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Remembrance Sunday 2015

A good turn out at the Cairn this morning. More details later.

A good turn out at the Cairn this morning. More details later.

Sunrise at Kinloss Abbey, the Cross of Sacrifice and the Commonwealth War Graves.

Sunrise at Kinloss Abbey, the Cross of Sacrifice and the Commonwealth War Graves.
"..and in the morning, We will remember them..."

 

Remembrance Sunday2014

Two images from the Sunrise this morning at the Memorial.

The Whitley MkV model.

Sunrise at the Cairn.

 

Remembrance Sunday2013

A short ecumenical service at the No. 19 Operational Training Unit Memorial lead by the Padre of Kinloss Barracks, Major Danny Taylor was followed by wreath laying by the Commanding Officer of No 39 Engineering Regiment, Kinloss Barracks, Lt Col Tom Marsden, Dep Lord Lieutenant Major General the Hon, Seymour Monro, Andy Sturrock President, Forres Branch, Royal British Legion, and Cllr, Mrs Lorna Creswell on behalf of Moray Council.  Lt Col Marsden was accompanied by RSM Darren Taylor. 

Members of the local community were also in attendance, notably a few of the original group who were instrumental in the Cairns commissioning as well as supporters of the recent enhancements to the memorial.

Major Danny Taylor, Padre, Kinloss Barracks, whose service was dedicated to all those who had given their lives flying with the OTU.

Major Danny Taylor, Padre, Kinloss Barracks, whose service was dedicated to all those who had given their lives flying with the OTU.

Wreaths at the Cairn, 2013.

Wreaths at the Cairn, 2013.

 

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the Eleventh Month, 2012
Remembrance Sunday 

Wreaths were laid at the No. 19 Operational Training Unit Memorial by the Commanding officer of No 39 Engineering Regiment, Kinloss Barracks, Lt Col Andy Sturrock, Dep Lord Lieutenant Major General the Hon, Seymour Monro, the Head of the Royal British Legion, Forres, and Cllr, Mrs Lorna Creswell on behalf of Moray Council.
Wreaths were laid at the No. 19 Operational Training Unit Memorial by the Commanding Officer of No 39 Engineering Regiment, Kinloss Barracks, Lt Col Andy Sturrock, Dep Lord Lieutenant Major General the Hon, Seymour Monro, Andy Sturrock vice-president, Forres Branch, Royal British Legion, and Cllr, Mrs Lorna Creswell on behalf of Moray Council.

Lt Col Andy Sturrock was accompanied by his Wife, Mrs Jane Sturrock and his Regimental Sgt Major Darren Taylor.  Members of the local community were also in attendance.

Wreaths were laid at the No. 19 Operational Training Unit Memorial by the Commanding officer of No 39 Engineering Regiment, Kinloss Barracks, Lt Col Andy Sturrock, Dep Lord Lieutenant Major General the Hon, Seymour Monro, the Head of the Royal British Legion, Forres, and Cllr, Mrs Lorna Creswell on behalf of Moray Council.
Once the formal ceremony had taken place those attending viewed the recently built plinth supporting the History Plaque with details of the activities of No.19 Operational Training Unit, Royal Air Force and the former airfield opposite the Memorial Cairn.
A closer view of the Plaque, with the details of RAF Forres and No 19 OTU.
A closer view of the Plaque.
Dawn, 11th Day of the 11th Month.

Dawn, 11th Day of the 11th Month.

June 2012

Her Majesty the Queen unveiled a major public Memorial to commemorate the tragic loss of 55,573 young Bomber Command airmen in the Second World War at a ceremony in Green Park, London, 12 noon on 28 June 2012.   The Memorial also commemorates the people of all nations who lost their lives in the bombing campaigns of 1939-1945, with an inscription remembering that loss.  

www.bombercommand.com     www.bombercommandmemorial.co.uk

November 2011

Apparently, the Association was not dissolved as previously reported and has plans to further enhance the memorial site.

November 2011
Remembrance Sunday 

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Lord Lt, British Legion, Moray Council, and RAF Kinloss..

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Lord Lt, British Legion, Moray Council, and RAF Kinloss.

November 2010
Remembrance Sunday 

Wreaths were laid by Kirsteen Mitcalfe, DL, Group Captain JJ Johnson, Station Commander RAF Kinloss, the Forres Branch of the British Legion, and by Moray Council member,  Mr Jeff Hamilton.  

