WHEN Charles Simmons wanted to know what his late father did at RAF Helensburgh during World War Two, he contacted Helensburgh Heritage Trust.

Charles said his father did not speak much about the war, so his knowledge was sketchy about the secret flying boat base RAF Helensburgh, a cover name for the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment.

CARDROSS village and the surrounding area suffered three deaths and significant and widespread damage when the Luftwaffe bombed it over the night of May 5 1941.

It is believed that — although a German propaganda broadcast later spoke of "the port of Cardross” — the pilots were fooled by a hilltop decoy site near Kipperoch, between Cardross and Renton which was hit by 205 bombs and six mines.

THE Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment based at RAF Helensburgh at Rhu in World War Two was tasked with investigating the problems of a bomber which was nicknamed by aircrew as ‘the flying coffin’.

Blackburn Bothas were built at Dumbarton from 1939 to Government specifications for a four-seater, twin-engine reconnaissance bomber.

WHEN David Pike read an article on this Helensburgh Heritage Trust website about a Consolidated Catalina flying boat crash landing he was very surprised . . .

The description of the incident on Saturday January 31 1942 mentioned his late grandfather, Squadron Leader Phillip Pike, as the pilot.

MAY 5 1941 proved to be a traumatic night for the residents of a Cardross farm as Nazi bombs rained down.

The first bombing raid on the village came on July 13 1940, when stick after stick of incendiary bombs fell mainly on the shore and around the railway station.

HELENSBURGH was home in later life to one of the first nurses to face the dangers of World War One in France.

Catherine Murray Roy was the daughter of the Rev John Roy, minister of Drymen Parish Church in the village Main Street for 41 years.

THE TALES of courage and often the supreme sacrifice by Helensburgh and district men in World War One are many and moving . . .

But it is likely that the story of Lance Corporal John McDougall DCM is unique in that he was once declared a deserter — and later was awarded Britain’s second highest award for bravery.

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