Latitude 52°49'59"N Longitude 02°30'27"W

ACQUISITION Transferred from R.A.F. for satellite airfield to RNAS Stretton 13 August 1942 [1]




COMMISSIONED 14 June 1943  as an independent command bearing the ship’s name 'GODWIT' with accounts carried in H.M.S. “BLACKCAP”

01 April  1944 as H.M.S. GODWIT


PAID OFF 28 February 1947


CLOSED 28 February 1947


FUNCTION Central Naval Instrument Flying Training School, with accessory training.


TENDERS R.N.A.S. Hinstock has the temporary use of two airfields in connection with Instrument Flying Training:-
1. Weston Park (by arrangement with M.A.P. ) situated 12 miles S.E. Of Hinstock and 8 miles N.W. of Wolverhampton.
2. Bratton (by arrangement with Air Ministry) situated 6½ miles S.S.W. of Hinstock and 8 miles E. of Shrewsbury.


ADDRESS R.N. Air Station,

Market Drayton,



LOCALITY The airfield lies 4 miles S. by W. of Market Drayton and 1¾ miles W. of the village of Hinstock. Stoke on Trent lies 13 miles N.E. and Shrewsbury 11½ miles S.W. Birmingham lies 30 miles S.E.



The Shropshire Union canal, running from Birmingham, through Market Drayton to Chester, passes 2½ miles N.E.; the river Tern, flowing S. towards its junction, 10½ miles S.W., with the Severn, passes ¾ mile W.
The G.W.R. line to Market Drayton runs 2 miles W. of the airfield.


ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS Secondary road to Hodnet, and to Hinstock amend the main Market Drayton road. Hodnet railway station, 2¼ miles W.N.W., on the G.W.R. line to Market Drayton, where there is a junction with the L.M.S.


CONTROL Control building on NW, side of landing area. Keeps watch on Naval Safety wavelength. Combined Control with adjacent R.A.F. Stations by tie-line and combined left-hand circuits with R.A.F. Peplow.


SIGNALS Ground signals area close S. of Control building. Sodium lighting for fog conditions.


ELEVATION 265' above M.S.L.


RUNWAYS /LANDING AREA One, heavy steel track.

04/22 QDM. 037°/217° .... 1,400 X 50 yds.


The airfield is grass surfaced with dimensions N./S. 1,600 yds. N.E./S.W. 1,100 yds. (Part only serviceable.)


TRACKS A 25 ft. perimeter track (to be widened to 40 ft.) bounds the landing area from the centre of its W. side, round the N. end and down the E. side. It gives access to all station buildings and hangars. Extension of perimeter track in progress.





Avoid crossing R.A.F. Peplow, lying I mile S.S.E. 90 ft.

W/T. masts at S.E. extremity of the airfield.
APPROACH Not known 


WIND INDICATOR Windsock on the E. side of the landing area, near the compass base.



By night:


Not known

Not known



One H/F (second H/F, also VHF to be installed).

Navigational: YG Beacon.
251M. Beacon.
Std. Beam Approach. Type 93 (Naval B.A.). Type 257 (BABS) to be installed


Not known


By night: Portable equipment (2 floodlights) on demand.







I line M/F. (not yet available). 2 H/F Control channels (" A " and " B "). VHF (to be installed). 2 lines H/F.




ACCOMMODATION Officers quarters at Hinstock Hall, 1¾ miles E.
Ratings quarters at Childs Ercall,½ mile S.
W.R.N.S. quarters at Steppes farm, Childs Ercall.



Officers: 130
Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings: 363
W.R.N.S. Officers: 7
W.R.N.S.  Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings; 144.



ARMOURIES To accommodate 2 squadrons.


COMPASS BASE One, tarmac. Diameter 70 ft.


DISPERSAL 5 bomber type A/C standings.


HANGARS On E., S.E. and N.W. sides of the landing area.


Number /Type Size Door Height Door Width
2 Pentad (Squadron) 185' x 110' 25'   100'
5 Mains (Squadron) 60' x 84' 17' 55'
1 Mains (Squadron) 60' x 70' 17' 55'
5 Super Blister (Squadron) 91' x 67' 5" 20' 4"  57' 23"
MEDICAL Sick Bay at The Hall, Childs Ercall, ½ mile S. of the airfield. First Aid facilities at the airfield.


METEOROLOGICAL Office in Control building. Full meteorological service by Naval personnel available .


