THE ‘Lend Lease’ Consolidated Catalina flying boats on the way to World War Two’s RAF Helensburgh for testing and modifications had to make a hazardous non-stop flight across the Atlantic.

Ferry pilots landed first at Greenock, the reception destination, descending through cloud into fields of mushroom-like barrage balloons.

ONE of the saddest events in the history of the Gareloch is the K13 submarine disaster, which took place on January 29 1917.

The vessel was taking part in its final sea trials when seawater entered its engine room, causing an explosion.

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.

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.

“A pleasant surprise during the coronavirus lockdown. Please thank the people of Helensburgh.” So said nonagenarian Frances McLaren, who admits to now being frail of limb.

However, her mind seems as sharp as it was when she was on the scientific staff at RAF Helensburgh on Garelochside some 75 years ago.

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.

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