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RAF Grimsetter

I do look at this site frequently and in my early days of looking I posted one or two things, but nothing since, mainly because I never see anything from other Gan (Met Office) civvies, of which there are several out there somewhere. Anyway this came up in my local pub quiz the other night and I instantly thought some of you older blue jobs might be able to help:
Where is Grimsetter airport?
The answer is Orkneys (Kirkwall), but when did RAF Grimsetter close and become known as Kirkwall Airport? I think it may have transferred from RAF to RN then civvy, but when? Regards to all, hope you have a good Gan reunion in 2010, and give my regards to what's left of No2 Civilian Mess.

Re: RAF Grimsetter

That's a new one on me, Ron. Have never heard of RAF Grimsetter. I joined in 1963, and have never come across that one. Will keep that in mind for future quiz's.

Re: RAF Grimsetter

Ray a check 0n Google states that it became a civilian airport in 1948 but was not developed until circa 2003. Hope this helps.

Re: RAF Grimsetter

Never heard of or got anywhere near.It was either Saxa or Gan,pleased[very pleased]I went south.Larry..Ray,if we get back will try to get into civvy compound to see what remains,you would have seen on my dvd that the compound had security on it,but if we get a real good turnout we will in large numbers investigate every part of the old camp..L.

Re: RAF Grimsetter

I did try a swift google, but I couldn't find any dates. Thanks v m guys.

Re: RAF Grimsetter

RAF Kirkwall, also known as RAF Grimsetter, and later commissioned as HMS Robin, was used as a satellite and relief airfield for fighter and coastal operations over the Scottish islands, and naval bases located throughout their area.

Kirkwall (or Grimsetter) was a Fighter Sector Station, and an RAF Sector Operations Room and Gun Control Room which was located to the northwest of the airfield, to the east of the A960 road leading to the town of Kirkwall. This came to be known locally as the Black Building due to its external appearance.

Three runways were installed, in an unusual cross pattern. Each runway is asphalt, 46 metres in width:

07/25 Asphalt 1,168 m
09/27 Asphalt 1,432 m
15/33 Asphalt 560 m

The airfield was initially operated by the RAF from 1940, then transferred to the Royal Navy when the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) commissioning HMS Robin there from April 24, 1943. It finally reverted to the RAF on June 31, 1945,


Kirkwall Airport is situated on the A960 road, 3 miles (5 km) east of Kirkwall. It was established as a Royal Air Force fighter station, known as RAF Grimsetter, early in World War II and became a civilian airport in 1948. A new £3.4 million terminal building was opened in 2002 by First Minister Jack McConnell (b. 1960). The airport is operated by the government-owned Highland and Islands Airports Limited and has the International Air Transport Association (IATA) location code "KOI". Scheduled flights operate to many of the Orkney islands, together with Sumburgh (Shetland) and mainland destinations such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Wick.