Ballywalter Airfield

Only limited remains can be found here.

Officially known as No. 16 Satellite Landing Ground. It was prepared for use by 23 Maintenance Unit at RAF Aldergrove during the early months of 1941. The first test landing was made by an Anson, April 25 1941. The length of the runways had to be extended due to the effect strong crosswinds across the strip was having on landing aircraft. Aircraft were stored here throughout the war being used as a overspill facility. The planes were hidden under the trees of nearby Dunleath Estate. (Information from*

Training flights took place along Strangford Lough and if walking there today you may still find spent shells from these aircraft on the shore.

Photo Credit - Pillbox at Ballywalter Airfield  - *'The Second World War in Northern Ireland'

* NB These are external sites. All content is independent and does not reflect the views or opinions of Ards and North Down Borough Council.

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 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. 

MPU Image

Contact Details

  • Address Ballywalter Airfield Springfield Road Newtownards Co Down BT22 2PE
  • Telephone 028 9182 6846
  • Email Ards VIC
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