Airfield search

Dumfries (Tinwald Downs)

Also known as: Downsway Industrial Estate / Dumfries Aerodrome / Dumfries Enterprise Park / RAF Dumfries / Heathhall Industrial Estate
County: Dumfries and Galloway
Current Status: Industry / Housing / Museum
Date: 1920s - 1957; subsequent winch launched gliding use
Current Use: Disused
Used By: RAF (main user) / Civil
Landing Surface Types: Unpaved, later paved
Aircraft Roles: Air observation post / Aircraft ferrying / Aircraft preparation/storage (main role) / Army aviation / Communications / General aviation / Military development/support / Trainer (main role)

Flying at Dumfries began during the First World War as Tinwald Downs Farm existed as a landing ground for the Arrol Johnston Ltd factory. This Scottish motorcar manufacturer switched production to aircraft engines and later full aircraft during the War, though details of airfield use at this time remain sparse. The site was used for at least one of Alan Cobham’s Aviation Tours in the early 1930s, among other interwar civil aviation flying, but was otherwise left primarily unused until 1940 for development as a storage airfield.

The airfield was constructed for this purpose and No 18 Maintenance Unit (MU) was allocated to the airfield in June 1940 and continued to operate at Dumfries until 1949. Despite the MU continuing to operate, the site was reallocated to No 25 Group of Flying Training Command in July 1940 and training became the airfield’s primary role. No 10 Bombing and Gunnery School (B&GS) moved here from Warmwell to become the first of several training units to be based at Dumfries throughout the Second World War. The school was equipped with Fairey Battles and Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys.

After the B&GS became No 10 Air Observers School (AOS) in September 1941, Blackburn Bothas and some Avro Ansons were among the aircraft used. In July 1942, the Headquarters of No 29 (Flying Training) Group moved to Cargen House near Dumfries and remained until it disbanded in July 1945. The Communication Flight for this Group operated from Dumfries at this time. What had become No 10 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit was at Dumfries from May 1942 to June 1945, primarily flying Avro Ansons. The unit then briefly became No 10 Air Navigation School before quickly leaving for Chipping Warden in the summer of 1945, bringing an end to major flying training operations at the site. Other units to have spent time at Dumfries during the war include the Armament Synthetic Development Unit (ASDU) between 1941 and 1942 and for a few months in 1941, No 11 (Service) Ferry Pilots Pool.

Postwar flying was carried out by No 1 Gliding School from 1950-1958. After the school moved to Turnhouse, the Dumfries and District Gliding Club continued gliding at the site for a time until the 1970s. Dumfries was also a sub site for No 14 MU based at Carlisle during 1955-1957. The airfield also continued the training legacy of the Second World War by becoming a training station for the Royal Air Force Regiment between 1947 and 1957. Having been put under Care and Maintenance in 1957, the airfield was sold to a private company around 1959-1960.

Although most of the runways have now disappeared and much of the airfield has been built on, many of the original hangars and support buildings remain, including the control tower. This is now part of the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, which very much keeps the aviation link to the site alive.


The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):

