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RAF Alness Memorial, Ross & Cromarty

 
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 10:46 pm    Post subject: RAF Alness Memorial, Ross & Cromarty Reply with quote

RAF Alness Memorial, Easter Ross
Location: Beside pond at entrance to Alness Business Park. Just of A9
OS Ref: NH 626 672

A modern memorial sited beside a small business park on the site of the former RAF Alness. There are some lovely details on it.

Contrary to what it says John Cruckshank VC did not unveil it. He was too ill at the time to attend the ceremony.




















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Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 7356
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Link to some background about RAF Alness:

http://www.ww2inthehighlands.co.uk/folders/localhistory/rafinvergord.htm

And here’s the text of the Highland and Island Enterprise press release about the memorial’s unveiling:


FLYING BOAT HEROES REMEMBERED AT FORMER AIR BASE 16 October 2001

An ultra-modern business park in the Highlands has become the perhaps unlikely setting for a new memorial honouring some of the most daring flying heroes of the second world war.
These days, Alness Point in Easter Ross is the focus of a multi-million pound investment by local enterprise company Ross and Cromarty Enterprise(RACE), which aims ultimately to help create hundreds of jobs in one of Scotland's most scenic business locations.
Sixty years ago, however, it was a very different scene. Then, as the battle for air supremacy raged over Europe, Alness Point was a key military installation whose proximity to the natural anchorage of the Cromarty Firth made it an ideal base for RAF flying boats, including Catalinas, Sunderlands and Lerwicks.
The area’s wartime role was recalled today [Tuesday 16th October] as a new tribute to the pilots and ground staff was unveiled by Victoria Cross holder John Cruickshank, who carried out part of his training at RAF Alness.
As a young airman with 210 Squadron in July 1944, Flying Officer Cruickshank was piloting a Catalina flying boat on anti-submarine patrol over the north Atlantic when he spotted a German U-boat. His VC citation reveals the dramatic turn of events which unfolded when he and his crew moved in to attack.
"In the face of fierce anti-aircraft fire, he manoeuvred into position and ran in to release his depth charges," the citation states. "Unfortunately," it adds, in a masterpiece of understatement, "they failed to drop.
"Flying Officer Cruickshank knew that the failure of this attack had deprived him of the advantage of surprise and that his aircraft offered a good target to the enemy's determined and now heartened gunners.
"Without hesitation, he climbed and turned to come in again. The Catalina was met by intense and accurate fire and was repeatedly hit. The navigator/bomb aimer was killed. The second pilot and two other members of the crew were injured.
"Flying Officer Cruickshank was struck in 72 places, receiving two serious wounds in the lungs and ten penetrating wounds in the lower limbs. His aircraft was badly damaged and filled with the fumes of exploding shells. But he did not falter.
"He pressed home his attack and released the depth charges himself, straddling the submarine perfectly. The U-boat was sunk."
At the unveiling ceremony, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) chief executive Sandy Cumming paid tribute to all who had served at RAF Alness.
"RACE has invested around £3.5 million to develop Alness Point as a prime business location," Mr Cumming said. "That's a heavy commitment and a vote of confidence in the future prosperity of Easter Ross.
"The fact is, however, that there would be no business park, no economic prospects, no freedom for us and our families, if it wasn't for actions taken by people like our distinguished guests today.
"It is impossible to stand here this morning and not feel an overwhelming gratitude to all the people who served at RAF Alness during the Second World War, in particular, of course, to those who never came back.
"As the inscription says: 'We will remember them'."
Mr Cumming gave a special welcome to John Cruickshank and to his fellow Victoria Cross holder William Reid, who was in the audience at the ceremony. The HIE chief executive also thanked Roy Keen, who first suggested creating a new tribute at Alness Point, as well as the Novar Community Windfarm Fund and the Highland Branch of the Aircrew Association, who helped RACE fund the memorial.
Speaking on behalf of the RAF, Air Commodore Martin Routledge, the RAF’s senior officer in Scotland said: "This is a very fitting memorial to the generations of RAF aircrew who flew from Alness. It is particularly poignant that it will be a lasting tribute to those of our colleagues who did not come home.
"Then, as now, the Royal Air Force maintained strong links in the community and this memorial will perpetuate those connections in a very meaningful way."
Around 100 people associated with Alness Point’s past and present roles attended the ceremony. The memorial was unveiled following the playing of the Last Post and a short service of dedication by Padre, Rev Wing Commander Andy Willis from RAF Lossiemouth.
Then all eyes turned skywards for a flypast featuring a Nimrod from RAF Kinloss and four Tornado jets from RAF Lossiemouth.
The memorial was created in Caithness stone by Sutherland Stone Company, Golspie and installed on site by BIC Construction, Inverness. Its inscription reads as follows:

‘THIS MEMORIAL, AT ALNESS POINT ON THE CROMARTY FIRTH, MARKS THE SITE OF THE FORMER WORLD WAR TWO COASTAL COMMAND FLYING-BOAT BASE AND IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF ALL WHO SERVED HERE - SOME OF WHOM BOUGHT FREEDOM FROM TYRANNY AT THE EXPENSE OF THEIR LIVES.
‘WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, please note the following changes to the press release to mark the unveiling of a memorial this morning at Alness Point in memory of the pilots and ground staff based at RAF Alness.

Paragraph 16: William Reid was unable to attend the ceremony.

Paragraph 19: The service of dedication was carried out by Rev Squadron Leader R Dunstan-Meadows from RAF Kinloss and Father Tom Keyworth - officiating Roman Catholic Chaplain.
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