Opened in July 1942 at Risley,
Warrington in Cheshire, Royal Naval Training Establishment
HMS Gosling was to be the Fleet Air Arm training depot for
Air Fitters, Air Mechanics and Radio Mechanics. HMS GOSLING
also trained r Royal Marines of the Royal Naval Air Station
HMS GOSLING was such a large
establishment it comprised of 5 separate, dispersed, sites;
the Headquarters and administrative centre was Camp 1, New
Road, Croft. The other four sites were training camps - Camp
2 at Risley, Camp 3 Lady Lane, Croft, Camp 4 at Lowton, and
Camp 5 at Glazebrook. (as known as Cadishead) The
establishment was collectively named as R.N. Aircraft
Training Establishment Risley.
Shortly after GOSLING opened a
further site was acquired at Culcheth for accommodating
Naval and W.R.N.S. radio mechanics for the Fleet Air Arm for
the final stage of technical training, this site was to be
commissioned as HMS ARIEL on
October 8th 1942 with its accounts being held by GOSLING.
After initial assessment at
recruiting depots, new entrants arrived at Camp 1 for
joining routine before being allocated to Camp 4 for 12
weeks basic training - This included a week at RAF Sealand,
Flintshire, where trainees attended the rifle and grenade
live firing range. Depending on the results of aptitude
testing on completion of this initial training ratings were
sent other GOSLING camps, or to other training
establishments, for trade training. Those selected for Air
Fitter training went to R.N.A.T.E.
Watford, Air Mechanics Engines, & Air Mechanics
Airframes to No 6 School of Technical Training at R.A.F.
Hednesford, and Air Mechanics Electrical to No, 12 School of
Technical Training at RAF Melksham. Air Radio Mechanics went
to HMS ARIEL.
The Royal Naval Air Station
Defence Force training Camp at Lowton relocated to
Towyn, North Wales on March 11th 1943, it is unclear
as to the purpose of Camp 4 after this date.
Support of the Mobile Naval Airfields Organisation
In the summer of 1944 HMS
GOSLING was tasked with the conversation and outfitting of
specialist radio and Radar vehicles for the Mobile Naval
Airfields Organisation, these were to form part of the
equipment of the Mobile Naval Air Bases which were about to
begin assembling. Other conversion work was carried out by
N.A.R.I.U. (Naval Air Radio Installation Unit) at R.A.F.
Christchurch were containerised radio workshops were
constructed and outfitted. Such vehicles were in short
supply as priority for vehicles and equipment had been
focused on the build-up to the Normandy landings in June.
Work was slow and as a result the first MONAB to be
assembled experienced problems with getting their Radio &
Radar van allocation and had to sail for Australia without
some key elements which had to follow by later transports.
From October 1944 HMS GOSLING
also provided accommodation and training in support of the
Mobile Naval Airfields Organisation which had begun
assembling the MONABs in September at its new base at
RNAS Ludham, Norfolk. Ludham was a compromise formation
base and it was soon experiencing accommodation problems;
the station was not really suitable for purpose and
overcrowding was becoming a serious problem. To help
overcome this problem it was decided to split the formation
of the second, larger, MONAB, the technical components
-comprising of 600 ratings - was to assemble at HMS GOSLING
(Camp 2 at Risley?). Principal activities untaken whilst at
Risley were those of kitting up with battledress and
tropical clothing, and the mustering and making good of
personal tool kits. The men of
MONAB II left for Liverpool docks on 18th –20th of
Their palace was to filled almost straight way by the
technical component of the first Transportable Aircraft
Maintenance Yard, which like MONAB II its assembly was to be
split, the HQ component to form at Ludham and the technical
components at HMS GOSLING. The decision to divide these
units caused many problems for both MONAB II and
TAMY 1, mainly a lack of co-ordination between the two
halves over the completion of tasks and administration. TAMY
I left for Liverpool of February 16th.
From December 1944 men were
drafted to GOSLING for the formation of new technical units
designed to be added to MONABs operating in forward areas.
Maintenance, Storage & Reserve
Mobile Repair (MR) 1, was formed in February 1945 .
By the end of February 1945 the
MNAO had relocated to the former R.A.F.
Middle Wallop in Hampshire, a far more suitable base for
forming the mobile units, and the need for splitting future
MONABs was avoided. HMS GOSLING settled back into its normal
duties of training and the production of Radio and Radar
In April 1945 an R.A.F. unit,
20 Personnel Transit Centre was formed at HMS GOSLING, (it
is unclear which site it occupied) the unit was only
short lived and it disbanded in October 1945
A recently publish memoir
('Above & Beyond' 2014) has brought to light a previously
unknown clandestine element of HMS GOSLING: It reveals that
in addition to carrying out the duties of Gunnery Instructor
teaching new entrants, by night Leading Seaman Laurence
Biggs was teaching weapons and commando skills to civilians
going behind emery lines, and when called for, he operated
as the Coxswain of a vessel on covert operations with one of
the RNs Special Operation Groups.
1st 1946 HMS GOSLING became a general service training
establishment for basic (part 1) training of Stokers, the
FAA training being transferred to other stations. R.N.T.E.
Risley paid off and closed on October 21st 1947.
Click here for a list of
H.M.S. GOSLING Guide for New
Entrants courtesy of MR. Ron Davis,
'ABOVE & BEYOND' Laurence Walter Biggs' story
tells of his journeys in World War Two. As a Leading
Seaman Gunner he was a weapons instructor at HMS GOSLING and
an operative in the RN special Operations Group conducting
UK National Archives:
Section 2 - Report of
proceedings of H.M.S. Nabberley. (M.O.N.A.B.2, Bankstown).
Section 8 -
Report of proceedings of H.M.S. Nabsford (T.A.M.Y.1 -
AIR 29/483 - 20 Personnel
Admiralty Fleet Orders:
2958/42 - Opening of Training
Establishment at Risley
3823/42 - Royal Marine Camp,
1271/43 - Depot, Royal
Naval Air Station Defence Force— Address
Reminiscences of former
Fleet Air Arm Personnel:
Leading Air Fitter (Engines) Geoff Williams
Leading Air Fitter (Engines) Reg Veale with M.S.R. 6
attached to MONAB IV
Air Mechanic (Airframes) George Pickering with M.S.R. 4
attached to MONAB IV
Aircraft Artificer 4th Class (Electrical) Laurence Russell
with MONAB II
Leading Air Fitter (Engines) Bruce Robinson with MONAB