Another very impotant airfield in Northern Ireland was Nutts Corner. You can access this site and drive around what is left of the base. Nutts Corner was a transatlantic reception terminal for huge numbers of crews and aircraft being flown to the UK from America for use by the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces.
Plan of Nutts Corner from Forgotten Airfields
Nutts Corner was first used in summer 1941 as the base of RAF Coastal Command’s 120 Squadron, the first to be supplied with American B-24 Liberator anti submarine aircraft. In mid 1942 work began to lengthen the runways and increase aircraft parking spaces, construction of which continued into 1944. In July 1943 the first arrivals came, B-17 Flying Fortresses which flew in via Gander in Newfoundland.
July 1944 was a record breaking month for Nutts Corner when 372 aircraft airrived. Flights to Nutts Corner however were quite eventful. On 13 January 1944 for example, 24 bombers left Goose Bay – only 8 made it to Nutts Corner. 8 lnaded at St Angelo, 2 at Sydenham and 1 each at Ballyhalbert and Cluntoe. A further 2 landed in Scotland. The remaining 2 crash landed; 1 at Carrickfergus and another in Loch Quoich, Scotland, killing one of the crew. It is not known why these events occured, whether it was down to weather, navigational or technical difficulties.
Nutts Corner in the 1940s from Forgotten Airfields
To support crews flying in and out of Nutts Corner the Americans established a mobile RAWIN (acronym for RADAR WINDS) Station at the base which became invaluable to meteorologists in making forecasts. This technology worked when a hydrogen-filled balloon which carrying a radar target, radio and pressure sensor was released and tracked by radar or theodolite to determine wind speeds at various heights. The readings were transmitted electronically to the ground station.
Event though designated by the USAAF as AAF Station No.235 within the European Wing of Air Transport Command, Nutts Corner remained under RAF control.
Above information from Overhead and Over Here by Ernie Cromie