Latitude 8°23'40"N Longitude 13°07'42"W

   
ACQUISITION Lodger facility for an RN Air Section on RAF station from 01 April 1940.

Transferred from  RAF  to Admiralty 16 March 1943

COMMISSIONED 22 March 1943 
PAID OFF 31 December 1944 to Care & Maintenance on books of 'ELAND'

AFO 2541/44 & 7504.45

CLOSED  
   
FUNCTION Reserve aircraft storage.

Facilities for disembarked squadrons.

Torpedo facilities.

Fleet Requirements unit (777 NAS)

ADDRESS R.N. Air Section,

Hastings,

Freetown,

Sierra Leone

LOCALITY The airfield is situated on the Sierra Leone peninsula, 8 miles SE. of Freetown, and 1/2 mile NE. of the village of Hastings. It lies between Hastings creek and "Kingfishers' creek", tributaries of the Bunce River, and immediately N. of of the Sierra Leone Government railway line form Freetown.

R.A.F. seaplane base at Jui lies one mile N. on Hastings creek.

LANDMARKS .The Sierra Leone peninsula  and the mouth of the Sierra Leone river, with Freetown on its S. shore.

The Bunce river flowing NW. into the Sierra Leone river.

The Sierra Leone Government railway line, forming the airfield's S. boundary.

Creeks flowing into the Bunce river form W. and SE. boundaries off the airfield, Mangrove swamps extend from its N. side to the river.

ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS Access by road to Hastings and to the main road to Freetown, distant111/2 miles (R).

The airfield has its own railway siding; railway station at Hastings, adjacent S. of airfield, is on the direct line to Freetown.

A small wharf in Hastings creek, W. of the airfield, gives access by water to Jui and, via Bunce river, to Freetown.

Jetties connected to the railway system at Freetown, where unloading is carried out by lighters; cranes at the jetties with a lifting capacity of 10 tons.

 

   
CONTROL Control building  at S. end of airfield in front of the hangers.

Caution:

Bumpy conditions may be experienced in the vicinity of the adjacent mountains. For night flying when winds are usually light and variable, approach should be made with care and preferably on QDM.267°, touching down at the "27" end of the runway, but not E. of the white line which marks the beginning of a steep down slope towards the end of the runway.

It is dangerous to overshoot owing to difficulty in taking off again over the mountains.

ELEVATION 95' above M.S.L.
RUNWAYS /LANDING AREA

One, Laterite, tar sprayed and sanded:


09/27 QDM. 087°/267° .... 1400 X 50 yds.

 

There are in addition three cleared strips, not suitable for landing or take-off.  These lie NW/SE., NNW/SSE and NE/SW (partly concreted), across the runway ; the NNW/SSE strip is used as a dispersal area in its southern portion, the other two are as taxi strips.

TRACKS 40' taxi strip leading from the S. hangar area to the runway in the vicinity  of the E. hangar area.
OBSTRUCTIONS Navigation:
 
Mountains from SE,., through S., to NW., rising to 2419' and 2418' at 31/2 mile4s W. and 3 miles S., respectively.
Circuit:

Foothills of a spur of these mountains begin to rise close to the landing area (796' at 11.2miles SE.).

Hill, 293' distant 20000 yds S. by W.

Hill, 1896' distant 2600 yds NW.

Approach: None, but see "caution" under 'control'.
APPROACH No safe approach sector designated.
WIND INDICATOR Windsock mast S. of the runway ,near its centre.
   

   
HOMING - VISUAL By day:

By night:

 

Not known

Not known

Equipment removed when station reduced to     care & maintenance

HOMING - -RADIO D/F: Beacon:

 

Not known

Not known

Equipment removed when station reduced to     care & maintenance

APPROACH - VISUAL By day:  

By night:  

Not known
Not known
APPROACH - RADIO Not known

Equipment removed when station reduced to     care & maintenance

COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT W/T and R/T:

VH/F:

 

Not known

Not known

Equipment removed when station reduced to     care & maintenance

GROUND RADAR None.

 

   
ACCOMMODATION Living quarters at two camps on S. & NE. of the airfield:-

 

Capacity

Officers.......................................... 104
Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings................... 1015
W.R.N.S. .................. ......................None
Natives ............................................ 300

ARMOURIES To accommodate 2 - 3 squadrons.
COMPASS BASE One; diameter 60'
DISPERSAL Two, Laterite, tar sprayed, approx 450 x 50 yds., and 70 x 50 yds., forming the southern part of the NNW/SSE cleared strip, can be used for dispersal.
HANGARS

At the S. and E. ends of the landing area. All hangarsfronted by cement or tarmac aprons.

Number /Type Size Door Height Door Width
4 Bellman .175' x 95' 25'   87' 9"'
 
MEDICAL Sick quarters on S. side of airfield. Two sick Bays, one in each camp.
METEOROLOGICAL Air Ministry provide facilities.

Tornadoes, liable at the beginning and end of the SW. monsoon period (May - October), usually blow from the E., enduring for about 40 minutes at force 6, but may attain gusts up to 60 knots.

Visibility, usually good,

 may fall to 500 yds. in dust haze during Harmattan (easterly) season (December - February).  Morning mist, sometimes dense, is prevalent throughout thee year, nut rarely persists after 0900 hours. Cloud base is frequently well below he tops of the mountains.

FUEL AND OIL Aviation .............. Two tanks of 37000 gallons capacity each.
M/T......................Storage capacity of 3000 gallons.
Oil ....................... No tank storage
SLIPWAY Slipway and small concrete apron on the bank of a creek at the extreme NE. of the airfield. 2 -ton and 5-ton Coles cranes, for use at the slipway

Three A/C moorings rte situated off the slipway..

The creek is known locally as "Kingfisher Creek" and gives access to the Bunce river, distant about 1500 yds.

Three additional moorings are available  off the wharf ob Hastings creek on the W. side of the airfield; this creek gives access to the R.A.F. Seaplane Base at Jui, distant abut 21/4 miles by water, and thence to Bunce river, a further 3/4 mile.

Aircraft alight in the river and taxi up the creek; facilities arte suitable only for small type seaplanes.

TEST BASE Not A/C radar base
TEST BUTT Not known
WORKSHOPS To 2 -3 squadron scale.

A site has been reserved for the possible post-war development of the station as an R.N. Aircraft Maintenance Y Yard.

BOMBING AND FIRING RANGES One - R. P range.
 

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

 

 
710 Catapult Squadron equipped with 9 Supermarine Walrus

Operated ashore from the parent ship HMS ALBATROSS between 12 - 26.01.40.

Detachments operated ashore between 31.07.40 and 14.05.41 when entire squadron again disembarked.Re-embarked in ALBATROSS 23.09.41

Disembarked from ALBATROSS 17-27.11.41

Detachment of 2 a/c 22.12.42 to 23.02.43


777 Fleet Requirements Unit

Formed here 01.08.41. Disbanded 25.12.44.

Equipped with Fairey Swordfish, Blackburn Roc, Bolton-Paul Defiant, Supermarine Walrus.


814 Torpedo, Spotter, Reconnaissance squadron Equipped with 9 Swordfish

Disembarked from HMS HERMES 29.10.39. Re-embarked HERMES 07.11.39.


   

 

 

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Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources:

Confidential Admiralty Fleet Orders:

195/45 Reduction to Care and Maintenance & Paying off

 

 

 

 

 

Location map and airfield plan go here

 


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 © 2013 Tony Drury www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk