RM Condor

RM Condor is a large Royal Marines base located near Arbroath in East Angus, Scotland. The base also houses 7 (Sphinx) Battery Royal Artillery, part of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.

RM Condor
Near Arbroath, Angus,_Scotland in Scotland
The entrance to RM Condor
RM Condor
Shown within Angus
Coordinates56°34′56″N 002°37′31″W
TypeRoyal Marines base
Area201 hectares[1]
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Marines
Controlled by3 Commando Brigade
Site history
Built1938 (1938)
In use1938 – 1971 (Fleet Air Arm)
1971 – present (Royal Marines)
Garrison information
Lieutenant Colonel Innes Catton[2]
Occupants45 Commando Group
Airfield information
Elevation49 metres (161 ft) AMSL
Number Length and surface
00 50x50m Concrete


The base was first constructed as a Fleet Air Arm base in 1938, when it was known as RNAS Arbroath (HMS Condor). It was opened on 19 June 1940. From the outset it was a training base, primarily involved in the training of naval aviators. A purpose-built 'aircraft carrier' sized landing area was constructed on the airfield and it, along with another similar facility at nearby East Haven, Angus, HMS Peewit was used to train aircrew in deck landing operations. In October, 1940, the base was attacked by Luftwaffe He-111 bombers, operating from Norway, which resulted in minor damage (then valued at £1000) being sustained to some Squadron buildings. Throughout the war years the base was additionally used as a rest area. Operational Squadrons from aircraft carriers would take it in turn to spend rest periods whilst their ships were undergoing maintenance at Scottish Naval ship repair facilities.

Flying stopped in 1954 and the base became the home of the Royal Navy Aircraft Engineering Training School which had transferred from HMS Daedalus at Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire. It continued in this role until 1 April 1971 when the base became the home to 45 Commando Royal Marines, a part of 3 Commando Brigade.[3]

The base was thereafter known as RM Condor or Condor Barracks and remains an operational base to this day.[4]

A Better Defence Estate, published in November 2016, indicates that the Ministry of Defence will dispose of the airfield part of RM Condor by 2024.[5] In 2019, this decision was dropped, and the base will remain open.[6]


The following units have been here at some point:[7]

Based units

Notable units based at RM Condor.[9]

Royal Navy

Royal Marines (3 Commando Brigade)

British Army

Royal Artillery (3 Commando Brigade)

Royal Corps of Signals (11th Signal Brigade)

Built heritage

The redundant airfield control tower is a category C listed building. The three story building is one of two surviving examples of this particular type of control tower, which features an ambulance and crash tender garage. The tower, which was listed in May 2006, is noted by Historic Environment Scotland as being important in terms of naval and Second World War history, as well as for its local significance.[10]

The 'Captains House', formerly known as 'Woodlands', dates from the early 19th century. The two-storey and basement Regency mansion was listed as category B in June 1971.[11]

See also



  1. "Defence Estates Development Plan (DEDP) 2009 - Annex A" (PDF). GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 3 July 2009. p. A-1. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  2. "Condor". Royal Navy. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  3. "Plans for Arbroath's RM Condor marine base described as 'best of a bad deal'". The Courier. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  4. "RM Condor". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  5. "A Better Defence Estate" (PDF). GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 7 November 2016. p. 15. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  6. "Ministry of Defence urged to stop planned Scottish base closures". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  7. "Arbroath". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  8. Howard 2011, p. 62.
  9. "Condor". Royal Navy. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  10. "Anugs, Arbroath, RM Condor, Control Tower (LB50470)". Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  11. "Captain's House, (Formerly Woodlands), Royal Naval Air Station". Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 22 April 2018.


  • Howard, L; Burrow, M; Myall, E (2011). Fleet Air Arm helicopters since 1943. UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 978-0-85130-304-8.
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