Showing posts from March, 2010

Stormy Dunbar Photos

photo by Billy Main

Hullo ma wee blog,

Following on from this mornings post about the weather, here's a link to some photos of the effects of the storm on Dunbar from local photographer Billy Main. These ones are taken yesterday.

see you later.

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb........

That's what they say about March normally anyway.......

Hullo ma wee blog,

This mornings trip to Dunbar for the lovely G's train to work started earlier than normal, planned after last nights storm delayed return from work, taking into consideration the flooding already becoming problematic on the A1 past Torness power station at 7pm on the road home.

I listened to the hooligan wind screaming around the house last night from the warmth of bed thinking that I couldn't remember worse in the 8 years we have been here. I woke several times across the night yet wasn't tempted to follow my nocturnal habit, to head for the kitchen and night time comfort of coffee and blogging, happy for once to stay comfortably imprisoned by the several hundred banshees at the window and their howled demands to be let in. The wind kept me awake as the house creaked and groaned in her fight to keep us sheltered and my thoughts were swept in many directions but always, always came back to shriekin…

Monday Night Is Music Night

Hullo ma wee blog,

Monday night saw the latest live gig, Amy Macdonald at the HMV Picture House in Edinburgh, a complete sell out. We got there early as I met the lovely G from work and we had a lght dinner at the cafe in 'The Filmhouse' just across the road. Then, as usual, G insisted we get in the queue early to make sure we had a good slot for the show. As it turns out - again, as usual - she was right and we ended up in the front row of the balcony, dead center with the perfect view at this small venue.

Support was Jersey Budd, singer songwriter, and very good he and his band were too. Echoes of 'Oasis' and 'The Verve' with a twist of 'Stereophonics'

The roadies were very efficient and the support act cleared and Amy set up in less than half an hour.

Onstage by 9pm, she was in good voice and in great form for a lengthy session covering off her last two albums in their entirety.

A great show, great crowd and great venue. Couldn't ask for much more fro…

153 Sqn. 27th March 1945 - Paderborn

low level bombing.

These posts follow Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time. My father served in this squadron.

For 153 Sqn, the final operation of the month took place on 27th March when 14 aircraft were sent to Paderborn. (There should have been 15 but RF 205(P4-2ndW), on its first operation, lost an engine on take off and had to abort after jettisoning its load). There was little opposition from either air or ground forces but dense cloud necessitated bombing only on sky markers.

During the Third Reich the town was used as a military loading station, and the railway station shows signs of this - there are facilities for loading military vehicles onto trains which are still regularly used by the British and German armies. The Catholic order of the Salvatorians, who were based in the still-standing Heilandsfrieden House, was disbanded and driven out of nearby Sennelager by the Nazis in 1941, and were forbidden to settle anywhere in Westphalia or in the R…

Crime of the Century...........

Hullo ma wee blog,

Supertramps 1974 album 'Crime of the Century'. For me, one of those seminal albums that perfectly framed a moment in time and space. Without a weak track on its playlist, it was a big part of me at that defining time in adolescence when music takes you away from childhood and points to greater things; a better understanding; a bigger world; departure from what is comfortable, known and safe into other possibilities and realities.

Deep stuff, but music does that when you're only fifteen and hormones and angst compete equally fervently for your attention. It made deep impressions and this album means a lot to me. Over the years I've spent lots of time in its company, often with earphones on, lights off and laid out horizontal on floor or bed. Usually its been at ear crushing volume, blocking out an outside world so I could lose myself in music and lyric, so I could think and come to terms with some problem or worry about who I was or where I might be …

153 Sqn. March 24th 1945 - Dortmund./Bottrop

A Lancaster departing for  an operation is waved off by WAAF and ground crews.

These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time. My father served in this squadron.

On March 24th British Airborne and ground forces successfully crossed the Rhine at Wesel. Meanwhile, the Americans were gradually encircling and isolating the Ruhr, where the defenders remained obstinate and defiant. To soften their resistance and to further deny their resources, a force was sent to attack the Benzoil plant at Harpenerweg - a suburb of Dortmund - also the Mathias Stinnes plant at Bottrop. The Squadron despatched 10 aircraft, who flew without escort but saw no enemy fighters despite clear weather all the way (both sides were doubtless fully engaged supporting or attacking the Rhine crossing). The marker flares were a bit short, so the Master Bomber instructed crews to overshoot them. A very accurate and concentrated attack then ensued although S/Ldr Rippingale ha…

The Gorbals Vampire.....

