Long Kesh

Lisburn , County Down , Northern Ireland

united kingdom United Kingdom

Satellite and aerial maps of Long Kesh with nearby locations

Nearby locationsKmBearing
Hillsborough Castle , Northern Ireland 3.1162
Musgrave Park Hospital , Northern Ireland 11.9040EGA69
Divis , Northern Ireland 14.7021
Lurgan Park , Northern Ireland 14.9259
Royal Victoria Hospital , Northern Ireland 15.1038
Crumlin Road Gaol , Northern Ireland 16.9036

  Long Kesh

1941 to 1979

54° 29' 15'' N     6° 6' 0'' W
2nm SW of Lisburn, Lisburn, County Down, Northern Ireland
Elevation: 125 feet

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.

The base is used by the Provinces Air Ambulance Helimed 23.

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  List of units at Long Kesh

Years Unit
2016-    AANIAW109, EC135,
1978/79659 SquadronScout,
1976/78661 SquadronLynx, SA341B Gazelle AH.1, Scout,
1976/77658 Squadron
1976654 SquadronWAH-64 Apache, SA341B Gazelle AH.1,
1975/76652 SquadronScout,
1975659 SquadronScout,
1974659 SquadronScout,
1974/75654 SquadronWAH-64 Apache, SA341B Gazelle AH.1,
1974/75652 SquadronScout,
1973660 SquadronScout, Sioux,
1973655 SqScout,
1973/74669 SquadronScout,
1972657 SquadronSioux, Scout, Lynx AH9A,

List of aircraft and events at Long Kesh

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

2022-oct-10 AANI /HELIMED 23 AW109 G-RSCU
2022-oct-20 AANI AW109 G-RSCU

2024-feb-18 AH1 XZ666

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