Turnberry Airfield
Home ] Up ] Photo Galleries ] Town Guides ] Notables ] Community ] News ] History ] Search ] Contact Us ]

 Turnberry      Hotel      |      Lighthouse     |    Castle        Airfield     Nurses      Railroad     |    War Memorial

History of Turnberry Aerodrome: (The following article first appeared in the Airfield Review Dec 1991 and is used by permission of the author Mr. Steve Winfield and the Airfield Research Group)

Turnberry Airfield originally opened in 1917. During its short career it housed several units dedicated to teaching the art of aerial gunnery and fighting. Soon after it closed, though, the large field made it a logical choice for an A.A Landing ground during the 1930s.

With the coming of World War 2 the Air Ministry’s eyes once again fell on Turnberry, and reconstruction began in 1941 by Wimpey who built a full WW2 aerodrome designed from the onset for training.

In February 1942 No 5 OUT ( coastal ) arrived with Beauforts for training, moving out in December to make way for No 1 Torpedo training unit and their mixture of Beauforts and Hampdens in January 1943. September 1943 saw the arrival of No2 TTU only to be absorbed into No 1 TTU with the intention of concentrating all the various types of training and aircraft into one unit.

Finally absorbing the air sea rescue training unit, a mixed fleet Ventures, Beaufighters and Hudsons saw No 5 OUT see out the war. 1945 saw the moving in of the Coastal Command Flying Instructors School. No 5 OUT now disbanded to be promptly replaced by No1 TTU making a reappearance. Both units left in November 1945 and so the airfield closed. The living sites were used to house the P.O.W`s in 1945 /46. Beginning in the early 1950s the aerodrome and its sites were returned to the public and the living sites were largely cleared in the 1950s.

Turnberry was constructed right on the coast almost on a headland, the site being overlooked by hills to the east. Three runways were laid the main one being parallel to the hills. Lack of space meant the other two were relatively short, their approaches being either over the sea or down low over the hills.

The main runway (North/East to South/West) was 04/22 of 6,250 feet behind which the tech site nestled against the hills. The two subsidiaries were 00/18 North to South) of 4,500 feet and 09/27 (East to West) of 3,900 feet the layout of the limited the number of hard standings. The bomb dump was sited on the hills overlooking the airfield and the living sites around the village of Maidens to the North/East, a number of local properties were also requisitioned.

All that remains of a once proud and operation wartime training airfield is a few buildings and one of the three runways, as a sad reminder of the many young men and women who gave their lives for freedom.

Click on the images or links for very large photos

     Turnberry Airfield Image 1 1024

Turnberry Airfield Image 2 1024         Turnberry Airfield Image 3 1024

Turnberry Airfield Image 4 1024 Turnberry Airfield Image 5 1024 Turnberry Airfield Image 6 1024

Part of Chapter Four, “Sopwith Camel Fighter Ace” by Robert M Todd 17th Aero Sqdn, U.S.A.S. – A.E.F. (Five kills and now lives in San Diego, CA)

Camel 1F-1 having its Vickers guns calibrated to the Constantinescu Gear at Turnberry"After two weeks of flying the Camel, I had enough time to be sent to The School of Aerial Gunnery at Turnberry, Scotland. Aldy was about a week behind me in his training, so I told him I'd wait for him in London so we could go up to Turnberry together. Aldy finally joined me and, after two more days in London, we boarded the train for Turnberry, Scotland. After reporting in, we were assigned sleeping quarters in the Turnberry Hotel, a very fashionable vacation spot.

The adjoining golf course had been turned into an aerodrome. The hotel sat halfway up the side of a mountain, looking out over the aerodrome and into the bay, a most beautiful spot. The room Aldy and I were assigned to was in the front and across the bay we could see Ailsa Craig, a round mass of rock sticking out of the water several miles away. We were on the second floor which was nice because the elevators were not running. All our meals were served in the main dining room, and we were introduced to several Scottish dishes immediately; kippered herring with our eggs and treacle for our cereal. We like both and the service was very good. The dining room was known as the "Officer Mess — St. 2 Auxiliary School of Aerial Gunnery, R.F.C."

The aerodrome was the golf course complete with bunkers, and traps and a dandy water hazard that circled through the whole field.   This was a brook; a typical Scot hazard on a golf course. The prevailing wind came off the sea which was not bad for take offs but to land, we had to come down the mountain where the hotel was and sideslip in for a very short landing strip to avoid the brook and other hazards.

The planes were not maintained as well as the ones we flew at the training field in England, and Aldy was assigned to a Camel that was not rigged right, it pulled to the left and was hard to land. The planes were equipped with two Vickers machine guns, firing through the propeller, and we fired on ground target — planes silhouettes laid out on the beach away from the field. We also had camera guns that we could fire when fighting with each other. The films from these showed how close you came to making a kill.

We played billiards and cards for recreation. The Aerial gunnery School No. 1 was at Ayr, Scotland. One night when we were in Ayr, we met "Andy" Anderson from Hawaii. Andy knew a civilian family that wanted to entertain Yanks —  later than week, I joined Andy and we went to their home and spent the afternoon playing tannic and drinking tea. After serving us a nice dinner they drove me back to Turnberry. Andy Anderson played the ukulele quite well and later in life wrote and published many famous Hawaiian tunes we all know today!'

 Turnberry      Hotel      |      Lighthouse     |    Castle        Airfield     Nurses      Railroad     |    War Memorial

Copyright 1999-2015