History Of RAF Llandwrog
Located on the airfield of the former RAF Llandwrog, the museum has an impressive collection of aircraft and aviation memorabilia including a D.H. Vampire, Hawker Hunter F1, Hawker Sea Hawk, Westland Whirlwind and BAe Harrier
The museum was established in 1988 and is now run as a Charitable Trust.
As the Nazi army stormed through Europe in the 1939, it was first thought that an attack on the UK would come from the Irish Sea, so a number of sites were identified along the west coast of Wales in order to build defensive aerodromes.
This site was surveyed in early 1940 as a possible airfield and subsequently chosen. The contract for the building work was awarded to Sir Alfred McAlpine, with work starting in September 1940.
As the Nazis moved to the Russian front, RAF Llandwrog was no longer required as a fighter base and so was then transferred into a training role.
The first aircraft arrived at the RAF Llandwrog on 11th June 1941. These were Airspeed Oxfords from No.11 SFTS RAF Shawbury, however the site was not officially opened until 7th July as No.9 Air Gunnery School forming part of 25 Group Flying training Command which used predominantly Whitleys and some single engine Boulton Paul Defiants with rear gun turrets. The Whitleys were later replaced with Blenheim Mk IVs, the Air Gunnery School was soon followed by a Navigation Training School, Air Wireless Operator and Bomb Aimer Training using Avro Anson aircraft.
With the mountains to the east and the open sea to the west, it was not long before the aircrew losses began to mount, culminating in dozens of losses within the Snowdonia area alone.
The RAF Mountain Rescue Service was formed here by Flight Lieutenant George Graham MBE. Flight Lieutenant Graham was posted to RAF Llandwrog, as a medical officer on the 13th May 1942. An experienced climber, including some time making ascents within the Swiss Alps, he proved to be the ideal person with the determination to train and form what is now regarded as the birth of the RAF Mountain Rescue Service. This led to his being awarded the MBE with his services to the Mountain Rescue Service being officially recognised from June 1943.
On the 29th June 1945 RAF Llandwrog closed to flying activities and became an Aircrew Holding Unit for a short while.
From September 1946 untill late 1955 the airfield became a Maintenance Unit (No 277 MU) and was used to store 9000 tons of captured enemy Chemical Weapons under ‘Operation Sandcastle’, however, all the weapons were later disposed of in the Atlantic.
During the late fifties and throughout most the sixties the now disused aerodrome reverted to being agricultural land and became mainly used for grazing… except for one short period in June/July 1969 when the Army took the site over to house the military build-up to the Investiture of the Prince of Wales and once again there was flying at Llandwrog but this time by helicopters.
In 1976 RAF Llandwrog was to be reopened for flying by Keenair of Liverpool and became a civilian airfield, licenced by the Civil Aviation Authority as Caernarfon Airport as we know it today. It now houses a Flying School, the Wales Air Ambulance, Microlight school and an Aviation Engineering Company.
Do you know of anyone who served at RAF Llandwrog?
The museum is seeking information, photographs, anecdotes - any stories connected with the airfield. If you can help, please contact us via email or phone.
May 8 2020
Ffilm fer i'w chynnwys ym mhrosiect "Hanes RAF Llandwrog Yn yr Ail Ryfel Byd" ar gyfer ysgolion yn yr Amgueddfa, gyda chefnogaeth Cronfa Cyfamod y Lluoedd Arfog .
A short film to be included in the "RAF Llandwrog WW2 History" project for schools at the Museum, supported by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund.
Fersiwn iaith Gymraeg English language version