The war in the west

Just got back from the book launch for “Tiree: War among the Barley and Brine“.  Organised by An Iodhlann and the Islands Book Trust.

Mike Hughes, one of the authors, gave a talk and there were ex-service men connected with Tiree and their families present.  One man was the son of the pilot of one of the two Halifaxes which crashed into each other over the airfield on a cloudy day – a father he had never met as his mother was only 4 months pregnant at the time.

I hadn’t realised that it was from Tiree that the weather reports came in that set the timetable for D-Day.  The meteorological squadrons are unsung heroes of the war, flying far out into the Atlantic, in conditions where all other planes were grounded, to get the long-range weather data that is so easy to gather now-a-days from satellites.  Sadly the airman who had made the crucial weather observations for D-Day did not survive the war dying in that same Halifax accident over Tiree.

Neither had I known that Tiree was to be the staging post for the withdrawal of Winston Churchill and the Royal Family had the worst happened and the the German’s invaded Britain.  So, before it withdrew to a government in exile in Saskatchewan, the last outpost of British sovereignty would have been … Tiree.