Old Glasgow Club
Minutes of ordinary meeting of Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday 8 April 2010 at 7.30pm
Mr Gordon (President)
Mr Gordon welcomed members to the meeting.
There were apologies from Brian Henderson, Brian Macey, Alison Sannachan, Rosemary Sannachan, Jennifer MacTavish.
The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on 11 March were approved, proposed by
George Kerr and seconded by Suzanne Halliday. There were no matters arising.
Mr Gordon reported that Mrs Moira Reid had died; she used to work in the Barrett’s newsagent in Byers Road. In saying that the Orkney Street Police Station visit on 27 March had been good, he noted that the Police Station was etched in his childhood memory as its telephone number was 4411 whereas his home phone number had been 1144. The coffee money from tonight’s meeting and that of the AGM on 13 May would be given as a donation to the Greek Thomson Appeal.
Mrs McNae apologised for the lack of a notice board, due to Alison Sannachan’s father having died. The visit to the Glasgow Necropolis would be on Sunday 25 April; members should meet at Glasgow Cathedral at 2pm. The JAS Wilson Memorial Walk would be on 17 June at the Saltmarket. Refreshments after the Tappit Hen would be at the Supper Drawing Room. The cost of the outing on 12 June would be £16, with members sorting out their own meal arrangements. She reminded members that Graeme Smith was collecting momentoes about the Alhambra Theatre.
Mrs Ann Morris spoke to the Club about the story of the children evacuated from Guernsey to Glasgow in 1940. This weekend there were various anniversary events, press coverage and an exhibition at St Ninian’s Episcopal church in Pollokshields.
Mrs Morris told of how the children left Guernsey on 20 June 1940; Churchill had stated that the Channel Islands were not being abandoned but neither would they be defended. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 had had to be evacuated within hours. Families were in a state of shock and many children had never travelled. They left with little more than the clothes they were wearing and after a long train journey they arrived in Glasgow. Some relocated with friends and relatives, but many stayed here, where they received a good education and a wider world view. Glasgow people, known for their generosity of spirit, took them into their hearts and homes and they became honorary Glaswegians. The evacuees had come back to reminisce and to say thank you to Glasgow.
Mr Gordon introduced Flt Lt Gerry Traynor to speak about 602 (City of Glasgow) Sqaudron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
In 1924 Lord Trenchard decided that the Royal Air Force needed some back up, and he started auxiliary units. 602 Squadron was the first to be formed, based at Moor Park in Renfrew. The airmen’s bounty was £3 per year. The squadron was designated a Bomber Squadron and after encountering operational difficulties in winter was given a new airfield, now part of Glasgow airport. The squadron’s badge is based on that of the City of Glasgow, and also contains a St Andrew’s Cross with a red lion superimposed.
2 of the sqaudron’s pilots (McIntyre and Lord Clydesdale, later Duke of Hamilton) successfully flew over Everest (at the second attampt) on 3 April 1933. McIntyre founded Scottish Aviation, but was killed in 1956. The squadron had a fly past at the Empire Exhibiton in 1938.
Some of its war heroes were George Pinkerton, Archie McKellar and Kerr Welsh. 602 was redesignated a bomber squadron in 1939 and was the first to be give a Spitfire. It was in Drem when a U Boat sank the Royal Oak at Scapa Flow, and fought against German planes looking for HMS Hood. Archie McKellar brought down the “Humbie Heinkel”, but was killed on 1 November 1940, the day after the official end of the Battle of Britain. Squadron member Sandy Johnstone was the first to shoot down an enemy plane at night.
June 1940 saw a ceremony of “blessing” the squadron, with Harry Lauder in attendance. A 602 doctor received the MC. Finlay Boyd shot down a German plane in 1 1/2 minutes. The squadron had the second highest “score” in the Battle of Britain and also the lowest attrition rate. Once a pilot thought he had landed in Holland, but it was actually Suffolk. Ginger Lacey shot down the pilot who had bombed Buckingham Palace. D Day saw the squadron in action at the American Utah and Sword beaches. Chris Le Roux put Rommel out of action by hospitalising him, which had a significant adverse effect on German military operations. The Squadron also smuggled in beer to the “Getsum Inn” in Normandy, and dealt with the V2 rockets by attacking their launch sites near Rotterdam.
The Royal Auxiliary Force was disbanded in May 1957. In 1982, cadets were asked to examine panels from a Heinkel and a museum was built. It is a 602 plane which hangs in Kelvingrove Art Galleries. Re-formed on 1 July 2006 as an Intelligence Squadron, the squadron will, the speaker was sure, uphold the high standards which it has inherited.
Flt Lt Traynor then answered questions about the East Fortune airfield, the squadron’s museum in Maryhill (website - 602squadron.org.uk), and the part played by the Merchant Navy and Coastal Command in ensuring that raw materials and supplies got to Britain.
Vote of thanks
Anna Forrest proposed the vote of thanks. The talk had been on a serious subject but had been enjoyable and entertaining. We had been greatly impressed by Flt Lt Traynor’s memory, breadth of knowledge and ability to speak without notes. He had spoken with grace and humour, and admirably fleshed out the exploits of intrepid men.
The next directors’ meeting would be on 6 May and the AGM would be on 13 May.
Mr Gordon wished all a safe journey home.
JN Gibson, Recording Secretary