Kirknewton Airfield

An airfield on the western border of the City of Edinburgh Council Area, a mile (1.5 km) south southeast of the village of Kirknewton (West Lothian), which began its life during the Second World War as RAF Kirknewton. Commissioned as a grass strip in 1940, it was improved later in the war and used as a training base. A military camp on the edge of the base was later used to house German Officers who were prisoners of war. The airfield was taken over by the US Air Force after the war, supposedly for 'storage'. It was most-likely used as a secret CIA communications base between 1952 and 1967, monitoring Soviet signals and certainly had a substantial staff. It is also said to have been responsible for maintaining a section of the 'hot line' between Washington and Moscow. The airfield continued in USAF hands until 1991, being described as a 'United States Contingency Wartime Hospital' in a Parliamentary answer of 1988. Thereafter it was returned to the UK Ministry of Defence and is now the base of an RAF volunteer glider squadron. It has also been used by the Central Scotland Flying Club. Kaimes Hill lies to the northeast and flying operations were always made difficult by this and Corston Hill to the southwest together with the Pentland Hills to the south.

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