Initially used as a storage site for 18 Maintenance Unit at Dumfries, Annan was opened as an airfield in its own right in 1942. It was home to 55 Operational Training Unit, teaching new pilots how to become effective fighter pilots.
As well as normal tactics and dogfighting, Annan’s speciality was training for ‘Rhubarb’ missions. These were flown from the south coast over the channel to occupied France, where the fighters would fly low and fire at military targets of opportunity. These included convoys, troop trains, airfields and fuel dumps, and the idea was to harass the Germans and cause damage to their war effort. They trained for this by flying out over the Solway to Cumbria and carrying out simulated attacks there.
The most common aircraft used at Annan was war-weary Hawker Hurricane fighters, and eventually Hawker Typhoons – a dedicated ground attack aircraft.