Latitude  07°58'40"N Longitude  79°51'10"E

OPENED November 1942 'on books of LANKA'


COMMISSIONED 01 February 1942 as HMS RAJALIYA  'on books of LANKA', later 'UKUSSA'

Independent command 01 January 1944


PAID OFF 31 October 1945 to Care and Maintenance status


CLOSED 12 December 1945 and returned to local authorities.
C.O. Commander J.E. Birstall 28.10.42

Lt. Commander D.R. Webster (ret) Oct 43

Captain F. M. Walton 01.07.44

Commander J.C. Cockburn, D.S.C., R.N. Dec 44

FUNCTION Naval Fighter Training,

Reserve aircraft storage (104 a/c).

RN School of Malaria and Hygiene Control


ADDRESS R.N. Air Station,




LOCALITY The airfield lies 3½ miles SSE. of Puttalam, a town on the SE. shore of Puttalam lagoon, near the centre of the W. coast of Ceylon. Kandy lies 62 miles SE. and Colombo 63 miles S.


LANDMARKS Puttalam lagoon, the southern shore of which lies due west of the airfield, with the small town of Puttalam on its SE. shore.

The main coastal road from Puttalam, running S. to Colombo, lies 1¼ miles W. and the main road to Kandy from the town, distant 2½ miles E. A secondary road running E/W past the N. side of the airfield, connects to the main roads.


ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS Access by secondary road to the main Puttalam - Colombo and Kandy - Puttalam roads.

The railway from Colombo terminates at Bangadaniya, distant 25 miles (R) S., on the Puttalam - Colombo road.


CONTROL Control Building NW. of the runway, towards the centre of the airfield.


ELEVATION 50' above M.S.L.


RUNWAYS One. Marston steel planking.

06/24 QDM. 055°-235° .... 1335 x 30 yds. 


TRACKS 25' circular perimeter track. New 40' track along SE. side of the runway, under construction.




OBSTRUCTIONS Navigation None.
Circuit Tall palm trees and jungle surround the airfield, but flying gaps have been cut in the approaches to the runway.
Approach None.


APPROACH No special approach recommended.


WIND INDICATOR Two; one S. of 06end of runway and one N. of 24 end of runway.
HOMING - VISUAL By day - None.
By night - Landmark beacon bearing 337° - 2½ miles from airfield, flashing letters "XH"


Beacons - YG. and 251 MS.


APPROACH - VISUAL By day - None.
By night - Chance light and Glim lights.


APPROACH - RADIO Type 93S. and mobile 257S. beam approach.


COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT M/F & H/F 5 transmitters, 6 receivers.
VH/F 3 transmitters, 3 receivers.


GROUND RADAR Fighter Direction using C.G.I. (no interrogator), and Fighter Direction using low and medium cover Radar set with Interrogator.


ACCOMMODATION Living  quarters at camp, on shore of Puttalam lagoon, 4½ miles (R) W.



Officers: 140
Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings: 1635
W.R.N.S. Officers: None.
W.R.N.S.  Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings: None.
Ceylonese servants: 240


ARMOURIES To accommodate 3 x 18 squadrons.


COMPASS BASE One, diameter 50'. A second base is to be built.


DISPERSAL 4 double A/C standings on SE. side of the perimeter track. 16 singles standings (85' x 20') and 3 aprons (150 x 30 yards, approx.)


HANGARS Dispersed around the perimeter track.


Number /Type Size Door Height Door Width
12 Mainhill  (Squadron & Storage) 60' x 180' 17'  60'
3 ¼-Bellman (Storage) 62' 6"  x 64' 25' 64'
MEDICAL Station Sick Quarters 600 yards. S. of the main camp. on the shores of the Puttalam lagoon; accommodation for 60 patients.

First Aid and Treatment Stations at camp and on airfield.


METEOROLOGICAL Office in Control building.

Full service by Naval personnel.

Prevailing winds. April - October, SW; November variable; December - February, NE. to NW,; March variable,

Heaviest rains, October - December. No fog.


FUEL AND OIL Aviation - 72.000 gallons in three installations.

100, 93 and 73 Octane.

M/T - 4.000 gallons.
Oil - 6,000 gallons. DTD 472 (B), type 1 and 3. DTD 472 (C). Type 1.
TEST BASE A/C Radar base under construction.


TEST BUTT Test butt for cannon and 25-yd. range under construction.


WORKSHOPS One A.R.S. hangar (250' x 90'), one E.R.S., one large reserve servicing hangar, and workshops to 2 squadron scale.


VISITORS Parking area on apron, close NE. of Control building.



Locations not known

Air to ground


Air to air

Dive bombing One
Low dive booming One
R.P. Range One

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

729 Instrument Flying Training Squadron

Moved here from  RNAS Tambaram 20.07.45. moved to RNAS Katukurunda 30.0845

Equipped with Harvard IIIs and Oxfords.

757 Fighter Pool Squadron & Operational Training Unit

Formed here 20.10.43.   

Deck Landing Training carried out on escort carriers: BATTLER 5-5.11.44, STALKER 14-20.94.45, HUNTER 29-30.06.45, BEGUM 9-14.07.45.

Moved to RNAS Tambaram 15.07.45. .

Equipped with Corsair, Hellcat, Wildcat and Seafire.

808 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS KHEDIVE 21.07.45 Re-embarked in HMS KHEDIVE 05.08.45,

Equipped with 24 Hellcats.

889 Fleet Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS ATHELING 30.06.44. Disbanded at Puttalam 11.07.44 due to high attrition rate through accidents.

Equipped with 10 Seafire L.IIC.s

890 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Personnel arrived Puttalam 11.07.44 after passage by sea in HMS LONDON. Squadron disbanded 01.08.44.

Equipped with 10 Wildcat IV.

898 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS PURSUER 18/08.45. Moved to RNAS Katukurunda 14.09.45.

Equipped with 24 Hellcat !!s.

1770 Two Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS INDEFATIGABLE 10-24.12.44

Equipped with 10 Firefly Is

1830 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Colombo Racecourse 17.11.44. A detachment of 8 a/c operated out of RNAS China Bay 21-25.11.44.Whole squadron moved to RNAS Katukurunda 27.11.44.

Equipped with 18 Corsair IIs.

1834 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS VICTORIOUS 25.09.44. re-embarked in HMS VICTORIOUS 11.10.44.

Equipped with 14 Corsair IIs.

836 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Colombo Racecourse 10.11.44. Returned to RNAS Colombo Racecourse 17.11.44

Equipped with 14 Corsair IIs.

1841 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS FORMIDABLE 08-22.02.45.

Equipped with 14 Corsair IIs.

1842 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS FORMIDABLE 08-22.02.45.

Equipped with 18 Corsair IIs.







Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources:

Confidential Admiralty Fleet Orders:

1418.43 —R.N. Air Station, Puttalam, Ceylon—Commissioning

2451/44 — Parent unit HMS UKUSSA


Admiralty Fleet Orders:











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 © 2013 Tony Drury


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