Calshot Spit.The hangars and slipway at the eastern extremity were joined to the camp on the mainland by narrow gauge
railway.The photo below shows the Castle at Calshot( built in 1540 by Henry VIII), a hangar and a seaplane (A Short 184?)beached.
Opened by the Royal Flying Corps as Calshot Naval Air Station on 29th March 1913 under the command of Lieut. S. D. A. Grey,the original purpose of Calshot was the testing of seaplanes
for the RFC Naval wing.The picture postcard below shows Lt Grey's aircraft being beached - presumably at Calshot. Below that Lt Grey in another machine taxying.
One of the first aircaft to be based there was the Borel Hydro-Mono No.83 pictured below in mid 1913.
With the advent of the Great War(WW1)the station undertook aircrew training duties as well anti-submarine and convoy protection patrols.
Seen above at Calshot is a Thorneycroft Seaplane lighter -built in 1918 to transport seaplanes . One of these small (58ft length) vessels is being restored by the Fleet Air Arm Museum .
With the renaming of the RFC ,the
station eventually became RAF Calshot on 5th February 1922.
ABOVE:Felixstowe F5 N4048 at Calshot.BELOW: Possibly the same aircraft.
Vickers Vulture G-EBHO at Calshot prior to the abortive Round-the-World flight in March 1924.
Between the wars the station continued with training,testing etc.Extra excitement came in the form of the RAF High Speed Flight which visited
in 1927, 1929 and 1931 in order to train for the Schneider Trophy Races.
A postcard showing "Our Prince at Calshot".This is the then Prince of Wales - later King Edward VIII.The aircraft behind is ,I am fairly sure, one of the Italian Schneider Trophy Team's aircraft - probably the Macchi M52 ,or an M67 .I think the date must be around September 1929
Three aerial views of Calshot in the late 1920s(top) , 1928(Middle- via Britain from above) and the 1930s.
Among those who served at Calshot was Flt Sgt William H Crocker who the left service in 1929 at Calshot . The two photos below(sent by his grandson Ian Crocker of Melbourne Australia) show a group photo of Sgt Crocker and some of his men.This photo was probably taken in the Middle East in late 1927.The lower picture is of the menu for the Farewell Dinner on the occasion of his leaving the Service in 1929.
ABOVE: a 1939 photo showing a group of Public Schools Officer Training Corps at Calshot, just off to lunch after a tour of the base.From the gentlemen at Air Britain Information Exchange(ABIX) we have learned that the flying boat at front left is a Short Singapore Mk II or Mk.III,with another of the same behind it .On the right is a Short Stranraer.It has been suggested(and no more than that) that the front Singapore may be K6920 which was in a take-off incident on 6-7-39 and SOC Sept 1939.(Photo from Gordon Thorburn)
During WW2 the station was mainly concerned withe the repair,maintenance and modification of RAF flying boats.In addition the station was
responsible for marine craft maintenance as well as training boat crews.With the end of the war Calshot continued to be mainly concerned with repairs an maintenance until it was closed on 1st April
1961.Since that date there have been rare visits by even rarer flying boats,but as the surviving aircraft number less with each passing year,such visits become less likely.
Above:G-AASH Supermarine Southampton II at Calshot.Below:Saro Cloud K2895 at Calshot.
An undated photo taken at Calshot of a Fairey Swordfish on floats.The track in the foreground is from the 24" gauge Calshot to Eaglehurst Railway.Photo was by H.W."Mike" Smith.(via Mike Burnett)
1951 postcard ..RAF Sunderland and two ASR launches at Calshot.
48 Sq ,Cloud,arr 6/36,dep ?
201 Sq,Southamptom/London,arr 1/1/29,dep 29/9/38
201 Sq London,arr 7/10/38,dep 9/8/39
201 Sq,Seaford I,arr 1/4/46,dep 18/1/49
228 Sq,Sunderland I,arr 9/41
230 Sq,Sunderland V,arr 16/9/46,dep 25/2/49
240 Sq Curtiss H12/Short 184 and 320/Campania/Felixstowe F2A,Formed 20/8/18 from 345/410/346/411 Flights.Disbanded 15/5/19