Aviation: 24,000 gallons. Two further installations of 8,000 gallons each to be provided.
M/T: 2,000 gallons
Oil : 2,000 gallons


TEST BASE A/c. Radar test base to be provided.




WORKSHOPS One large Reserve Servicing and one large A.R.S. hangar to be provided. Workshops to 2 3 squadron scale.


EXPLOSIVES Explosives area at N. end of airfield.


Information taken from CB 4368 A. 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

702 Instrument Flying Training & Checking Squadron

Squadron reformed as an offshoot of No.758 Squadron at Hinstock on 1 June 1945 as an Instrument Flying Training and Checking Unit, for service in support of the British Pacific Fleet. After working up ay Hinstock the squadron personnel took passage to Australia seven weeks later, without aircraft, Oxfords and Harvards were to be issued on arrival at RNAS Schofields.

729 Instrument Flying Training squadron

Squadron formed as an offshoot of No.758 Squadron at Hinstock on 1 January 1945, as an Instrument Flying Training squadron for service in the Far East. After working up at Hinstock the squadron personnel took passage on 16 April 1945, without aircraft, Oxfords and Harvards were to be issued in theatre.

734 Engine Handling Unit. (Operated out of PEPLOW)

Moved here from RNAS Worthy Down in August 1945 equipped with Whitley GR.VIIS which had been specially fitted out as flying classrooms with fuel flow-meters and other instruments, in which pilots could be instructed in Merlin engine handling techniques. Operated out of Hinstock's satellite at Peplow. Was to re-equip with Fortresses and Lancasters, but was disbanded on 21 February 1946.

758 Naval Advanced Instrument Flying Training Unit.

Moved here from RNAS Donibristle on 15 August 1942 as the Beam Approach School, title later changed to the Blind Approach School, and finally (by April 1943) to the Naval Advanced Instrument Flying School. Initially operating Oxfords with Anson, Reliant, Tiger Moth, and Wellington XIs being added during 1943; the Wellingtons were withdrawn by the end of 1943 and Harvard IIbs, and later Harvard IIIs, were added to the strength. Five detachments operated with the main specialist flying schools at RN Air Stations Crail, last Haven, Fearn, and Yeovilton providing a short instrument flying course for pupils. In addition there were three Rover units; 'X' Flight (6 Oxfords and 2 Tiger Moths), T Flight (2 Oxfords and a Harvard), and 'Z' Flight (5 Ansons) a Calibration Flight, responsible for the development of landing and homing aids. By 1944 Squadron strength increased to over 100 aircraft, mainly Oxfords, with smaller numbers of other types also in use. From 28 February 1945 the squadron began flying from RNAS Peplow, Hinstock's satellite airfield; on 18 March 1946 the squadron absorbed part of No.798 Squadron, but was itself disbanded on 14 May 1946, to become 'B' Flight of 780 Squadron.

780 Advanced Flying Training Unit. (Operated out of PEPLOW)

Reformed at Hinstock on 28 March 1946 as an Advanced Flying Training Unit equipped with an assortment of Oxfords, Harvards, Fireflies and Tiger Moths, and Lancasters, the later being s based at the Peplow satellite. On 14 May 1946 the remnants of No.758 Squadron were absorbed to form 'B' Flight; this moved to RNAS Crail on 17 December 1946 to operate as the Naval Instrument Flying Instructional Flight. On 27 March 1947 780 squadron moved to RNAS Donibristle.

798 Advanced Single .Engine Conversion & Refresher Flying Training Unit. (Operated out of PEPLOW)

Moved here from RNAS Halesworth on 28 November 1945, equipped with an assortment of aircraft which included Barracudas, Fireflies, Harvards, Seafires, and Tiger Moths. The squadron concentrated on refresher and familiarisation training; FAA ex-prisoners of war were given refresher flying courses on Harvards, following their return home. The squadron disbanded on 18 March 1946.








Click here for a list of Primary sources

Additional sources:

Admiralty Fleet Orders:

[1] 4232/42 —R.N. Air Station, Ollerton—School for Instruction in Blind Approach and Instrument Flying

5220/42 —R.N. Air Station, Olierton—Renamed Hinstock

3271/43—R.N. Air Station, Hinstock—Transfer of Accounts

2587/43 —R.N. Air Station, Hinstock—Commissioning as Independent Command

Confidential Admiralty Fleet Orders:







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© 2013 Tony Drury


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