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Royal Air Force Katunayake

RAF Katunayake formerly known as RAF Negombo was built by the British in the mid 1940's to replace their lost airfields in Pakistan and India. Kat was conveniently situated twixt Aden and Singapore to serve the continuing need of supplying its vast Empire particularly so in the Far East and was used as a staging post to rest crews and passengers of aircraft in transit.

Kat was built among a plantation of 40000 coconut trees and lies some 20 plus miles north of the capital city Colombo and less than a handful of miles east of Negombo. The village just outside the camp gates at that time was Kurana.

The airfield was used via 3 organisations, primarily it was a Royal Air Force Base, although the Royal Ceylon Air Force was formed in the late forties they expanded their air force by establishing their headquarters at Kat. The major civilian airlines used Kat as their northern mid Indian Ocean base as a refueling stopover where crews were 'slipped', passengers were able to take a break and the aircraft could be replenished for the next leg of their journey.

I served on SASF Staging Aircraft Servicing Flight as an Aircraft Engine Mechanic from December 1958 to March 1960, previously I was stationed on the last flying boat squadron in the RAF 205/209 squadron Seletar, Singapore.
 
I am in touch with many people from this era, most of us gather on the RAF forum below

John 'Gary' Cooper on board Hastings WJ336 en route Changi to Kat May 1959 at 10500 feet

John 'Gary' Cooper en route Changi to Kat in May 1959 at 10500 feet on board Hastings WJ336

Handley Page Hastings C2 WJ336

Handley Page Hastings WJ336 of 48 Squadron Changi

Avro Shackleton MR1a WB835 of 205 Squadron

Avro Shackleton MR1A WB835 of 205 Squadron

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Top: SASF Staging Aircraft Servicing Flight. Headquarters commanded by Flight Lieutenant Tom Hobbs, with office, crewroom and aircraft workshop and storage area.

Middle/Bottom: Vickers Valettas known as 'Pigs' due to its shape, these were semi permamently based at Kat running freight and passengers between Kat and Gan in the Maldives.

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48 Squadron badge Changi

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BOAC Comet 4 entering the 'pan' having passed a parked up Handley Page Hastings

RAF Katunayake Sergeants Mess

Man Friday's footprints on Negombo Beach

RAF Katunayake Sergeants Mess

Sergeants Mess

Avro Vulcan

Avro Vulcan entering the pan, taken from Air Traffic Control Tower

Kurana village temple

Kurana village temple

DC3 and DC6

A 'Christmas Airways' DC3 Dakota being parked up next to a DC4

Skyways Avro York

Skyways Avro York

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A full pan a mixture of civilian and military aircraft

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Super Constellation of QANTAS, with three Hastings and a Canberra, the Canberra was a regular visitor flying through to Australia to find the amount of radiation that appeared 'in certain areas'!

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A Hercules engine running 'as sweet as a nut' somewhere over the Indian Ocean.

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UBENDUM WE'LLMENDUM philosophy.

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3 'Hastybirds' being turned round.

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Vickers Valiants on a Goodwill Tour of the Far East

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Every now and again a perfectly serviceable aircraft would visit Kat, sometimes the planned servicing didn't turn out right!

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A BOAC 'Whispering Giant' Bristol Britannia taxiing onto the dispersal area.

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A BOAC De Havilland Comet 4c proably the most beautiful of all jetliners ever built.

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Another busy day with a full pan

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Looks like someone took a hammer to the spinner of #1 propeller on this Hastings!

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A QANTAS Super Connie approaching the dispersal area.

Vickers Valiants

Bristol Britannia

Bristol Freighter, Hastings from under port wing of DC6

English Electric Canberra

BOAC Comet 4c on touch down

  

Come and join us on the RAF Forum for memories or banter http://RAFForum.activeboard.com/

More from RAF Katunayake/Negombo here http://splashdown2.tripod.com/id20.html

The content of this website is the copyright of John Cooper 2008