Operation Hardrock, Cairnryan, Scotland

Operation Hardrock – Cairnryan, Nr Stranraer, Scotland (Uploaded July 2007)

The detachment of 5004 Airfield Construction Sqn RAF to Cairnryan in 1958.

'Operation Hardrock' was the building of a Rocket Tracking Station on the remote, uninhabited, Scottish island of St. Kilda (Hirta), 40 miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. It was carried out by the Royal Air Force (5004 Airfield Construction Squadron, home-based at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire at the time) for the British Army, over the two summers of 1957 and 1958, with over-wintering there, in between, by a skeleton RAF force. The army provided the sea transport to and from St. Kilda, using ageing Mk VIII LCT's (Landing Craft Tanks) which were based, for them, a long sea voyage away, at Marchwood, Southampton Water!

I was not a permanent member of 5004 Sqn, but was 'attached' to it from 7/3/1958 to 8/9/1958. Here are photographs I took during my stay at the RAF mainland base, No. 2 Military Port, Cairnryan, some 7 miles north of Stranraer. Some modern ones have been added for comparison/contextual reasons. Cairnryan Port closed around 1962: the rocket tracking station eventually closing around 2000.