Unit History: RN Air Station Crail
Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Crail was a World War II airfield located to the east of Crail, and designated as HMS Jackdaw.
Tower and buildings
© OsclayThe use of the site as an airfield dates from World War I, when it served as a Royal Flying Core (RFC) training depot from 1918 to 1919.
World War II saw its development as a Fleet Air Arm (FAA) station, RNAS Crail, from 1930 to 1947, when it served as a torpedo training school, HMS Jackdaw. There are also references to Balcomie Airfield, after the main access road.
From 1947 to 1949, it was redesignated HMS Bruce, becoming a training establishment for boys from the age of 15, and had a reputation for having a harsh discipline.
From 1952 to 1956, the accommodation were used on an intermittent basis by the Black Watch.
From 1956 to 1960, it served as JSSL Crail, the Joint Services School for Linguists, a Russian language school which operated as part of the county’s response to the Cold War.
The airfield is now used for motor sports as Crail Raceway, for microlights, and for car boot sales.
The runways and all major buildings have survived, and the site has been given Scheduled Status by Historic Scotland, granted in 2006.