Unit History: RN Air Station Evanton
HMS Fieldfare, also known as RNAS Evanton and later as RAF Evanton, is a disused airfield in Ross and Cromarty, Scotland. It lies on the shore of the Cromarty Firth near the village of Evanton.
An airfield was established on the site in 1922 to support the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet, which had one of its main bases nearby at Invergordon. (Before arriving in port, aircraft carriers must fly off their aircraft to a land base: it is difficult or impossible for fixed wing aircraft to operate from a carrier while the ship is at anchor.) Originally, the navy used a site at Delny, near Invergordon, but it could not be enlarged for larger planes. At first, the airfield was known as the Novar base, after the Novar estate which owned the land. At the time naval aviation was in the hands of the "The Fleet Air Arm of the RAF" and HMS Fieldfare was serviced from RAF Leuchars.
In 1937 it was decided to expand the aerodrome and it became a flight and bombing training school. By the start of the Second World War the Home Fleet had moved to Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands to be out of range of German Bombers. The airfield was shared by the RAF, to whom it was known as RAF Evanton. During the War it was used principally as a training base, particularly for the training of air gunners. By 1943 it was being used for Coastal Command maintenance and it later became storage yard with up to 250 aircraft. The Cromarty Firth was used as a seaplane base during the War and the RAF maintained a presence in Alness until at least the 1980s.
On Empire Day 1939 78 RAF stations were opened to the public. RAF Evanton was the furthest north and attracted a mile long queue of cars and 9,000 visitors.
RAF Evanton theoretically closed in 1947, but may have been used for secret flights by the Americans in the 1950s. Today the site is an industrial estate, but parts of the X shaped runways can still be seen. There is a good view from the top of Fyrish.