Abbotsinch, between the Black Cart Water and the White Cart Water, near Paisley in Renfrewshire, was opened and the Royal Air Force 602 Squadron (City of Glasgow) Auxiliary Air Force moved its Wapiti IIA aircraft from nearby Renfrew in January 1933. The RAF Station HQ, however, was not formed until 1 July 1936 when 6 Auxiliary Group, Bomber Command, arrived. From May 1939, until moving away in October 1939, the Squadron flew the Supermarine Spitfire.
In 1940 a Torpedo training unit was formed, which trained both RAF and Royal Navy crews. On 11 August 1943 Abbotsinch was handed over solely to the Royal Navy and it became a Stone frigate. All Her Majesty’s Ships and Stone Frigates are given names and Abbotsinch’s was HMS Sanderling; however Abbotsinch had been known as HMS Sanderling since June 1940. During the 1950s, the airfield had housed a large aircraft storage unit and squadrons of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
The Royal Navy left in October 1963. The name Sanderling was however retained as a link between the two: HMS Sanderling’s ship’s bell was presented to the new airport and a bar in the airport was named The Sanderling Bar.