In WW1, the site of the now bustling Edinburgh Airport was but a small grassy airfield,then known as Turnhouse. It became first operational in April of 1916 with the Royal Flying Corps using it as a base to defend the City of Edinburgh.
A Spitfire flies over the famous Forth Bridge in 1999 as part of a reunion
of the surviving members of the Edinburgh 603 and Glasgow 602 squadrons
History of Turnhouse.
On the nights of the 2nd. and 3rd. of April 1916, bombs from a raid made by German Zepplin airships had killed 11 people.
Turnhouse was home for Number 22 Reserve Squadron, and then Number 77 Home
Reserve Squadron in October 1916. The Royal Air Force was founded in 1918 and Turnhouse became a fleet practice and repair facility. 603 ( City of Edinburgh Squadron ) in 1925 was a day bomber group of the Auxiliary Air Force, then in 1938, 603 became a Fighter Unit, and within two weeks of the start of WW2 was called upon to defend its host City.
On the 16th. of October in 1939, 14 Heinkel and Dornier bombers made a day raid upon Edinburgh, and two Royal Navy ships, HMS Edinburgh and HMS Southampton,
anchored east of the Firth of Forth bridge were the prime targets.
The raid killed 16 Sailors and wounded 44 more.
German Bombers shot down.
603 pilots flying the famous Spitfire Fighter, aided by their brothers in arms from Glasgow's 602 Squadron shot down three of the enemy aircraft. The Dornier 111 which crashed in East Lothia was the first German aircraft to be destroyed over Britain in WW2. A fourth bomber was accounted for by AA fire near North
Queensferry in Fife.
A Heinkel III bomber crashes in East Lothian, the
first German plane shot down over Edinburgh by RAF fighters
German Airmen Captured but died.
Two of the German airmen captured were later to die from their wounds, and were
accorded a burial with full military honours at the Portobello Cemetery.
Luftwaffe Raids on Edinburgh.
Some 14 air raids were carried out on Edinburgh resulting in 20 civilian deaths with a further 210 being injured.
603 stayed in Scotland until August 1940, then moving south to assist in the fight for existence, THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN. It later moved to Malta in 1942 to assist in the defence of that beleagured Island.
The Squadron disbanded in August 1945 to reform as part of the Auxiliary Air Force. It continued to recruit at Turnhouse till 1957, and then disbanded. In 1960 the base closed as a Military site, going to the Ministry of Aviation, and by 1970 it had lost any role with the Air Force, to come under the umbrella of the British Airport Authority.
A recruiting Poster in WW2 for Squadron 603 in Scotland
In 1999, 603, the City of Edinburgh Squadron reformed, but was no longer based at Turnhouse, but Reservists still protect the City of Edinburgh, a proud relationship that had started back in 1916 at a tiny grass airfield called Turnhouse.
A recruiting Poster in WW2 for Squadron 603 in Scotland.
A Heinkel III bomber crashes in East Lothian, the first German plane shot down over Edinburgh by RAF fighters
A Spitfire flies over the famous Forth Bridge in 1999 as part of a reunion of the surviving members of the Edinburgh 603 and Glasgow 602 squadrons