Ross & Cromarty War Memorials

EVANTON Airfield - More Info

The picture above shows the entrance to what remains of RAF Evanton. It shows two of the old hangars which survived recent gales, whilst two other, possibly older, ones on the opposite side have gone. The road, going right and left, is the arterial A9 from Inverness to Thurso; at one time known as the Great North Road. Another old, and historically important hangar can be seen in 'Picture Gallery' on the Navigation bar.


A Relatively Unknown and Colourful Story

The record shows that the airfield was established in 1922 to service the British Grand Fleet, then based at Invergordon. It was known, at the time, as Novar Airfield, named after the landowners Novar Estates. It is quite likely that the RAF started the airfield with the purpose of setting up a section with the name 'The Fleet Air Arm of the RAF' in 1924. That makes the history of Evanton airfield even more important. Another important function of Evanton Airfield was that Royal Navy aircraft carriers had to disperse their aircraft whilst at anchor at Invergordon.

In 1937 the airfield was enlarged and became RAF Evanton, a training base for bombing and air gunnery. The aircraft of the day may have been the Bristol F2B of which over 3,000 were built. Perhaps it was the Armstrong-Whitworth Siskin IIA which was used in radio-controlled drone gunnery training. Possible it may have been the De Havilland DH82 Queen Bee which had a similar role. More expansion occurred in 1943 when the base became a Class B Repair Yard. At about this time a naval section began operation with the name HMS OWL II and took over the site from the RAF in 1944, and eventually closed in 1947. Over the years, many different units have operated from Evanton. A list of these is avaialable here

Eventually, it became a displaced persons camp about then and in 1955 became a short-lived US Airforce base for launching camera-carrying 'weather balloons' in the 'cold-war'period.

There may be some important modern historical relics on Evanton Airfield such as an early example of a side-opening Fleet Air Arm hangar. There was another RAF station called RAF BlackIsle, not far away. "Secret Scotland describe it as a Satellite Landing Ground (SLG) and give the place o distinct air of secrecy. To quote them 'SLGs were designed to be secret places where replacement aircraft could be stored and kept safe from enemy attack', see their site for more info.

A lot of useful work has been done by ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands). Their website is at 'archhighland.org.uk' (Note the 2 h's).
For more war-time activites see Alness or Invergordon or Tain


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