Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Lt Richard Feachem, RNVR - Wartime Service (AES1 to AES7) - Part 1

 
Richard Feachem was born in 1914 and went to school at Wellington College in Berkshire. His full name was Richard William de Fécamp Feachem, but was known by most of his peers as "Dick". The " de Fécamp " part of his name came from the area of Normandy, France where his family originated from, but was dropped fairly early on. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1937 with a degree in Archaeology. In the two years which followed he managed to see some remote parts of the world most of us have only read about. In 1937 he was a member of an expedition to NW Greenland and the Canadian Arctic . The following year he was an archaeologist with the Cambridge West Greenland expedition. A 36 minute (silent) video from the Cambridge trip can be seen here: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-cambridge-west-greenland-expedition-1938-1938-online      On one of these two expeditions a geographical feature was named in his honour - Feachem Bay, on the eastern side of Baffin Island.

In 1939 he made an archaeological reconnaissance of the Islas de Bahia, off the north coast of Honduras,  but this work was interrupted by the onset of WWII.
Just before the war it was realised that  experienced, specialist Naval officers would be in great demand if hostilities broke out. As a civilian Feachem  was selected, initially with 3 others, for a new role within the Admiralty - the installation and operation of a number of Coastal Defence U Boat Stations (CDUS) using Radio Direction Finding (now normally called Radar). The four people initially selected were recent University graduates with experience of expeditions/exploration. They were all eager to join the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) when offered the opportunity to contribute to the war effort. The other three graduates chosen were: George Clifford Evans (a Biologist), Donald MacAuley Carmichael (a Philosopher) and Jack Addison Lewis (a Civil Engineer). They were all commissioned as Sub Lieutenants on 10 Oct 39, their paths frequently crossing over the next few years. Six CDUS were built in N Scotland, Orkney and Shetland during 1939 and 1940. A seventh CDU was later constructed in Iceland in 1942. The seven radar sites were known as Admiralty Experimental Stations (AES) and numbered 1 to 7. Feachem had the distinction of serving on all 7 stations, these being:
AES1 - Sumburgh (Grutness), Shetland
AES2 - Fair Isle, Shetland
AES3 - Fair Isle, Shetland
AES4 - Saxavord, Unst, Shetland
AES5 - South Ronaldsay, Orkney
AES6 - Dunnet Head, Caithness
AES7 - Sæból, NW Iceland
The six UK based AES all began life with versions of the radar known by the RAF as AME Type 2, which equipped many RAF Chain Home Low (CHL) sites and it should be noted that there was a Royal Navy presence at many of these RAF stations to pass surface plots the appropriate maritime authorities. Although the AMES Type 2 was poor at picking up low level targets, in many cases it was the only kit available. In Shetland there were to be naval plotting cells at the RAF CHL stations at Clett and Watsness.
Fortunately, Feachem collected photos and stories from his time in the RNVR and his son, Richard Charles Feachem,  has kindly allowed me to use his father's material in producing this article. Each of the AES sites will be dealt with in the order in which he served at them and, at the end, I will give a brief outline of Feachems' distinguished career after the war was over. He spent a significant amount of time at these units in the following order: In Part 1 - AES1, AES3/2, AES4, AES1 (again), AES6, and in Part 2 - AES7,  Signals Department at the Admiralty and, finally, at AES5. It is in that order I have dealt with his wartime service in producing this summary.

