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manxix
06-05-2009, 14:40
R.A.F. Ronaldsway aka H.M.S. Urley (Eagle in Manx language)

As this is still the airfield in use, I am surprised that it doesn't feature :o

I remember this as a grass airfield with my grandfather, in Derbyhaven, a village almost on the airfield, lifting me up to watch the beautiful and vividly coloured little aeroplanes on the grass taking off for the Kings Cup (?) air race.

I remember Laings building the runways at enormous disturbance for everyone.
They still hadn't finished it when it came into use as a Mosquito came to grief whilst landing on the main runway from the east. There were still big mounds of earth along the side of the runway and the Mossy hit the port wing on the bank and kind of broke up there. Wooden, so it would wouldn't it?

There is now an extension being constructed into the sea as the inland area is a main road, proximity to houses, a railway line, a river and LOADS of very boggy land afterwards. Emergency access very doubtful.

There is a new control tower being built, very tall, now that the extension takes the end of the runway somewhat out of sight.

Information from http://www.manxforums.com (some postings rather childish and prone to bad language)
Wikipedia also.

Lots of Barracudas flew out of here, practice bombing, and a fair few didn't make it back. I am given to understand that the very large 4 blade prop necessary, made the plane prone to torque problems.
Imagine, you dive vertically(nearly), dive brakes slow you right down, level out to drop the bombs and find you have not enough airspeed to fly off so you open the throttles. Loads of torque because of trying to suddenly speed up the large prop. Too near the sea and no space to recover from the wing-over.

We have a nice little military museum at Ronaldsway, started by MAPS (Manx Aviation Preservation Society) and it contains lots of information. We also have mounds of detail which cannot yet be displayed. A reference library is being planned.

Should you want further information try maps.iofm.net

Richard Drew
09-05-2009, 07:50
I have a very good book ' A Hard Fought Ship' by Robert J Moore ISBN 0 9515683 0 2.
About HMS Venomous.

She was launched late in WW1 and by May/June 1940 was at the evacuation Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk (also with HMS Wild Swan which was the boat that my father off the beach at Dunkirk). She fought a long and hard war but ended up at Douglas working with the RNAS Ronaldsway as an aircraft tender, fishing pilots out of the water and towing targets.

Another anecdote is that on entering Douglas Harbour at night and in tricky conditions, she hit the dock rather hard. So three red light were placed on of all places the WRNS accommodation as a guide.

Paul Francis
13-05-2009, 13:52
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron7.jpg

Ronaldsway Airport CT c.2005

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron6.jpg

Ronaldsway Airport CT c.1983

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron4.jpg

Mains Workshop Hangar c.1983

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron2.jpg

Pentad Hangar c.1983

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron9.jpg

Cinema / Theatre c.1983

Paul Francis
13-05-2009, 13:55
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron15.jpg

Airport / RAF Ronaldsway Pre-War & Wartime WO c.2005

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron14.jpg

Ronaldsway Airport - pre-war artwork

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron26.jpg

RAF Ronaldsway Lewis Gun training gun position, No.1 AA School c.2005

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron23.jpg

Airport / RAF Ronaldsway Pre-War and Wartime WO c.2005

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron20.jpg

Airport /RAF Ronaldsway pre-war / Wartime Transmitter or Receiving Building c.2005

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Ronaldsway%20Airport/ron25.jpg

RAF Ronaldsway, No.1 AA School a line of Lewis gun training gun positions

manxix
16-05-2009, 21:17
norwichpaul
Nice shots, they are building the Ronaldsway info greatly. Places I haven't seen too!
Your 2 number 14shots are of what was Ronaldsway Farm before the war.From where the photos were taken and back a few hundred yards, there is a culvert with little water flow most of the time. This is the Ronaldsburn.
Back a bit further, in the middle of the small line of houses is the one where I spent most of my summer holidays as a child.
I lived in the next village up called Ballasalla. We had many airmen and Fleet Air Arm servicemen billetted on us. Lots of room though.
My uncle Arthur had 2 fields commandeered and turned into a hive of nissen huts which were taken over by squatters after the war. He never got the fields back and we got a load of townies dropped on us. Ballasalla town has now got all the town problems and none of the village advantages are left.
He had a lot of radio and radar emplacements built on the lower part of the farm near the sea. They are mostly still there in a pretty poor state.
The shots you have of the gun emplacements will probably never be duplicated. Take care of them. The lighthouse has been bought by an English millionaire who, like so many of his breed (£millions not English) knocked the top off the walls going round his property without finding out why they were so high. They were so high to keep the salt water and spray out of the garden and house, as far as possible. They also kept out the prying eyes of busybodies (skeets in Manx).
To stop people skeeting at his wife in the kitchen, Jeremy Clarkson cut off the common right-of-way going round the sea side of his property. With this he has cut off access to the emplacements. I wouldn't put it past him to tidy up!!?

