The St Merryn aerodrome was developed in 1937 for civil use and had one hanger. In 1939 the admiralty surveyed and acquired the site for military use. Construction started immediately and the base was commissioned on 10 August 1940. The airfield was renamed RNAS St Merryn, HMS Vulture and was a front-line training establishment for carrier-borne aircraft and crews. Another unit named HMS Curlew joined the base as a second-line training squadron.
The airfield was bombed by German aircraft in 1941. A rebuilding programme was carried out in 1944-45. RNAS St Merryn was closed in January 1956