1940 - 1984        

Royal Air Force Aberporth

Recording the History  -  Recalling the Memories.

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The 1973 Welcome Booklet


      Royal Air Force Aberporth is situated on the picturesque West Wales coastline, on the A.487 road some five miles north of the rural town of Cardigan (population 3,400) in the county of Cardiganshire and two miles inland of the seaside village of Aberporth. The county town is Aberystwyth, 35 miles to the north. Units are to note that personnel travelling from the north are to be routed to Aberystwyth Railway Station.

 Personnel travelling from the south are to be routed to Carmarthen. Both stations are equal distances from RAF Aberporth. Whenever possible, personnel should telephone the Unit in advance to inform them of their estimated time of arrival at the railheads.        The local countryside is picturesque and the Prescelly Mountains (10 miles) offer excellent scenery and numerous Ancient Monuments, whilst Castles such as Cilgerran, Kidwelly, Carreg and St. David’s Cathedral are well worth a visit.

    The larger towns of Carmarthen, Aberystwyth, Fishguard and Haverfordwest are all within a 50-mile radius of the camp, and although their shopping centres are not large they can provide most of the normal shopping requirements.


In 1940 it was decided to open an RAF station under Army Co-operation Command to operate target facilities (drogues, target-towing aircraft, etc.) required by the Anti-Aircraft Unit run by the Army at the Royal Aircraft Establishment.

   Originally known as RAF Blaenannerch, after the nearest village, the station was eventually re-named RAF Aberporth as being more appropriate in view of the connections with the RAE.

   At the end of the war, the Unit was steadily run down and placed under Coastal Command on a care and maintenance basis, remaining in this state until 1952 when the Ministry of Supply assumed control.

    In 1957, the Guided Weapons Range Unit (Aberporth) was formed to undertake the development of the Bloodhound Mk.1 Surface-to-Air Missile System, and the station was re-opened to provide administrative support.

   The title RAF superseded GWRU in 1965.

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Royal Air Force Aberporth is a station within No 11 Group of Strike Command and is commanded by a Wing Commander. The following units are also located at RAF Aberporth:

Bloodhound Mk II Support Unit Detachment

The Bloodhound Mk II Support Unit Detachment, a small unit of four officers and under 40 skilled technicians, commanded by a Squadron Leader and administered functionally and operationally by RAF Germany, was established at RAE Aberporth in 1966. Its function is to carry out a systematic programme of trials on the Bloodhound Mk II Surface-to-Air Guided Missile and its associated equipment to confirm the effectiveness of the system as well as to provide the means for operational squadrons to fire against live targets.

     With the excellent range of facilities available at Aberporth, it is possible to measure missile performance precisely and to analyse each firing in depth. The highly successful results achieved in firing are a tribute to the skills and industry of the men of the Bloodhound Mk II Support Unit Detachment.

Western Radar

Western Radar, situated at RAF Aberporth, is one of a chain of nine Military Air Traffic Operations (MATO) Air Traffic Control Radar Units (ATCRU) established to cover the airspace of the whole of the UK. Its area of responsibility covers the West and Southwest approaches to the UK and within this area, it provides an air traffic control service to ensure the safe, expeditious and orderly movement of aircraft.

     To enable the safe prescribed separation to be established between aircraft flying in close proximity to each other, the unit is equipped with long-range radar and extensive communication facilities so that aircraft of any nationality, both military and civil, can be identified, brought under control and provided with a safety service. When aircraft reach the limit of the unit’s cover, they are handed over to an adjacent unit, with continuity of service.

MATO ATCRU’s are so designed that should any unit be non-operational, its commitments are immediately taken over by an adjacent unit with suitable over-lapping cover, thus providing a continuous service 24 hours a day throughout the year.

     Visitors to the unit will be welcomed but arrangements must first be made by contacting the Senior Operations Officer Ext 346.

Royal Naval Trials Unit

      The Royal Naval Trials Unit, now the only major Naval Unit in Wales, first came to Aberporth in 1952. The Unit, commanded by the Royal Naval Trials Commander, consists of 7 Officers, 14 Chief Petty Officers, 7 Petty Officers and 7 Junior Rates. Local bachelor accommodation is provided by the Royal Air Force and there are 6 MOD (PE) married quarters available. Hirings under the MOD scheme are also available if all quarters are full.