A Whitley aircraft built by apprentices at "Varis Engineering" and organised by John Mckenzie was recently installed near the Cairn.  Full details will be published in the Forres Gazette next week. (I will not steal Tanya's story by publishing all the details here,)  There was a surprise visitor to Forres with a "Whitley" connection too. 

Unfortunately, a catalogue of disasters has beset my additional reporting, which I have not been able to rectify.

 Kirsteen Mitcalfe, DL. Group Captain JJ Johnson, Station Commander RAF Kinloss. Forres Branch of the British Legion. Moray Council member,  Mr Jeff Hamilton.

Feb 2010

I finally plucked up the courage to do another Whitley drawing recently.  A gap of over 10 years! However, some good news!  I was voted into the Guild of Aviation Artists as an Associate last October, and was looking at what I could do for the Guild's Summer London Exhibition.  I decided to use the Whitley locally rather than the exhibition.   It features on my Art website.

Jan 2010

I can add further news on John Burchell's HMS Seahawk site. What has an Air Sea Rescue Unit and 19 OTU have in common?   Whitley Z9216.  Our mutual research on the subject continues.

Jan 2010

I have had some very interesting correspondence recently.  The following came from Mr Joe Butler of Inverurie.  I mentioned to Joe that the Polish Army had stayed in the accommodation of the OTU in Forres, but he had some interesting revelations on the subject. The following is in Joe's words.

POW s at RAF Forres.

Last March I discovered by sheer fluke that my father had served in the German Army during WW2, he had kept this to himself for 65 years, this was quite a shock.  My research has discovered that as events began to turn against the German aggressor in 1942 in Russia and North Africa.  This resulted the Germans requiring to replenish their troop supply. My Father and his brother were duly forcibly conscripted into the German Army in September 1942 as two young Poles living in the west of Poland.  They were not on their own, they were amongst 300,000 young poles forced to join the German Army.  Germany inflicted this tragedy on many countries surrounding Germany that the deemed Annexed Regions forming part of the 3rd Reich.  This meant they were not protected by the Geneva Convention.  Once conscripted it was not just a simple case of going AWOL since they result would have been for their families back home in Poland being sent to concentration camps or at worst execution.  Eventually my father managed to give himself up to US troops on the Luxembourg/German border.  After being initially sent to a POW camp in France he was shipped across the Channel to Southampton arriving on the 12th April 1945.  He was then sent by passenger train to Scotland and arrived at RAF Forres on the 14th April 1945.  My father is still alive at 84 and understandably his memory is not as good as it was. He only spent two or three days at Forres where after he was sent to a transition camp at Polkemmet, West Lothian, Scotland whereby he joined the Free Polish Army so he could help free Poland.

I am writing a book about what happened to young Poles from the period leading up to forced conscription to their arrival in Scotland as POW s, then joining the Polish Army.

I would ask anyone who can provide information about the POW camp in RAF Forres in 1945 to contact me. It could be photographs of RAF Forres POW camp facilities, stories about a relative who went through the same events, stories about the POW s in the local communities, anything that would help paint a picture of what these young men went through. Your father may have gone through the same as mine and sadly could not return to Poland following WW2 since their nation was then occupied by the Communists. This often resulted in execution by the communists of these young men had they returned.

My contact details are:

Mr J Butler
Meadow View
Blairdaff, by Inverurie
Aberdeenshire, AB51 5LS.
Scotland.  (Or email via the webmaster)

Follow up.

Since receiving Joe's initial correspondence he mentions he has been in  touch with the Forress Gazettee and has had some feed back too.
(Webmaster)

Jan 2010

I continue to have Junk mail issues, despite "a head in the sand" attitude by my ISP I am still receiving some mail to the domain address.  I may have found a way to circumnavigate these problems, however, I believe there has been mail sent that has not got thought the filters.

If you have sent mail in the last two-three months and have not had a reply it is possibly because your original did not reach me.  Please try again!

2009

Do to various reasons I have a back log of mail concerning the OTU, if you are expecting a reply please be patient.   Also junk mail continues to deluge my in box, my filters are "sometimes very good at filtering", please put 19 Operational Training Unit as the subject header in your mail, it could help it get through to me.

November 2009

Wreaths were laid by Kirsteen Mitcalfe, DL, Group Captain Robbie Noel OBE MA RAF, Station Commander RAF Kinloss, Eric Munro of the Forres Branch of the British Legion, and by Moray Council member,  Mr Jeff Hamilton.  Robbie was accompanied by his Wife and their two sons, who with help from Eric placed to small memorial crosses at the foot of the Cairn.

