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St. David's

Major
Also known as: RAF St. David's / Solva
County: Pembrokeshire
Current Status: Open land
Date: 26 August 1943 - January 1961
Current Use: Disused
Used By: RAF / FAA
Landing Surface Types: Paved

Almost entirely always in the shadow of nearby Brawdy, despite being its parent for some time, St. David’s opened in the late summer of 1943 for RAF Coastal Command use. Meteorological Halifaxes of No 517 Squadron arrived during November before going to the newly opened Brawdy in February 1944 but it would be anti-submarine versions of the Handley Page design that created a bigger initial impact. Nos 58 and 502 Squadrons had arrived in December 1943 and mounted patrols until finally both leaving for Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides in September 1944. 

After this time the airfield changed to non-operational duties, though this activity was no less important. The General Reconnaissance Aircraft Preparation Pool kept a ready supply of Halifaxes, Consolidated Liberators and Vickers Wellingtons for immediate Coastal Command use from October 1944. Later on two Liberator squadrons passed through in the summer months of 1945 but St. David’s was reduced to Care and Maintenance status in the following November. Once Brawdy’s parent, St. David’s now became its satellite.

The airfield did however continue to be available to aircraft for many more years. The Royal Navy took over control from the RAF and from 1950 to 1961 Airwork ran an entirely civilian-manned Fleet Requirements Unit. The training aircraft included de Havilland Mosquitoes and Sea Hornets among other types, which employed St. David’s either as parent or satellite airfield until eventually going to Yeovilton. This was the end of regular flying but St David’s was still used as a very basic Relief Landing Ground for No 1 Tactical Weapons Unit’s advanced jet trainers while they operated from Brawdy during 1974-92. 

Only in the mid-1990s did the military finally relinquish St. David’s for it to come under ownership of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. Very little has survived apart from the three runways and most buildings such as its three T2 hangars have disappeared.

 

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

  • Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
  • St David's City Council
  • St David's Library
  • Solva Community Council

 

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 53 Sqn
  • No 58 Sqn
  • No 220 Sqn
  • No 502 Sqn
  • No 517 Sqn
  • No 787 Sqn
  • No 2710 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • No 2954 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • Airwork Ltd
  • General Reconnaissance Aircraft Preparation Pool
C555778.jpeg

Aerial view of St David's airfield, 30 June 1959. From the collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales: © Crown copyright: MoD.

IWM (HU 92992).jpg

Aerial view of St David's three months after its completion in 1943. © IWM (HU 92992)

C417422.jpeg

Aerial view of St. David's airfield, 2002. © Crown copyright: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

geograph-1063007-by-ceridwen.jpg

View across the airfield looking north-west, 28 November 2008. © ceridwen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-1064048-by-ceridwen.jpg

A service road at St David's, 28 November 2008. © ceridwen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-1517630-by-Dr-Duncan-Pepper.jpg

The perimeter track at St David's, 29 September 2009. © Dr Duncan Pepper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Aerial footage of St. David's. Courtesy of murphy10fs

Parent(s)/HQ Airfields(s):

Brawdy

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