Only runway lighting and control tower remain at Ballyhalbert.
It opened provisionally in May 1941 as a RAF Fighter Command base where the primary weapon was the Supermarine Spitfire, and officially on 28 June of that same year. The base provided local protection from Luftwaffe raids on Belfast and the rest of the province. Other aircraft operated from the base; the Hawker Hurricane, Bristol Beaufighter, North American P-51 Mustang and Boulton Paul Defiant night fighter.
During its lifetime, Ballyhalbert was home to RAF, Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), British Army, Royal Navy and United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) personnel. Servicemen from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Poland also saw duty at Ballyhalbert.
RAF in Kircubbin During WW2
Thanks to Ernie Cromie (Ulster Aviation Society) for providing the following information.
By the autumn of 1941, an RAF fighter group, No 82, had become operational with exclusive responsibility for the defence of Northern Ireland, with group Headquarters at Stormont. The bunker at Kircubbin (No.2 on trail) was the operations room for the Belfast sector, However, there is speculation that it might have been designed to accommodate ‘last ditch’ defence requirements in the event that Great Britain had been invaded and Westminster had ceased to be the seat of government.
In October 1942, No.82 Group was abolished and the and the Senate Chamber became the location of the HQ of the Royal Air Force in Northern Ireland. All operational personnel, including those who had been at Kircubbin from the outset, were transferred to Stormont and Sector operations rooms at Kircubbin were closed. The Stormont facility was operational until the end of the war.