February 2009

RAF KINLOSS – REACHES 70

On 1 April 2009 RAF Kinloss Marked its 70th anniversary. 

Two lunches took place on Wednesday 8 April and the second on Thursday 23 July 2009. 
(Due to work commitments the webmaster was unable to attend.!)

January 2009

I am indebted to Ian Hinks for providing some of his own research for the site.  He has kindly passed on information about some of the Aircrew on courses and some photographs which can be found either in the new gallery or on one of the aircraft pages in the "Roll of Honour".  The extracts from F540 and F541 Operational Record Books can be found in the Despatch section.  Ian resourced the information from "Air29/663" at Kew.

The gallery also includes some pictures passed on from Jon Hipkins. As I get time more will be added.

December 2008

It with sad news I report the passing of Ray Sturtevant. Ray, a stalwart of Air -Britain,  a fastidious researcher and historian.  He was a great example to all us "Would be's". He will be sadly missed.
This is a quick note to all my new correspondents. Very many thanks for your contributions. I am trying to update the site with all your information!

November 2008

I can now find some time to devote to looking after this site again.   Many thanks to all those correspondents who have been patient during my Wife's second tussle with Cancer, and especially those people who offered kind words of support, thankfully she is on the road to recovery.

Remembrance Sunday November 2008

Wreaths were laid on behalf of The Lord Leutenant of Moray, by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Mark Laing, RAF Kinloss by Station Commander, Group Captain Robbie Noel OBE MA RAF, Eric Munro of the Forres Branch of the British Legion, and by Moray Council member,  Mr Jeff Hamilton.  
 (Click images to enlarge, and click images or link to return to this page)

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Mark Laing.Group Captain Robbie Noel OBE MA RAF.Eric Munro of the Forres Branch of the British Legion.

Moray Council member,  Mr Jeff Hamilton.'At the going down of the Sun we will remember them'.

Royal Air Force Service Records - Personnel Records

As the years progress I continue to  receive an increasing amount of requests from individuals concerning either family or friends "Service history" requests.  I do not have access to these records.

The following is an extract from the MOD RAF Website:

"Personnel Records

Royal Air Force personnel records are held at RAF Innsworth. If service number and details are known, please quote it in correspondence. Innsworth will only divulge information to the person to whom it refers or, if he or she has died, to his or her immediate next of kin. Anyone else must obtain written permission from the person about whom they are enquiring, or from his or her next of kin, before any information will be given to them.

Innsworth make a charge of £30.00 for any information they provide; cheques made payable to 'MOD Funds'. The only people exempt from charge are the person to whom the records refer or their widow or widower."

For further details : www.raf.mod.uk/links/contacts.cfm

 

Nov 2007

Wreaths Laid.The Memorial amid the Autumn leaves.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of The Lord Leutenant of Moray, by acting Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Duncan Dunbar-Nasmith, RAF Kinloss by acting Station Commander, Wing Commander Rob Wigham, Eric Munro from the Forres Branch of the British Legion, and by  Moray Council member for Forres, Mr Jeff Hamilton.    (Click images to enlarge)

Nov 2006

Remembrance Day 2006.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of RAF Kinloss by Gp Capt Jerry Kessel, Moray Council and The Royal British Legion.

Nov 2005

Wreaths were laid on behalf of RAF Kinloss, Moray Council and The Royal British Legion.

Oct 2005

I received this note from Alan Leishman concerning AD712 along with some images which I will place on the site.

He reported "Members of the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum (links) and the Midland Aircraft Recovery Group investigated the crash site of Whitley AD712 which crashed during 1944.   At 0933 hrs on the 30th of August Whitley , Mk V coded ZV-L , AD712 of 19 OTU took off from RAF Kinloss on a cross country exercise. At the controls was Canadian pilot , Sgt. Frank L Frank.

Whilst flying over the Gargunnock hills near Stirling the aircraft encountered thick cloud and the pilot lost control. The aircraft was seen to dive out of the cloud at a steep angle followed by pieces of structure. The aircraft hit the ground and burst into flames killing all of the crew , one hour and thirty three minutes into the flight.

John Struthers , a school boy at the time , remembers seeing pieces of fabric falling down five miles from the crash site. At the crash site the tail was lying in a burn and there was a pile of smouldering wreckage , all that remained of a Whitley aircraft.

