RAF Kinloss Memories

On October 19th 2010 Prime Minister David Cameron presented  the SDSR, there were two major shocks in his statement, first the immediate removal of the Harrier force from both the RAF & RN, and second the immediate cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4  programme. This announcement had a devastating impact on RAF Kinloss in that he also stated that the base would no longer be required. After over 70 years service RAF Kinloss would close as an RAF Station. As I write this, no firm date has been announced, many rumours abound of course but it will happen. It came as a huge shock to both the servicemen and local population.

My relationship with the station goes back to April 2nd 1982 when I was posted from RAF Coltishall (now also closed) as a newly promoted Sergeant to run the Air Comms desk on Nimrod Line Squadron, little did I realize at the time that I would spend the rest of my RAF career associated with the Nimrod up to my retirement in 1999. In my 14 years at Kinloss I photographed many aircraft so I will put as many images that I can find from my large slide collection in celebration of Kinloss, a truly great station which will be sorely missed.

RAF Kinloss closed as a flying station on Sunday July 31st 2011, it  ceased to be an RAF Station on March 31st 2013



10 Responses to “RAF Kinloss Memories”

  1. Thanks Jim, those pictures where some a wonderful blast from the past and fairly current. I lost all mine when my kids burnt the house down, lol

    You may remember me, Joe “C” shift most of the time, I was a flight line Mech then an A Mech P on NLS along with Fergy, Stumpy John Dixon, and whole other bunch of great people. from 1980 to 1986 before going to Brize on VC10’s.

    I just came back from Gibraltar, and its changed a bit, but the people remember us, good are bad they remember the Nimrods.

    I live in California now, once again, the Pics are great, I thank you.

    Joe, aka Colin 🙂

    • Joe

      Thanks for the kind remarks, you would be dismayed at Kinloss now, its a ghost town. I believe there are just two Nimrods left on based although quite a few ended up in museums. I still live in Forres.

  2. I stopped in at Forres a few years back when Kinloss was still fully active, its funnny how some people just never forget you, not sure thats good or bad, you know what I mean, we did put down some beers, lol.

    I was just talking to Anabelle, we used to call her freebee, never did know why, nor she, but hey!!, lol she was an Aircraft painter at kinloss when we where all there.

    John Rankin I hear is at Boeing in Washington, I have a friend at Boeing, works on there missile systems, I asked him to find out, lol.

    Well Jim its of to work, you’re probably retired, hahah!! 🙂

    Take care,


  3. Stuart Roxburgh Says:


    Great stuff. All the best,


  4. Chris Kelly Says:


    Thanks for the photos and the memories, had great times at Kinloss, as a Air Comms Mech and Air Comms Tech (probably don’t remember me) but probably more fun doing the FLM bit. Miss the old girls, when I was in Oman with BAE on the 103 and 203 Hawks seen them there they were beautiful to watch, and the lads let me get part in the servicing and it was really good to see my old pal John Allison who was a JT when I arrived at Kinloss in ’83, went back to Kinloss to oversee the fit of AQS971 as I was the Head of Integrated Logistic Support for Ultra Electronics, then went back with Bgdr Martin Boswell to aid in the closure of Kinloss as a airbase and conversion to Army barracks, brought tears to my eyes to see how they’d stripped the base, but I got to touch at least one before I left.
    Time’s moved on, the Ultra AQS971 and Boeing fit for MRA4 was fitted to the PA8 fleet so at least the remaining crews are still current, I’m now a Principal Consultant for Polaris Consulting here on the south coast doing very high level studies into ILS, Reliability, Maintainability and Safety to the UK MOD on multiple platforms and systems and doing well at it.
    Keep meaning to visit my Aunty May sadly Noel Scott her husband passed away last year I believe, didn’t make the funeral, but have promised to visit so if you’re about and you would like to have a pint or too, send me some details.
    I keep in touch with Gerry Sweeney and have met up with Joe Irvine over the years but really not heard anything of the others like Tam Davidson.

    Chris (Paddy) Kelly

  5. Kinloss and MOTU feature in a chapter of my autobiography. I was introduced to the elephants arse-hole in November 1961…..grey on the outside and black and smelly inside. There are many memories of Kinloss and Coastal Command. I have just under 5000 hours in the grey lady, a more noble term for the Shackleton.

  6. Ken Smith Says:

    Hi Jim,
    I’m sitting in a bar in Bali killing some time with a cold beer and was just browsing the net reminiscing when I stumbled on your site, so glad I did.
    I was a q.v. Inst guy at Kinloss from 81 to 85. Spent the first year or so in ASF then the remainder on the line with Colin Reid, Woody, etc.
    I went to 60 Sqn Wildenrath, after the 8 hour shift change, used to love those six days off.
    After Germany I couldn’t escape the nimrods and ended up at 31 sqn.
    I finished my time there and have been in Sydney Australia working for Qantas ever since. Although I have been there for approx 30 years I still consider my time at Kinloss as the best 4 or 5 years I have ever had.
    I know the email address will not be published but if anyone should wish to get in touch please pass on my email to them.
    Thanks again for the great pics and memories,
    Ken Smith (Nav Inst NLS RAF Kinloss)

  7. Sandy Allan Says:

    Great Photos. Posted to Kinloss in Feb 79. I was a SAC Supplier in ASF Stores, from June 80 till my demob in March 83.
    Still come to Findhorn with the Motorhome a couple of times a year on our way Inverness, Aviemore & the west coast. Always loved the area (as I’m from Aberdeen, & the locals spoke my dialect hahaha).
    Great time, good friends, & a good station. Couldn’t believe it when they scrapped the Nimrod fleet? One of the stupidest political decisions ever!

    • Colin Gravenor aka Joe. Says:

      Do you remember Annabelle (freebie) she was a painter in ASF, I was FLM, A.Mech.P on the line at NLS, from mid 1980 until I was posted to Brize Norton in 1986. They called me Joe. I now Live in California, and run the Automotive section for the Fullerton Police Department, and I cant remember the last time I speeding ticket lol.

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