Ever since the outbreak of the Second World War, RAF Pembrey has had an active and colourful flying history.
Construction of the airfield started in 1937 and by September of 1939, the RAF's No. 2 Air Armament School was the first unit to be stationed at the airfield.
By June 1940, Fighter Command was using Pembrey as a base for the numerous fighter squadrons caught up in Britain's "finest hour...". During this period Pembrey gained honours as a Battle of Britain Airfield.
It is believed that 25 official kills were accredited to aircraft flown out of Pembrey during the war years.
Between 1941 and 1945 Pembrey was host to the RAF's Air Gunnery School, after which its activities relaxed a little and it became an air crew holding unit for war weary crews being demobbed.
Fighter Command once again took over as custodians in 1946, and remained there, (with the exception of a period from 1949 to 1952, when the RAF Regiment were based at Pembrey), until their final service days and the airfields eventual closure on the 13th July 1957.
Pembrey has been host to many Squadrons and aircraft types.
The following were the main Squadrons stationed at Pembrey during its active history. Although not an extensive list, it gives an insight into the character of Pembrey during its service history:
- Nos 595/5, 92, 118. (Spitfires)
- Nos 32, 79, 316 - formed at Pembrey. (Hurricanes)
- Nos 238, 248. (Beaufighters)
- Nos 256, 307. (Bolton Paul Defiants)
- No. 233 OCU (Vampires, Tempest, Mosquito, Meteors and Hunters)
One noteworthy incident (amongst many others - no doubt!)
- was the story of Oberleutnant Arnim Faber, Adjutant of III fighter Gruppe of JG2 who, on the 23rd of June 1942 had engaged Spitfires over the south coast of Britain and on heading towards Exeter, mistook the Bristol Channel for the English Channel. Being short on fuel, he landed at Pembrey believing it to be a Luftwaffe airfield in France. The Pembrey Duty Pilot, one Sgt. Jeffreys, grabbed a Very pistol and ran from the control tower and jumped onto the wing of Faber's aircraft as it taxied in.
Ironically, Faber was piloting the latest enemy fighter, the Focke Wulf 190A, a type the RAF had only ever seen flying over France.
The depths of Faber's despair at providing his enemy with an intact FW190 can be gauged by the fact that he subsequently attempted to commit suicide!
As news broke of his landing in Pembrey, Fighter Command despatched pilots to photograph and return the aircraft to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. The RAF finally had an Fw 190!