Latitude 10°35'43"N Longitude 61°20'14"W

OPENED 01 Aug 1940 as part of HMS MALABAR II




PAID OFF 28 February 1946


CLOSED 28 February 1946
FUNCTION No. 1 Observer Training School; Link Trainer (2) Free Gun Rainier (1)

Reserve aircraft storage.

The airfield was also used by Pan Am, British West Indies Airlines., and K.L.M. civil airlines.


ADDRESS R.N. Air Station.



British West Indies


LOCALITY The airfield is situated on a low-lying plain 10½ miles ESE. of Port of Spain, 400 yards from the N. bank of the Caroni River and adjacent N. of the village of Piarco.

The village of Arouca lies 2 miles W. and St. Joseph4¾ miles NW.


LANDMARKS The Caroni River, flowing in a westerly direction and entering the sea, through the Caroni swamp, 1½ miles SSE. of Port of Spain.

The railway junction at Curepe, ½ mile SE. of St. Joseph, where the railway from Port of Spain forks, one branch running E. to pass within 2 miles of the airfield's N. boundary, the other curving southwards, and passing 2 miles W.

The airfield is marked by a circle and the name "PIARCO" south of the "10" end of runway 10/28.


ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS Access by road to the Churchill-Roosevelt highway, 1½ miles (R) N., and thence to Port of Spain, about 15 miles (R) WNW. Taxis and omnibuses available; good roads to all parts of the island.

Access to the railway station at Arouca, distant 3 miles (R) on the Trinidad Government Railway,  Guanapo - Arim - St. Joseph - Pot of Spain line. Both passengers and freight are conveyed by this railway, although the later is normally handled direct by road from Port of Spain.


CONTROL Control office in Administration building, S. of runway 10.28.


ELEVATION 37' above M.S.L.


RUNWAYS /LANDING AREA Three, asphalt, all-weather:

05/23 QDM.053°233° ....800X 30 yds.

1028 QDM. 097°/277° .... 1665 X 50  yds.

14/32 QDM. 142°/322° .... 800 X 30  yds.


Note: In order to facilitate a forced landing in the event of engine failure soon after take-off, an extension of 1335 x 50 yds. has been cleared and levelled E. of the "29" end of runway 10.28.


TRACKS 40' taxi-tracks connect the ends of runways and give access to the hangar and workshop area.


OBSTRUCTIONS Navigation Mountain  range rising sharply from the plain 4 miles N. and attaining elevations of 2197' 6 miles NNW. and 2325' 5½ miles NNE. The greatest elevation of this range is 3085', distant 9 miles NE.
Circuit None.
Approach None in fan. Three W/T masts, 60', on the N. side of the airfield, 200 yds. NW. of runway 05/23.


APPROACH Owing to the prevailing easterly wind, the best approach us on QDM. 110°.


WIND INDICATOR Two windsocks, N. and S. of runway 10/28, E. of Admin. and R,N, buildings. An illuminated (green) "T" is mounted S. of the "10" end of runway 10/28.
HOMING - VISUAL By day - Beacon on control tower, (revolving, white, 6 R.P.M.) operated during QHI.
By night - Beacon on control tower, (revolving, white, 6 R.P.M.)


HOMING--RADIO D/F - M/F manned on request
Beacons - Carlsen Field Radio Range (DO. 382 kcs) lies 9 miles S.W.


APPROACH - VISUAL By day - Steady white light from Control Tower is affirmative to land.
By night - Illuminated "T"; obstruction lights; contact lights (runway 10/28) Flood-lights at "10" end of runway 10/28.




COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT M/F & H/F 14 transmitters, 16 receivers.
VH/F None.




ACCOMMODATION Living quarters at Golden Grove, close S. of Arouca and 1¾ miles (R) N. of airfield.



Officers: 150
Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings: 1477
W.R.N.S. Officers: None.
W.R.N.S.  Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings; None.


ARMOURIES To accommodate 4 squadrons.


COMPASS BASE Two. one fixed , one rotatable, diameter 70'.


DISPERSAL Apron 660 yds. fronts the hangar area N. of the "10" end of runway 10/27.


HANGARS F.A.A. hangars on NW. side of airfield:


Number /Type Size Door Height Door Width
3 Bellman 87' x 105' 25'   105'
10 Callender 185' x 110'  25' 110'
1 Special type 150' x 100' 17' 55'
Note; Four of the above hangars are utilised as A.R.S.
Civil Hangars on S. side of airfield:
1 Nose Hangar 


68' x 48'   25' -
1 Nose Hangar (B.W.I.A.) 28' x 1104' 15' -
1 Nose Hangar 50' x 77'  11' 54'
MEDICAL First Aid on airfield. Hospital (50 beds) at Golden Grove camp.



Full service by Naval personnel.

Prevailing wind, easterly, varying ENE. and ESE. in middle and later part of year.


FUEL AND OIL Aviation - 100, 87 and 73 octane. Storage capacity:

100 octane -, 20,000 gallons; 87 octane, 20,000 gallons.

Other grades supplied by Shell Co. from S. side of airfield.

Note: Fuel supplied by Shell by pipeline or Bowser.

M/T - 2.000 gallons
Oil - All grades available. No storage tanks. Stowed in drums.


TEST BUTT M.G. and cannon test butt and 25 yd. range.


WORKSHOPS .Four A.R.S. hangars, an en engine repair shop, an electrical workshop and a radio repair shop. General engineering shop and Radar workshop.



Air firing and bombing range:

One. Waterloo Range, situated in the Gulf of Paria, off the W. coast of Trinidad. The range is an area bounded by lines drawn between the following coordinates:

10° 32' 05" N.

10° 32' 05" N.

 10° 17' 05" N.

10° 17' 05" N.



61° 34' W.

61° 43' W.

61° 43' W.

61° 34' W.


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

749 Observer Training Squadron, part of No.1 Observer School

Formed here on 01.01.41. Disbanded 01.10.45

Equipped with Supermarine Walrus, Grumman Goose, and Avro Anson.

750 Observer Training Squadron, part of No.1 Observer School

Arrived on station 05.11.40 after being relocated from the UK.. Disbanded 10.10.45

Equipped with Blackburn Shark, Fairey Albacore, and Fairey Barracuda.

752 Observer Training Squadron, part of No.1 Observer School

Arrived on station 05.11.40 after being relocated from the UK.. Disbanded 09.10.45

Equipped with Percival Proctor, De Havilland Tiger Moth, and Fairey Albacore,

793 Air Towed Target Unit, part of No.1 Observer School

Arrived on station 18.11.40 after being relocated from the UK.. Disbanded 10.10.45

Equipped with Blackburn Roc, Miles Martinet T.T.1, Fairey Fulmar, and Fairey Albacore.

817 Torpedo, Spotter, Reconnaissance squadron

 'Z' flight (3?) Albacore  arrived here from USNAS Norfolk. Virginia 21-09.43. Aircraft withdrawn and re-issued to 750 squadron. Personnel departed for USNAS Norfolk 27.09.43.







Click here for a list of Primary sources

Additional sources:












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Officers and senior ratings of HMS Goshawk 1945 George Martin, the future Beatles producer, is in this shot as n RN navigator.

Photo: Lt.Cdr John Vallely





 © 2013 Tony Drury


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