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Report - Twatt Airbase, Orkney, 2015.

LancashireExplorations

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
The History
Airfield Twatt (RNAS Twatt, also known as HMS Tern) was an airfield in the Orkneys in Scotland
The airfield opened on 1 April 1941. Construction of its 4 concrete runways began that same month. During the war it was used by Royal Navy Squadrons 700, 771, 804, 809, 819 and 822. These units flew Blackburn Roc, Fairy Swordfish, Miles Martinets, Bristol Blenheims, Walrus and Douglas Bostons amongst others.
Twatt was mainly used as a training airfield. As such it saw a number of crashes, some with fatalities. On 30 March 1944 it was decided that Twatt was to be develeoped as the only suitable airfield to disembark squadrons of the Home Fleet. Huge extension plans were develeoped, but they were abandoned when it became clear that the focus of the war effort shifted to the Far East.
Twatt also saw a 'first' for Britain: in February 1945 a 771Sqn Sikorsky R-4 slewed round on takeoff and its tail rotor struck a parked Blenheim.
Both aircraft were badly damaged, the helicopter was written off. The event marked the first helicopter crash in Britain.
Twatt became a reserve station under RAF Lossiemouth until 1949. The airfield was sold off in 1957.

The visit

Didn't mean to find this place, got the ferry to Orkney from Scotland and started driving around the greenland looking for somewhere to photograph.

About 3 hours in we saw the sign for Twatt and decided to go in... Obviously.

Just as we entered Twatt we found the air base and had a look around, decided to scout for an hour before entering as we was over 300 miles from home.

Got some good snaps but most of the land is owned by the farmer and is using it for storage.


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Twatt Airstation ahah!

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Looking through a sniper hole onto what would of been a runway.


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Memorial


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Memorial


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Entrance to a undergound bunker


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Training building, entrance was unsealed but it was sealed inside.


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DSCF1957.JPG
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What was the radar tower.​
 

Ordnance

Moderator
Moderator
#4
Interesting aerial survey of area [its very scattered]

 

The Kwan

Easily Led
Regular User
#11
Love this mate and not just for the comedy name, it looks superb thanks for posting it up, having said all that, we had a cleaner in a shipyard once called the the Twat man because he only worked on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and to be honest he was a bit of a twat, a lazy one at that :D
 

Ordnance

Moderator
Moderator
#12
  • There are 2 Main Airfields and a lot of smaller bases scattered over the island.
  • RAF Grimsetter WW2
    Spitfire MKI were Squadrons based here. Now home to Kirkwall airport. Can still see the runways and the surrounding defensive Anti-Invasion line positions.
  • RAF Netherbutton
  • Remains of RAF Netherbutton can still be found , Britain’s most northerly Radar station in WW2.
  • Scapa Seaplane Station WW1
    During WW1 Scapa Beach was home to a Seaplane Station. Not much to be seen
  • Caldale Airship Station WW1
    Sea Scout Airships were based here, remains of the camp that housed 200 personnel can still be found
  • HMS Sparrowhawk WW2
    Short drive around RNAS Hatston to show areas of interest during WW2 such as runways, hangers, blast shelters and housing. Many aircraft including the Fairey Swordfish, Blackburn Skua’s and Grumman Avengers flew from this aerodrome.
  • RAF Skeabrae WW2 [Just south of HMS Tern]
    Remnants RAF Skeabrae a very important airfield built in the summer of 1940. There were a number of squadrons to fly here including the 611 Squadron who flew the Supermarine Spitfire MKIV.
  • HMS Tern WW2
    This airfield was first commissioned as a Royal Naval Station on 1st April 1941. RNAS Twatt was considered to be one of the largest airbases in Orkney with 1872 personnel including 432 Wrens. Many scattered remaining sites and structures of this impressive air base including the Control Tower, runways and air raid shelters. The legendary Hawker Hurricane flew from this aerodrome.
  • Loch Stenness Seaplane Station WW1
    Stenness WW1 Seaplane Station, Remains of accommodation camp and the Fleet Air Arms HQ. Seaplane base with the seaplanes taking off from Stenness Loch.
 

LancashireExplorations

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#13
  • There are 2 Main Airfields and a lot of smaller bases scattered over the island.
  • RAF Grimsetter WW2
    Spitfire MKI were Squadrons based here. Now home to Kirkwall airport. Can still see the runways and the surrounding defensive Anti-Invasion line positions.
  • RAF Netherbutton
  • Remains of RAF Netherbutton can still be found , Britain’s most northerly Radar station in WW2.
  • Scapa Seaplane Station WW1
    During WW1 Scapa Beach was home to a Seaplane Station. Not much to be seen
  • Caldale Airship Station WW1
    Sea Scout Airships were based here, remains of the camp that housed 200 personnel can still be found
  • HMS Sparrowhawk WW2
    Short drive around RNAS Hatston to show areas of interest during WW2 such as runways, hangers, blast shelters and housing. Many aircraft including the Fairey Swordfish, Blackburn Skua’s and Grumman Avengers flew from this aerodrome.
  • RAF Skeabrae WW2 [Just south of HMS Tern]
    Remnants RAF Skeabrae a very important airfield built in the summer of 1940. There were a number of squadrons to fly here including the 611 Squadron who flew the Supermarine Spitfire MKIV.
  • HMS Tern WW2
    This airfield was first commissioned as a Royal Naval Station on 1st April 1941. RNAS Twatt was considered to be one of the largest airbases in Orkney with 1872 personnel including 432 Wrens. Many scattered remaining sites and structures of this impressive air base including the Control Tower, runways and air raid shelters. The legendary Hawker Hurricane flew from this aerodrome.
  • Loch Stenness Seaplane Station WW1
    Stenness WW1 Seaplane Station, Remains of accommodation camp and the Fleet Air Arms HQ. Seaplane base with the seaplanes taking off from Stenness Loch.
When we was there we asked the farmer if they wouldn't mind us checking out certain barns which were on their land because we didn't want to get shot. Could class it as somewhat permission visits!

We wanted to check out others but were covered in barb wire fencing.
 
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