Monday, 31 October 2011
An engine was among almost 50 items recovered from the wreck of a World War II Lancaster bomber, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) report has revealed.
Six Royal Australian Air Force personnel and an RAF crewman died when the aircraft came down on Balavil Estate, near Kingussie.
A team from RAF Waddington, Lincoln, from where the bomber flew missions, recovered the objects in 2008.
The MoD report listing the items has now been published on a database.
Its entry on Highland Council's Historic Environment Record said more objects were recovered than expected from the wreck site and had included one of the Lancaster's Merlin engines.
The aircraft's camera, an oxygen mask, part of a parachute and a section of the rear gun turret were also recovered.
Part of a propeller blade that was found is now a memorial to airmen killed during World War II in a cemetery at Balavil House on the estate where the bomber crashed.
The other items found are now being cleaned and preserved at RAF Waddington.
Artefacts were recovered from the crash site under a licence and their locations in the landscape were recorded using GPS before being removed.
The crew from 467/463 Sqd were on a night training flight over the Cairngorms and Monadhliath mountain ranges when the bomber came down.
The cause may have been damage as a result of anti-aircraft fire, or freezing conditions, encountered during a mission the previous night.
The six Australian crew members were interred in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Cambridge, while the sole RAF airman was buried in Glasgow.
Sunday, 30 October 2011
Suspension of Research Enquiries
We are sorry but at present the Museum has suspended its enquiry service. The staff who operate the enquiry services are working hard on improving collections care and management as part of our major redevelopment project.
The project will involve an extension to the castle which will provide:
- increased display space
- a large area for special exhibitions, education and events
- better storage for the Museum and archive collections
- an improved shop and ticket office
- accessible visitor facilities, including a tea room for visitors
- improved parking
The project will involve a major redevelopment of the existing museum building and galleries. We possess a fine collection of artefacts and records spanning the whole history of The Black Watch. Through this we tell the story of the Regiment and the part it has played in the history of our nation. We wish to add to, conserve and display our collection so as to honour in perpetuity the memory of the Regiment and the countless men who have served in it.
We therefore cannot respond in any detail to your request at this time. Please see our Tracing a Soldier webpage for further information that may be able to assist in answering your query.
Once again our apologies for not being able to help you at this time
Saturday, 29 October 2011
A veterans’ charity has called on anti-capitalist protesters who have camped on the Garden of Remembrance in the heart of Scotland’s largest city to leave.
The Royal British Legion in Scotland said the Occupy Glasgow group’s encampment in George Square threatens to disrupt the upcoming Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday services in the city.
The demonstration, which takes up a corner of the square near the war memorial opposite the council chambers, has been in situ since October 15 and is made up of about 20 tents with a similar number of full-time residents.
Last week, a woman was raped by two men at the camp, though none of those involved is thought to have been part of the protest.
Last night, Neil Griffiths, spokesman for the Royal British Legion Scotland, said the charity had held discussions with the activists about them leaving so services could take place unimpeded, but their pleas had so far been rebuffed.
He said: “They assured me they would move away from the area needed for the remembrance service, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
“We do not have a problem with their protest, although we do not accept their argument that millions of servicemen died so they could camp in George Square. Our main concern is that their camp disrupts the Garden of Remembrance and the plans for the Armistice service.”
He said the demonstrators would be welcome to attend any of the services, but said a request by them to lay a wreath had been refused as the Royal British Legion does not align itself with any single-issue groups.
Glasgow City Council has issued the camp with a notice of expulsion and will go to court on Tuesday to get an eviction order, clearing the way for the demonstration to be forcibly removed.
The camp’s presence could also affect the Christmas lights switching-on festivities, as well as a fun fair planned for the end of November.
A source at Glasgow City Council said the authority was continuing to hold discussions with the demonstrators. The insider said: “Our first hope is that the sheriff grants the order and it’s complied with.”
As before, we have nextto no information. So, any info provided will be gratefully received.
Some more group photos today. A formal group, and a more relaxed grouping, including at least one rather interesting hat...
Click on the images for a closeup view.
Friday, 28 October 2011
The next few days I shall be uploading the final images from the album which belonged to my wife's grandfather.
