October 15 - Irvine, Scotland
I chose the seaside town of Irvine as my first stop because it played host to thousands of young sailors and soldiers when they took leave of WW2 training camps (e.g., Camp Dundonald, Camp Auchengate) situated within sight of Irvine's fine beaches. In his Navy memoirs my father said he would 'always remember that town' and several people and places within the town are mentioned. I didn't think it would be impossible to follow a few of his faint footsteps, left behind in 1942 or '43, and I was right.
Later in the month I will write a few short stories about my significant adventures, and until then I will post a few photos from along the way:
["Once off the train I head west toward Irvine's harbour-side part of town"]
["I will easily find the Marina Inn, about a mile down the road"]
["I look back toward central Irvine once I have stashed my luggage nearby"]
["Looking east. Marina Inn and my main floor room - just to the right"]
["Opposite Marina Inn is a river and channel, both leading downtown"]
["The sky grows dark as I walk to a pier, Irvine's westernmost point"]
["Irvine's seaside location seems a sight-seer's paradise"]
["I am soon talking with the wee chap on the right, a WW2 RAF veteran"]
["From the pier I can see the broad, flat beaches leading to Troon. In 1942-43
Assault Landing Craft (ALCs) dotted the shore, and camps hid behind the dunes"]
["This pub near my lodgings is mentioned in Dad's WW2 tales"]
My father and mate Gash Bailey were once stranded in the water for several hours after a key nighttime training incident, likely between Irvine and Troon, and when located in the early morning (cold, soaked to the skin, "almost done in") taken by ALC to a local pub.
He writes, "The good people at the pub near the place our ALCs docked took us in, gave us blankets, porridge, whiskey, and dried our clothes." He mentions they received this warm welcome from the Skinner family.
So, on my first night in Irvine I entered Harbour Lights with a few questions. Answers followed near behind. And so will the whole story one day soon.
Link to more Scotland 2014 Photos
Photos by GH