Ballyhalbert was an RAF airfield which was active during the Second World War. The airfield accommodated squadrons of the RAF along with Polish forces. If you wish to visit what little is left of this site the address is as follows: Shore Road, Newtownards, County Down, BT22 1BJ.
Construction at Ballyhalbert began in 1940. A windmill stump at Clydesburn was destroyed during the building process and the airfield was officially opened on 28th June 1941. Throughout the years, Ballyhalbert saw service from the RAF, WAAF and Royal Navy personnel. Servicemen from as far as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America were also present at the airfield. Two local churchyards close by hold the remains of Canadian, Australian and Polish men who died while serving at Ballyhalbert. (From Ballyhalbert Historical Society)
The information below was complied from the Abandoned and Little Known Airfields website. Please follow the link to view the website.
Ballyhalbert during the Polish stay. Image from forgottenairfields.com
The airfield was built in 1940-41. It was put into service in May 1941, just prior to the completion of works as a Fighter Command airifled. It was officially opened on 29 June 1941. On 14 July 1941 the first operational unit arrived with No. 245 Sqn in their Hawker Hurricanes. In 1941 and 42 enemy reconnaissance flights over Northern Ireland were frequent. These operations and the airfields poor weather record meant there was a steady drain of pilots owing to accidents. Of three aircraft taking off on 9 February 1942, one landed in a field, one landed with only 6 gallons of fuel left and a third disappeared alotogether. The body of its pilot Sgt. Cannon, washed ashore in a dingy on the Mull of Galloway, having died of exposure.
Spitfires at Ballhalbert. Image from forgottenairfields.com
By January 1942 the arifield was in a terrible state. Heavy rains meant most of the buildings had water pouring in, causing complaints about the hasty construction.
On 19 May 1944, General Eisenhower made a brief stopover at the airfield.
The airfield was decommissioned in November 1945, and sold off at auction in March 1960. It was used as a caravan site however from 2010 it was torn up and used to build housing estates. There is very little evidence of the airfield remaining.
Photo taken in 1990 showing the caravans on site. This image was taken from forgottenairfields.com