Memories of the aerodrome from Dougald McAngus:


“The whole area taken over for the aerodrome before the war was what I would describe as my poaching ground. Selling rabbits at a shilling for a pair. (40 rabbits for one pound).”


“When we heard that there was to be a new aerodrome we were all very excited and as time went on we realised that our lives would never be the same again.”


“There were hundreds of workmen sent to build the runways, the living quarters and other types of buildings. The workmen had entertainment laid on every week which we were all able to enjoy, particularly that provided by E.N.S.A (entertainments national service association) these were top variety shows from the best theatres with top artists.


“When the aerodrome was completed a few of us were able to creep under the barbed wire every week and visit the cinema where all the latest films were shown.”


“I was always fascinated with aeroplanes and when I discovered that the commander had a small aeroplane called a Miles Magister in a hanger just below Bromton farm I lost no time in waiting for the first quiet day with no flying. I would get under the barbed wire and into the hanger then sit in the pilot’s seat.”


“The aerodrome was used to train the fleet air arm pilots to be able to land on aircraft carriers, which could be very difficult, especially on stormy days.”


“The first planes to arrive were the Swordfish, built in 1934 and used as a torpedo bomber, they were very slow and it was very cold for the two members of the crew in open cockpits.”




“The Swordfish were soon replaced with the Barracudas, with a crew of three they arrived about 1942 and because they were under powered they had lots of crashes.”



“Invergordon became a very busy flying boat base with Sunderland and Catalina flying boats on manoeuvres out over Balintore in search of U-boats.”



“Tain and the Morrich aerodrome became operational and squadrons of Liberators arrived. This added an extra interest for me because as an ATC (The air training core) cadet I had flown with them on most Sundays during practice flights from 1944 onwards.”


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“So, from the sleepy little villages we were now surrounded with over 3000 personnel at HMS Owl.”


“During the summer Shandwick bay was always packed with the WRENS and sailors, the officers had racing competitions in yachts sailing from the harbour out and around the bay.”


“To say that we were always busy would be an understatement, there was always the excitement and the uncertainty of what may happen next.”