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Cromarty Image Library

828 Squadron, at HMS OWL (Fearn)
The Cromarty Archive
828 Squadron, at HMS OWL (Fearn)

828 Squadron, at HMS OWL (Fearn) in April 1944. My uncle, Lieutenant Douglas Smith is proudly sitting in the front row. He was killed on 7th June 1944 while on a torpedo training exercise off Tarbet Ness along with 5 other airmen, as discused on photo 622.
Full list of the Squadron(as written on the rear of the photo by my uncle):-
Standing, left to right:-
“Hurric”-Ian Kirton, Bruce Turner, “Joe” Hunt, Tony Bateman, “Sam” Strong, “Walford” Davis, “Copper” Porter, “Dicky” Bird, Mick Williamson, Cyril Price, “Finger” Foulkes, “Lash” Williams, Basil Green, Stan Still, Maurice Taylor, Wing.
Seated, left to right:-
George Wisden, “Oli” Oliver, Huth, “Stripey” Martin, Lt/Cdr Swanton (& Schlumpie), Jack Stokes, Tony Lacayo, "Yours Aye", “Jock” McKean.

I'd love to hear from anyone how knew or was related to any of these men, or can add anything to WWII life at Fearn
Picture added on 03 August 2009 at 12:35
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Fearn Airfield
Comments:
Fantastic picture. We recently bought a cottage on the old base and with the cottage we bought the old mess halls. It's great to see the brave men who were stationed here.
Added by Scott Buchanan on 28 September 2009
My Uncle who is now a resident of Duthac House was a air mechanic at HMS Owl 1944 His Name P B Scott.
Added by Carl Lemkes on 28 September 2010
Remember it well.
Added by L. Knowles, Air Mecanic (L) on 01 February 2012
Some time after leaving Fearn 828 Sqadron was re-equiped with Avenger aircraft. These were old aircraft from the States, but we had great success against the Japs including strikes against Truck and the Japanes homeland. Just before the end of the war we got brand new aircraft but some time after V.J.D we had to dfitch them off Sydney Heads. By this time I was a Leading Air Mechanic, got a taste for Service Life and finished up as a Warrant in 1974.
Added by L.Knowles Air Mecanic (L) on 08 February 2012
My father Ronald Oxley was also an air mechanic at HMS Owl from 12th April 1944 to 4th of July 1944. He then moved with 828 Squadron to HMS Landrail on 5th July 1944 to 7th August. He then joined HMS Formidable.
Added by Valerie Nelson on 17 October 2012
During WW11 I lived at Tullich farm, owned by my father. I attended HILTON primary school, and can remember being frequently picked up by a service truck and dropped off at school. This saved me a long walk or sometimes my little blue bicycle and I were thrown into the back of the lorry! Memories I have of so many different happenings from that time, even as a young lad.

Two separate plane crashes on the farm land, one just beside the farmhouse and another in a field where the men were working at the harvest.The crash beside the house was a single seat fighter type, possibly Barracuda?? The other was a bigger bomber type of plane, sadly no one survived this crash, whereas the pilot of the plane in the field beside the house calmly stepped out of his plane and was given a cup of tea and scone by my mother in the kitchen !! I remember lying in bed for days with the mumps and being kept awake at all times by the sound of aircraft coming and going from Fearn and Tain drome.

My father also had a butchers shop in Alness and supplied some of the kitchens at various camps. I seem to remember a lot of comings and goings at this time and I think a lot of barter etc went on !! We also had two land girls working on the farm along with some POW`S from local camps.

One memory not associated with the drome was of starting the engine of an old lorry at the farm, getting out of control and crashing through the steading doors. The doctor from Tain was called and he stitched my face up while I was held down on the kitchen table!! All this at the tender age of 8-9 years !!
Added by Charles Munro on 01 July 2013
My Uncle Peter Scott was stationed at HMS Owl in 1944. He was an Air Mechanic. Had some great tales to tell of runs ashore in Tain and Balintore.
Added by Carl Lemkes on 02 July 2013
I'm filling in an application for the Arctic star for my late father and I came upon HMS Owl in his service records. His name is Lt James Kerrigan and he was a Fleet Air Arm Navigator with 829 squadron from 1942-1943. I googled HMS Owl and found this site.
Added by Lesley Cairns on 22 July 2013
Hi all,

I've contacted almost everyone who has posted on this thread already (except for you, Rob - can't seem to access your email address!), but I wanted to leave a note for anyone else who may want to get in touch.

I'm a researcher for Channel 4's 'The Restoration Man' and we are following the restoration of the control tower on the HMS Owl site. As part of the programme we like to delve into local history. So I was wondering if anyone had any personal connections to the Fearn area, and HMS Owl especially.

Do please drop me a line via email: nicholasdetaranto@tigeraspect.co.uk

Look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks,

Nick
Added by Nick de Taranto on 17 March 2014
My Uncle Jim Hirst was stationed at HMS Owl and died on 14/07/1945 aged 20 in a plane crash, whilst training. I assume it was in a Barracuda. Have you any more information about the incident?
Added by BRIAN HIRST on 08 November 2014
The CO took the wee dog on operations. On land he used to jump at the airscrews when the engines were running but never caught them Lucky dog!!!

I got the Arctic Star and the Russian Star and the Ashokov medal for service on 828 Suadron.

Added by LKnowles on 21 November 2014
I was contacted by Nick and two ladies at Balintore earlier this year re Fearn drome , but have heard no more !!
Added by Charlie Munro on 23 November 2014
I have a small photo album from a chap serving at R.N.A.S OWL, unfortunately he has not included his name, it has a nice ww2 guide to station activities with it, here's some bullet points;-
tubby and ray 1946, booms 1945 or 25 fellview ave, woodhouse, whitehaven, jock horn 1945, jock rae 1945, my self and liz 1943, cousin joan, daughter ann ?, brother earnest in paras 1944, taff hughes and dog lulu [petty officer]. hms pathfinder 1944 and torpedo boys, mick murdy 1943, tommy Elliot, lilly featherstone [wren ?]. Does any one recognise anything to put meat on the bone, thanks Colin
Added by Colin Hales on 19 June 2016
Hi,
We're trying to get some information about Sidney Hunt who was killed 25th November 1944 whilst stationed at HMS Owl. Is the "Joe" Hunt referred to in the picture the same chap?
Saw a book on TV programme 'Restoration Man' referring to 'Hunt' who was killed. Would love to pass on some photos or memories to his sister (my mother in law!)
Added by Neil Somers on 18 July 2017
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Fearn Airfield

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