The purpose of the Royal Naval Trials Unit is to assist in the development of new naval Missiles Systems, to carry out Naval acceptance firings, and to assist HM Ships in conducting monitored missile evaluation and practise missile firings. The Seaslug, and Seacat systems were developed at Aberporth and

currently the Seadart and Seawolf systems are under trial. As these weapon systems are fitted at sea, so the frequency of visits of HM Ships to the range for monitored firings will increase. In addition, new naval weapons systems are proposed for future development by the Royal Navy at Aberporth.

The Royal Naval Trials Unit is a fully integrated group within RAE Aberporth under the Superintendent of Ranges, and enjoys full range facilities. The Naval Unit has office accommodation just inside the RAE main gate whilst all the hardware is positioned on the Naval Site at the bottom of the cliffs, in as near a seagoing environment as possible. Transport to and from the Naval Site is by means of two cliff railways, a light 20-man transport for personnel and a heavy 20-ton transport for equipment, with 549 steps in reserve!

Your task here will be worthwhile, demanding and responsible, and the future Weapons Systems of the Fleet depend in some considerable measure on your interest and enthusiasm. Apart from your job satisfaction, you have the additional benefits of living in a rural atmosphere away from the run of Naval Ports.

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No. 23 Joint Services Trials Unit

     23 JSTU was established at RAE Aberporth in August 1970 in order to carry out trials on missiles systems. The unit consists of twelve officers and approximately sixty other ranks. It is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel Royal Artillery and personnel come from the Army (Royal Artillery, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Army Ordnance Corps and Royal Army Pay Corps) and Royal Air Force (technicians and Royal Air Force Regiment Gunners).


Station Standing Orders contain regulations regarding various aspects of station life, which are relatively permanent in their application. It is the responsibility of every airman to acquaint himself with these orders. A copy of Station Standing Orders is held in every Section.

         Station Routine Orders are published every Monday, and are posted throughout the Domestic Site and all RAF Sections in the RAE. They contain details of duties, inspections, functions, educational courses, sport and hobbies plus other information of general interest to all ranks. These should be read by all personnel every week.

A copy of the Queen’s Regulations is available for the use of personnel in the General Office on the Domestic Site.


Technical personnel posted to RAF Aberporth will work in the Royal Aircraft Establishment, two miles from the Domestic Site. Administrative personnel are mainly employed on the Domestic Site. Times of transport to and from the RAE Aberporth may be obtained from the Guardroom or Mechanical Transport Section. RAF Aberporth is a Strike Command Unit.


The Station is split into two sites. The Domestic Site consists of Station Headquarters, Catering Section, Station Medical Centre, MT Section, Sports Arena, Gymnasium, Education Centre and the accommodation for Officers, SNCOs and Airmen.


The normal daily working routine is:

 Start work ..... 0830       Lunch ... 1215-1330    Cease work ...1700 (1630 Friday)

   Last Friday in the month is a long week-end  -  Cease work 12.15


Pay Parades

     Pay Parades for personnel on this station are held weekly on Thursdays as follows:


     Domestic Site ... ... 10.30       

     RAE Site... ... ….... 11.15        


     Domestic Site ... ... 10.30            

     RAE Site .…………... 11.15

Casual Pay Parades

Casual Pay Parades will be arranged daily as required for airmen who cannot attend pay parades. Airmen requiring casual pay are to apply to their Flight Commander, who should inform the Accounts Section 24 hours prior to the time payment is required.


Airmen/Civilians may query their pay/allowances at any time during the normal working week.


All bills are to be paid within 14 days of receipt. Dispute of a bill, except when the matter is the subject of an official query, will not be accepted as an excuse for non-payment.

Post Office Savings Bank

One of the safest and easiest means of accumulating savings is to open a Post Office Savings Bank Account. Interest is allowed at the rate of 3.5 % per annum.

Payment can be made direct from your pay account.

Further details can be found in current DCIs and the necessary forms can be obtained from the Accounts Section.

The RAF Mortgage Savings Scheme

This scheme was introduced to encourage Officers and Airmen to save to buy a home for when they leave the Service.

Participants obtain special benefits, details of which may be obtained in DCI 5. 18/1972 and from the Station Accounts Section.

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             The normal meal times for the Airmen’s Mess are as follows:

                    Monday to Friday            Saturdays/Sundays, and Holidays

 Breakfast:        0730-08 10                      0830-0900

 Lunch:             1200-1230                       1200-1230

 Tea:                1700-1730                       1630-1700


Station Address

All living-in personnel are to inform their correspondents that the correct postal address for the station is as follows:

Number, Rank, Name,

Royal Air Force,



West Wales.

