RAF Macmerry

RAF Macmerry is a former Royal Air Force station located 4.5 miles (7.2 km) west of Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland and 11.4 miles (18.3 km) east of Edinburgh. It was situated immediately to the north east of Macmerry on the north side of the A1 road. It has also been called RNAS Macmerry (when used by the Royal Navy) and unofficially RAF Tranent and RAF Penston during its life.[1]

RAF Macmerry
RNAS Macmerry
RAF Tranent
RAF Penston

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerAir Ministry
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Royal Navy
LocationMacmerry, East Lothian
Built1934 (1934)
In use1934-1953 (1953)
Elevation AMSL272 ft / 83 m
Coordinates55°57′02″N 002°53′36″W / 55.95056°N 2.89333°W / 55.95056; -2.89333Coordinates: 55°57′02″N 002°53′36″W / 55.95056°N 2.89333°W / 55.95056; -2.89333
RAF Macmerry is located in East Lothian
RAF Macmerry
RAF Macmerry
Location in East Lothian
Direction Length Surface
ft m
00/00 0 0 Grass
00/00 0 0 Grass
00/00 0 0 Grass


A landing ground known as Penston was used by the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. Subsequently, an adjacent site was developed as Macmerry airfield by the Edinburgh Flying Club, and this was used for scheduled flights by North Eastern Airways from 1936 to 1939. In 1942 Macmerry was expanded to encompass the former Penston site.

Civil flying ceased with the outbreak of World War II, and the airfield was taken over by the RAF as a satellite to the nearby fighter station RAF Drem, although its role was soon expanded to other uses. From March 1941 until July 1943 a succession of RAF Army Cooperation Command squadrons were stationed at Macmerry using Blenheim, Lysander and Mustang aircraft. Part of No. 58 Operational Training Unit from RAF Grangemouth used Macmerry for fighter training until April 1942 when RAF Balado Bridge opened as a satellite to Grangemouth. Macmerry was also used as a satellite to the Operational Training Unit at RAF East Fortune - this was initially No. 60 OTU (night-fighter training), and from November 1942 onwards No. 132 OTU (coastal strike and long-range fighter training). Other wartime activities at RAF Macmerry included a works operated by Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft for aircraft repair and modification; a training school for the RAF Regiment and an Elementary Gliding School.[2]

The airfield also continued to function as a satellite to RAF Drem, which had hosted a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm night fighter training school (784 Naval Air Squadron) since October 1942. Naval use increased in December 1943 when 740 Naval Air Squadron formed at Macmerry, this being a communications squadron which used a variety of aircraft including the de Havilland Dominie, Avro Anson, Fairey Swordfish and Stinson Reliant. As the war in Europe drew to a close the need for home defence fighter stations declined, but the Fleet Air Arm needed more airfields to train aircrew for the war against Japan. Accordingly, both RAF Drem and RAF Macmerry were transferred to the Royal Navy as HMS Nighthawk and HMS Nighthawk II in April and June 1945 respectively. However, the end of the war curtailed the need for naval aircrews and RNAS Macmerry was handed back to the RAF in December 1945.[2] Thereafter military use of RAF Macmerry was limited to the gliding school, which closed in 1946.

In August 1946 the civil airfield was reopened by the Edinburgh Flying Club, but it closed in 1953.

Units Stationed at MacmerryEdit

Current useEdit

The airfield site is now occupied by agriculture, a go-kart centre and the realigned A1 dual carriageway, whereas the technical and domestic sites are an industrial estate.[8]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 195.
  2. ^ a b Smith 1983, p. 46.
  3. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 28.
  4. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 45.
  5. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 73.
  6. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 99.
  7. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 100.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Macmerry (Tranent)". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 22 October 2013.


  • Jefford, C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Smith, David J. (1983). Action Stations 7. Military Airfields of Scotland, the North-East and Northern Ireland. Cambridge: Patrick Stephens Limited. ISBN 0-85059-563-0.