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  • united kingdom Long Kesh

    Lisburn, County Down, Northern Ireland

    United Kingdom

    Satellite and aerial maps of Long Kesh with nearby locations

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    3.1162 Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland
    11.9040EGA69 Musgrave Park Hospital, Northern Ireland
    14.7021 Divis, Northern Ireland
    15.1038 Royal Victoria Hospital, Northern Ireland
    16.9036 Crumlin Road Gaol, Northern Ireland
    18.6043 Harland and Wolff, Northern Ireland

    1941 to 1979

    54° 29' 15'' N - 6° 6' 0'' W
    2nm SW of Lisburn
    Elevation: 125 feet

    History of this Location

    Building work at RAF Long Kesh commenced in Nov 1940 and led to the opening of the airfield by the Royal Engineers in Nov 1941. It was first used for training in low-level close support during army exercises. With RAF Maghaberry as its satellite, it carried on a low-level role into 1942. The RAF airfield finally closed in 1946, being kept under care and maintenance until 1948 when it was then handed to the British Army as a REME vehicle depot.

    From 1971 parts of the land became the Long Kesh Detention Centre and from 1976 the notorious H-blocks were built as part of HMP Maze.

    The airfield remnant, adjacent to HMP Maze, was used by the AAC between 1972 and 1979.

    The first six Sioux helicopters to be based there were moved from their Soltau base in West Germany as the situation in Northern Ireland deteriorated. The 657 Squadron machines were flown from Hannover to Aldergrove in two RAF Belfast transports on 14 and 15 Feb 1972. Within two hours they were re-assembled and ready to fly to the detachments new home.

    At first (summer 1972) Long Kesh was used by a mixture of 5 Scout and 5 Sioux helicopters (661 Sq), with 659 and 660 Squadrons in 1973. From 1976 onwards these gave way to a regular rotation of six Scouts and six Gazelles. The last detachment left in 1979, with the formation of the Northern Ireland Regiment.

    The Maze prison remained open until 2000.

    The Ulster Aviation Society moved its fine museum here from Langford Lodge in 2004/2005, occupying in hangars on the north west of the site.

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    List of units at Long Kesh

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    YearsRotary Wing Aircraft Unitbold : Current Model
    normal: Unit no longer at this base
    2016/    AANIEC135 2016/   
    1978/79659 SquadronScout ??/81
    1976/78661 SquadronLynx 1978/93
    SA341B Gazelle AH.1 1977/00
    Scout 1969/79
    1976/77658 Squadron
    1976654 SquadronWAH-64 Apache ??/14
    SA341B Gazelle AH.1 ??/07
    1975/76652 SquadronScout 1969/81
    1975659 SquadronScout ??/81
    1974659 SquadronScout ??/81
    1974/75654 SquadronWAH-64 Apache ??/14
    SA341B Gazelle AH.1 ??/07
    1974/75652 SquadronScout 1969/81
    1973660 SquadronScout 1969/77
    Sioux 1969/75
    1973655 SqScout ??/82
    1973/74669 SquadronScout 1971/81
    1972657 SquadronSioux 1969/78
    Scout 1969/78
    Lynx AH9A ??/18

    List of aircraft and events at Long Kesh

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    2009-may-27 ExhibitAer Chór na hÉireann SA316B 202
    2011-jun-11 ExhibitRAF HC.2 XR517
    2011-jun-11 ExhibitAer Chór na hÉireann SA316B 202
    2014-mar-03 Preserved AH.1 XV136
    2014-jul-29 ExhibitRAF SA330E XW222
    2017-jun AANI EC135T1 G-NHEM
    2017-sep-19 AANI /HELIMED23 EC135T1 G-NIHM

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