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1937
Grass Strip

1939
Construction begins

1941
53 OTU move in

Post WWII
No.4 CAACU

1950
Avro Tudor air crash

1957
Base closes

1963
SWRCS begin flying


More History Links
can be found at:

Wikipedia

Coflein
(Royal Commission)

Control Towers

Luftwaffe Attacks
on S. Wales

Pill-Box Study Grp.

Picket-Hamilton
Forts

Llandow Air Crash

 

History

A Lifetime of Flying at Llandow

Some of Llandow's many hangarsIt was in June 1937, over 70 years ago, that aeroplanes first took to the skies from a temporary grass airstrip in the Vale of Glamorgan. That airstrip wassituated between the picturesque villages of Sigingstone and Llandow.

Construction of the airfield as we know it today began in 1939, just before the outbreak of the 2nd World War.

53 Operational Training Unit moved in two years later, in July 1941, even before the Contractors men and equipment had moved out!

The airfield became known as RAF Llandow, and 614 "County of Glamorgan" were the first Squadron to use the new airstrip.   Flying commenced with Hawker Hind and Harts, as part of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

The base came under attack only once during the War.  From a Junkers 88.  Flying low it managed to drop four Land Mines that damaged a hangar and demolished a hut.  One Sergeant was injured.

South Wales Radio Control Society's runwayRAF Llandow saw out the rest of the War with various Maintenance and Aircraft Units and delt with nearly every aircraft type the in RAF.

After the War, No. 4 Civilian Anti Aircraft Co-operation Unit moved to RAF Llandow.  They were tasked with towing targets for Army and Navy Gunnery practice.  The unit flew Spitfires, Beaufighters and Mosquitoes, and later Vampires; one of which broke up at high speed over the airfield in 1954. The pilot was killed instantly.

Memorial in Sigingstone to the air disasterBut disaster had struck four years earlier. On the 12th. March 1950 the eyes of the world turned to Llandow, and what was then, the biggest single disaster in British aviation history. 

An Avro Tudor V (G-AKBY) returning with Welsh rugby supporters from Collinstown airfield near Dublin (Ireland) reared upwards to around 350 ft. and at angle of 60-70 degrees.  The planes'   engines stopped abruptly and it stalled into the ground starboard wing first, just yards from runway 28.  Only three of the eighty three people on board survived.

Llandows' hopes of becoming South Wales’s new Municipal Airport never recovered from the disaster and in 1957, with the disbanding of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, there was little choice but to close the base.

Since Llandow closed to aircraft several small industrial and trading estates have sprung up employing people in a variety of jobs.

The Tower Café, LlandowThe airfield’s Control Tower has even been converted into a Café.

But the solid concrete runways lay dormant.   Until in 1963 the embryonic South Wales Radio Control Society were looking for a place to fly model aircraft!

If any one has more information on the history of Llandow please let us know!

Check out more links to the history of RAF Llandow, in the box on the left.

© SWRCS 2019