The Naval Air Station at Burscough was built on 650 acres of land using a compulsory purchase order on the 12th December 1942. Several farmers had their land requisitioned and also Lordsgate Township Primary School was demolished. The aerodrome layout was the typical admiralty design for the time, consisting of four runways, a three – storey control tower with an air watch office, along with 32 main hill hangars and 2 callendar hangar. Accommodation consisted of nissen huts. Three of the runways were a length of 1000 meters and the forth aligned with the prevailing wind being 1,100 meters. The width of the runways was 27 meters compared with the standard RAF 46 meters. HMS Ringtail was designed to accommodate around 80 aircraft.
The Air Station was used for fighter squadrons, but this grew to include night fighter, torpedo fighter, radar training and a fleet requirement unit. Around 40 squadrons were attached for short periods for working up, conversion or disembarking from aircraft carriers in the Mersey off Liverpool.
The first squadron to appear was 808 in October 1943, which consisted of Supermarine Seafires. This squadron was joined a few days later by three further Seafire squadrons, these being 807, 866 and 897. All these squadrons undertook tactical reconnaissance training and also other types of training. The Air Station also acquired a squadron of Airspeed Oxfords of 758 squadron.
Fourteen American built Corsairs of 1836 squadron were attached from 19th January until 8th March 1944, when they embarked on the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious. The remainder of the year saw a succession of British built Fairey Barracudas of 810 and 822 squadrons, Swordfish of 835 squadron and Fairey Fireflies of 1771 and 1772 squadron. Also at this time there were American built Curtis Hellcats of 888 and 1840 squadrons, Wildcats of 1896 squadron and Gruman Avengers of 846 squadron as well.
Probably the most impressive aircraft to arrive at Burscough in August 1944 for further training was the Curtis Helldiver. It was operated by 1820 squadron which was formed in the USA during April of that same year. Several crew members were killed in accidents in this type of dive bomber, three Helldiver aircraft failed to pull out of vertical dives this led to this unit being disbanded on the 16th of December 1944.
One particular accident happened whilst out on a training exercise from Burscough. A Helldiver of 1820 squadron whilst on a dive bombing exercise on Morcambe bay range failed to pull out of a dive at 600 feet, the Pilot Sub. Lt. Neville and his passenger Steward FT Turner were both killed and are buried in Burscough Parish Churchyard.