RNAS Hatston

RNAS Hatston, also called HMS Sparrowhawk, was a Royal Naval Air Station, one mile to the north west of Kirkwall on the island of Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It was located near the strategically vital naval base of Scapa Flow, which for most of the twentieth century formed the main base of the ships of the Home Fleet.


Hatston's main period of activity came during the Second World War, when it was host to a number of different types of aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm, including Fairey Swordfish, Blackburn Rocs, Grumman Martlet IV and Grumman Avengers. Two squadrons of Blackburn Skuas flew from Hatston on 10 April 1940, on a mission to sink the German cruiser Königsberg, in which they were successful.

After the end of the war, the airfield became the island's main airport, until 1948. By then British European Airways was operating Douglas Dakotas which were deemed too large to use the runways safely. They moved operations to a larger airfield outside Kirkwall. The airfield remained in use from 1953 until 1957, when it was the home of the Orkney Flying Club, but was finally closed and turned into an industrial estate.


The following units were here at some point:




  • Sturtivant, R; Ballance, T (1994). The Squadrons of The Fleet Air Arm. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-223-8.

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