RAF Base Info

Profile picture for user Scott Marlee

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12 years 9 months

Posts: 1,873

while sitting at work having nothing to do, i was brosing google maps and came accross an old RAF base named RAF Worthy Down

does anyone have any memories or info on it? the most ive gotten round to finding on wiki was

RAF Worthy Down was a Royal Air Force station near Winchester, Hampshire. It was opened near Kings Worthy on the site of Winchester Racecourse, opening in August 1918.

RAF use
No. 7 Squadron RAF - 7 April 1927 - 3 September 1936
No. XXXV Squadron RAF - 26 August 1936 - 20 April 1938
No. 58 Squadron RAF - 1 April 1924 - 13 January 1936
No. 102 Squadron RAF - 1 October 1935 - 3 September 1936
No. 215 Squadron RAF - 1 October 1935 - 14 March 1936
Southampton UAS - 1945 - 1946

Royal Navy use
On 24 May 1939 the site was transferred to the Royal Navy and was named HMS Kestrel. Various Fleet Air Arm training schools and ferry units were based at the station.

700 Naval Air Squadron - 1945
734 Naval Air Squadron - February 1944 - 1945
739 Naval Air Squadron (BADU) - September 1943 - September 1944
755 Naval Air Squadron - 1939
756 Naval Air Squadron - 1939 - 1943
757 Naval Air Squadron - 1939 - 1943
763 Naval Air Squadron - December 1939 - June 1940
763 (FAA Pool) Naval Air Squadron - February - July 1941
800 Naval Air Squadron - 1938 - 1939
803 Naval Air Squadron - 21 November 1938
806 Naval Air Squadron - May 1940
807 Naval Air Squadron - 15 September 1940
808 Naval Air Squadron - 1 July 1940 - 5 September 1940
811 Naval Air Squadron - October 1939
815 Naval Air Squadron - 15 October 1939 - May 1940
822 Naval Air Squadron - October 1939
848 Naval Air Squadron - November 1959 - March 1960
Air Electrical School - June 1952 - 1 November 1960
Additionally Supermarine used the airfield in the development of the Spitfire from December 1940 to March 1944.

Post war flying was reduced and on 9 January 1950 the station closed after 2 years on Care and Maintenance.

In July 1952 it was renamed HMS Ariel, when the Air Engineering School moved in from Warrington until 1 November 1960 and the airfield was closed.

Army use
The base transferred to the British Army Royal Army Pay Corps in December 1960

Info taken from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Worthy_Down

any info would be helpful as im rather interested in old RAF bases

Original post

Member for

16 years 1 month

Posts: 271

It's a long time since I travelled past Worthy Down on my way to Portsmouth from the Midlands but I know that it has been in Army hands for many years and is now part of DE&S (logistics). I have found a snippet from the Forces' Website on its history:

History of Worthy Down

The history of Worthy Down can be traced back to the Iron Age when it was known to be the site of an ancient village of the Belgae. Traces of the settlement are still visible at certain times ofthe year from the air.
The current association with the Military began in 1917 when the Wireless and Observers School was established in October of that year. Over the next 35 years or so Worthy Down was known primarily as a flying station and became host to most senior officers and airmen in the Royal Air Force at some stage in their career, indeed, Air Marshal ‘Bomber’ Harris was a
Squadron Commander and later Station Commander of Worthy Down. In 1942 it was decided to cease using the airfield, infamous for its uphill landing, which by then had become unsuitable for modern aircraft. Thereafter Worthy Down was gradually reduced to a care and maintenance
station until 1952 when it was re-commissioned as HMS Ariel. It remained in the hands of the Royal Navy until late 1960 when it transferred to the Army, and the Royal Army Pay Corps Electronic Accounting Development Unit moved from Devizes into its new Computer Centre.
This move marked the start of a 32 year association by the RAPC with Worthy Down, and more importantly, the City of Winchester. The Corps was honoured in 1970 by being granted The Freedom of The City of Winchester a right which has been exercised as recently as April 1992,
when the RAPC marched to the Guildhall to mark the disbandment of the corps. The honour was transferred to the AGC on 11 April 1996.
Since 1960 a major building and reconstruction programme has been undertaken and purpose built buildings now stand in pleasant landscaped surroundings. Not much is now left of the old Worthy Down. The grass East-West runway is now let for agricultural purposes and the aircraft
hangars have long gone from the camp itself. However, some married quarters, the Guardroom, the main block of the Officers’ Mess and the soldiers accommodation built in the 1930s still survive. The original pump house, which brings up the water from an artisan well, still serves the
camp well. The interested person can still see other traces in and around the whole area. These include the hardened ammunition bunkers and the old perimeter circuit near South Wonston.

I hope this has been of some value to you.

Profile picture for user pimpernel

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20 years 6 months

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Try and find out a bit on here. There should be someone who can help you.

Profile picture for user Soggy

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10 years 8 months

Posts: 187

I have little of value to contribute, save to say that I served for some 22 years in the Territorial Army, in numerous roles, including those of Pay Clerk and following commissioning, Paymaster and that of Regimental Admin. Officer which superceded the Paymaster appointment.

The Royal Army Pay Corps and its successor Corps, the AGC, Depot and Training Centre, and Apprentice College was at Worthy Down.

I inhaled a lot of rubber dust, expended a lot of energy running around the place, expended a lot of 7.62 ammunition and tasted a lot of CS gas there, trying to qualify for my Bounty.

Afterwards I imbibed a deal of beer and ate heartily in the Sergeant's Mess, in wonderful good company. The RAPC was a proud Corps, full of good shots and sportsmen/women, and much 'espirit'.

Thank you for allowing an old Pay Clerk a little nostalgia. I was aware that it was an RNAS airfield during the 2nd WW, and found this web site of interest:


Profile picture for user Scott Marlee

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12 years 9 months

Posts: 1,873

thanks for those bits of information guys, was just a random browse of google around areas i have been that i came accross this place and wondered about it :)

thanks again

Profile picture for user Scott Marlee

Member for

12 years 9 months

Posts: 1,873

thanks for that Dave, rather interesting :)