Airfield search

Fearn (Clay of Allan) (including Easter)

Major
Also known as: Fearn 'Drome Industrial Estate / Fearn Industrial Estate / HMS Owl / RAF Fearn / RNAS Fearn
County: Highland
Current Status: Aviation / Farmland / Industry
Date: September 1941 (earliest known date) - 1957; subsequent minor use
Current Use: Limited flying
Used By: RAF / FAA / Civil
Landing Surface Types: Paved
Aircraft Roles: General aviation / Naval aviation / Trainer

Fearn was built as a satellite to Tain, opening in September 1941 under RAF control. However, the RAF used the airfield very sparingly and the site was transferred to the Royal Navy in the summer of 1942, becoming HMS Owl. The Fleet Air Arm operated a torpedo training school at Fearn with several units flying the Fairey Barracuda from the spring of 1943. Small numbers of Fairey Swordfish and Avro Ansons were also used here, the Ansons being used for radar training.

The Navy continued to use Fearn for both training and operational flying with most units having relatively short stays. Barracudas were the main aircraft flying from Fearn during the war, although Fairey Fireflies and a few other aircraft types also joined them at various times.

Following the end of the war, all units had disbanded or left the airfield by the spring of 1946 and Fearn was soon handed back to the RAF. There was some use by the RAF from 1952 and 1953 as a Relief Landing Ground for Airspeed Oxfords based at Dalcross, storage use also occurring prior to the site being officially disposed of.

Many of the airfield buildings survive and the main four storey naval control tower has now been converted into a house. The three runways are still visible and one has occasionally been used by propeller aircraft carrying out circuit training. The dispersal areas can also be clearly seen and a few hangars remain. Fearn was originally tentatively alternatively suggested as having its name as Clay of Allan while being built, and in more recent years has also become known as Easter. Easter is now used as a private airstrip.

 

The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):

  • Balintore & Hilton Community Council
  • Fearn Community Council
  • Fearndrome Garage
  • Nigg and Shandwick Community Council

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 8 AFTS

  • No 708 Sqn

  • No 714 Sqn

  • No 717 Sqn

  • No 719 Sqn

  • No 736B Sqn

  • No 747 Sqn

  • No 812 Sqn

  • No 814 Sqn

  • No 815 Sqn

  • No 816 Sqn

  • No 817 Sqn

  • No 818 Sqn

  • No 819 Sqn

  • No 821 Sqn

  • No 822 Sqn

  • No 823 Sqn

  • No 824 Sqn

  • No 825 Sqn

  • No 826 Sqn

  • No 828 Sqn

  • No 837 Sqn

  • No 841 Sqn

  • No 847 Sqn

  • No 860 Sqn

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Remains of the airfield at Fearn, c. 2012-2013. Courtesy of Allan Kilpatrick.

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Aerial view of Fearn Airfield, looking north, 24 July 2010. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Aerial view of Fearn Airfield accomodation camp, looking east-south-east, 14 May 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Aerial view of Fearn Airfield, looking east-south-east, 14 May 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Aerial view of a hangar at Fearn Airfield, looking east-north-east, 14 May 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Interior of the Mess hall at the accommodation camp, showing the mural of Fleet Air Arm insignia above the fireplace, May 1997. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Fearn airfield Naval control tower, view from the south, also showing a Nissen hut to the rear, May 1997. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Aerial view of a hangar at Fearn Airfield, looking east, 14 May 2015. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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A Luftwaffe aerial reconnaissance photograph showing Fearn, 1941. © Historic Environment Scotland (Luftwaffe: Aerial Reconnaissance (Scotland)), canmore.org.uk

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Gas decontamination centre at Fearn, view from the west showing the venting column and water tank on the roof, 6 May 1997. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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Mainhill type hangar at Fearn from the east, 6 May 1997. © Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, canmore.org.uk

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The Second World War control tower at Fearn, 2 August 2011. © Donald Bain and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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Plan of Fearn, c. 1940s. © Royal Navy Research Archive. Click here for more information.

Parent(s)/HQ Airfields(s):

Dalcross

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