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Primarily an RAF radar base, RAF Kirknewton was home to a variety of units during the war. No. 289 Squadron RAF was formed there as an anti-aircraft co-operation unit on 20 November 1941. In June 1943, RAF Kirknewton was the site of an outstanding act of bravery when Sqn Ldr Peter Guy Ottewill rescued two airmen from a burning Bristol Beaufighter, earning a George Medal.
RAF Kirknewton was used as a temporary POW Camp for German officers during WWII, while they were awaiting transfer to the USA.
During the 1970's the area in trees to the west of the airfield (which now seems to be the home of some very up market housing) was used by the Army and known as Ritchie Camp. The unit in residence also had the run of the airfield site for driver training and other military activities. The units there included the Black Watch and The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
As part of the Future Force 2020 budgetary announcement in July 2011, Kirknewton is to be developed into a major Army base to host a Multi-Role Brigade. The first units are expected to move in to Kirknewton in 2016-17. Additional troops will be stationed in Glencorse Barracks.