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RAF Limavady, Northern Ireland, January 2019

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HughieD

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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:

31945324177_9f8bede349_b.jpgRAF 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Reconnaissance training (GR) and Air-to-Surface Vessel (ASV) training became the norm, and operational squadrons withdrawn to be replaced by Operational Training Unit (OTU), until January 1944.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

45969967364_4015a90c62_b.jpgLimavady 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32819845408_1a7a92eb5b_b.jpgLimavady 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32819862838_9c67e7d795_b.jpgLimavady 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

45970019364_e8290f5410_b.jpgLimavady 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32819891038_bc4a6f8492_b.jpgLimavady 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32784575978_03f0a1c0e8_b.jpgimg0521 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46606876052_6f22f680fd_b.jpgimg0498 by HughieDW, on Flickr

45934663634_d1ba2f7b4d_b.jpgimg0497 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32784770408_11e20e8973_b.jpgimg0505 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The anti-Aircraft Gunner Dome

46659481381_c80748c863_b.jpgimg0501 by HughieDW, on Flickr

31717975727_cf4b0fbf39_b.jpgimg0495 by HughieDW, on Flickr

45934939434_0d2714079f_b.jpgimg0473 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The watch tower was the best thing here:

31717997577_f70f291231_b.jpgimg0493 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46641909132_3f8aec7bc2_b.jpgLimavady 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

45779485195_bca958c07a_b.jpgLimavady 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

31718151857_cf43be1c82_b.jpgimg0480 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

32819905828_d32bb48ef8_b.jpgLimavady 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

39694653883_6f27aceb62_b.jpgimg0486 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46641891002_21cec0034e_b.jpgLimavady 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

31718041627_6797ff018c_b.jpgimg0487 by HughieDW, on Flickr

45934838724_26bfa4fd74_b.jpgimg0483 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32785005738_994029f9dc_b.jpgimg0482 by HughieDW, on Flickr

45744621775_b9b9498f75_b.jpgimg0481 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of two remaining hangers:

39694309333_36ba07b12d_b.jpgimg0516 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the other;

31717842737_118b4f26e8_b.jpgimg0509 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Part of the old runway:

45744189835_069a9d33ab_b.jpgimg0517 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A couple of outlining huts:

32784662888_859c1ceb18_b.jpgimg0515 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46606727222_2533fa8f2a_b.jpgimg0514 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

45934423504_1104409427_b.jpgimg0519 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

MML123

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Cracking shots. Did you get into RAF Ballykelly (Shackleton Barracks) at all?
 

Sabtr

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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?
 

HughieD

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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?

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.
 

MML123

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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.
 

DS4942

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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.
 

HughieD

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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.

Nice one...look forward to it.
 

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