Unit History: RAF Tain

RAF Tain
RAF Tain was a World War II airfield built on Morrich More to the ease of the town of Tain, which lies on the shore of the Dornoch Firth, northeast of Invergordon.
The RAF Tain area links with the military aviation back to 1913, when it was viewed by the War Office for use as an aerial navel base to complement existing fortifications in the area.  Form records it showed that the area of Tain provided good weather conditions for extended flying operations, also with its proximity to Kinloss and Lossiemouth led to the construction of the original Tain Range.  It was used in the period between world war One and Two by both the RAF and FAA.
Tain airfield was developed from a pre-war landing ground serving the Tain Bombing Ranges, a part of which was used to build the complex. The airfield consisted of three runways, from 4,350ft to 6,000ft in length with three dispersal areas, and Bellman, Blister and 'T2' type hangars.
After six years of flying operations RAF Tain is no longer operational, reverted to its original role as a weapons range and now it is one of the busiest ranges in the UK.
RAF Tain is now under the control of DTE (Defence Training Estates). The current situation is the largest live weapons range in the DTE.  One of only three ranges in Europe where 1,000 pound bombs maybe dropped live.  The remaining runways, hard standings and parkways have become overgrown with grass, several WWII airfield building in various conditions are slowly decaying and can still be seen.

RAF Tain during WW2


The airfield was opened officially on 16th September 1941 as a Fighter Sector Station. Along with RAF Lossiemouth, Tain had been designated as a forward base for bombers, attacking the battleship Tirpitz when it was based at Trondheim in Norway.

In 1943 a Torpedo refresher school was formed to keep crew up to date with the torpedo training and both RAF and FAA crews used the facilities. In May 1944 the NE-SW runway was extended in preparation for the arrival of the Liberators. One of the first actions by 66 squadron Liberators from Tain was fought on 26th June 1944 when a U-boat was spotted on the surface. Two attacks were made, and on the second, three depth charges exploding on the starboard side of the U-boat caused it to turn over and sink. The Liberator had been damaged by gunfire and had to land at Stornoway where it was found that a shell had gone through the main spar.

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