Orkney in WW2

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Orkney in WW2

#1 Post by ricardian » Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:13 pm

Ricardian, Stronsay, Orkney UK
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https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/EGER

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#2 Post by Pontius Navigator » Wed Jul 21, 2021 6:02 am

The second link, the sailors on Hoy, interesting uniforms. The leading party clearly naval rates with rifles at the trail but reversed. The rest in a mix of black or white caps, white shoes, no shirts.

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#3 Post by 4mastacker » Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:02 pm

Apparently they are survivors from HMS Royal Oak. Most of their kit is probably at the bottom of Scapa Flow so they're wearing anything that was available.
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Re: Orkney in WW2

#4 Post by Pontius Navigator » Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:13 am

Thank you. Why are the rifles held upside down and butt forward?

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#5 Post by Ex-Ascot » Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:48 am

Pontius Navigator wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:13 am
Thank you. Why are the rifles held upside down and butt forward?
Can't see the photo you refer to but is it 'Reverse Arms' to honour their fallen comrades?
Reverse arms and the related rest on arms reversed are military drill commands used as a mark of respect at funerals and on occasions of mourning, especially in the armed forces of Commonwealth nations. When marching in reverse arms the soldier's weapon is held pointing behind them and grasped behind their back. When resting on reversed arms the weapon points towards the ground and the eyes are lowered.
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Re: Orkney in WW2

#6 Post by Pontius Navigator » Thu Jul 22, 2021 11:29 am

The photo is in one of the links. The rifles are at the trail which is held horizontal with the arm straight down. It is normally on the right hand, butt to the rear and magazine down.

In this case left hand, butt to the fore, and magazine up.

I have spoken with an ex-gunner who agrees that left arm can be used but no idea why it the rifle is upside down.

Mrs PN thinks they may have been a burial party.

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#7 Post by fareastdriver » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:59 pm

In the early seventy's we took a couple of Pumas up to the Orkneys for training with the Territorials. We were based at Ness battery, the one with the murals in the mess hall. Crawling about the gun emplacements was interesting and a look at the entrance to Scapa Flow reminded one how brave the Uboat crew were to slide in and sink the Royal Oak. Somewhere there is a picture of a Puma resting on top of the Old Man of Hoy but the collective wasn't lowered to put the full weight on. It would have been embarrassing to topple it.

The local farmer had some late lambs that had missed the ferry to the slaughterhouse so we bought a couple. They were butchered, packed and we flew them back to Odiham; Leuchers were kind enough to keep them in their chiller when we night stopped on the way back.

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#8 Post by Pontius Navigator » Tue Aug 03, 2021 7:15 am

Orkneys

No S in Orkney

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#9 Post by fareastdriver » Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:05 am

It was written Orkneys on the authorisation sheet.

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#10 Post by Pontius Navigator » Tue Aug 03, 2021 12:30 pm

Lucky you found it then 😊 especially in those days when the BBC weather map had the islands somewhere between Aberdeen and Stavangar. The military topos were not much better with islands stuck in bits of empty sea. I think St Kilda was a bit of a challenge.

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#11 Post by fareastdriver » Tue Aug 03, 2021 1:16 pm

I went to St Kilda once.

It was a Bristow task out of Aberdeen. A Norwegian trawler had got a stray fishing net tangled up in its propeller and it had struggled into the bay at St Kilda. I was detailed to fly to Stornoway to pick up the divers and thence to St Kilda; wait and reverse the trip and the Army at St Kilda were expecting me.

There was a strong westerly wind going over the top of Scotland so it was quite turbulent. When I arrived in Stornoway I looked up our company's SAR unit to get the low down on St Kilda. This was Bristow in the eighties and the ex Navy crew at Stornoway weren't going to tell a crab anything otherwise I would have found out that what I was going to do was virtually impossible.

We loaded the aircraft with fuel divers and kit and off to St Kilda. The weather was low cloud with a strong westerly wind. The cloudbase dropped so that I was down to 300 ft as we approached St Kilda. I had an Landing Site guide and the approach was virtually straight in and the first thing we saw behind the helipad was this enormous escarpment sweeping up to the precipice on the western side. At 200 ft. the turbulence was chronic and the windsock was swinging at full stretch between every direction so I threw it away. Turning back downwind took full power to maintain speed. My Australian co-pilot beside me thanked me for turning back.

We flew back to Stornoway. landed and had a confab with my senior pilot back at Aberdeen. We now, though he didn't say so, had commercial pressures inasmuch as the contract was to put them on St Kilda and if I didn't then the company would have to bear the cost of the flight. Back to the SAR unit and they suggested the pad by the lighthouse or a ridge to the south of the bay.

Off we went again. When we got there we couldn't see the lighthouse so I looked at the ridge. There was a track leading to a trig point that looked pretty firm so I air taxied in light turbulence and had a look. My co-pilot had to open his door and look down to check that the port wheel was on it but it settled, I shook it around a bit and it stayed there so I shut it down.

We strapped the blades down whilst the divers unloaded in a landy that had driven up. They disappeared and after we had built a wall of chocks form the boulders lying around we descended by foot. Not for long because it was so slippery we were on our backsides most of the way. Down at the bottom was a small Army unit with a very snooty high class artillery captain in charge. We had tea and biccys and then had a look around.

To be continued

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#12 Post by Pontius Navigator » Tue Aug 03, 2021 1:59 pm

A friend of mine, an ex WO, might have been said snooty. I know he did Shoeburyness and I think St Kilda too. Passed away a couple of years back. Not sure when he was commissioned.

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Re: Orkney in WW2

#13 Post by fareastdriver » Tue Aug 03, 2021 7:07 pm

fareastdriver wrote:
Tue Aug 03, 2021 1:16 pm
I went to St Kilda once.

I have shifted this post over to Rotary Nostalgia where it belongs. In answer to the question above-no-he was an ex public school chappie.

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