  • 4 Paws Dog Training School
  • Armstrong Joinery Products
  • B Mcgarva
  • Border Skoda (Dumfries)
  • Border Toyota (Dumfries)
  • Carriage Company
  • Charlie Lauder Transport
  • Ciet UK Ltd
  • Community Sponsorship Partners Scotland Ltd
  • Conservatory Advisory Centre
  • Criffel Bakeries Ltd
  • Currie European Transport Ltd
  • D & G Fire Protection Ltd
  • Dalbeattie Fire Protection
  • David Birch Milking Equipment and Machinery Hire
  • Davie Malcolm Transport
  • Dog Caves
  • Downsway Garage
  • Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum
  • Elizabeth Campbell
  • Equip4work
  • Eurocell Dumfries
  • Forestry Commission
  • Franklin Steel Stockholders Plc
  • Galloway Hire Tools
  • Genesis
  • Goodman Home Improvements
  • GTC Custom Tattoo Studio
  • Hanson Premix
  • Heathhall Business Centre Ltd
  • Heathhall Community Council
  • Heathhall School - logo consists of a propeller
  • Hire and Supplies Limited
  • Interfloor Ltd
  • James Gordon Engineers Ltd
  • Jim Dalziel Plumbing & Heating Ltd
  • Keith Faulds Motor Engineer
  • Kenny's Recovery Service
  • K.R.S. Dumfries
  • Laurmar Storage & Distribution
  • Lloyd Ltd
  • Lochar Thistle Youths A.F.C.
  • Locharbriggs Community Council
  • Mile Stone Plastics Ltd
  • Moss Cafe & Takeaway
  • Nationwide Crash Repair Centres Ltd
  • Nisa
  • Nithsdale Wheelchairs
  • Office Furniture Online
  • Parkers Glass Centre
  • Penman MW Ltd - formerly Penman Engineering
  • Phoenix Fireplaces Ltd
  • Pure Energy Systems (UK) Ltd
  • Rhinsmach Distribution Services
  • Ryder Ltd
  • S J F Racing Accessories
  • Scania (Great Britain) Ltd
  • Scot JCB Ltd - Dumfries Depot
  • Scottish Enterprise Dumfries
  • Signcraft Signs Ltd
  • Solarae
  • Soltyre Ltd
  • Solway Tile and D.I.Y Centre Ltd
  • Strippers Antique Pine
  • The Hand Job Car Wash
  • The Harbro Group Ltd.
  • The Little Bakery
  • Thomsons Foodservice
  • Tinwald Parish Community Council
  • Vehicle & Operator Services Agency
  • Westend School of Motoring & Trailer Training
  • Wood Fuel Co-operative
  • Wood n Work

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 1 GS
  • No 10 ANS

  • No 10 AOS

  • No 10 B&GS

  • No 10 (O) AFU

  • No 11 (Service) FPP

  • No 14 MU

  • No 15 EFTS
  • No 18 MU

  • No 29 Gp Comms Flight

  • No 225 Sqn

  • No 614 Sqn

  • No 651 Sqn

  • No 652 Sqn

  • No 661 GS

  • Armament Synthetic Development Unit
  • Blackburn Aircraft Ltd

  • Dumfries GC

  • Dumfries and District GC

  • Scottish Aviation Limited


A Luftwaffe aerial photograph of Dumfries, taken during the Second World War. © Courtesy of HES (Luftwaffe: Aerial Reconnaissance (Scotland)). Licensor


Aerial view from east-south-east, centred on three hangars and various other buildings. © Crown Copyright: HES. Licensor


Aerial view, taken from the north-west, centred on three hangars and various other buildings, 13 February 1996. © Crown Copyright: HES. Licensor


Surviving building at Dumfries, 25 March 2006.

005-12779:41 control tower of Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum (27:07:2007).JPG

The control tower at Dumfries, now part of Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, 27 July 2007.

006Entrance to Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum’s 12779:41 control tower (27:07:2007).JPG

Entrance to the control tower at Dumfries, now Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, 27 July 2007.

007Royal Navy Westland Sea King from HMS Gannet at Prestwick landed nearby on a former section of runway (27:07:2007).JPG

Royal Navy Westland Sea King from HMS Gannet at Prestwick landed on a former section of runway, 27 July 2007.

008Sikorsky MH-53 taking off from former runway section and flying over museum (27:07:2007).JPG

Sikorsky MH-53 taking off from a former runway section and flying over the museum, 27 July 2007.


Surviving buildings at Dumfries, 14 March 2008.


Aerial view centred on the airfield, taken from the south, 1 November 2008. © Crown Copyright: HES. Licensor


Aerial view centred on the airfield, taken from the east-south-east, 1 November 2008. © Crown Copyright: HES. Licensor


Aerial view centred on the airfield, taken from the south-east, 1 November 2008. © Crown Copyright: HES. Licensor


The control tower at Dumfries, now part of Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, 4 December 2011.


A hangar at Dumfries, 4 December 2011.


Aerial view of Dumfries, looking south-east, 6 May 2014. © Crown Copyright: HES. Licensor



Decoy Airfield(s):

Carthat Moor

Satellite Landing Ground(s):

Hornby Hall

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