Ballykelly is also home to the third WWII airfied we have encountered since leaving Derry. This was opened in 1941 as RAF Ballykelly and after the war became part of the Joint Anti Submarine School ( with HMS Sea Eagle based at Ebrington Barracks) and was the base for three squadrons of Shackleton Aircraft in the 1950′s. The school was closed at the end of the ‘60′s and transfered to the Army (who renamed it Shackleton Barracks) in 1971. It remained in use as a military airfield until 2008.
This drawing shows the impressive cantelevered hangar constructed for maintenanace of the Shackletons and opened in 1966. Eight cantilevered steel frames, provide a clear uninterupted span of 39.2 m from the front of the doors to the main upright at the rear. Anchor legs extend 7m behind the building to counter this weight and are secured to piles driven into the ground with huge cruciform dead weights on their tops. Smaller examples were built at RAF Brize Norton,Oxon.(1968) and RAF St. Magwan,(1968) but this is the most impressive example in the UK..