Post Office

There is no Post Office on the unit although a post box is situated at the side of the Guardroom. The nearest Post Office is in Blaenannerch.


A public telephone is situated in the Guardroom Building and a telephone directory is held in the Guardroom for safe keeping.


Married Quarters

   a. Officers—9: Four type ‘4’; four type ‘5’ and one type ‘3’.

b. Airmen—24: Thirteen type ‘B’; nine type ‘C’ and two type ‘D’.

      (Plans are currently in hand to build a further 21 AMQs—2 type ‘D’; 5 type ‘B’ and 14 type ‘C’).

c. 4 public owned and 13 PSI garages.

Waiting List

       a. Personnel are placed on the waiting list as follows:

1. Posted from units within the UK with effect from the date of posting.

2. Posted from units overseas with effect from the date of arrival in UK.

b. There are two places on the frozen list.

c. The waiting list is published in SROs on the 1st of each month.


      There are at present 28 hirings in the Aberporth / Cardigan area. When a hiring becomes available, details are printed in Station Routine Orders, and eligible airmen are invited to submit applications to the Families Officer within seven days.

Damage—Married Quarters

      When damage occurs or work is required on Married Quarters, it is to be reported on F.5653 if due to fair wear and tear, and on F.5653A if not due to fair wear and tear. The black, red and green copies are to be sent to the Senior Administrative Officer in Station Headquarters and the brown copy retained on the pad. If, after a reasonable time, the damage or work has not been attended to, do not raise a further form, but report the matter to the Families Officer.

Items listed on F.5653A are chargeable to the individual concerned.


All damage or work required to be done in hirings is to be reported in writing to the Families Officer who will take the necessary action.

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The Station Education Centre is situated in Building 11 and consists of an Information Room, Classroom, Library and Office.

The full range of activities under the Further Education and Continuation Training Scheme can be arranged, and arrangements for technical education can be made through the Education Clerk with external Institutes.


Classes are available in the Education Centre for the

Education Test Parts I and II for the General Certificate of

Education of the Welsh Joint Education Committee at Ordinary

or Advanced levels, at the Cardigan College of Further Education Correspondence and Tutorial courses at a nominal fee.

Citizenship and Current Affairs

In addition to a short residential course at Universities under the F.E.C.T.S., the Information Room contains much information on world affairs together with details of local and station events.

Resettlement and Vocational Advice

Pre-release interviews are held at 24 months and 6 months before release, and full information on aspects of many careers is available. Applications for pre-release courses may also be made.


Compulsory 30 months career interviews are held and, in addition, the Unit Careers Officer is available for advice on all aspects of the career patterns. Details may be obtained from Station Routine Orders.

Education of Children


    Advice may be obtained from the Education Clerk who maintains liaison between Service personnel and the local Education Committees.


Sport at RAF Aberporth covers a wide sphere in relation to the Station’s size, and the facilities of the Sports Arena increase the scope of the would-be sportsman.

The following is a list of sports in which personnel may participate:

  Rugby Tennis    Association Football  Golf   Cricket Expedition Training
  Basketball   Small-bore Shooting    Badminton Sailing  Five-a-side Soccer Canoeing
  Squash Fishing
                    Further details of these sporting activities may be obtained

from notices in Station Routine Orders or from the Station PTI.


Station Sick Parade for all personnel is at 1100 hours in the Station Medical Centre daily. Personnel wishing to report Special Sick should contact either the Duty Medical Attendant or the Duty NCO out of working hours.

Dental Care

Personnel are advised that regular visits to the dentist are essential for the care of teeth. Appointments may be made by contacting the Station Medical Centre on Ext 209 during working hours.

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Thrift Shop

All kinds of goods, clothing, toys, etc., may be bought and sold at the Thrift Shop. Open from 2 to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of the month.

Wives Club

The wives club meets every alternate Monday evening at 8 o’clock in the ATC building situated behind the MT hangar. The Club provides a centre of activities and interests of a feminine nature, such as demonstrations on .make-up, fashion and hairdressing. Guests and members are invited to give lectures on their own particular hobby or interest, with the support of film slides, and items on non-exclusive feminine subjects such as Antiques and Fire Prevention, etc. Outings and seasonal parties are also arranged.

Infant Welfare Clinic

Cardigan—On the Second Tuesday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Old County Primary School, Cardigan. (Entrance next door to the Welsh Stores Shop).

Aberporth—On the first Thursday each month from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Memorial Hall.

