Back to Trail Two - Eastriggs to Moffat

RAF Annan

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.

Annan suffered from poor weather being near the coast, and it was closed for flying in 1944. It became a sub-site on 14 Maintenance Unit at Carlisle and was used as storage, especially for munitions, and remained in this role until it was closed in 1952.

It gained a new lease of life in 1955 when it was chosen as the site for Chapelcross nuclear power station which was eventually decommissioned in 2004. The distinctive cooling towers stood on the old runway and could be seen for miles around until they were demolished in 2007.




Image credit – Devil’s Porridge Museum collection

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