The R.N. Aircraft Training
Establishment, Watford, came into being on Tuesday, June 9th
1942, tinder the administration of the Rear Admiral, Naval
Air Stations with its accounts carried on the “books of
H.M.S. DAEDALUS”. The establishment comprised of two
separate sites that were known as "Watford I" & "Watford II"
[not ship's names, just a means of identifying each site].
Its task was the training of Air Fitter candidates in basic
The Government Training Centre, Southwold Road [under the
control of the Ministry of Labour] was be responsible for
the training of Naval trainees. Instruction was undertaken
by the Ministry of Labour instructors under the supervision
of Naval administrative staff.
West Herts college, Hempstead Road was taken over by the
Admiralty for the accommodation of Air Fitters undergoing
preliminary technical training before they proceed to the
R.A.F. School a t Hednesford. Those selected for Air Fitter
training had first completed initial training at
HMS GOSLING. Trainees spent four
months at Watford learning workshop skills, including use of
basic tools, workshop equipment and metal working skills
Commissioned as H.M.S. TURNSTONE
On New Year's Day 1944
R.N.A.T.E. Watford, and a second site, R.N. Training Centre,
Fulham, which was also operating tinder the administration
of the Rear Admiral, Naval Air Stations were commissioned as
an independent command bearing the ship's name HMS
TURNSTONE. Accounts continued to be carried by H.M.S.
R.N. Training Centre, Fulham
was closed on June 23rd 1944, R.N.A.T.E. Watford closed on
August 18th 1945and HMS TURNSTONE was paid off on this date.
Click here for a list of
Admiralty Fleet Orders:
A.F.O. 2724/42 Opening of R.N. Aircraft Training
A.F.O. 234/43 R.N. Aircraft Training Establishment,
A.F.O. 131/44 R.N. Aircraft Training Establishments,
Watford and Fulham - Commissioning as Independent Command
A.F.O. 514/44 H.M.S. “Turnstone”—Date of Commissioning
A.F.O. 5017/45 H.M.S. “Turnstone”—Closing Down
Confidential Admiralty Fleet Orders: