Second Stop - Inveraray and Bar, 1941 - 45
["Maybe my Scottish relatives will be found in Inveraray Castle!"]
My second stop in Scotland will be at Inveraray, from Oct. 18 - 20, just before an equally important stopover in Oban, about 60 km. farther north and east. Inveraray's population today is at about 600 rugged citizens, but between 1941 - 45 was also home to hundreds of thousands of Allied Armed Forces personnel from around the world, many from Canada (including my father, 1942 and '43), who as volunteer members of an organization called Combined Operations practised maneuvers aboard military barges and on countless beaches, some just a few miles south of Inveraray on Military Road.
["I'll go by bus and take 100 photos along the way"]
About that time my father wrote the following in his Navy memoirs:
Thence to H.M.S. Quebec barracks in Ayrshire, Scotland on Loch Long. We were all in good shape and this was to be one of the more memorable camps, with our first actual work and introduction to landing barges. We trained on ALCs (assault landing crafts) which carried approximately 37 soldiers and a crew of four, i.e., Coxswain, two seamen and stoker. Some carried an officer.
Boy, but was it dark up there amongst the heather and the hills...
We did much running up on beaches so soldiers could disembark and re-embark, always watching the tide if it was flowing in or going out. You could be easily left high and dry, or broach too, if you weren’t constantly alert. We took long trips at night in close single formation, like ducks closed up close, because all you could see was the florescent waters churned up by propellors of an ALC or LCM (landing craft mechanized) ahead.
["The Ettrick is gone (sunk, WW2) but more photos and memories remain"]
We clambered up scrambling nets and Jacob’s ladders and became very proficient because we learned to just use our hands. We did this training on a liner called the Ettrick, which we will hear more about later on. Her free board was high, i.e., the distance between the water line and hand rails, and we got so it took about three seconds to drop 25 - 30 feet on scrambling nets.
["I bet a fiver I can find this spot at the corner of Inveraray and Bar St.!"]
Of course, much about the town has changed since the 1940s but I hope to find a few more photographs from the war years and meet a few people with stories that jive with my father's own. And surely I'll find a cozy pub on Bar Street.
Should be a very good time.
PS Training was in preparation for raids, such as the one upon Dieppe, and later invasions, e.g., North Africa, November 1942. Also, signage for Bar St. can be seen in above photo, far right, on edge of building
First 2 photos by GH
Last 2 from CombinedOps.com