GOSPORT
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EGUG:Lat/Long 51 57 00N/00 35 00E .Grid ref SU 586010 .24 feet ASL.2 miles west of Gosport

RUNWAYS:Tarmac N/S 550 yds, NW/SE 700 yds,both abandoned in 1940 and replaced by Grass: 18/36 1500 yds,05/23 600x50 yds,08/26 533x50 yds,20/02 1250 yds.

Gosport Map TITLE
Gosport Aerodrome as shown on map in early 1920s .
Gosport Map TITLE
Gosport.1943,"A" - Fort Grange,"B"- Fort Rowner.

Some sources say that first use of the site at Gosport was in 1909 when Lt.Porte RN,and Lt Pirie RN built a pusher biplane powered by a JAP motor.In fact the biplane was taken to Portsdown hills for an attempted launching on 17th September 1909.The aircraft -mounted on a launching track, failed to get airborne, ran off the end of the track and collapsed. The two builders were thrown out but were unhurt.After that the project was apparently abandoned. See images below.

In November of 1909 two Lieutenants from the Submarine Depot(Lts Cochrane & Stocks) constructed a biplane which was taken to Gosport for it's first trial.The trial was not a success, the machine was badly damaged when"in some way the starting-tackle fouled it just as the machine was rising, and it dropped heavily to earth".

In April 1910 The Hampshire Aero Club successfully negotiated with the War Department for the use of site near Fort Grange for "for experiments in aeronautical science."

In practice this meant the use of a hand towed glider constructed by one of the members and also some model flying.First use of the site was around April 9th. One member(Mr Day) was said to be building a monoplane(see picture under Portsmouth entry here).Lts Port & Pirie (see above ) were members of the club.Whether this organisation was the same as that shown in the group photo below is unclear. The picture below, provided by Sue Roles , shows participants at a meeting held to form an "Aero Club for Portsmouth" and was probably taken at Gosport in October 1909. Any confirmation of this would be very welcome as would the identities of anyone in the photo. The only certain ID is the gentleman in the second row , second from left who is Mr.(first name unknown) Roles. It is possible that the gentleman seated to the left of the placard was Patrick Young Alexander....a philanthropic aviation enthusiast.By the end of 1909 the Hampshire Aero Club , with Mr Alexander as president,was in existence with more than 70 members.However , according to Flight (Oc 16th 1909) a"Portsmouth Aero Club" representative had attended a meeting at the "Aero Club of the United Kingdom" on October the 8th. Whether this was in fact the Hampshire Aero Club's rep is uncertain.According to a relative, the eighth from the right in the back row(standing) is probably John Cyril Porte(See above Lt.Porte RN.)

Click on the photo for a bigger image.
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The picture below shows one of the members being "flown" in a hand launched glider.In the background the club "camp" and aeroplane shed.

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ABOVE:A 1911 photo showing Graham Gilmour taking of from the Haslar sea wall in a Bristol Biplane.

Postcard showing H.M.A. Gamma at Gosport for the inspection by the King leaving to cross the Solent".Date unknown but probably circa 1913-1914.

In February 1914 the site was prepared as an airfield for the RFC,the first flying units arriving on 6/7/14.The aircraft stayed only for a few weeks before departing and leaving the Aerodrome empty.The next user,the Royal Naval Air Service(RNAS) arrived in October 1914 and stayed about 3 months.

Above :Sopwith Pup B2192 of the School of Special Flying at Gosport circa 1917.BELOW:Two undated photos of Gosport...lower photo is a Fairey Flycatcher.

On 6/1/15 the RFC returned and the airfield then remained under their control until 1/4/18,when control passed to the newly formed RAF.The station came initially under the control of No.8 Group,followed by No. 10 Group(1/3/19),No. 17 Group(12/36),No.16 Group(23/8/42).The two pictures below show the barrack casements at Fort Rowner probably beteween 1915 and 1917.(28Sq was resident from Nov 1915 to July 1917).

The photo below ( from the collection of Edwin Newman- via the San Diego Air & Space Museum) shows the airfield in July 1929..

Above :The airfield as it was in the 1940s.
On 1/8/45 ,Gosport was transferred to the Navy ,becoming "HMS Siskin"who occupied the airfield until it's closure in May 1956.Aircraft from Lee-on-Solent continued to use the airfield for some months after the official closure ,but eventually even that activity finished.Today ,all that remains are several Hangars ,the actual field now being covered in housing estates.

The hangars and other industrial buildings in the area bounded by the red line in the picture below , are nowadays the home of HMS Sultan,The Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival School .They have upwards of 50 helicopters either in storage or for use in engineering training.

Shark
The airfield at the end of the 90s- covered with houses.
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RAF Units

