St Mawgan
(Trebelzue Big Field)
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New civil tower 2008 (© Peter Mitrovich)
RAF St Mawgan airfield
Airfield Today:
Newquay Cornwall airport
Tower Type:
1. 1228/43 Control Tower for Very Heavy Transport Stations, first operational in late 1943 (the only other one of these was built at Heathrow and has been demolished)
2. New civil airport tower constructed 2008/2009, operational 19/12/2008
1. Modernised with an RAF standard VCR in the early 1960s, ground radio annex added early 1970s (wth added met. level mid 1970s), reclad and added third level portacabins early 1990s. Ops Seco maze removed mid 1970s. Tower due for demolition and replacement in early 2009
2. New tower in operation 2009
Other Buildings:
When built; Seco hut 'maze' attached to south of tower for USAAF, RAF Ops and BOAC terminal, Nissan huts for Squadron and general use and two T1 hangars
Trebelzue 'Big Field' airfield first opened as a grass civil airfield in the mid 1930s.
Requisitioned by the Air Ministry at the outbreak of WW2 the airfield was rebuilt with two runways in 1940/41 and reopened 09/41.
05/42 to , No. 1 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit with Henleys.
12/42 to 01/43, 400 Sqn Mustangs and 264 Sqn Mosquitoes on anti-shipping patrols.
Due to short runways, crosswinds and very bad weather conditions it was decided to rebuild the airfield further inland in 1942/43. Trebelzue airfield was incorporated as a dispersal area of the new airfield which became St Mawgan on 24/02/43. At this time its 32/14 runway (300ft) was the widest in Europe, and by the end of extension work 05/44, one of the longest at 9000ft.
From mid 1943 the airfield became one of the busiest in Europe, with large USAAF and USN aircraft coming over from the USA to be prepared for combat in Europe.
06/43 to 08/45, 491st Base and Air Base Squadron, Air Transport Command,
USAAF with B-17 and B-24?

07/43 to 08/45, RAF Ferry Command operated its various types (mainly Warwicks) to and from Europe and North Africa, BOAC also operated its air routes from here. After VE day St Mawgan became unused and was placed under 'Care & Maintenance' 07/47.
04/51, Airfield reopened as a Coastal Command airfield with Lancasters until 10/56, (the last Lancasters in RAF service), Shackletons then the dominant type until replaced in 1971 by Nimrods. These left by 1991 and this move saw the demise of the airfield as a major fixed wing base.
Sea King helicopters then kept St Mawgan going but left in 2008 when the airfield transferred from military to civilian operations.
Civilian flying here post-war and from the early 1960s a small terminal has operated from the north side of the airfield.
Thanks to James Thomas for the airfield history.
St Mawgan airfield
1946 (© via James Thomas)
2005 (© James Thomas)
RAF St Mawgan airfield
Trebelzue 'Big Field
St Mawgan 1960
St Mawgan airfield
RAF, civil
30/11/2008, re-opened as Newquay Cornwall airport 20/12/2008
1944: ZM, 1956: SN
USAAF Station:
4x - Tarmac
16x - Squadron, 15x - storage
2-1/2 miles SW of Padstow
OS Ref:
Trebelzue 'Big Field', St Mawgan 1960
All photographs copyright © as stated
St Mawgan
1968 (© via James Thomas)
June 2004 (© Peter Mitrovich)
Note the lack of windows on the balcony floor, these were later opened up after more modern radar equipment (which does not require blackout conditions) was installed
September 2002 (© Peter Mitrovich)
RAF St Mawgan airfield
2004 (© James Thomas)
This photograph, taken from the back of the tower, shows the only surviving part of the Seco hut maze, to the right. The maze would have been in the foreground of this picture, and the main entrance to air traffic would be through the maze, into a doorway between the two main windows on the ground floor of the tower. The hut that survives would have housed the USAAF CO and XOs and is now the night flying store 2005 (© James Thomas)
RAF St Mawgan and Trebelzue airfields
RAF St Mawgan airfield + control tower = © robert truman 2007 - St Mawgan -