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RAF Benbecula fuel supplies

Title: RAF Benbecula fuel supplies
Posted by: Martin Briscoe on 12-04-2013

Discussion: Another question that someone local might be able to answer. There is a discussion on an airfield site about where the fuel tanks were at the WWII RAF Benbecula airfield and how the fuel got there. There does not appear to be anywhere suitable for a small coastal tanker near there so presumably it was brought up in road tankers from Lochboisdale though it must have been a long and difficult journey with the roads of that period.

I wonder is anyone has any information?

Martin Briscoe
Fort William

Replies to this post

Posted by: Martin Briscoe on 15-04-2013

Thanks, one site has the link between South Uist and Benbecula being built in 1942 so it is around the same time.

Were there tanks at Lochcarnan during WWII or do they date to the days of the rocket range. No wartime or late 1940s aerial photographs of that area on the RCAHMS site unfortunately.

Sollas was a much smaller operation so would not need the amount of fuel needed by the larger aircraft operating from Benbecula.

I was told there still a couple of structures at Sollas but it was raining heavily last time I was in the area so did not get chance to look. I was told of what sounded very much like an Auxiliary Unit hide in the burial ground near Sollas.

A book mentions a wireless site on one of the small islands near the Benbecula airfield, must have another look on Google Earth to see if any trace can be seen.

Not heard of Askernish, only one I can think of was North West of Leverburgh on one of the beaches.

I will quote your reply on the airfield site, it might give clues to the 'experts' there!

It is hard to imagine the impact of the military sites in WWII, in areas often with no infrastructure so everything had to be brought in from outside.

Martin Briscoe

Posted by: Don MacPhee on 14-04-2013

Martin, there were two bases in the Uists during WW11, Benbecula and Sollas in North Uist.

There being no fixed link between any of the islands at the outbreak of the war, Benbecula received the equipment and fuel for the airfield from LCLs which beached in the South Ford between Benbecula and South Uist.

The remains of the slip leading from the beach can still be seen to the east of the house beside Carnan Store. I can remember a lot of the American equipment coming onto the island at this site when the Rocket Range was testing the Corporal missile in the early 60's.

There are still several small brick built buildings up to three miles out from the runway which were part of the infrastructure during the war years. Likewise, there are similar remains at Sollas.

The airfield at Sollas received their fuel from the shipments delivered to Lochmaddy. Should also mention that there was a rough grass strip at Askernish which I recall hearing served as an emergency landing strip on a couple of occasions.

There are still a few old boys about who will have more detail, will post it when I have had a blether with them. Cheers, Don

Posted by: Martin Briscoe on 13-04-2013

Thanks, I will pass that on. I did not realise there was anything there. It would explain it being sited there.

Martin Briscoe
Fort William

Posted by: southuist.com admin on 12-04-2013

Martin, I would assume it would be from Lochcarnan. Worth checking out. Fuel depot is there.

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