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Military site : airfield

Built during 1941-42 as a training and factory airfield satellite to RAF Long Kesh, Maghaberry had three concrete runways, 17 pan and 14 loop type hardstandings, and two T2 hangars. Occupied by RAF Army Co-operation squadrons and Operational Training Units during most of 1942-43, the station was also used 1942-45 for the assembly and test-flying of Short Stirling bombers. It was handed over to the Eighth Air Force in November 1943, and developed as a base for delivery of aircraft from the USA to mainland Britain. Controlled by the 27th Air Transport Group at RAF Grove, the US ferrying and air transport squadrons based at Maghaberry also undertook casualty evacuation, pilot conversion training and ground training of aircraft mechanics. Handed back to the RAF in June 1944, the station was put on Care and Maintenance and kept available only for emergency landings, although test-flights of Stirlings continued frequently. It was an Aircraft Storage Unit from 1945, until the process of scrapping surplus Stirlings was completed in 1947. The airfield then closed and was used by various Northern Ireland government agencies until much of the site was acquired in 1974 to build a new prison. HM Prison Maghaberry opened in 1986 and was enlarged in 1999.




  • Warren Chapman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 27th Air Transport Group
    Assigned to 62FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Prop failure in P47D 42-7866. Crashed into trees off runway and suffered head injuries. 9-May-43. Transferred to 311FRS, 27ATG, 9AF USAAF. ...


  • W6652

    Airspeed Oxford W6652, assigned to 312th Ferrying Squadron, 27th Air Transport Group, 8AF USAAF.

  • 42-7870 'Pappy'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 62FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 312FRS, 27ATG, 8AF USAAF.


Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:17 AAM AAM ingest

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Roger Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Manual (2nd edn, London, 2001)

David J. Smith, Action Stations 7: Military Airfields of Scotland, the North-east and Northern Ireland (Cambridge, 1989)