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Thread: RAF Limavady, Northern Ireland, January 2019

  1. #1
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    Default RAF Limavady, Northern Ireland, January 2019


    1. The History
    Royal Air Force Station Limavady or more simply RAF Limavady is a former Royal Air Force station. Also known as Aghanloo airfield, it is near the city of Derry, Northern Ireland. The location for RAF Limavady was agreed in 1938, when the site was selected as an Armament Training Station (ATS). The first recorded use was by 502 Squadron and their Whitleys on anti-submarine patrols in December 1940. They had the distinction of being the first operational unit to be equipped with the new long range ASV (air-to-surface vessel) radar. Later 224 Sqn Hudsons and 221 Sqn Wellingtons were stationed here.

    RAF Limavady from the air, September 1943:

    RAF Limavady by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In 1942 operational flying ceased for a two-year period. It was then used as a pilot training centre with Wellington and Ansons. In April 1942, General Reconnaissance training (GR) and Air-to-Surface Vessel (ASV) training became the norm, and operational squadrons withdrawn to be replaced by Operational Training Unit (OTU), until January 1944.

    In 1944 the airfield returned to operational status and 172, 407 and 612 Sqds flew anti-submarine patrols. The airfield was notorious for its high accident In one incident alone in 1943, three aircraft were lost. Bad weather and its proximity to Benevenagh Mountain , accounted for many of these accidents.

    The RAF left the airfield on a5th August 1945 and after the Second World War the airfield was further used by the Fleet Air Arm when it was known as RNAS Limavady until 1958, after which it was finally sold off. The site was partly converted into an industrial estate with the rest returning to agricultural purposes. The runways and taxi-ways can still be seen from aerial imagery

    Notable structures that remain until today is a Type 518/40 control tower and an anti-Aircraft Gunner Dome. The later was used to project, onto the roof of the dome, a film of an approaching aircraft. The Gunner was trained to "Aim-Off" to ensure that he hit the aircraft.

    2. The Explore
    A nice relaxed explore on the first day of year. Easy access and loads there left still to see made this an enjoyable winter morning explore. Didn’t see a soul around, just some guard dogs barking in a nearby industrial compound. Wished I’d had more time to cover the site more thoroughly as it was large. Nice to see a WWII airfield with some much left to see. Get the feeling that if was in England it would have been smashed up.

    3. The Pictures

    Limavady 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Limavady 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Limavady 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Limavady 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Limavady 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0521 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0498 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0497 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0505 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The anti-Aircraft Gunner Dome

    img0501 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0495 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0473 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The watch tower was the best thing here:

    img0493 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Limavady 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Limavady 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0480 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Electrics from WWII still in situ. Never seen this in a watch tower before:

    Limavady 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0486 by HughieDW, on Flickr



    Limavady 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0487 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0483 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0482 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0481 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    One of two remaining hangers:

    img0516 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And the other;

    img0509 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Part of the old runway:

    img0517 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A couple of outlining huts:

    img0515 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0514 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    An old water tower located slightly away from the main site:

    img0519 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: Andymacg, Bluetwo, etc100, ginger5092, Hugh Jorgan, Ipcre55, jmcjnr, klempner69, Locksley, Mearing, noiseboy72, One eyed Spaniel, paul.richards.up, psykie, Sausage, smiler, theartist
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  4. #2
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    Default


    That's a nice detailed report. Looks like nature is taking over.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Cracking shots. Did you get into RAF Ballykelly (Shackleton Barracks) at all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Jorgan View Post
    That's a nice detailed report. Looks like nature is taking over.
    Cheers mate. Much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by MML123 View Post
    Cracking shots. Did you get into RAF Ballykelly (Shackleton Barracks) at all?
    Thank you. And no, sadly I didn't. Next on my to-do list but just ran out of time...

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    That's excellent!
    Ireland is turning up trumps for some good sites. I didn't expect to see much with this one having looked at a few here.
    They really need a bicycle for getting around lol. I was knackered when I walked around RAF Felton.

    The electrics. I think I can see a transformer in a box too? I've never seen electrics in a tower but do know of some in a sentry box near Blyth (Northumberland).

    Interesting report that. Is it me or would the tower and building make a great house with high windows for a living space?
    Full of meaty goodness.

  9. Thanks given by: HughieD
  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sausage View Post
    That's excellent!
    Ireland is turning up trumps for some good sites. I didn't expect to see much with this one having looked at a few here.
    They really need a bicycle for getting around lol. I was knackered when I walked around RAF Felton.

    The electrics. I think I can see a transformer in a box too? I've never seen electrics in a tower but do know of some in a sentry box near Blyth (Northumberland).

    Interesting report that. Is it me or would the tower and building make a great house with high windows for a living space?
    Cheers Sausage. Yes, would make a good house. Funnily enough across the way from here someone had converted one of the huts and was living in it. Looked quite cool.

  11. #7
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    I've heard conflicting reports as to whether or not any parts of it are still in use or occupied. I have some detailed drone aerials I took late last year, if they're of any interest just let me know! Covers the control tower, some of the hangars, barracks and some outbuildings.

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    Excellent find

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    A distant relative of mine farmed on part of this airfield during the 50s and 60s. I visited during the 50s at a tender young age. I am hoping to pay a nostalgia trip there later this year. If the family provide anything of interest, I shall post it.

  14. Thanks given by: HughieD
  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DS4942 View Post
    A distant relative of mine farmed on part of this airfield during the 50s and 60s. I visited during the 50s at a tender young age. I am hoping to pay a nostalgia trip there later this year. If the family provide anything of interest, I shall post it.
    Nice one...look forward to it.

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