BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site

Contact Us

My Mother, the Flying Boat Experticon for Recommended story

by Researcher 233655

Contributed by 
Researcher 233655
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
16 October 2003

My mother died a few weeks ago. One of the things I will always remember about her is the way she described growing up during the war in Northern Ireland, on the Boa Island on Loche Erne.

Because of the location, she and her brothers and sisters, who lived on a farm, would feed, look after and play with the aircrews of flying boats that landed on the Loch. My Mum would have been in her early teens and I think she and her siblings were all surrogate brothers and sisters to the young American and Canadian airmen, who also used to work on the farm on their days off.

A few years ago I was taking my kids and my parents on a tour of the RAF museum in Hendon. My kids were shocked and amazed when their granny climbed into a Sunderland flying boat and gave them a guided tour - their eyes lit up with glee as she decribed how she and her brothers and sisters had spent their days playing on these wonderfully ungainly beasts during World War Two.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Forum Archive

This forum is now closed

These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - Sunderlands

Posted on: 23 November 2003 by Raffaele

My grandad , Wilf Hichens worked on the construction of the flying boats in Short Bros of Belfast. It was a long time after the war that he admitted to Grandma ,having travelled on test flights over Belfast Lough. After the first Blitz on Belfast Mum took me to relatives in Bundoran Co. Donegal for safety. We were puzzled at first by the number of aircraft which flew overhead each night on a flight-path from the Atlantic to Lough Erne . Mother it was who noticed that they all flew over a big Hotel at the bottom of Bundoran's main street. This Hotel had a large light which was unusually bright and when she was putting up "blackout" curtains so that we could get to sleep she realised that the light was there to guide the R.A.F. Planes back in from Atlantic patrols to their berths near Enniskillen on Lough Erne
where Sunderlands and Catalinas operated from. Later on , it was the American planes who came through this route from the U.S. to Northern Ireland.


Message 2 - Flying Boats on the Clyde

Posted on: 15 March 2005 by rafcatalina

This is a fascinating story.I have visited Hendon a while ago just after its opening.I am working on a project to bring a Flying Boat to land on the Clyde at Greenock, sometime in September this year.I was a founder member of South Yorkshire Aviation Society.
Sunderlands and Catalinas were serviced at the RAF 57 MU base at Gorock/Greenock.Anyone having information about this base please tell us using the BBCi
Linton Ray Dixon

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Family Life Category
Weaponry and Equipment Category
Northern Ireland Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy