The Airfield Room

Lingering in the Airfield Room and learning about the famous Crail airfield is a must for almost every visitor to our Museum.  Through artefacts, memorabilia and photographs you can find out more about its fascinating history.

Opening in July 1918 and with just grass runways, the aerodrome was used by aircraft such as the Avro 504K and the Royal Aircraft Factory FE2B.   It was built for the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) by Laing as a training facility but closed in 1919 and the land returned to the farmers.

The Royal Navy commissioned the airfield on 1 October 1940 as HMS Jackdaw for use as a Torpedo Attack Training School, using aircraft such as Fairey Albacores and Fairey Swordfish.

Crail became HMS Bruce in 1947 and was used as a training facility for boys from the age of 15 who stayed in Crail for nine months.  The airfield was used by The Black Watch at various times in the 1950s and St Andrews University Air Squadron also operated de Havilland Canada Chipmunks from Crail until 1958.

At the height of the Cold War between 1956 and 1960 the Joint Services School for Linguists (JSSL) was based at Crail, teaching Russian and to a lesser degree Polish and Czech.