I received a fascinating surprise in my mailbox yesterday, the sender being John Barr. Let me tell you about John first. John was born in Ardlarrach Farm and the family moved to Gartbreck farm where he remained until he was 18yrs old. He then went into the Military on his completion of service he lived in the Glasgow area and now in Erskine. John and his family visited Islay as often as they could. John is now 82 yrs old so he hasn't been to Islay for several years.
Sunderland Flying Boat at Pennycraig, Loch Indaal
When John was on my website he opened the Old Islay Postcards Album and came across a photo of a Boat tied to Bowmore pier. John wrote: "I was 16yrs old at that time and remember it clearly. It was a converted RAF Air Sea Rescue Boat used as a testbed for the Rover prototype diesel engines which were eventually fitted to the 4x4 Land Rover. The Land Rover trials were carried out on the Laggan Estate which was owned by Spencer Wilks Chairman of the Rover Company." Continue reading.....
"The Pier was re-built by the Air Ministry for Coastal Command and I remember clearly the name of the engineers who designed and built it They were two Dutch men called De Groot (Grute) and Van Oostram who escaped when the Germans invaded Holland."
Sunderland Flying Boat during a severe storm
"I am sending you photos of two Sunderland aircraft which were washed ashore at Pennycraig at the head of Loch Indaal and one of the dry dock anchored off Bruichladdich. Before I sent this E-mail I checked with my life long friend James ( Fame ) Smith in Bowmore about these facts and he reminded me of a Sunderland Flying Boat which made a force landing near Foreland Estate and the Crew were all able to walk away from the crash unhurt." This crew was incredibly lucky, others were less fortunate when a Sunderland Flying Boat crashed at Blackrock in WWII.
Sunderland Flying Boat In Dry-Dock at Bruichladdich
With many thanks to John Barr for supplying the text and images in this post