Navy

RNAS Culdrose: 1940s Photos Give Glimpse Into Station's Construction

The unearthed photographs show some of the people who helped construct the Cornish site more than 70 years ago.

Old photographs have been unearthed showing some of the people who helped build Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose more than 70 years ago.

Lloyd Sluman found the tiny 1940s pictures, measuring two inches by two inches, among the papers of his late parents who lived near the air station, which is situated just outside Helston on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall.

"I think my mother might even have taken some of these photographs," he said.

"They were always in an album and she'd look through them every so often. 

"I am not sure if they've ever been widely shared with the public before," he added.

The construction of RNAS Culdrose began in 1944 and the photographs show workers clearing the land and building the aircraft hangars, and they also capture candid images of the staff at work.

One picture includes a group shot of families on a company outing and is dated 1947, the same year RNAS was officially commissioned by the Royal Navy.

Mr Sluman's mother, Phyllis Miners, worked for one of the main contractors responsible for building the naval base and said he remembers his mother saying she "put in the order for the fir trees that now stand by the entrance to Culdrose".

Mr Sluman has presented the original photographs to RNAS Culdrose.

In 2021, the site is one of the largest helicopter bases in Europe, and is home to Royal Navy Merlins.

It employs around 3,000 personnel, including aviators, flight deck crew and engineers.

The site also offers training, as well as hosting School of Flight Deck operations, which teaches aircraft movements and how to fight fires.

Cover image: Some of the photographs discovered which date back to the construction of RNAS Culdrose (Picture: RNAS Culdrose).