RAF Carew Cheriton

RAF Carew Cheriton is a former Royal Air Force airfield of Coastal and Training Command near Carew, Pembrokeshire. It was sited 4.7 miles (7.6 km) north west of Tenby. It was built on the site of RNAS Pembroke (aka RNAS Milton) from the First World War, which had been decommissioned and sold off in the inter war years.

RAF Carew Cheriton
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Carew, Pembrokeshire in Wales
RAF Carew Cheriton is located in Pembrokeshire
RAF Carew Cheriton
RAF Carew Cheriton
Shown within Pembrokeshire
Coordinates51°41′23″N 004°48′39″W / 51.68972°N 4.81083°W / 51.68972; -4.81083Coordinates: 51°41′23″N 004°48′39″W / 51.68972°N 4.81083°W / 51.68972; -4.81083
TypeRoyal Air Force station
Site information
OwnerAir Ministry
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Site history
Built1938 (1938)
In use1938-1945 (1945)
Airfield information
Elevation28 metres (92 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
06/24 965 metres (3,166 ft) Asphalt
12/30 1,040 metres (3,412 ft) Asphalt
16/34 765 metres (2,510 ft) Asphalt


First World WarEdit

Royal Naval Air Station Pembroke or Milton as it was known then opened in August 1915. The base operated SS-class (Submarine Scout or Sea Scout), SSZ-class (Sea Scout Zero) and C-class (Coastal-class or 'Coastals') non-rigid airships which operated over the Irish Sea, Bristol Channel and Western Approaches on anti-submarine patrols. In April 1917 the base began operating Sopwith 1½ Strutter and Airco D.H.6 biplanes.

Upon the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF) on 1 April 1918, the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) ceased to exist. The location acquired the dual designation of RAF Pembroke[1][2] and Royal Naval Airship Station Pembroke. Use of the designation "RN Airship Station" was entirely valid, because the airships remained the property of the Admiralty, never being transferred to the Air Ministry.[3]

RAF Pembroke was part of No.14 Group, RAF, successor to the RNAS "Milford Haven Anti-Submarine Group". No.14 Group included No.255 Squadron, RAF. The entire site closed in March 1920.

SSZ-class airship SSZ17 Landing at Royal Naval Air Station Pembroke 1917. The hangars in the background are no longer standing.
Avro Anson Mk.I K6285/MW-F foreground and Avro Anson Mk.I N9742/MW-Y background of No.321 (Dutch) Squadron RAF.

Second World WarEdit

Carew Cheriton was recommissioned in 1938, initially with grass runways. From the early 1940s there were three concrete runways, making the station a Class A airfield. The airfield was used as a support station for the flying boat operations at RAF Pembroke Dock. Operational flying ceased in 1942. On 15 April 1941 12 airmen were killed in a Luftwaffe air raid which hit the station's sickbay. In 1942 the station became No. 10 Radio School, a training camp for aircrew wireless operators. RAF Carew Cheriton closed in 1945.

Based squadronsEdit

Squadron Aircraft From To To Notes
32 Hawker Hurricane I 17 April 1941 1 June 1941 RAF Angle Detachment from RAF Pembrey.[4]
48 Bristol Beaufort I 16 July 1940 3 August 1941 RAF Stornoway Detachment from RAF Hooton Park.[5]
75 Vickers Wellington I 14 September 1939 8 April 1940 Disbanded Detachment from RAF Harwell.[6]
217 Avro Anson I
Bristol Beaufort I
2 October 1939 29 October 1941 RAF Thorney Island Detachment from RAF St Eval.[7]
236 Bristol Blenheim IVF
Bristol Beaufighter IC
21 March 1941 9 February 1942 RAF Wattisham A detachment was at RAF St Eval.[8]
238 Hawker Hurricane IIA 1 April 1941 16 April 1941 RAF Chilbolton Detachment from RAF Pembrey.[9]
254 Bristol Blenheim IVF 11 February 1942 1 June 1942 RAF Dyce [10]
286 Hawker Hurricane IIC April 1942 April 1944 RAF Zeals Detachment from RAF Lulsgate Bottom.[11]
320 Lockheed Hudson I 18 January 1941 21 March 1941 RAF Leuchars Absorbed 321 Squadron.[12]
321 Avro Anson I 24 June 1940 18 January 1941 RAF Carew Cheriton Absorbed by 320 Squadron.[12]
500 Bristol Blenheim IV 30 May 1941 22 March 1942 RAF Stornoway Detachment from RAF Bircham Newton.[13]
587 Hawker Henley I
Hawker Hurricane IV
Miles Martinet
Hawker Hurricane IIC
10 April 1944 1 October 1944 RAF Weston Zoyland Detachment from RAF Culmhead.[14]


The base was used as an emergency landing site on two occasions after its closure. A de Havilland Vampire FB.5 from Anglesey made a successful emergency landing on the old runway after experiencing mechanical problems. A Bristol Beaufighter in a separate incident also attempted an emergency landing but sadly crashed short of the runway with no survivors.

In 2019 a memorial was unveiled to those of the 5,000 soldiers in the US Army's 110th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Pembrokeshire from 1943 to 1944, who died during the liberation of Europe.[15][16]

Current useEdit

The site is no longer used as an airfield though much remains including the runway and the Second World War control tower (adjacent to the Carew Cheriton Showground) has been restored by the Carew Cheriton Control Tower Group, and turned into a museum which is open to the public. The airfield is also used for various events and activities including car boot sales, auctions and part of the airfield has been converted for use as a go-cart track.



  1. ^ Bones Aviation Page, "UK Airfields Macmerry to Syerston" Archived 13 April 2013 at Archive.today downloaded 09 June 2014.
  2. ^ Dyfed Archeological Trust. "Twentieth Century Military Sites: Airfields. A threat-related assessment 2011-2012, p.29.
  3. ^ Turpin, B. British Naval Airships 1909-1921, to be published 2015. Pers Corr with the author.
  4. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 35.
  5. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 41.
  6. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 48.
  7. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 71.
  8. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 75.
  9. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 76.
  10. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 79.
  11. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 84.
  12. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 86.
  13. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 94.
  14. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 97.
  15. ^ "Pembrokeshire memorial plan for US D-Day servicemen". BBC News. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  16. ^ "D-Day: Pembrokeshire memorial unveiled for US soldiers". BBC News. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.


  • Jefford, C.G. RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External linksEdit