A plea from Mick Tighe the custodian of the Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection is looking for a RAF Cold weather parka that was issued to the RAF Mountain Rescue Teams when I started. It was a heavy bit of kit but ideal for Base Camps or crash guard not far from the road. It had a fur hood, big pockets and very heavy ? Anyone got one as Mick would like it?
Michael Coward has located one thanks !
He also asked if anyone knew anything about Greenfell boots as they may have been issued to the military at some time? Can anyone help?
The photo above is the propeller from the Lancaster from RAF Kinloss that crashed on Beinn Eighe in the hard winter of 1951. Beinn Eighe is a huge mountain on the West Coast of Scotland.
Beinn Eighe is a mountaineer’s mountain in summer a huge hill of over 9 tops and in winter one of Alpine grandeur. Many chase the Munros there are two tops but this is not a mountain to be rushed it is the haunt of the eagle and those who venture into its wildest Corries will see the grandest of Scotland’s secrets. One of these Corries is the huge Cathedral like Triple Buttress and in one of it gully’s lies the wreckage of an RAF aircraft this is some of the story.
On the 13th March 1951 at 1804hrs, Lancaster TX264 call sign ‘D’ Dog of 120 Squadron, converted for reconnaissance purposes, took off from RAF Kinloss, a ‘fog free’ climate of the Moray Coast between Lossiemouth and Nairn. The pilot was Flt Lt Harry Reid DFC, 24 years of age, a total crew of eight with a Second Pilot, Navigator, Flight Engineer and four signallers. It was a ‘Navigational Exercise’ via Cape Wrath, the very name a ‘mingled feeling of anger and disdain’ this being the extreme north-west point of the Scottish mainland and named after the Viking word ’hvraf’ meaning a turning point where the Vikings turned south to the Hebrides in the ninth century. The cape is isolated and its heathland untamed. Around midnight the aircrew flew over the Lighthouse.The last position, sent by radio was at 0127hrs 60 miles north of the Cape, this was the very last message from the aircraft.
RAF Kinloss MRT and locals were involved in the recovery over several months of all the casualties. It was an awful task that changed RAF Mountain Rescue for ever and the story is in my previous blogs.
One can only imagine the effort to get the propeller moved from the top of the gully on Beinn Eighe and onto a position for the helicopter to bring it to RAF Kinloss where it was put next to the old RAF Mountain Rescue H.Q. My pal Tom Jones a RAF PTI at the time in the mid 80’s was on the hill doing all the work with some students. It must have been some task as this was a heavy propeller and all done by manpower on steep loose ground. No Health and Safety in these days, I bet Tom had a real laugh. Sadly Tom passed away a few weeks ago and the re-sighting of the memorial with the RAF Mountain Rescue Team will be something he and the family will be very proud of.
|THE CREW:- of Lancaster||PILOT||Flt Lt H S Reid|
|SECOND PILOT||Sgt R Clucas|
|NAVIGATOR||Fg Off R Strong|
|SIGNALLER||Flt Lt P Tennison|
|FLIGHT ENGINEER||Flt Sgt G Farquhar|
|SIGNALLERS||Flt Sgt J Naismith|
|Sgt W D Beck|
|Sgt J W Bell|
The Propeller was taken to RAF Kinloss by helicopter and I would love to hear the story of this . My old Boss Sqn Leader Eric Hughes RIP the Officer i/c the MRT 4 who with a group from the Team built the original Memorial at RAF Kinloss outside the old MRT H.Q When it was moved to the new HQ in about 2004 it was a huge job and the contractor had to get a heavy lift vehicle to move it a three day job. I watched it as I was working at the ARCC at the time it was some task on done over the weekend. Eric and the troops built it to last.
It will be wonderful when the memorial is finished and thanks to 39 Engineer Regiment from Kinloss Barracks. My old pal Joss Gosling who was in the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team on the crash will be so pleased and I hope when it is completed Joss will be fit enough to travel and see it at RAF Lossiemouth.