The site of RAF Milltown, also known as HMS Fulmar II, lies to the southeast of Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth. Although the airfield closed for flying in 1977, the site was developed as a radio station, and has some 50 masts visible.
World War II
The site began as bombing decoy for RAF Lossiemouth to the northwest, then identified only as a Q decoy, with no indication as to whether it was a QF (fire) or QL (lighting) decoy. The location was subsequently found to be more suitable for use as a genuine airfield, and construction of three runways began on October 27, 1941, together with a B1 and a T1 type hangar, with completion in April, 1943. Initially intended to operate as a Coastal Command Operational Training Unit (OTU), and secondarily as an advance base for Bomber Command, to replace temporary facilities at RAF Peterhead, these plans were abandoned, and the airfield became a satellite of RAF Lossiemouth.
In December 1943, the airfield was employed for the display of gliders under Operation Tyndall, an operation initiated during the summer of 1943, intended to deceive the Germans into thinking that the RAF was a serious threat to their Norwegian based units.
During September 1944, the station was handed over to Coastal Command to house Liberators of 224 Squadron, which had been temporarily redeployed from south west England to deal with U-Boats operating from Scandinavia.
The end of the war saw RAF Lossiemouth's active role diminish, as did that of RAF Milltown. On July 2, 1946, RAF Lossiemouth was officially handed over to the Royal Navy, and on July 7, 1946, the station was officially commissioned as HMS Fulmar, with Milltown following suit as HMS Fulmar II, and destined to become a Deck Landing Training School. It was equipped with a Mirror Landing Installation, so that trainee pilots from HMS Fulmar could practice Mirror Aerodrome Dummy Deck Landings.
The airfield closed for flying in 1977, but the site remained active, becoming the home of a large collection of antenna masts, with at least 50 being visible, distributed across the area of the former airfield.
In 2003, VT Merlin Communications started a rationalisation and upgrade programme for long distance strategic communications between British Army units, RAF aircraft, Royal Navy warships and UK headquarters, to be delivered for the Strategic Terrestrial Radio Systems Integrated Project Team (STRS-IPT) under a 15 year, £220 million, Public Private Partnership programme. This included two sites listed in Scotland as providing specialist HF services: Toward Taynuilt and Clach MacKenny for local services to the Clyde. VT Merlin stated that following a site rationalisation programme, HF operations currently provided by existing MoD sites will cease at Milltown, Toward Taynuilt and Clach McKenny in Scotland and at Bampton Castle, Chelveston, St Mawgan and Fort Staddon in England. Operations at these sites will cease progressively from late 2003 to early 2006. Many of these sites are used for other purposes by the MoD and the only sites that are currently expected to close are those at Milltown, Chelveston and Bampton Castle.
- Scottish CND description
- Defence Procurement Agency, Armed Forces get advanced strategic communications, March 26, 2003
- Station rationalisation and upgrade
- DHFCS (Defence High Frequency Communication Service)
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