Mobile Clinic—On the third Tuesday each month from 11.30 to 12.00 at Parcllyn, adjacent to the Airmen’s married quarters.


The NAAFI Shop has been modernised into a self-service area, thereby increasing the size of stocks and the ease of shopping.

Times of Opening—Monday to Friday: 0830-1230      1330-1700


 The permission of the Commanding Officer must be obtained by all personnel wishing to keep a dog or any other pet on the Station. Dogs must be kept under proper control when within the station bounds and licences must be held by their owners.


Church Services

Services for all denominations are published in Station Routine Orders, together with the details of Officiating Chaplains and their visiting times.

Social Club—”Teifi Tavern”

The Station accommodates a Social Club entitled the “Teifi

Tavern”, named after the local river which flows through Cardigan. A discotheque is held every Thursday evening and dancing to live groups is held periodically y. Many other activiLies, such as Tombola, folk evenings I visiting entertainers are held in the Club, and a newslett is published informing personnel of forthcoming events and attractions.

Newspapers and Periodicals

 There is no resident newsagent on the Station, nor does one visit on weekdays, but personnel who wish to have a newspaper or periodicals delivered may give their order to the newsagent in Cardigan, who has a standing arrangement with the local bus company to have them delivered to the Guardroom each day. A newsagent visits the Station on Sunday at 1030 hrs for the sale of Sunday papers.

Cars and Car Parks

All privately owned vehicles must be registered at the Guardroom. The following general regulations are to be adhered to:

1. When riding a motor-cycle, either as a driver or as a pillion passenger, all Service personnel are to wear a properly-fastened crash helmet.

2. Motor cars and motor-cycles are to be parked only on the authorised station car parks, which are as follows:

a. Officers’ Mess Officers and their guests only.

     b. Station Car Park Beside the tennis courts.  Rear of SHQ.

3. Motor vehicles are not to be tested on the Station nor driven around the camp roads more than is absolutely necessary.

4. To avoid interference with radio and television reception, all motor vehicles are to be fitted with suppressors.

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Station Cinema

The Station Cinema is situated in the annex to the Airmen’s Mess. Films are shown once every month, and tickets are available several days in advance from NCO i/c. Posters giving advance notice of programmes are displayed on Station Notice Boards.

Station Tailor

The Station Tailor visits the Clothing Stores on the RAF Camp fortnightly on Mondays for the purpose of alterations, etc. Visiting hours, 13 30-1500.

Recreation and Reference Libraries

Books may be borrowed from either Library by all personnel

and, by arrangement, can be obtained from the Education Clerk during working hours.

Other books, not available, may be obtained through the Education Clerk from the Royal Air Force Central Library.

Local Traders

Many traders from the local area visit the married quarters in connection with their services or provisions. In particular we draw your attention to the advertisement pages of this Handbook which form a useful reference.

A wide variety of goods and services is offered and our advertisers, whose participation we gratefully acknowledge, will be pleased to give your requirements special attention.

Bus Services

The local bus services, although not comprehensive, are adequate for normal everyday use. Full details of all services may be obtained from the General Office or the local bus company.

Train Timetables

A complete set of train timetables is held in the General Office, and times of trains for all duty or leave journeys may be obtained on request.

Speed Limit

The station speed limit is 20 m.p.h. All personnel are to adhere to this limit strictly, for their own and other people’s safety. Service vehicles always have priority on camp area.


In the event of an emergency during working hours, personnel should find the nearest telephone. Dial 222 and state clearly and calmly the nature of the emergency, the location, service required and number, rank and name.

After the normal duty hours, should an emergency occur living-in personnel are to contact the Duty NCO immediately and give the above information.

All personnel should acquaint themselves with emergency orders in Station Routine Orders.

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     Gwbert-on-Sea is situated approximately two miles from Cardigan on the Teifi Estuary.    It commands an uninterrupted view of Cardigan Bay. Well known locally for its bathing and sea fishing; there is also the added attraction of a three-quarter-mile, well-defined cliff path leading to the Bird Sanctuary of Cardigan Island. A survey of the birds (in 1969) common to the island showed 13 species, including Fulmar, Kittiwakes and Cormorant. The island is uninhabited except for approximately 60 Soya sheep, which were originally brought over by the Vikings to Scottish islands. The island was once monastic, but only the hut circles and weather barriers remain. In 1934, the Bibby Line ship, S.S. Herefordshire, was wrecked on the north of the island.

