighter Direction Training Unit

Moved here from RNAS Zeals 30.08.45. Moved to RNAS Culdrose 13.12.47.

Equipped with Anson, Dominie, Firefly I, Mosquito FB.6 & B.25, Sea Mosquito TR.3, Oxford, Seafire (various Mks), Wildcat.

794 Naval Air Firing Unit

Moved here from RNAS Angle 10.09.43. Moved to RNAS  Henstridge 22.11.43.

Operated Defiant TT.III, Martinet TT.I, Master II, Sea Hurricane.

809 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS STALKER 19.02.44. Moved to RAF Long Kesh 20.03.44.

Equipped with Seafire L.III

861 Royal Netherlands Navy Squadron

Formed here16.09.46  and worked-up. Embarked in the HrMs Karl Doorman 22.02.47

Equipped with Firefly I.

897 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS STALKER 18.02.44. Moved to RNAS Lee-on-Solent  26.02.44.

Equipped with Seafire L.IIc.

1770 Two seat Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Ayr 16.11.44 . Embarked in HMS INDEFATIGABLE 21.11.44.

Equipped with Firefly I.





Opened in June 1942 Dale was a No. 19 Group Satellite Landing Ground (SLG) for RAF Talbenny. It was put to operational use the same month when 304 (Polish) Squadron Wellingtons moved in. They operated from Dale until the end of March 1943 when they relocated to RAF Docking in East Anglia, They were replaced by the Coastal Command Development Unit which transferred from RAF Tain, Dale was also a temporary home for 303 Ferry Training Unit which operated from here while the Drem lighting system was installed at their home station, Talbenny.
In September 1943 RAF Dale was transferred to the Admiralty in exchange for the airfield at Angle which had been on loan to the Admiralty since the beginning of May 1943 as HMS GOLDCREST. The commission transferred to Dale on September 5th, the RAF Coastal Command Development Unit relocated to Angle. The first squadron to arrive was 794 Naval Air Firing Unit which moved its Defiant and Martinet Target Tug, Masters, and Sea Hurricane here from Angle five days later.

The station only saw operational flying for the next two months, 794 squadron was relocated to R.N.A.S. Henstridge on November 22nd, when a building programme began to develop Dale into a full Naval Air Station capable of supporting up to 6 squadrons; dispersals, concrete aprons, hangars, and workshops were to be installed and a standard RN pattern four-story control tower.
By February 1944 Dale was ready to accept squadrons and 897 and 809Seafire squadrons disembarked from the escort carrier HMS STALKER on February 16th and 19th respectively; 897 departed for R.N.A.S. Lee-on-Solent a week later, 809 remained until March 20th before it moved to RAF Long Kesh, Northern Ireland. Later in March 1944 Dale's resident squadron arrived to take up residence when 762 Twin Engine Conversion Unit moved here from R.N.A.S. Lee-on-Solent on the 31st. This squadron operated a collection of large aircraft, including Operated Beaufort (I & T.II), Beaufighter II, Blenheim IV, Oxford, and Wellington XI.

Form the start of September 1944 748 squadron began operating as No. 10 Naval operational Training Unit (OTU) flying Corsair, Firefly, Hellcat, Seafire, and Wildcat fighters, and some Harvard, trainers having relocated here from R.N.A.S. Yeovilton. In the middle of November 1770 squadron arrived, a front-line Firefly unit completing it's working-up, they flew in from R.N.A.S. Ayr on the 16th and embarked in the Fleet Carrier HMS INDEFATIGABLE on the 21st for service in the Far East.

By the Autumn of 1944 work had begum on a new purpose built Fighter Direction School located ½ mile down the coast at Kete. A Fighter Direction School had been operating at R.N.A.S. Yeovilton since 1942 but demand for Air Direction Officers could not be met by the existing school.

The training role continues at Dale throughout the first half of 1945 but changes came in August when No.10 OUT was relocated to R.N.A.S. St. Merryn on the 4th to make room for arrival of No. 790 Squadron, Fighter Direction Training Unit, moved here from R.N.A.S. Zeals on August 30th to begin live interception flights for the trainee Fighter Direction Officers at the mealy opened R.N. Air Direction School. This squadron operated a variety of aircraft types including Anson, Dominie, Firefly I, Mosquito FB.6 & B.25, Sea Mosquito TR.3, Oxford, Seafire (various Mks), and Wildcats.

At the start of December 1945 762 squadron's twin engine conversion course moved to R.N.A.S. Halesworth, departing on the 3rd , leaving the , Fighter Direction Training Unit as the only flying unit at Dale. On New Year's Day 1946 R.A.F. Brawdy was transferred to the Admiralty on loan as a satellite for R.N.A.S. Dale and commissioned as GOLDCREST II. two weeks later no. 784 Night Fighter Training Squadron moved into Brawdy, transferring from R.N.A.S. Drem. The squadron disbanded here on September 10th 1956.

No. 861 squadron was next to arrive at Dale, this squadron was formed here on September 16th for the Royal Netherlands Navy, equipped with Firefly Is. The squadron spent the next five months working up at Dale before embarking in HrMs Karl Doorman on February 22nd 1947. .

R.N.A.S. Dale closed to flying on December 13th 1947 when 790 squadron relocated to R.N.A.S. Culdrose. The Fighter Direction Centre was commissioned as an independent command, H.M.S. HARRIER, on February 1st 1948. Both Dale and it's satellite, Brawdy were reduced to Care & Maintenance Status on March 31st 1948. H.M.S. GOLDCREST was paid off on October 31st 1948.



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© 2014 Tony Drury




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