Glasgow Necropolis Graveyard.

Hullo ma wee blog,

This caught my eye in the BBC news pages today. I thought it was interesting given the current teenage trend for vampires in film and TV and on bookshelves.

Content from BBC.

Child vampire hunters sparked comic crackdown

By Stuart Nicolson
BBC Scotland News

When PC Alex Deeprose was called to Glasgow's sprawling Southern Necropolis on the evening of 23 September 1954, he expected to be dealing with a simple case of vandalism.

But the bizarre sight that awaited him was to make headlines around the world and cause a moral panic that led to the introduction of strict new censorship laws in the UK.

Hundreds of children aged from four to 14, some of them armed with knives and sharpened sticks, were patrolling inside the historic graveyard.

They were, they told the bemused constable, hunting a 7ft tall vampire with iron teeth who had already kidnapped and eaten two local boys.

Fear of the so-called Gorbals Vampire had spread to many of their p…

The Art of Boys.........

Hullo ma wee blog,

Insomnia and random thoughts....

If they were alive today would famous painters perhaps use price comparison sites to advertise their wares?

The Girl with a Pearl Earring: Compare The

The Impressionists: monet

Vincent, painter of Sunflowers: Gogh Compare.?

Max Ernst and Salvador Dali:


Probably not,...........

Made me think though.

see you later

Listening to U2 'Unforgettable fire'

153 Sqn. 21st March 1945 - Hildesheim

These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

On 22nd March, at around breakfast time, 15 aircraft took off to attack the rail junction and marshalling yard at Hildesheim, which lies some 20 miles south-east of Hanover. 227 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups took part in the raid and 4 Lancasters were lost. Although the target was the railway yards, the surrounding built-up areas also suffered severely in what was virtually an area attack. This was the only major Bomber Command raid of the war on Hildesheim and the post-war British survey found that 263 acres, 70 per cent of the town, had been destroyed.

S/Ldr Gee relates how their route lay over the Ruhr area where, not surprisingly, they came under heavy A/A fire, to the extent that "the smoke and explosions of the shells bursting could be smelled and heard clearly". Six aircraft were hit, but all survived to bomb their target and return to base. Given a stron…

Gregory's Girl shaped my life..........

Hullo ma wee blog,

This post is triggered by a couple of linked incidents.

Last night I went to Dunbar to pick up my lovely G from an after work Friday night drink with some of her colleagues in Edinburgh. As I started on the 8 mile journey a programme came on the radio about Brass Bands and, as I played in one for over twenty years, I became engrossed listening to the music and lost in nostalgia for happy memories of times past. On picking G up and turning for home, the programme continued until a piece came on that stirred very definite memories as it was a piece I had played with my old school band as a solo.

It also eerily echoed a recent comment I had made on a blog I follow. 'Dad on a Bike' is a seriously good blog recording the delights of watching your children grow and experience life. It's written by Dad, who is also a teacher at the school where his children, the heart of the blog, attend. He recently wrote of an incident where his son experienced almost debilitat…

Fun with the camera....

Hullo ma wee blog,

Some photos taken today while trying to get familiar with a new lens. Some birds and the spires of Dunbar Kirk. Its been breezy but warm and I needed to blow the cobwebs out.

153 Sqn. 17th/18th March 1945 - Nuremburg/Hannau

My Dad, who died last year, spent his WWII active service as a tail gunner in RAF Bomber Command flying in Lancasters in 153 squadron. These posts follow Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

For the what would turn out to be the last heavy bomber raid against Nuremberg on March 17th, the Squadron was able to contribute 10 aircraft. Extensive low cloud cover extended for much of the route, but this cleared at the target, allowing an extremely devastating attack to develop resulting in major fires in the Steinbuhl district and the complete obliteration of the city's gasworks. Conditions favoured the defenders and German night-fighters found the bomber stream on its way to the target, and shot down 24 Lancasters (10.4% of the total No1 Bomber Group force) including PB 642(P4-W) which had been grounded just before takeoff on the previous mission due to engine failure, being flown by P/O Peter Parsons and crew on their first operation. Total Lancaster…

Insomnia Rools. KO?

