Buildings & Infrastructure

 Air Stations_0145 (Burscough) - Copy (2)

Aerial view of HMS Ringtail, 23rd October 1943.

(Click on the image for a larger view)

Control Tower 

Tower Type: Naval 3860/42 (three storey) with Air Watch Office.

Originally built as a two storey control tower with an air watch office in 1943, this was hurriedly changed to a three storey with an air watch office.

A cubical (near square) building with 3 floors and an air watch office on the roof. Ample tarmac space nearby for fire engines, ambulances and a crash wagon with lifting and cutting gear should an accident occur. The ground floor was the weather station of the airfield consisting of the Met office, Met Teleprinters office, Senior Met Officer’s office, a store room, toilets and a stairway down to the basement where the boiler was situated to provide heating.

The first floor would house the office of Commander Flying and the office of Air Staff Officer with an external platform. Also a large room / office fitted with wireless receivers and microphones and keys, and immensely complicated connection board with plugs to interconnect radio sets, operators, officers, etc.

The second floor was completely taken up by Flying Control with large windows on three sides overlooking the airfield and an external platform. A ladder going up to the Air Watch office, all manner of telephones, loud speakers, microphones, for talking to aircraft, runway van, Commander of Flying, radio room, etc. A large desk was situated in the middle with a plan of the airfield on it and lots of monitor lights to show which runway lights, markers were lit.


control tower 1943

The original Control Tower at HMS Ringtail, this was quickly changed to a three storey with air watch office to accommodate the needs of the air station, 1943.

Air watch office

On the roof of the Control Tower was found the Air Watch office, a box shaped room approximately 12 feet square and 8 feet high with glass all round from floor to roof. It is reached by ladders through two holes in the floor / roof. Railed off (originally) on three sides but not the forth, a terrible trap if you didn’t watch out, particularly if signalling by Aldis lamp to an aircraft in circuit (circling the airfield preparing to land). The air Watch office was manned by an officer who logged all aircraft landing and taking off and would warn by red lamp or Verey light if for example an aircraft was coming into land with its wheels up.


inside control tower (2)

Inside the Control Tower - Flying Control, 2nd floor, c1945.

To the right can be seen a ladder that leads up to the Air Watch Office.

working in control tower

Inside the Control Tower, Flying Control staff at work, 2nd floor, c1945.

control tower 2nd floor

Inside the Control Tower, Flying Control, 2nd floor, c1945.

Tower 18 June 1976 APF02

HMS Ringtail - Control Tower, 18th June 1976.

(Photos courtesy - Aldon Ferguson).

Tower 18 June 1976 APF03 - Copy

HMS Ringtail - Control Tower, 18th June 1976.

(Photos courtesy - Aldon Ferguson).

(Additional information courtesy - Ray Jones and Frank Walker, Signals Officer – Protected Communications Building, HMS Ringtail, 1943).