Today's photos feature several group shots. We don't know the identity of any of the men in these photos but there are a variety of distinguishing features. Cap badges are clear in these images, and given my wifes grandfather served in the 10/11th Highland Light Infantry, it seems likely that would be the unit depicted here.
There are also several medal ribbons, wound stripes and overseas service stripes, so it is possible these photos are post-war.
As with previous "image of the day" posts, if you have any further information, please either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or add a comment on the post here.
Click on each image for a larger view.
Sunday, 23 October 2011
Thursday 10th November 2011 7:00pm - 9:00pm in the GLO Centre, Motherwell.
Society Meeting: Eric J. Graham "Clyde Built - Blockade Runners of the American Civil War "Author Eric J. Graham has written several books focusing on Scotland's Maritime History
Saturday 19th November 10:00am - 4:00pm at The David Livingstone Centre Blantyre
HAWICK’S Glorious Dead war memorial has been placed highly commended in the annual Royal British Legion War Memorial competition.
However, there were no points awarded to the Boer War memorial, despite the Hawick branch gifting a duplicate cairn earlier this year.
Chairman of the Hawick Branch of The Royal British Legion Scotland, Jim Coltman (pictured) said: “The award means a lot to us and a lot to the Legion in the town. We know there’s been cutbacks with the parks staff but they’ve really worked hard this year, while two or three of us were down giving them a hand to tidy up beforehand.
“With very little extra work from the parks department, I’m confident we could have been outright winners of the whole thing.”
Branch secretary Brian McLeod said they wished to thank the following for their help in preparing the war memorials for this year’s competition: The Hawick parks department staff, Frank Scott and Jason Hedley (parks manager) at Scottish Borders Council. He added: “We in the Hawick branch will endeavour to assist as is necessary so that we can improve both war memorials for 2012.”
Saturday, 22 October 2011
A missing soldier, born in Coatbridge in Lanarkshire who died in the closing stages of the First World War, has been identified by National Defence in Canada. Private Alexander Johnstone was serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France when he was killed in September 1918.
From what I can take from the article below his body was taken off the battlefield and probably buried in a shallow grave. Unfortunately after the war his grave was not found until 2008. He was identified earlier this year through a DNA test on his great-nephew and he will be buried with full military honours on Tuesday.
From the Ottowa Citizen
Great War soldier finds his final resting place
By Jennifer Campbell, The Ottawa Citizen October 17, 2011
OTTAWA — For 90 years, his final resting place was unknown. His service, however was commemorated on the Vimy Memorial near Arras, France, where the names of more than 11,000 other Canadians who have no known grave also appear.
But next week, the remains of Pte. Alexander Johnston, which surfaced when a First World War battlefield became an industrial construction site in 2008, will be buried, with full military honours, at Le Cantimpré Canadian Cemetery in Sailly, France. And his Ottawa-based next of kin will be on hand to see it.
Indeed his great grand-niece, Ann Gregory, who is a bugler with the Governor General’s Foot Guards, will play The Last Post as part of the ceremony. She’s travelling as part of the National Defence delegation and her father, Don Gregory, and brother, David, will also be on hand thanks to Veterans Affairs, which provides funding for two family members to attend. In addition, three of Johnston’s relatives who live in Scotland, where he was born, will also travel to France for the ceremony.
Ann Gregory says her father, who was a jet pilot in the air force, knew about the death but it wasn’t something that she grew up knowing about.
“I guess because it was a long time ago and maybe because he didn’t have a known grave. It wasn’t something we talked about,” she said.
That said, she admits that it’s deeply meaningful to get to play The Last Post at his service. “It’s something that’s very special to me.
As a trumpet player, it’s the biggest honour you can be given. It helps families with closure and honours military service.
“It’s surprisingly emotional for me,” she said. “It’s a person I’ve never met, who died 93 years ago, but somehow it still feels close.
Also, The Last Post brings up emotions. It seems such a shame that someone dies in battle and they die so young.”
She said she’s impressed and touched by how much trouble National Defence took to identify his remains, find his family and “do the right thing” by giving him a proper burial. And, she was amazed they were able to track down her father, who is the last living Canadian who could have provided the mitochondrial (descended from the mother) DNA they prefer to use for testing in these cases (men have mitochondrial DNA but they can’t pass it on to their children.)