Hullo ma wee blog,

3.30am and after having been in bed for less than two hours I have tossed and turned enough for one night. It's rubbish! How can I be so tired and yet not able to sleep? Why is my brain on overdrive at this time of night and only in first or second gear for the rest of the day? Was I a burglar in a previous life I wonder?.

Answers on a postcard to........

So as usual I'm at my place at the kitchen table, cup of tea by my side and before I spend some time quietly preparing for a Childrens Panel on Thursday I thought I might share some music that I'll be listening to while I delve into social work background reports.

Here's a couple of tracks from Playing for Change. It's a great movement and I love these performances.

The introduction to their website {} says,

'Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common bel…

Favourite film scenes challenge.........

Hullo ma wee blog,

Recently at a children's hearing we had an hour without a hearing as key people had failed to turn up. Spending an hour with people you don't normally, the conversation turned as it often does to hobbies and interests. Almost everyone will espouse a keen interest in film and we had a short discussion on favourite actors or film scenes.

The moment came to me again just now as I was reading a news headline and was caught by a sidebar 'best ever film scene' note.

Intrigued I spent a few minutes looking at what the worthies interviewed thought were their favourite scenes and of course there were only a few surprises - apart from the ones I absolutely didn't know at all.

It made me think to ask you whats one of your favourite film scene - or OK then, scene or two - or scene featuring a favourite actor and why.

I'm not going to ask the definitive "whats your favourite film clip?" as if you're like me, you wont be able to get the list down…

Another Blustery Day in East Lothian.......

River Whiteadder, Abby St. Bathans, Borders.

Hullo ma wee blog,

Jings, it's been a wee while since I have taken the time just to blog about this and that. Our trip to the frozen northland - or Aviemore as it's better known - went well. There was snow aplenty all around and the weather was gorgeous. We chilled and took in some sights and did very little else.

We did take the opportunity to go and see my Dad's older sister, Aunt May, who is 87 and lives on her own in a small village near Elgin, which is only about 40 or 50 easy minutes drive north-east from Aviemore, rather than the 4 hours non stop from home. It was lovely to see her again and to find her in such good spirits. She has always been fiercely independent and is very self contained even though she is far from family where she is. We spent an enjoyable and, for me, thought provoking couple of hours with her and her beautiful and sociable cat.

The Spey, provider of salmon and fine malt whisky.

The Cairgorms, still dee…

153 Sqn. 15th March 1945 - Misburg

My father served in this squadron. These posts follow Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

The target selected for March 15th was the Deurag oil refinery on the N/E outskirts of Hannover. 10 aircraft were detailed to take part, but a serious engine malfunction in PB 642(P4-W) prevented it from going. Although favoured by good visibility and accurate marking, the main weight of the attack fell south of the target. Some degree of heavy flak, in moderate barrage form, was encountered.

Post raid photo showing damage to refinery area Misburg.

There are many incredible stories of incidents which took place during air combat where survival outside of the odds was recorded and this raid provided one of the most bizarre incidents of any squadron's history. Approaching the target in the usual manner at the controls of NG 488(P4-2ndA), F/O Ted Parker suddenly found himself in mid-air - no aeroplane, no crew, nothing apart from his seat type parachute. In s…


Hullo ma wee blog,

Aw No!

I'm fifty-bloomin-one today!!!


See ya later

Listening to - my bones creaking!