AES1 Sumburgh/Grutness
AES1 was the first of the CDUS to be constructed. The unit was operational within 4 months of the decision to build it. The three photos below, from the late Lt Dunworth, show the arrival of some of the equipment at the dock in Lerwick and  AES1 under construction in late 1939:



This third picture from Dunworth shows part of an aerial frame with lighthouse buildings in the background:
 
The radar was located by the Sumburgh Lighthouse at the Southern tip of the Shetland Mainland and it became operational in December 1939, with a permanent watch being maintained from 27 Dec. Feachem was in Shetland and was at AES1 by Dec 1939. Later in his career he was to illustrate a number of books but, even at this early stage, he drew some interesting sketches.  For example, this picture of an early aerial and gantry:



The drawing is accompanied by a note which says: "At first the aerial frames were made of 2" Oregon Pine but this broke in gales; especially when covered with snow, and they were replaced in 1940 by steel gantries"

RN personnel serving in Shetland were posted to HMS Fox, the name given to all naval shore-based units  in the Isles;


The speed with which AES1 became operational meant that much of the associated infrastructure was incomplete. The first group of ratings had to be accommodated in Sumburgh House Hotel and had to be transported to and from work in a van. A copy of a receipt, made out to Sub Lt Feachem  for accommodation, is below: 
A list of the ratings on the initial deployment:

What Feachems role was at Sumburgh in the early stage of the war is not clear. He was certainly busy, making visits to Unst & Fair Isle amongst other duties. A few junior naval officers, other than Feachem, are also recorded as being at Sumburgh in the early months of the war, including Dunworth, Evans, Lewis and Sand. They were possibly gaining experience of the new RDF (radar) equipment and operations before the later AES sites were opened.
The next picture has appeared in a number of collections, including Feachems,  so the copyright is uncertain: however, in Feachems words: "This view of Sumburgh Head was taken from a drifter on the way to Fair Isle at the end of 1939. It shows the pair of original wooden-framed aerials, the receiver on the left: and the lighthouse and foghorn towers which together with all other buildings and walls belonging to the lighthouses remained white, hopefully under provision of the Geneva Convention."

At this early stage of the war it is likely that Feachem spent less than 2 months based at Sumburgh before being posted to Fair Isle.

AES2/3 Fair Isle
In Jan 40, Vice Admiral Somerville visited Fair Isle to reconnoitre possible sites for the construction of CHL radars. It is highly likely that he was accompanied by Sub Lt Feachem and Sub Lt Evans, who were with the Admiral on Unst for a similar mission in the same month. Because of the topography and the need to provide radar cover in multiple sectors, it was found necessary to erect 2 radar sites on the island. Lying roughly half way between the Shetland Mainland and Orkney (location of Scapa Flow and the Home Fleet), it was considered essential to provide a surface detection capability in both the Shetland/Fair Isle and Fair Isle/Orkney gaps.
  
The radar equipment arrived on the island on 5 Jan 40, accompanied by Sub Lt Irvine and  the first batch of naval ratings to man the radars were drafted in with Sub Lt Feachem on 23 Jan 40. The photo below, from the collection of the late Lt Dunworth, shows the assembly of the Transmitter aerial at AES2. The first radar (AES3) became operational on 23 Feb and AES2 followed a few days later.  AES3 was sometimes known as Fair Isle South and AES2 as Fair Isle North.

Throughout Feachems'  tour both AES2 and AES3 operated with the original type of Chain Home Low equipment, ie,  separate Transmitting and a Receiving Aerials at each site. It was only after Mar 42 that both sites were each converted to single aerial operation.

A  detachment of 20 Royal Marines, under the command of a SNCO, arrived in Jun 40 to provide air defence. They were equipped with 2 x Vickers and 2 x Lewis machine guns. Later on 2 x 20mm Hispano canons were added as a number of German aircraft had visited the island. Some of islanders were in the Home Guard and, fortunately, a few of them had their own weapons,
Initially Navy personnel were billeted wherever accommodation could be found. The officers lodged with the Stouts at "Rock Cottage":

Later the naval complement was housed at a place called " Punds", but in March 1941 it was destroyed by fire. By Mar 42 a new hutted site at North Haven was completed. It was for up to 60 personnel from both AES 2 and 3. The army ground defence force, which initially consisted of 1 officer and about 20 other ranks from a "Scottish regiment",  were given the remains of "Punds". However, in the opinion of naval staff, these army personnel were not suitable for the job and were later replaced by Royal Marines. This next picture, from  the Shetland Museum Photo Archive, shows the North Haven accommodation as it was in 1950, just before it began to serve as the first Fair Isle Bird Observatory:

