Woodhaven (Newport) (Tayport)
|Also known as:||RAF Woodhaven|
|Current Status:||Leisure activity / Moorings|
|Date:||1930s - 1950s|
|Used By:||RAF / RAF (Norwegian)|
|Landing Surface Types:||Water|
As with various other marine locations across Britain, flying boat activity irregularly occurred on the northern Fife coastline for many years. 1938 proved quite a significant year as the Short Maia-Mercury composite flying boat/seaplane combination set off from this general area of the River Tay in October to establish a record seaplane distance flight to South Africa. At the end of the previous month elderly Short Singapore and brand new company stable mate, Sunderland flying boats of No 210 Squadron had also arrived from Pembroke Dock at their designated war station of Tayport due to the Munich Crisis. This unit fully stayed there before returning to Wales on 8 October, though retained at least a more minor presence until some months into World War Two.
The most significant and settled marine aircraft activity began in February 1942 when a Norwegian detachment arrived with Consolidated Catalinas. By May 1943 this unusual element had evolved through Flight status to become known as No 333 Squadron and performed excellent work on clandestinely assisting the Norwegian resistance and more conventional maritime patrols, in June 1944 sinking a U-boat. The squadron mixed what occurred at Woodhaven with its landplane de Havilland Mosquito element that was headquartered at Leuchars and later Banff.
No 333 Squadron left for home in June 1945 and Woodhaven and the surrounding area returned to being mainly quiet again in terms of marine aircraft flying. The Wormit Boating Club has used the pier facility since the mid-1970s, and the Norwegians are still very much remembered in various ways after their heroic wartime efforts.
The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/07/2013):
- Wormit Boating Club
Main unit(s) present:
- No 201 Sqn
- No 333 Sqn
- No 1477 (Norwegian) Flight
Wormit Boating Club at Woodhaven, 7 February 2015. Courtesy of Martin Groves
Footage of Woodhaven, 22 March 2015. Courtesy of Martin Groves