Dundonald Camp was established by the Army just before the start of World War II, and was originally known as Auchengate until it became closely associated with RAF Dundonald. The camp was established on the west side of the A78, and east of the railway line, about two miles north of Troon, initially formed by rows of assorted Nissen and wooden huts, it expanded to include a parade ground and additional areas for recreation. The area between the camp and railway was used for trench digging exercises.
During the war, the camp served as accommodation for RAF Dundonald, located a short distance to the east, and was used by all three branches of the armed forces, becoming known as HMS Dundonald when the Navy arrived.
Another camp, Gailes Camp, was located a short distance to the north west, but appears to have operated independently of Dundonald Camp.
During the 1970s, Cunninghame District Council used the camp as its premises prior to completion of its new home, Cunninghame House, in Irvine. At that time, many of the former barrack blocks were still standing, but were later demolished, leaving only two large sheds. A rifle range was constructed to the west of the sheds, but has also been demolished after being allowed to deteriorate.
The original camp developed into a small village comprising modernised military housing surrounded by related buildings, built on land formerly occupied by the camp, and which were later used to establish a number of small business, and provide facilities for local farms.
The large grass field that now exists where some of the old barracks blocks were has occasionally been used for small scale equestrian events of a local nature.
The camp was also used by the Army as a Young Tradesmen's camp.
Hi, my name is Pete and I can confirm that Dundonald Camp was indeed a training camp for Junior Tradesmen of all arms. I joined the Army at the age of 15½ and spent a fantastic 18 months there. I would be delighted if anyone out there has photos of the camp from around the 1960s - its closure. Times at Troon were hard in those days, but I would dearly go through it all again if I had the chance. I think I know every inch of that beach from the early morning runs and cold dips in the Irish sea. Brrrrrr. hope to hear from anyone soon.
If anyone has photos please email me at [email protected]
I have had a few people contact me concerning JTR Troon, and there is actually a dedicated website you can look on, and if you want to, can order some photos.
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