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RNAS Crail

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Tower and buildings, 2004
Tower and buildings
© Jim Bain

RNAS Crail, Royal Naval Air Station Crail, was a World War II airfield located to the east of Crail, and designated as HMS Jackdaw.

Use of the site as an airfield dates from World War I, when it served as a Royal Flying Corp (RFC) training depot from 1918 to 1919.

World War II saw its development as a Fleet Air Arm (FAA) station, RNAS Crail, from 1939 to 1947, when it served as a torpedo training school, HMS Jackdaw. There are also references to Balcomie Airfield, after the name of the main access road.

From 1947 to 1949 it was redesignated HMS Bruce, becoming a training establishment for boys from the age of 15. It had a reputation for harsh discipline.

From 1952 to 1956 the accommodation was used intermittently by the Black Watch.

From 1956 to 1960 it served as JSSL Crail, the Joint Services School for Linguists, a Russian language school which operated as part of the country's response to the Cold War.

The airfield is now used for motor sports as Crail Raceway, for microlights, and for car boot sales.

The runways and all major buildings have survived, and in 2006 Historic Scotland granted the site Scheduled Status.


Crail tower, 2008
Crail tower
© Steven Brown
Crail accommodation, 2007
Crail Accommodation
© Jim Bain

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Related Canmore/RCAHMS and ScotlandsPlaces (SP) entries:-



Aerial views



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