 When the two sites opened Lt Donald MacAuley Carmichael was in charge of AES2 and Feachem was the CO of AES3. In Oct 40 Carmichael handed over to Lt Wilkinson. Feachem remained in post until early in 1941, when he passed over command of AES3 to Lt George Clifford Evans.  Lt Carmichael, who was there during the first part of Feachems' tour, appears in the photo below:




Two major incidents, which occurred  on Fair Isle that Feachem was involved with were; the crash landing of a Heinkel 111, which had been engaged on a weather reconnaissance and the crash landing of a Spitfire from No 1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit (PRU).

At the time of the first incident Feachem was the CO of AES3. The Heinkel, which had take off from Oldenburg in North Germany, had been attacked at about 8,000' by Hurricanes  from 3 Sqn based at Sumburgh on 17 Jan 41. With one engine out of action, the other failing and 2 crew members injured, the pilot, Leutnant Thurz, had little option but to put the aircraft down on Fair Isle.  Unfortunately, two of the five in the crew were killed in the crash. The survivors were captured by Islanders, including members of the Stout family  - I believe the front row in the photo below shows Willie Stout, George Stout, Lt  Carmichael and Dr Griffiths from Bristol University:

 
The 3 survivors were shipped to Mainland, Shetland on the Lerwick Life Boat on the 19th. Leutnant Thurz returned to Fair Isle in 1980, when he met James Stout who had witnessed the crash landing! This poor photo of the makers plate from the Heinkel has come from the Feachem collection:


and below is a copy of a report made by Feachem months after the event (N.O.I.C. = Naval Officer in Charge):

After the wing-section, with fuel tanks, had burned furiously and then died down somewhat, those ratings present who were not either carrying off the wounded or escorting the prisoners went to the machine and salvaged what they could from it and beside it. Ldg Tel Cheeseman, before the war a Sub-Officer in the London Fire Brigade, entered the shell of the after part of the 'plane, which was still burning in the forward part, and brought out the radio set, the meteorological instruments, a camera and a book of W/T operating signals. These articles, together with a map also salvaged, were sent to the NOIC Lerwick, with the prisoners. Ldg Tel Cheeseman was not injured or scorched.  His action lead directly to the salvaging of the articles mentioned: he was also of great use in warning over-enthusiastic ratings from getting into danger uselessly.

September 19th 1941                                                                                              Signed: RW Feachem

                                                                                                                                            Lieut. RNVR

Ldg Tel Cheeseman, mentioned in the report above, is in the centre of the following picture next to an Austin car, which had been shipped in to the island as RN transport:
The unloading of the vehicle on Fair Isle looked to be a precarious feat:

Remains of the Heinkel can still be seen at Vatsetter on Fair Isle today:

(Rickard, J (30 March 2009), Fuselage of Heinkel He-111 on Fair Isle , httpwww.historyofwar.orgPicturespictures_he_111_H-2_crash1)
The second major incident, which occurred on 12 Jul 41, involved the crash landing of Spitfire X4501, flown by Flying Officer M Hood. The aircraft was returning from a photographic reconnaissance mission to Aalesund in Norway, when it developed an engine problem. Hood had to make a belly landing on Fair Isle. The aircraft, painted a pale blue,  was extensively damaged but the pilot was uninjured. Hood, with the camera magazine from the aeroplane, was taken to the Shetland mainland in an RAF High Speed Launch. Feachem who at the time was CO of AES1 at Sumburgh,  must have made an excursion to the island aboard either the High Speed Launch that collected the pilot, the "Good Shepherd", the Lerwick Life Boat or the drifter "Research", all of which visited the Island shortly after the event. He was able to take this picture before the later removal of the aircraft:
 The locations of AES2 & 3 can just be seen on the skyline, AES3 is on the summit of the hill directly in front of the aircraft and AES2 is on the right. The aircraft was partially dismantled  by an RAF salvage party and shipped to mainland Shetland. It was probably carried in two loads on the drifter "Research",  shown in this picture from the Shetland Museum Photo Archive:

I have found no record of this aircraft after this event so, being a long way from any establishment capable of reconstruction, it was possibly considered "beyond economic  repair" and used for spare parts.
At the beginning of 1941 Feachem spent a month at AES4, before being posted back to Sumburgh.