Sixty one years later the area was searched using magnetometers from the EOD and a couple of deep signals were traced. John Struthers used his own JCB to open up a large hole above the first signal. Numerous pieces of fragmented wreckage was found along with the pilots bomb release panel and various cockpit items. At a depth of eight feet a prop boss was found minus the prop blades.

The hole was extended and around fifteen feet away was found the other prop boss. Unfortunately no engines were found but two engine driven generators and an inertia starter were found. It looked like the recovery crew had taken most of the Whitley and threw back what was not of any use.

Once the wreckage was cleaned a few more interesting items came to light including the main aerial mast, interior lamp and part of the navigational computer. One of the most interesting part of all, was part of a Mk. X1V bomb sight which was probably an OTU modification."

July 2004

Roll of Honour Updated.  When the memorial was built it was and still is my intention to have a book bearing the names of all those lost in the service of the OTU placed in one of the local churches.  

March 2004

A very interesting story comes from Kenneth Charles McHardy via his son, Andrew.  Andrew's contribution:

"Dear Sir

I am in the process of typing my father's boyhood memories of wartime in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. My fathers name is Kenneth Charles McHardy who is now 76 years old and lives in Aberdeen. He was contacted by the children of Strathdon Primary School for his memories as part of their history lessons into this period.

I was very interested to see on your website an event which he remembered only too well. Although he had placed it earlier in the war than was indeed the fact. I have corrected his recollections as a result.

Perhaps you will be interested in his memories of the crash involving Whitley Bomber Z9156 which crash landed in Strathdon.  

"On the 9th of February 1943 a RAF twin engine Whitley Bomber (Z9156) experienced engine problems while on a training flight. It had flown from No.19 Operational Training Unit at Balnagaith near Forres. The pilot advised the crew to bail out as he was going to attempt an emergency landing; it being perceived safer for the crew to have left the plane by means of their parachutes in advance. Only the rear gunner actually bailed out. The pilot managed to land his plane on its belly on a flattish piece of ground in Glenernan near the Croft of Relaquheim. He and the remaining crew managed to walk to the croft house where Annie Stewart lived alone. When they knocked at the door they were met by Annie and her twelve bore shotgun which she was quite capable of using. Thankfully Annie did not add a harp to their wings and they were directed to safety. I can remember visiting the plane with my friends. It was a big local attraction. It was eventually dismantled and taken away on large transporter lorries. But what of the tail gunner who bailed out of the plane? He was not found for some time. Morrison of Loinheary had noticed a piece of snow on the hillside which had not gone with the suns rays. When he went to investigate he found the body of the missing rear gunner and the white silk parachute which he had mistaken for snow". 

Best Regards

Andrew J. McHardy
Aberdeen"

Feb 2004

The Roll of Honour continues to expand, and again I am indebted to one Linzee ("snowcloud") Druce for putting me in contact with Arthur ("Digger") Arculus of NZ and in particular Doreen Bowyer of NZ (Via Arthur) who has with her family's consent has contributed to the Roll of Honour.

Memorial Nov 2003.November 2003

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the RAF by Group Captain Garfield Porter, Moray Council and The Royal British Legion.

July 2003
The Roll of Honour continues to expand,
courtesy of relatives of the crews who gave their lives in service of the RAF and the Commonwealth

November 2002
Wreaths were laid on behalf of the RAF, Moray Council and The Royal British Legion.

May 2002 (inserted August!)

I was delighted to host a visit of Joe Tucker, Nephew of the Joe Tucker mentioned on the site. See below to read a fascinating story by Martin Perratt who helped this friendship develop.

April 2002

Elliot Smock's Silverwings - Research & Resource (UK), news of a Whitley Project can be found here.

November 2001

Wreaths laid.Wreaths were laid by Moray Council member for Forres West, Mr Alasdair Urquhart, and Group Captain Steve Skinner BSc, RAF, Commanding Officer Royal Air Force Kinloss.

