Kingstown Airfield

Although not within the parish Kingstown Airfield which was opened in 1931 was built on land adjacent to the parish. It initially comprised a small grass airfield with just a few wooden huts and a single hanger and had to wait until 1933 for the first plane to land. Regular scheduled services began 12 months later and the border flying club was formed in 1935. On 1st July the first military unit was formed and the no 38 elementary and reserve flying training school trained pilots for the expanding RAF. The airfields facilities were extended with more hangers, technical buildings and some accommodation. With the outbreak of the Second World War the civilian operated flying school was closed until November 1939 when it re-opened with the arrival of 12 Avro Ansons and No. 3 air observer and navigator school. In May 1940 15 efts the commanding officer and all civilian staff were moved from surrey to Kingstown. Over the next 5 years the use of the airfield and training school grew and at the beginning of 1945 the strength of the unit peaked with 108 aircraft being flown by 70 instructors by august 1945 the unit reduced to 45 aircraft with the war in Europe ended. The last full flying course to pass through Kingstown began on 13th October 1947 and the unit was disbanded on 31st December 1947. In 1948 all key buildings on the airfield were handed over to Carlisle Corporation.

RAF Carlisle during World War II (AirfieldInformationExchange)

RAF Carlisle during World War II (AirfieldInformationExchange)

Involved in a POW escape attempt

RAF Kingstown featured in one of the most audacious escape attempts by any German prisoners of war during World War Two. On 24 November 1941, two German pilots, held at POW Camp No 15 at Shap in a former hotel and now known as the Shap Wells Hotel, escaped with flying jackets over their Luftwaffe uniforms and carrying forged identity documents that purported them to be Dutch airmen attached to the RAF.

Without any apparent difficulty the pilots entered RAF Kingstown and, with the help of an RAF ground mechanic, started up a Miles Magister trainer aircraft and took off. Short of fuel they landed at another RAF airfield and refuelled. Setting off for the Netherlands they suddenly realised the aircraft’s range was insufficient and they turned back. Landing in a field near Great Yarmouth they were recaptured and taken to RAF Horsham St Faith. Returned to the Shap POW camp to spend 28 days in solitary, both airmen were then shipped to more secure confinement in Canada.