Pte. Johnston was born in Coatbridge, Scotland, in 1885 and moved to Hamilton, Ont., in his late 20s. He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force on Jan. 5, 1918 and was part of the 78th Battalion when he died during the Battle of the Canal du Nord on Sept. 29, 1918. He was 33.
His remains were found less than a kilometre where he died and fought, said Laurel Clegg, casualty identification co-ordinator at National Defence. She was notified in 2008 by the Canadian Embassy, which had been contacted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. She travelled to France to look at the remains and begin the search for who he was.
Canada has signed an agreement that says no soldiers’ remains (the Unknown Soldier’s notwithstanding) get repatriated to Canada so she is only allowed to bring genetic samples back to Ottawa, and even those she will return to France to be interred with the rest of the remains next week.
“We take it very seriously, the idea that you don’t repatriate because you can’t repatriate them all,” Clegg said. “There’s also the sentiment that he’ll be interred with those he fought with, near to where he died. It does make the investigation more difficult but we stand by it.”
With these investigations — they do (on average) between two and three per year — they do two kinds of sleuthing. First, there’s historical research where they look at badges that might have been found with the remains (in this case there was a 78th Battalion medal) and then military service records to see whose remains were never recovered from that battalion and that area. Then Clegg goes to France to do the physical anthropological research to determine who old the soldier was, how tall, whether he had injuries — “you’re just looking for all these clues.” In some cases, and this is one, there aren’t enough clues, and she then takes a DNA sample as well.
While the historical research determined there were a total of 11 missing from that battalion, only two fit the profile they’d put together.
A genealogist then spent the next year looking for maternal descendants (that is, the soldier’s sister’s daughter’s children in this case) of those two soldiers and in the end found appropriate relatives for both the missing. Once tested, Don Gregory’s DNA was the perfect match.
“We made the identification in March and contacted the family,” Clegg said.
And on Oct. 25, Pte. Alexander Johnston will be buried with his fellow soldiers, less than a kilometre from where he fell.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Monday, 10 October 2011
Funeral for Battle of Britain ace Wallace Cunningham
THERE have been calls to pay tribute to a war hero born in Milton of Campsie.
Captain George Hunt sank more enemy ships than any other during World War II. Rammed twice, sunk once and bombarded with hundreds of depth charges, the steely-eyed submariner sunk 28 enemy vessels. He died on August 16 in Australia, aged 95.
Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament.
It calls on MSPs to mark his sad passing and to recognise “that he was a most skilled and brave naval officer, whose courage and determination earned him both respect and decoration”.
The motion also notes his full career in the Navy and British High Commission where he earned a reputation for “unsurpassed daring and brilliance, and, in light of what are considered his incredible achievements, supports the campaign for a permanent memorial”.
The Herald has been in touch with Australian author Peter Dornan, who wrote the book ‘Diving Stations – The Story of Captain George Hunt and the Ultor’. He is pleased that Captain Hunt is being remembered locally.
Campsie and Kirkintilloch North councillor David Ritchie said: “I was totally amazed by Captain Hunt’s naval exploits. This man received numerous decorations for his bravery and determination in defeating those who were intent in destroying our democratic way of life and he was truly an unassuming hero.
“To find out that he was born in the village of Milton of Campsie must be recognised by the council and I will be writing to the chief executive of East Dunbartonshire Council to ask what can be done to ensure that his memory lives on.”
However, Councillor Charles Kennedy said Captain Hunt had left Milton of Campsie at a very young age and it was unlikely that a memorial could be created for him in the village.
He said: “He was an incredible man and a man who served his country with great distinction and bravery, any community would be proud to call him one of their own, but I think it would be stretching it a bit for Milton of Campsie to claim him.”
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
by Alan Shields
A CACHE of at least two dozen Second World War hand grenades have been discovered in the centre of Wick.
Police have confirmed that the Assembly Rooms is closed after multiple cases of what is thought to be No 76 special incendiary grenades were uncovered just behind the building this afternoon.
Northern Constabulary’s Sergeant Ian Sutherland said: “A cache was uncovered on the other side of the wall behind the Assembly Rooms by a person digging the foundation for a flagpole.
“There’s at least a couple of dozen, but we don’t know how deep it goes. They appear to have placed there.”
