The photo above is the propeller from the Lancaster from RAF Kinloss that crashed on Beinn Eighe in the hard winter of 1951. 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. The conditions and the terrain was extremely serious and after this RAF MRT had huge influence on the training of teams and led to the annual winter Course was introduced to get the RAF MRT Teams from all over UK capable of Rescue in any conditions.
The propeller is now at RAF Lossiemouth and there is great story concerning it. 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 Officer Cadet students. He was working at the Outdoor Activities Centre at Grantown on On Spey. It must have been some task as this was a heavy propeller and all done by manpower on steep loose ground. There was limited Health and Safety in these days. I bet Tom had a real laugh as did the students and would love to here from anyone involved. Sadly Tom passed away a few months ago and the re-sighting of the memorial at Lossiemouth would have made him very happy.
From Beinn Eighe 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 moved the propeller to the old wooden hut that was the teams HQ. Along with a group from the Team put the original Memorial on a plinth at RAF Kinloss. It took a lot of work and was put in to last by the team.
The old MRT was a wooden hut and it remained there for over 20 years. It was then moved to the new HQ at RAF Kinloss 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. It was in the contract that they move it. 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 had troops had built it to last.
It remained here until the team was moved to RAF Lossiemouth and then 38 Sqn Army Engineers moved it to RAF Lossiemouth where it is now outside the MRT H.Q. The team have repainted it and it looks great. It is going to be lovely day as we have Joss Gosling and his family who was on the Call – out in 1951 still going strong at 89. His family will be with him. Tom Jones family will be there as well and Eric Hughes widow Wendy it will be a special day and I will be there along with a few others including the Torridon MRT. It will be a lovely day with so many memories.
We must never forget that sadly all the crew died on the Lancaster.
Fl/Lt Harry Smith Reid DFC (29), Pilot, RAF.Buried Groves Cemetery Aberdeen
Sgt Ralph Clucas (23), Co-Pilot, RAF. Buried at Kinloss Abbey.
Flt Lt Strong (27), Navigator, RAF. Buried Bramwood End Cemetery, Birmingham.
Sgt Peter Tennison (26), Air Signals, RAF. Buried at Kinloss Abbey.
Sgt James Naismith (28), Air Signals, RAF. Buried at Kinloss Abbey.
Sgt Wilfred D Beck (19), Air Signals, RAF. Buried at Kinloss Abbey.
Sgt James W Bell (25), Air Signals, RAF. Buried at Kinloss Abbey.
Sgt George Farquhar (29), Flight Engineer, RAF. Buried Buckie Cemetery, Banffshire. Born 3/6/1921.