153 Sqn. 13th March 1945 - Gelsenkirchen

My father served in this squadron. These posts follow Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

By the evening of 13th March, the Squadron could muster only 12 aircraft, one of which ME 424(P4-2ndN) was undergoing a quick overhaul. The remainder took off around dusk, to attack the Benzoil plant at Gelsenkirchen, which lies about 5 miles north of Essen. Conditions favoured the bombers - clear skies and a slight ground haze, through which the marking flares were easily identified. An accurate and concentrated attack ensued, enlivened by a massive explosion around 2045hrs reported by many crews. Once again, the enemy sought to divert the attack by setting off decoy fires accompanied by false markers. For some reason, the Germans were unable to successfully copy the RAF flares, so their decoys were usually identified and ignored. In fact, more crews tended to be misled by the 'creep-back' factor, occasioned by earlier arrivals dropping their bombs too…

153 Sqn. 11th -12th March 1945 - Essen/Gardening

My father served in this squadron. These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

The daylight raid on Essen on March 11th was distinguished by three items of interest; it was the last Bomber Command attack on this heavily bombed city which shortly after was occupied by American ground troops. The total force dispatched was 1079 bombers (750 Lancasters 293 Halifax's, 36 Mosquitoes) which briefly became the largest number of aircraft ever concentrated against one target in one attack. The target was completely obscured by 10/10 cloud necessitating bombing on sky markers. As F/O Noel Crane dryly noted - "The only result observed was cloud disturbance" but although conditions effectively grounded the Luftwaffe, it did not deter the German flak batteries, which initially put up a formidable box barrage.

By dint of considerable effort, 153 Squadron had contributed all 15 of its remaining aircraft to this 'milestone' 1,0…

153 Sqn. 8th March 1945 - Kassel

My father served in this squadron. These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

The selected target for March 8th was Kassel, which lay mid-way between the advancing armies of Russia and the Allies, but well ahead of both. Although the weather over the UK was bad for take-off and landing, that over the target was excellent, and crews had no trouble in identifying the target indicators and in pressing home a decisive attack. 176 aircraft took part in this final heavy raid by the RAF on Kassel. Fierce fires were still visible from well over 60 miles distance on the homeward leg - and to S/Ldr Rippingale on his approach!

This late arrival at the target was occasioned by a most unusual incident. While well along the runway, PB783 (P4-2ndI) with its tail up and nearing lift-off, suddenly swerved off the tarmac and ground-looped on the grass. It transpired that F/O Bruce Potter (flying his 28th operation) had collapsed at the controls; only a…

Makes you Proud to be A Scot

Hullo ma wee blog,

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, Irish scientists
found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the
conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more
than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Irish, in the weeks that followed, an English
archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story
published in the Sassenach Morning Herald read:

"English archaeologists, finding traces of 130-year-old copper wire,
have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network 30 years earlier than the Irish".

One week later, the Banffshire Courier in Buckie, Scotland, reported
the following:

"After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near Clat,
Aberdeenshire, Jock Broon, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely hee-haw.

Jock has therefore concluded that 130 years ago, Scotland had already gone wireless."

Just makes you proud to be a Scot!

153 Sqn. March 7th 1945 - Dessau

These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

This being a period of moonless nights, no-one was greatly surprised that on 7th March a further 'Thunderclap' target was selected - the town of Dessau, lying midway between Berlin and Leipzig. 153 Squadron dispatched 14 of its remaining 16 aircraft, which encountered cloud all the way out and back, resulting in a sketchy attack. The outward journey took the Main Force north of the Ruhr on a course seemingly destined for Berlin. There was intense night fighter reaction to the perceived threat; combats occurred all along the route. One fighter, crossing through the stream of bombers, nearly collided with Tom Tobin who recalled - "He was so close that I felt I could shake hands with him, as we whistled past!"

The night recorded a significant milestone, F/O George Bishop, RCAF, and except for the F/Eng, his all-Canadian crew, became the first to complete the new tour requirement…

A Short Intermission will now follow...........

Hullo ma wee blog,

The lovely G and I are taking a break for a few days. We have rented a chalet on the edge of Aviemore - temp last night -12C - and plan to do a bit of walking, sight seeing and chilling out so my frazzled wee wifey can recover from the stress and strain of keeping me in the manner to which I have become accustomed {Yea. Right.} and I can prepare to become a whole year older.

Good grief, what is that going to do to my grumpiness..........

Although my trusty laptop will be coming I know the chalet doesn't have internet connections so it might be a wee while to the next post.

see you later.

Be good.

listening to Manfred Mann, 'Blinded by the Light'