Sergeant Sutherland added: “It appears they were only really issued to Home Guard units during World War Two, so it’s a bit of mystery how they got there.”
The area has been secured with a police presence and the Assembly Rooms closed as a precaution.
A Royal Navy bomb disposal unit is expected to deal with the munitions tomorrow morning.
The No 76 special incendiary grenade or A.W. bomb (named after manufacturers Albright & Wilson, of Oldbury) was mass produced during the 1940s.
The weapon is essentially a flask containing a volatile mix of yellow phosphorus, benzene and water.
The flask would be thrown at enemies and when broken the contents would instantly ignite producing poisonous fumes and heat – in a similar fashion to modern-day petrol bombs.
For more on the find see Wednesday’s Caithness Courier.
By Reevel Alderson BBC Scotland's social affairs correspondent
These tricked German air crews into dropping their bombs away from population and industrial centres.
It was part of a successful campaign of subterfuge which, it was claimed, led to many lives being saved in the Blitz.
The rough moorland above Dumbarton will soon be transformed by the planting of 200,000 trees, providing a wildlife haven and amenity for local people.
Its work came to the fore on May 5, 1941 when the Luftwaffe raided Dumbarton.
Air crews saw explosions and fires on the ground as they dropped their bombs; but they were a sham -- decoys, controlled from a concrete bunker in the middle of Lang Craigs.
It appears many of the German bombs on the raid over Dumbarton dropped harmlessly onto the Lang Craigs moor.
It was littered with debris when 11-year-old Bill McLeod cycled up the next morning.
"As I turned into the farm, the large barn that was there, there was still smoke coming out of the top of it," the 82-year-old said.
"There were two huge big bomb craters in the field and there was an unexploded bomb on the other side of the wood, which the farmer took me to see for some reason!"
"We think there was a control room inside, and also an engine room providing electrical power to some of the decoy systems," said Roy Barlow, site manager for the Woodland Trust which has bought the land.
"Out on the moors there would be fires which were meant to simulate a town which had already been bombed, so that further waves of bombers would come and drop their bombs on the moor instead of on the town."
The RAF which controlled the starfish sites across the UK said after the War that 674 night attacks were delivered on decoy lights and fires during the Blitz.
Seventeen people died in the 1941 Dumbarton raid -- compared to more than 1,000 two months earlier in the Clydebank Blitz further up the river.
To commemorate the dead, 17 young trees have already been planted in the new woodland.
Sunday, 2 October 2011
He was shot by insurgents while on patrol with his specialist arms and explosives search dog, Theo.
He is one of 140 soldiers on the latest Operational Honours list.
The list includes awards for Scots who rescued injured soldiers while under fire, and charged enemy positions.
Ardrossan soldier Sgt Glen Gardiner, of the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, received the Military Cross for running through enemy fire to try to save the life of an Afghan National Army soldier who had been critically wounded.
The 35-year-old said it was a normal part of life as a soldier in Afghanistan, and the day of the incident "wasn't different to any other day".
He said: "People say you must have the adrenalin going, however it was just a normal day."
The soldier, who was blown off his feet by enemy fire in a separate incident, added: "It's a job. There's set standards, there's set drills that you put in place, and those set drills and standards save lives."
A Mention In Despatches was awarded to Port Glasgow soldier Cpl Scott Cox, for his life-saving heroics charging a Taliban machine-gun post while serving in Afghanistan.
He said: "My team and I were conducting traditional dismounted infantry operations on a daily basis and that is exactly the reason that I joined the Army and specifically the Infantry."
Fife soldier, Warrant Officer Class 2 Iain Martin received a Queen's Commendation for Bravery for his work defusing Improvised Explosive Devices.
A Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service was awarded to officers including: Glasgow Army Officer Lt Col Dougald Graham, Fife Army Officer Maj Nick Wight-Boycott, and Edinburgh Army Officer Maj Piers Strudwick.
A Peebles soldier is also to receive a Mention in Despatches.
Lt James MacDonald of the third Battalion The Parachute Regiment put himself in the firing line to identify a Taliban sharpshooter earlier this year - before leading a team to neutralise the threat.
The awards are for actions approximately during the period from 1 October 2010 to 31 March 2011.