October 2001
More contributions from former members of the Operational Training Unit and their relatives continue to add to the site. I hope to build a bigger picture of the 19 OTU course by using different crew member log book extracts. For example, Sgt Mundy, Bomb Aimer, shows positive evidence of the 1942 policy that one member of the crew should have a small amount of 'Link' training as well as some time at the controls of the aircraft. This was initially given to the "Air Bombers" on the crew, and  then later the Flight Engineer. (On the 4 engine heavies)

Contributions of anecdotal information are always welcome. (See contact page for address)

November 2000 Remembrance Sunday
Tributes were laid by Forres British Legion President, Mr Douglas Gordon, Moray Council member for Forres West, Mr Alasdair Urquhart, and Group Captain Steve Skinner BSc, RAF, Commanding Officer Royal Air Force Kinloss.
[Picture]
September 2000
A new section to the site  has been added courtesy of Edward (Ted) Hutchinsonm and his son Clive. It is based on Ted's memories of No 19 OTU and his service at RAF Kinloss and Forres. As consequence the Aircraft codes and serials etc has been moved to it's own area as part of the 19 OTU information.
August 2000
August highlights the news provided by Martin Perratt of Glasgow earlier in July this year. The crew of Whitley AD712 of No 19 Operational Training Unit, RAF fell shortly after 11am. GMT on the 30th of August 1944. In commemoration, a small tribute to  the crew of AD712 was placed at the foot of the cairn 56 years to the time of the loss.
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July 2000

This month has brought some remarkable news and has put people with a common interest in touch with each other. A very welcome contribution has been made by the nephew of an airman who was lost while serving with No 19 OTU during 1944. F/O J W Tucker and his fellow crew were killed on a navigation and cross country exercise on 30 August 1944 when Whitley Mk. V, AD712 crashed seven miles south-west of Kippen, Stirling. Four Canadian members of the crew were interred in the Churchyard of Cadder cemetery just north of Bishopbriggs.

Graves of Sgt G H Barr, Sgt R M Dickie, F/Sgt F L Frank, F/Officer J W Tucker.Unbeknown to Joe Tucker nephew of F/O Tucker, the family of Martin S Perratt, have for the past ten years been faithfully placing a single flower on each of these RCAF graves on each Remembrance Sunday.

Martin found this site during his internet browsing and made contact with the web owner. The story continue in his words:

"May I first say that I was most touched by your web-site and the obvious depth of sincerity of your tribute to No 19 OTU. Your site is a most fitting memorial to all those who made the supreme sacrifice and those who luckily survived.

I could not believe my eyes when on browsing your site F/O Tucker's name appeared. On viewing his photograph I was almost moved to tears. My children were stunned. My involvement with F/O Tuckers` grave and those of his fellow crewmen goes back 10 years. My late father was  in the RAF in WW2. Happily he survived and died in 1988. He instilled in me a sense of debt towards the war dead. This, he developed in me, in addition to an interest in aircraft and WW2 history in general. Now, aged 45, I have dutifully done the same with my children : Martin Jnr (13) and Claire (10). For the past ten years we have faithfully placed a single flower on each of these RCAF graves on Remembrance Sunday.

I first "discovered" the war graves of F/O Tucker and his colleagues in the late 1980`s and could not fathom out why four Canadians would be buried there. They had all died on the same day: 30 August 1944. This surely had to mean that they were all on the same aircraft...whatever its fate had been. On having recently joined the internet the answers gradually come to light. Earlier this year I made contact with a Richard Koval who maintains a website of RCAF history with an emphasis on more recent years who provided details of the demise of AD712.

I am certainly not the only person to place flowers on these young men`s graves as on occasions outwith Remembrance Sunday I have found flowers on their graves placed by others . Another mystery? Perhaps not. I most certainly do not wish to arrogantly grab the sole right to respect the sacrifice of these fine young men who so tragically had their lives cut short. Others in addition to ourselves would appear to wish to remember them.

I do not have any objections to your "recording my actions" on site but wonder that my actions and that of my children are not worthy of mention both in the scale of your tribute and those of the other unknown visitors...whoever they may be.

I am always so humbled when I visit those graves. When I next visit them I will be able to envision Joe Tucker as I look at his grave...thanks to you."

Martin S Perratt,
Glasgow
[Joe and Martin are now in direct contact via e@mail]

1999 Remembrance Day
Tributes were laid by Forres British Legion President, Mr Douglas Gordon, Moray Council members for Forres, Mr Rex McIntosh [Central] and Mr Ian Young, [East], and Group Captain Stu Butler RAF, Commanding Officer Royal Air Force Kinloss.
[Picture]
Medal Award - April 1998
In recognition of the Association's commemoration of the presence of Polish troops in Scotland the Government of Poland, on the recommendation of the Edinburgh based Consul General, has approved the medal award :
"The Custodian of Places of National Remembrance"

Remembrance Day 1997

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