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MAEE-menuTHE ICY blast of winter is nothing new for Helensburgh and district which has endured many cold winters over the centuries — and during World War Two the consequences were fatal.

For the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, based at Helensburgh and Rhu  between 1939 and 1945, ice, snow, sleet and fog served up a deadly cocktail of weather.

Robin-Bird-25.08.10-wTHE World War Two research conducted by the secret Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment based at Helensburgh and Rhu is soon to be featured in both a scientific paper in Australia and a new book.

The book by retired newspaper editor Robin Bird (pictured) from the Liverpool area will be his second about MAEE and is nearing completion. He has issued a final plea to any local people who can add to his knowledge to get in touch.

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DURING the Second World War the battle against the German Navy was key to defending British supply routes.

Not least of our problems was launching bombs, depth charges and torpedoes without them breaking up or setting off their fuses prematurely on impact with the sea.

Tirpitz

RESEARCH into World War Two’s famous bouncing bombs — used by the Dambusters and to attack the German battleship Tirpitz — was organised at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at RAF Helensburgh.

MAEE expert and author Robin Bird, a retired Merseyside newspaper editor whose late father Bob was an MAEE photographer, confirms that the establishment worked closely with Barnes Wallis and 618 Mosquito Squadron in developing the Highball bomb to attack the huge battleship.

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IN November 1914, a service of thanksgiving, followed by an award ceremony, was held at Portkil Fort on the Rosneath Peninsula to mark an act of heroism that had taken place there.

It was a memorable occasion in the life of the Fort, which was an important base in the First World War.

Walter-Moffat-youngWalter-Moffat-now

A ROYAL Navy veteran of World War Two from Helensburgh who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic when the German battleship Bismarck was finally sunk has won a Lottery-funded trip to meet his former comrades.

Walter Moffat (pictured above, then and now) is one of two burgh veterans who will be making emotional trips to places they served, thanks to the Big Lottery Fund.

William_Hamilton-wA HELENSBURGH man was one of 22 World War Two soldiers who survived the Dunkirk evacuation days earlier but died when their camp in north Cornwall was bombed. 

Gunner William T.Hamilton (right) was just 21 when he perished with his comrades at the Penhale camp on the cliffs near Perranporth, following a strike by a lone German bomber on July 7 1940.

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