Back to Trail Four – Wigtown to Stranraer

RAF West Freugh

Located around 8 miles south-east of Stranraer, RAF West Freugh has a long history with aviation. Established as a Royal Naval Air Station during World War 1 as an airship base, it was re-opened in 1937 by the RAF becoming 4 Bombing and Gunnery School, similar to Dumfries and flying the same range of training aircraft.

During the war it also housed the Bomber Command Experimental Unit, which meant that a number of interesting types were seen in the area such as Avro Manchesters and Lancasters, Handley-Page Hampdens and Halifaxes, de Havilland Mosquitos and North American B-25 Mitchells amongst others.

This research work continued after the war, with the airfield becoming home to the Royal Aircraft Establishment and ultimately QinetiQ, the defence contractor.

West Freugh has over a thousand square kilometres of military ranges, both on land and sea, and is a centre for weapons and aircraft test and development amongst many other roles.

Today, the runways are disused except for military exercises, but the ranges are still very much in use. There is little left of the original airfield infrastructure, and because of the nature of the site we advise to view this from the public roads and not to attempt to explore further.

Image credit – Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum collection, John McLeish

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