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Thread: Machrihanish

  1. #11
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    Default Re: RAF Machrihanish - MERGED

    On the subject of the parallell taxiway I think it may have been used as a runway in 78-79. The main runway surface was quite badly damaged by frost and it needed to close for repairs so Im guessing the parallell taxiway was used.
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 20-07-2009 at 23:05.

  2. #12
    Senior Member mitrovitchp's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Machrihanish - MERGED

    There was a US Naval weapons storage facility at RAF St Mawgan run on similar lines to Machrihanish, also storing Nuclear Depth Charges. The facility at St Mawgan was guarded by a permanent detachment of US Marines. Does anyone have any photos of the one at Machrihanish?
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 20-07-2009 at 23:05.

  3. #13

    Default Re: RAF Machrihanish - MERGED

    Quote Originally Posted by mitrovitchp
    There was a US Naval weapons storage facility at RAF St Mawgan run on similar lines to Machrihanish, also storing Nuclear Depth Charges. The facility at St Mawgan was guarded by a permanent detachment of US Marines. Does anyone have any photos of the one at Machrihanish?
    I've got a few aerial shots of the airfield, do you know exactly where it was?
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 20-07-2009 at 23:05.

  4. #14

    Default Re: RAF Machrihanish - MERGED

    US Naval Special Warfare Detachment 1 used to maintain a low key presence on base as a jumping off point for "operations" in Europe. Came across them once and were a friendly bunch. Not sure how permanent their presence was or whether it was related to the storage facility.

  5. #15
    Senior Member mitrovitchp's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Machrihanish - MERGED

    Quote Originally Posted by LFT
    I've got a few aerial shots of the airfield, do you know exactly where it was?
    Looking at Google Earth, I would say that it is in the far North West corner of the site, not far from the coast.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: RAF Machrihanish - MERGED

    The Special Warfare Det or SEALS came up to Tain by CH53 for an exercise. Basically they hid out on therange and A10s tried to find them, boy were the A10s thrown around looking for them!

  7. #17
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    Default Re: RAF Machrihanish - MERGED

    I served at Machrihanish from '94 to '96 right upto when it went into deep care and maintenance and the regular RAF moved out.

    The weapons dump was indeed to the North West of the airfield. When I got there there had been a huge building project, building new watch towers that were never used. They still had the cellophane on the windows!! They also built a brand new Control Tower which I was told had cost £8 million. We only moved into it a month before we moved out. Up until that point, we had been in the old 1950's tower. The tower was rated at just 50kts of wind, anything above that and we should have vacated. The wind there regularly reached 80kts, we remained at our posts but had it in our heads to duck under the desk if the windows gave way. In fact, each window had about an inch of movement in them, we would be happy if we were hearing them rattling and banging, when it went silent - you knew that the windows were being pushed by the wind and that's when you were worried.

    The old tower was originally built by the Navy, and so the steps up to the Air Traffic bit, were unusually steep - just like you would have on a ship. When we were clearing out the tower, much of the furniture was too big to get down them so we launched them off the balcony.

    The seals accomodation was in a large L shaped barrack block in the South East of the domestic site. We turned that into offices when they left and only manned the tower for aircraft movements, at all other times we'd go to these offices and continue stripping the station's buildings of their furniture for burning or disposal.

    I remember going over their compound and training on their indoor range on a Colt 45 automatic. The MOD is particularly anal about ammunition, these boys had plastic bins full to the brim with loose rounds. Good fun!

    I can't say I particularly enjoyed the place to be honest, it was cold,unbelievably windy and too far from anything to get some decent downtime. Campbeltown's only place of interest were LOADS of pubs and a Woolworths. I wonder what the town is doing now that Wooly's has gone.

    It makes me chuckle hearing mention of the 'Aurora'! I'm afraid it was rubbish all of the mentions of this 'aircraft' operating from Mac. The best we got was Logan Air, The occassional Herc and a weekly C12 (Beech200).

    Sadly, it's another airfield gone. Far too many in my opinion have vanished over the past 20 years and I do hope that it remains an active airfield.

    Just my two pennies worth!
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 20-07-2009 at 23:06.

  8. #18
    Senior Member EGDGZTCW's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Machrihanish - MERGED

    I spent a two week detachment here sometime in the mid 80's, can't remember exactly when. I was part of a JMC exercise (Joint Maritime Competition). I flew in onboard a Nimrod, courtesy of good old 42 Sqn, and flew out 10 days later on a Logan Air Twin Otter (back to St Mawgan via Glasgow and Heathrow) I was there to train the Auxiliaries from Pitreavie Castle in the finer arts of Flight Planning as they were supplying the manning for the Ops set up. A good crew they were too! I remember the old tower as I visited my fellow Air Trafficers there during my stay. But alas, I didn't take any photo's of any of it. I do remember the stunning scenary and particularly the sun sets over the beach. I don't recall the hangar referred to as the "Aurora Hangar" but it must have been there at the time as I was in the Ops building on that side of the airfield. As for Aurora aircraft (I assume you mean the Canadian CP140 Aurora ?? which is identical to the P3 Orion at a quick glance) I'm confident we had one with us, along with US Navy P3's, a particular Norwegian P3 with a looney pilot, Atlantiques from France and Germany, Nimrod from Blighty and the dutch P3, or was that a CP140 Aurora also?, can't remember that either!
    I wish I had seen more of the place, but I was on night shift for the entire bash, and spent most of the day in my pit. I did bring back a sticker and on it was printed "RAF Machri where??" This I proudly stuck to my office door in Flight Planning at RAF ST Mawgan. It was there for many years but alas, just like RAF St mawgan, is there no longer.

    How I miss the Cold War..........
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 20-07-2009 at 23:06.

  9. #19
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    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 20-07-2009 at 23:06.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Machrihanish / Campbeltown

    In case anyone wondered what it looked like before the cold war was invented here is a good aerial view.

    http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site...nish+airfield/
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 20-07-2009 at 23:06.

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