1 RNAS,Bristol Scout,formed 17/10/14,dep 28/2/15.
1 Reserve Sq,Avro 504/Longhorn/Shorthorn/BE.2C/Morane/Scout,arr 7/4/16.
3 Sq,Walrus,arr 8/11/22,disbanded and split into 420/421/422 Flights 1/4/23
Photo below is of 422FLT in 1923.
5 Sq,Avro 504,arr 6/7/14,dep 14/8/14
8 Sq,BE.2A/BE.2B/BE.2C,arr 6/1/15,dep 15/4/15.
10 TS,arr 7/18.closed 12/18
13 Sq,BE.2C/Scout,formed from 8 Sq,dep 9/10/15.
14 Sq,BE.2C,arr 5/8/15,dep 7/11/15.
17 Sq BE.2C,formed 1/2/15,dep 5/8/15
22 Sq Bleriot XI/BE.2C/Longhorn/Caudron GIII/BE.8A/JN3/Martinsyde S1A/Scout/Avro504/FE.2B,Formed 1/9/15,dep 1/4/16
23 Sq,Caudron GIII/Bleriot XI/Shorthorn/Avro 504/Martinsyde SII/BE.2C/FE.2B,Formed 1/9/15,dep 15/3/16
27 Reserve Sq,Formed 22/5/16
28 Sq,BE.2A/Avro 504/FE.2B/DH2/BE.2c,Formed 7/11/15.dep 23/7/17.
29 Sq,Longhorn/Avro 504/Caudron GIII/BE.2B/BE.2C/DH2,Formed 7/11/15,dep 25/3/16.
31 Sq/B Flt,formed 18/1/16,dep 1/3/16
31 Sq/C Flt,formed 10/5/16,dep 4/7/16.
38 Sq,Bristol Scout,detachment 6/16
39 Sq,Bristol Fighter,detachment 1/18,became School of Aerial Co-operation.dep 9/18
40 Sq,BE.2C/Avro 504/FE.8,formed 26/2/16,dep 19/8/16
41 Sq,Formed 26/2/16,Disbanded and renumbered as No.27 RS,22/5/16
41 Sq,FB.5/DH2/FE.8, Reformed from 27RS14/7/16,dep15/10/16
42 Sq,Vildebeeste,detachment 11/3/38
45 Sq,Martinsyde S1/Avro 504/BE.2C/FE.2B/Scout,Formed 1/3/16,dep 3/5/16.
48 Sq,Hudson IIIA,arr 10/42 for modifications e/r Gibraltar.
56 Sq,Formed 8/6/16,dep 14/7/16
60 Sq,Morane H,formed 15/5/16,dep 28/5/16.
78 Sq,BE.2C/BE.12,detachment 12/16.
79 Sq,Formed from 27 TS1/8/17,dep 8/8/17
81 Sq,Formed from 1 RS 7/1/17,dep 15/1/17.
86 Sq,Blenhiem IV,reformed 6/12/40,dep 2/2/41
88 Sq,Formed 24/7/17,dep 2/8/17.
94 Sq,Formed 30/7/17,dep 2/8/17.
100 Sq,Horsley,arr 8/6/33,dep 30/6/33.
186 Sq Cuckoo,arr 17/2/19,Disbanded and renumbered as 210 Sq 1/2/20
210 Sq,Cuckoo,Reformed from 186 Sq 1/2/20,Disbanded and renumbered as 460/461 Flts 1/4/23
224 Sq,Anson ,detachment 1/38.
233 Sq,Hudson,based 2/44
248 Sq,Blenheim IVF,arr 16/4/40,dep 22/5/40.
254 Sq ,Beaufighter,arr 10/42,Dep 11/42
500 Sq,Hudson IIIA,arr 9/42 for modifications en route to Gibraltar.
608 Sq,Hudson IIIA,arr 27/8/42,dep 9/11/42.
667 Sq,Defiant I/III,Hurricane IIc/Barracuda II/Oxford/Vengeance IV/Spitfire XVI,formed from 1622 and 1631 Flts 1/12/43,dep 20/12/45.
462/463/464/465 Flts,formed 1922.
Air Torpedo Development Unit ,Formed 1940,dep 1956
Anti-Aircraft Defence Flt,arr 9/18.
No2 Anti Aircraft Co-operation Unit,Roc/Skua,extant 1940
Base Training Flt ,formed about 1930.
Coastal Battery Co-operation Flt,Formed 3/20,disbanded 1921.
Coastal Defence Development Unit,Anson ,extant 1935
Composite Flt,dep 1922.
Dart Flight,Dart,formed 1922
Fleet Spotter Flts,Bison,extant 1920s
Observer Training Flt ,dep 1922.
Special Experimental Flight ,Cuckoo,Formed 31/5/18
Special School of Flying,Formed 8/17 from 1/25/55 TS.
1 AACU,Battle, detachment 9/39
1CACU,here 1939.
2AACU,Skua/Shark II/Queen Bee,arr 6/38,
1622(AAC) Flt.Defiant,Gladiator/Roc,Formed from 2AACU 14/2/43.

FAA Units
705 Sq,Sikorsky R4/Dragonfly,Hiller HTE-2,Reformed 7/5/47,dep to Lee 1-11-55.
706 Sq,Hiller HTE-2/Whirlwind HAS22,Formed 7/9/53. dep 29/10/53
706 Sq,Whirlwind,arr 1/3/54,renumbered 845 Sq 15/3/54 ,dep 21/4/54
707 Sq ,Anson/Avenger,arr 1/8/45,dep 1946.
708 Sq,Firebrand,arr 1/45,
711 FRU,Mosquito/Martinet,arr 9/45.
720 Sq ,Anson,arr 1/7/47,dep 1947
720 Sq,arr 5/48,amalgamated with 711 Sq 5/1/50
727 Sq,Tiger Moth/Firefly.formed 5/46,disbanded 1/50
764 Sq,Firebrand,Reformed 2/44,disbanded 10/45
771 Sq,dep 4/47
778 Sq,arr 9/45,dep 1946.
799 Sq.no details
812 Sq,formed 4/33 from 461/462 Flts
813Sq,Swordfish,commissioned 18/1/37
820 Sq Seal/Shark,extant 1935
821 Sq,formed 4/33 from 442/449 Flts
845 Sq,Whirlwind,renumbered from 706 Sq 15/3/54.
848 Sq,Whirlwind,formed 29/10/52,dep 12/12/52.

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