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Haverfordwest II (Withybush)

Major
Also known as: Haverford West (misspelling) / Haverfordwest Airport / Pembrokeshire County Showground / RAF Haverfordwest
County: Pembrokeshire
Current Status: Leisure activity / Industry / Aviation
Date: Opened 10 November 1942 (closed to flying)
Current Use: Active
Used By: RAF / Civil

Haverfordwest’s second and main airfield, to the north of the town and also known as Withybush, initially suffered from a protracted beginning due to the extremely incomplete state of the site while undergoing construction. The original proposed opening date of 10 November 1942 proved very much a false start, and it was not until after the official reopening in June 1943 that No 3 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit could at last transfer from its previously cramped base, Cranwell. What had amounted to a complicated movement with knock-on effects for other airfields such as particularly Banff was now complete and the OTU could continue instructing general reconnaissance trainees on mainly Vickers Wellingtons.

After No 3 (Coastal) OTU disbanded in January 1944, Coastal Command kept the airfield steadily busy in a supportive capacity. Two more OTUs, the General Reconnaissance Aircraft Preparation Pool to supply frontline squadrons with more aircraft and No 4 Refresher Flying Unit all played useful roles while at Haverfordwest between then and June 1945 but none of them stayed for more than a few months each.

Matters looked grim for Haverfordwest once Nos 20 and 21 Air Crew Holding Units moved to Thorney Island in November 1945. Handed to the Board of Trade after still more uncertainty on 1 June 1946, the airfield’s prospects were not as bad as at first evident as the West Wales Flying Club then formed there later the same year. From this small start Pembrokeshire County Council decided to buy the site in the early 1950s for more extensive civil flying use. In this way Haverfordwest has ever since survived, perhaps at times to a degree tenuously, finding its best role as a place for general aviation. A good deal of this airfield such as the landing area looks much the same as in wartime days, though the northern side of the perimeter track has become a public road.

 

The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/07/2013):

  • Airside Services (Europe) Ltd
  • Aviation Heritage Foundation Limited
  • Fly Heli Wales Limited
  • Great Dane Helicopters
  • Hangar 5 Trampoline Park
  • Jane Air Engineering Ltd
  • Milk Marque
  • Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society
  • Pembrokeshire County Council
  • Propellers Cafe Ltd
  • Rudbaxton Community Council
  • The Pembrokeshire Spitfire Aeroplane Co
  • Tsib Limited
  • White Knuckle Air Ltd

Notable Past Associated Organisations:

  • Haverfordwest Model Club

 

ABCT would like to thank the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales for the use of their images. Find out more here: www.rcahmw.gov.uk and search their database here: www.coflein.gov.uk.

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 3 (Coastal) OTU

  • No 4 Refresher Flying Unit

  • No 7 (Coastal) OTU

  • No 8 (Coastal) OTU

  • No 20 ACHU

  • No 21 ACHU

  • No 516 Sqn

  • No 2710 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2776 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • Cambrian Air Services 

  • Fly Wales
  • Haverfordwest School of Flying

  • General Reconnaissance Aircraft Preparation Pool

  • Navigators ‘W’ Holding Course

  • Pembrokeshire Flying Club
  • Polish Flight

  • West Wales Flying Club

  • West Wales GC

C704230.jpeg

Aerial view of Withybush Airfield, Haverfordwest, 1946. From the collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales: © Crown copyright: MoD.

C831385.jpeg

Aerial view of Pembroke County Show at Haverfordwest Airfield, 15 August 2002. © Crown copyright: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

geograph-956186-by-Humphrey-Bolton.jpg

The control tower at Haverfordwest (Withybush), 4 July 2008. © Humphrey Bolton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-226153-by-ceridwen.jpg

Looking across Haverfordwest (Withybush) airfield, 26 August 2006. © ceridwen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-572097-by-Pauline-E.jpg

A Piper Warrior light aircraft at Haverfordwest (Withybush) airfield, 27 September 2007. © Pauline E and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Parent(s)/HQ Airfields(s):

Templeton

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