manxix
11-08-2009, 22:21
I dont know which photos are not showing from previous messages but here are a few new ones
2 messages as there are 8
1 - my wife on old path past the end of the old runway with yellow light gantry at back
2 - the path now
3 - my wife and barrier across path
4 - same barrier with 35 tonne rocks for protection from weather at end of new runway
5 -medium large rocks with bargeand tug in background - yellow gantry now gone

manxix
11-08-2009, 22:32
3 more shots
6 - long shot taken from Fort Island with the edge of the fort and muzzle of a cannon on the left
7 - an ATR42 landing ACROSS the works and machines !
8 - close-up of large rocks mostly 6 - 8 feet across

A VERY BIG THANKYOU to REF et all for fixing this for me (and others?)
Phil

manxix
11-08-2009, 22:55
Runway extension mostly constructed as far as outline is concerned.
before making the edge too wide, the centre has to be infilled.
This shot shows a large boat behind coast-side buildings, flying club hangars, station fire section and the small white WW2 hut on left is the Flying Club.
The bow of the green boat is alongside this clubhouse and has the hose.
The stern of the boat is hidden but the funnel can be seen over a hangar with a broad black band on it. The boat also has a large crane on the deck.
Aircraft taking off from the runway-being-extended end is a FlyMaybe Saab. probably bound for Edinburgh.

manxix
16-08-2009, 20:21
Peripheral interest.
This shot shows the FlyMaybe SAAB taxying to the infill end of the main runway and a low building in the background. This is actually quite tall 4 or 5 floors, it is built in a circle and has a green cupola covering the centre.
Shaped like a watch, in fact.

manxix
27-01-2010, 22:25
Runway finished, apart from the tarting-up bits.
It is in use.
A few, not very good shots of the new end and the connection (can you see the join?) will be sent when I manage.

Richard Flagg
28-01-2010, 09:41
Thanks for the update manxix. what is the new length of the runway compared to the old length?

manxix
02-02-2010, 23:15
Runway 8/26 1754metres
Extension 245metres

er

2004 metres ?

£44,000,000 - yes 44 million

manxix
04-02-2010, 23:13
Incidentally
My first successful photo attachment was of the ack of my wife walking on a grass path towards a yellow landing light gantry protruding into the sea.
My next photo, I hope, will be of the same path, NOT- looking towards the gantry, NOT.
The end of the pile of rocks is further out to sea than the gantry was.
It is also going to b***** up the currents in the area.
Some years ago a plane crashed in this area, a little way out, and only an engine and a foot were found. The currents are straight out and very strong.
What now I wonder.
The experts said that the new breakwater at Douglas harbour wouldn't cause any problem.
The shore is constantly covered in wrack.
Same experts - I hope not.

Bill Forster
05-07-2010, 18:40
My father was the Lt(E) on VENOMOUS from 1944-6 and I set up my own imprint to publish a new enlarged edition of this book mentioned by Richard Drew (below).

A HARD FOUGHT SHIP: THE STORY OF HMS VENOMOUS
Robert J Moore & John A. Rodgaard
384pp, 170 photographs plus maps.
Holywell House Publishing, April 2010

Bob Moore died three years ago and his friend, Captain John Rodgaard USN, took over as lead author. Contact me for more details.

I have a special interest in the time VENOMOUS was based at Douglas working with the Barraccuda aircraft based at RAF Ronaldsway since my father was serving on VENOMOUS at that time.

In 1918 he was a Sub Lt Observer gunner on anti submarine patrol at Houton Bay Air Station on Scapa Flow in Orkney so was commissioned in two wars & two services!

Bill Forster


I have a very good book ' A Hard Fought Ship' by Robert J Moore ISBN 0 9515683 0 2.
About HMS Venomous.

She was launched late in WW1 and by May/June 1940 was at the evacuation Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk (also with HMS Wild Swan which was the boat that my father off the beach at Dunkirk). She fought a long and hard war but ended up at Douglas working with the RNAS Ronaldsway as an aircraft tender, fishing pilots out of the water and towing targets.

Another anecdote is that on entering Douglas Harbour at night and in tricky conditions, she hit the dock rather hard. So three red light were placed on of all places the WRNS accommodation as a guide.

canberra
05-07-2010, 19:18
44 million for 245 metres of runway, well how much does a mile of motorway cost?