Mount or Mwnt

Approximately five miles from Cardigan is the little beach of Mount, the site of a quaint little white-washed church, which contains a 13th century font. On climbing the hill, one can see the Caemarvonshire Mountains and Bardsey Island. The hill was once fortified with two lines of entrenchments, being the site of a massacre of the Flemings by the Welsh. 220 yards from the church is a large mound consisting of bones, confirming the tradition of its being the site of a battle.

Banc-Y-Warren, Penparc

Scene of battle in 1135 when the Welsh, under Gruffydd ap Rhys and other princes, defeated the Fleming, Norman and English armies. Pursuing them they killed 3,000 in and around Cardigan Castle. The Welsh did not hold the castle for long and had to re-take it in 1144, under the leadership of Howel and Cynan, sons of Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, ancestor of the present Prince of Wales.

Village of St. Dogmaels and Abbey

   Abbey founded by Sir Mattin de Turribus during the reign of William the Conqueror. Interesting relics include inscribed Ogam Stones, coffin lid with Greek Cross and slab of High Altar. Well-laid-out paths and lawns.

 Detailed books on the history of the Abbey are available, also the legend of underground tunnel connecting Abbey to Cardigan Castle. The village of St. Dogmaels lies on a bend of the River Teifi and boasts an active salmon industry with a crew of four men to each boat. The seine net method of fishing was introduced to the village by French monks from the nearby Abbey centuries ago.

Cilgerran Castle

   Cilgerran is situated on the banks of the River Teifi, some seven miles from the Unit on the Cardigan/Tenby road. The ancient castle overlooks the River Teifi and provides a wonderful background for a picnic or an afternoon’s fishing on the river bank. The castle, voted as the best kept castle in Wales, was first erected as Citadel of Lordship of Emlyn about 1092, and rebuilt in the early 12th century by Gilbert de Clare. It was captured in 1165 by Lord Rhys, Prince of Wales, seized by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, in 1204, and retaken by Prince Llewelyn ap Iorwerth in 1213. William Marshall the Younger recovered Cilgerran and built a new castle in 1223. The present ruins belong to the last structure, lapsed to the Crown in 1272 and named as a mined fortress in 1387. During a visit to the castle you may be lucky to see some of the local people out on the River Teifi in their coracles which are part of the rural life of old Wales. Since 1950 the coracle has become a popular feature at the aquatic sports held annually at Cilgerran during the third week in August.

Cenarth Falls

The picturesque village of Cenarth stands on the banks of the River Teifi about eight miles from the Unit on the Cardigan/Carmarthen road. Here you can sit on the banks and see the Teifi rushing over the falls, a popular spot with the local salmon fishermen. Alongside the falls you can see the Old Mill, used years ago by local farmers who used it for grinding their own flour.

Picture Gallery

At Blaenporth, some two miles from the Unit on the Aberystwyth road. Exhibitions of Pottery, Paintings and Collage.

Page 8.  


The 2005 Welcome Booklet Restoration

This is a true transcript of the official Welcome Booklet (1973),  as handed to all new arrivals of all three services on posting to R.A.F  Aberporth in the early 1970’s.

                    It was Historically accurate when published in 1973.

    The text was was scanned, restored by text processing un-edited, proofed and transferred to Computer System  by Mike Ford of Mikes Shop,  Cardigan, aka Cardigan Electronics, on April 16th 2005.  

Transcript Copyright is provisionally held by Cardigan Electronics.  

This Information Booklet was given away FREE, paid for by the advertisers.

Thus no Copyright notice is  printed within the publication.

 Any official concerns relating to Copyright should be brought to my attention.

Welcome to Royal Air Force Aberporth.

" This handbook has been prepared to tell you something of the facilities which exist at the station and of the various spare-time activities in which you can participate. I hope you will find that it helps you to settle quickly into the life of the station.

You will see from the contents of this booklet that the station caters for a wide range of Interests, and because RAF Aberporth is some distance from any large town, spare-time activities play an important part in the station life.

While you are at Aberporth, you will find that you will be given every encouragement to participate in the activities of your choice.

 I wish you a happy and enjoyable tour at Royal Air Force Aberporth. "   


       Wing Commander D T Cann - Station Commanding Officer  - 1973

All Roads lead to Aberporth

Map of the Station. (Larger map elsewhere)

Back Cover

The Airmens Mess

A few of these 1973 Local Advertisers are still in business today

Front Cover (18cm x 12cm)

The Welcome Booklet




By The Station Commander

Wing Commander D.T.Cann