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Thread: RAF Oban - refuelling site in Sound of Sleat?

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    Default RAF Oban - refuelling site in Sound of Sleat?

    Some years ago a colleague came across a small site in the Sound of Sleat with a pump house and a couple of tanks. We presumed it was Royal Navy because it being by the shore. But it is now suggested that it was for refuelling seaplanes / flying boats from Oban (there is said to be a sunken one somewhere near the site).

    No reference to it as RN or RAF has been found so wonder if anyone has every seen mentioned of RAF Oban having some sort of reserve refuelling point?

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/doffco...7646943297396/
    MB

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    MB, Hi,
    Willis & Holliss list Oban as a Flying Boat Station in 1944. My GE UK Airfields overlay gives Oban Bay as being at 56.406395 -5.499732 (Closed 1945). RAFWEB also has a large amount of info on the Units that were there.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 6th October 2014 at 12:17.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    MB, Hi,
    Willis & Holliss list Oban as a Flying Boat Station in 1944. My GE UK Airfields overlay gives Oban Bay as being at 56.406395 -5.499732 (Closed 1945). RAFWEB also has a large amount of info on the Units that were there.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Yes, I have the book of the history of RAF Oban.

    Beginning to think they perhaps kept a small supply of aviation fuel at the RN site, for use by any aircraft returning low on fuel.
    MB

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    MB - I am intrigued by this. I had a look at your entry on Canmore too. I really don't think this was RAF; I have come across no record of flying boats using the Sound of Sleat on a routine basis and the installation at Ardintoul seems much too big for providing occasional emergency aviation fuel. The pipework looks like bunker fuel size. I suspect it was for naval vessels attached to Western Approaches Command. These would include Rear Admiral Minelaying at Loch Alsh ('Port Z A') and Aultbea, Loch Ewe. Two Boom Defence Vessels on charge to Aultbea are listed as being at Glenelg in January 1942 (see: http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWW2-...Approaches.htm). There were a huge number of ships operating in these waters which would need to be supplied to support convoys out of the Western Approaches and there were few shore bases able to cater for them so I surmise this was built for that purpose. I am unaware of any wartime flying boat losses in the Sound.

    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Bryers View Post
    MB - I am intrigued by this. I had a look at your entry on Canmore too. I really don't think this was RAF; I have come across no record of flying boats using the Sound of Sleat on a routine basis and the installation at Ardintoul seems much too big for providing occasional emergency aviation fuel. The pipework looks like bunker fuel size. I suspect it was for naval vessels attached to Western Approaches Command. These would include Rear Admiral Minelaying at Loch Alsh ('Port Z A') and Aultbea, Loch Ewe. Two Boom Defence Vessels on charge to Aultbea are listed as being at Glenelg in January 1942 (see: http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWW2-...Approaches.htm). There were a huge number of ships operating in these waters which would need to be supplied to support convoys out of the Western Approaches and there were few shore bases able to cater for them so I surmise this was built for that purpose. I am unaware of any wartime flying boat losses in the Sound.

    Keith
    I agree, I think it was a RN site but perhaps the RAF had a flying boat get very low on fuel or even run out on the way back to Oban - could even explain the report of one having sunk near there. They could have arranged to keep a supply at the RN site for use in an emergency. I am trying to contact someone in the area with knowledge of local history.

    No one has come up with any information on the RN site but as you say it could have served the RN base at Kyle of Lochalsh as well as other RN activity in the area.

    When my colleague 'found' it, it made me wonder if there are any others in remote bays that have been forgotten!
    MB

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    I think that Coastal Command flying boats were normally refuelled from special equipped refuelling barges - possibly these were towed by launches but some may well have been self-propelled. Refuelling in this way was possibly a lot easier and quicker than running them into a land-based depot - flying boats were just that as very few large flying boats (with rare exceptions) were equipped as amphibians. Such flying boast were thus normally kept on the water for all purposes and were kept at moorings like a boat. It was thus very easy for various specialised small boats to tootle around and supply fuel as well as other services such as minor servicing, radio and radar checks, and minor repairs. The flying boats were only brought ashore up the slipways when it was really necessary.
    David D