Carnaby
14-03-2011, 11:58
Whilst looking for something else (as PtE quotes!), I noted the interesting bomb dump (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=54.08848987938612&lon=-4.614837169647217&gz=17&oz=8&gt=1). Wondered what the remote site to the north-east was?

(I was looking for concrete arrows as the FAA station had several ranges)

Peter Kirk
14-03-2011, 13:58
This is a list of Ronaldsway's closed ranges in 1946

4341

Of this list I only have plans for Port Soderick of which nothing appear to remain.
The others I haven't located precisely.

There was also an AA range at Little Ness (N137).

I'm not sure which ranges, if any, were retained by Ronaldsway at this time (1946).

PETERTHEEATER
15-03-2011, 09:14
Whilst looking for something else (as PtE quotes!), I noted the interesting bomb dump (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=54.08848987938612&lon=-4.614837169647217&gz=17&oz=8&gt=1). Wondered what the remote site to the north-east was?

(I was looking for concrete arrows as the FAA station had several ranges)

I have yet look seriously at FAA explosive storage areas (ESA) for which, I assume, there was some standardisation of buildings. There requirements were peculiar compared to the RAF Bomber Command and Coastal Command and seem to be reflected in the type of buildings and the layouts.

I should not be surprised if that linear site at the NE end of the ESA was for torpedo maintenance and that some of the structures on the ESA are post-war.

manxix
14-08-2011, 21:46
with reference to the photograph of the control tower- this is now subject to the appointment, by the government, of contractors - FOR DEMOLITION OF THE OLD CONTROL TOWER!!!!!!!!!!
description
The Tower is a masonry, brick built construction of around the 1940's. The structure is over four storeys with the Visual Control Room (VCR) located on the top of the structure.
Closing date for applications Tuesday 23 August 2011. tel 01624 662155 internet geraldine.parsons@bsa.co.im

I realise that there is a new control tower, very much higher and a superb 360 degree view, but, the old one is, (floors added) , a WW2 relic which is unfortunately protruding into standing area at the end of the passenger pier.

Alas, alack there goes another WW2 remnant.

Phil

Richard Flagg
21-02-2012, 01:20
A couple of photos of Ronaldsway from the AiX-ARG Archives

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb198/Flyer719/ALL%20OTHER%20PHOTOS/AiX-ARG%20Archives/scan0067-1.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb198/Flyer719/ALL%20OTHER%20PHOTOS/AiX-ARG%20Archives/scan0072-1.jpg

David Thompson
23-06-2012, 22:18
A new private hanger (sic) is being built ;
http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/private-hanger-ready-in-august-1-4672987

manxphoto
30-06-2013, 10:37
Bit of an update on some of the pictures posted here before. The stone building with protruding wooden window is know as 'The Barn Site' and orginally part of one of the farms taken over when HMS Urley was constructed in 1944. The original Ronaldsway airport buildings by Derbyhaven (inculding the ATC Watch Office) had to be demolished and whilst the RN built their own new control tower, the civil ATC (which continued to operate throughout the wartime years) was re-located to the 'Barn Site'. The roof was flattened to accomodate the M/F radio reciever mast and the window construced to improve visibilty. However, most of the airfield is not actually visible from the window! This was not generally a huge problem as actual control of landing and takeoffs was by the 'Control Van' which was parked on a purpose built tarmac loop by the upwind end of the runway in use. Aldis Lamp signals were used for aircraft control on the runways. The building with the pitched roof is located a couple of miles west of the airfield and was the location of another M/F D/F station probablyconstructed before WW2 (can't be certain of this yet). It was situated away from the airfield as surrounding the building were four radio masts about 100ft high. Load more information at www.ronaldswayatc.info - still very much a work in progress, corrections welcome!

Cheers
Jon Wornham

manxphoto
01-07-2013, 21:16
The 'remote site to the north-east' is shown on plans as the 'G.C.I. site' (Ground Control of Interception), As the Barrucuda's were not fighters, I presume it was named such due to the type of radar installed there. According to 'Manx Aviation in War and Peace' the Barracudas operating on the Port Soderick and Perwick ranges were monitored by radar and this site, being located on a hill could observe both ranges. I wonder if MANIX can remember seeing any radar aerials up there? Pobably on a low wooden tower over one of the huts, with a 'Cheese' type aerial on top?

manxphoto
06-07-2013, 17:37
A couple of pictures of the 'Ground Control of Interception' (so named on the 1945 plan of the airfield) site to the NE of Ronaldsway, taken from the new radar tower, Any ideas?
12951 12952

plus one from the quarry road showing both sites.

12950

There's also a large steel post sticking out of the ground visible in the second picture Any ideas?