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    I work for the Forestry Commission at forests in that locality including Ardintoul. I was told locally that the tanks and base at Ardintoul were to service flying boats. The wreckage of the sunken flying boat is apparently lying in front of Ardelve (Dornie near Eilean Donan Castle). I have had a dive to look for it but could not conclusively say that the few bits of wreckage I saw are from a flying boat.I was told by older locals from Dornie that flying boats were moored at Ardintoul, and that one had come detached from a mooring in a storm and sunk off Ardelve (Dornie). This seems to fit with the "Glenelg" description as the only vehicular access is a dead-end road which comes over the hill from Glenelg (itself a dead-end road). I would be very interested if this were confirmed to be the truth or part of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Bryers View Post
    MB - I am intrigued by this. I had a look at your entry on Canmore too. I really don't think this was RAF; I have come across no record of flying boats using the Sound of Sleat on a routine basis and the installation at Ardintoul seems much too big for providing occasional emergency aviation fuel. The pipework looks like bunker fuel size. I suspect it was for naval vessels attached to Western Approaches Command. These would include Rear Admiral Minelaying at Loch Alsh ('Port Z A') and Aultbea, Loch Ewe. Two Boom Defence Vessels on charge to Aultbea are listed as being at Glenelg in January 1942 (see: http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWW2-...Approaches.htm). There were a huge number of ships operating in these waters which would need to be supplied to support convoys out of the Western Approaches and there were few shore bases able to cater for them so I surmise this was built for that purpose. I am unaware of any wartime flying boat losses in the Sound.

    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Taylor View Post
    I work for the Forestry Commission at forests in that locality including Ardintoul. I was told locally that the tanks and base at Ardintoul were to service flying boats. The wreckage of the sunken flying boat is apparently lying in front of Ardelve (Dornie near Eilean Donan Castle). I have had a dive to look for it but could not conclusively say that the few bits of wreckage I saw are from a flying boat.I was told by older locals from Dornie that flying boats were moored at Ardintoul, and that one had come detached from a mooring in a storm and sunk off Ardelve (Dornie). This seems to fit with the "Glenelg" description as the only vehicular access is a dead-end road which comes over the hill from Glenelg (itself a dead-end road). I would be very interested if this were confirmed to be the truth or part of it.
    Thanks for the comments, it might be worth telling the Project SAMPHIRE people about the possible location of the wreckage though I think the project is finished now.

    As was pointed out, Kyle of Lochalsh was an important base in WWII, with mine-laying and I think there were convoy assembly points around the area. So the main tanks could possibly be connected with that. There was a boom across the Sound of Sleat somewhere roughly around Glenelg.

    No one has come up with any direct confirmation of the use of Ardintoul by RAF Oban, the flying boat base. I asked in the museum there, they had never heard of it. There is nothing in the book on RAF Oban, I did try to contact the author but never had a reply.

    I think I saw a mention of one Sunderland running out of fuel and crashing so I wondered if a small quantity of aviation fuel was kept there along with refuelling equipment so that one could be refuelled if very low. Perhaps there were a few ad hoc refuelling points like that available at RN fuelling depots around the coast.

    The flying boats could be taken ashore at Kerrera and Ganavan but presumably just for ease of access during major work on them.

    I don't think the RN bothered too much about road access, the site would be supplied mainly by boat - though that make its existence puzzling because even the major base at Loch Ewe did not seem to have large fuel tanks for refuelling all the vessels there (the POL depot at Aultbea is post-WWII). There were some tanks at Naast but they were for the water supply.

    You might like to add some comments to the records on Canmore, so they are recorded for 'posterity'.

    PS I wondered whether the position of the HAA site near Dornie was selected to be able to give cover towards Ardintoul?
    Last edited by mbriscoe; 25th February 2016 at 14:11.
    MB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Taylor View Post
    I work for the Forestry Commission at forests in that locality including Ardintoul. I was told locally that the tanks and base at Ardintoul were to service flying boats. The wreckage of the sunken flying boat is apparently lying in front of Ardelve (Dornie near Eilean Donan Castle). I have had a dive to look for it but could not conclusively say that the few bits of wreckage I saw are from a flying boat.I was told by older locals from Dornie that flying boats were moored at Ardintoul, and that one had come detached from a mooring in a storm and sunk off Ardelve (Dornie). This seems to fit with the "Glenelg" description as the only vehicular access is a dead-end road which comes over the hill from Glenelg (itself a dead-end road). I would be very interested if this were confirmed to be the truth or part of it.
    Hi Bruce - I have no record of a flying boat or seaplane loss around Ardelve; as you may know from this board, surviving FAA aircraft records are much less comprehensive than those for the RAF and the a/c involved (assuming it is an a/c wreck) could be FAA viz. a Walrus or Sea Otter. Would be interested to hear more about what wreckage you found - any photos?

    Keith

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