AES4 Saxavord (Saxa Vord to the RAF)
Feachem  spent less time at AES4 than at any of the other CDU's. I have records of him being on Unst on three separate occasions, a reconnaissance visit in Jan 40 to look for a site to construct AES4, a period as a relief Commanding Officer in Mar 41whilst the regular CO Lt Jack Addison Lewis was away visiting AES5 & 6 and on leave, and a visit on "technical duties" in Jun 42. An article about AES4 has been previously issued in two parts; here,  http://ahistoryofrafsaxavord.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/admiralty-experimental-station-4-unst_30.html  and here http://ahistoryofrafsaxavord.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/admiralty-experimental-station-4-unst.html    
Although I have no pictures of the operational site on Unst from the period, there are some interesting records about the life of the station in the Feachem  Collection. The Admiralty requisitioned a house at Haroldswick, called Hamarsgarth, to serve as accommodation for the AES4 personnel. The domestic facilities were later extended by the addition of two wooden huts and two nissen huts. This 4 photo montage shows the rear of Hamarsgarth, with Clibbeswick on the left and the Heogs on the right:
 
The personnel, at the instigation of Chief Petty Officer King (who had been a butcher before the war), turned Hamarsgarth into a valuable resource for supplementing rations. Vegetables were grown and animals, particularly chickens and pigs, were reared. This next picture, taken by the front porch at Hamarsgarth, show a few Sunday dinners:


The "front garden" was split into small compounds with fences to facilitate the agricultural activities:

With German troops occupying Norway, many Norwegians became refugees and attempted to escape to UK in small boats. Significant numbers of them, men, women and children, made landfall on Unst. To assist the efficient processing of these arrivals the Commanding Officer of AES4 was made an Honorary Norwegian Vice Consul, as can be seen in this extract from a ledger held by Charles Sandison & Sons:

 
In Mar 41, the month when Feachem relieved the normal CO, 8 Norwegian vessels arrived on Unst and  would have resulted in a significant workload for the small Naval complement. This next photo, from the Feachem Collection, shows one of these boats aground by the Baltasound Pier:



On 30 Mar 41 the radar site came under  attack from a low-level German bomber. It machine-gunned the operational living quarters and engine house, the Receiver gantry also suffered some hits. One bomb was released which landed about 20 yards south of the Receiver Hut, bounced, then exploded about 80 yards north of the Transmitter Hut. It left a crater about 10' deep but did no significant damage. The aircraft then made off and attacked the RAF CH Station at Skaw, two miles away.

AES1 - Again
In Apr 41 Feachem was posted back to AES1, this time as the Commanding Officer. He took over from Lt Alexander Sand on 17 Apr.

During the first week of May there was a visit by representatives from various organisations including, 70 Wing, 71 Wing, 60 Group and theTelecommunications Research Establishment (based at Worth Matravers  in Dorset at the time). The visitors were there to look at the re-siting of the Unit to Compass Head, about a mile north of Sumburgh Head. The Sumburgh site, next to the lighthouse, had a number of problems. The lighthouse tower, other buildings and the foghorn caused some oscuration to the radar signal, whilst the Transmitter and Receiver aerials had been positioned too close to each other for maximum efficiency.


Haste, the need to provide cover to the south and accessible high ground were some of the factors when the Admiralty chose the Sumburgh Head site. However, there were objections from, amongst others, The  Northern Lighthouse Board and the Ministry of Shiiping. Their protests were because it was believed that a military unit sited next to a lighthouse, contravened protocols in the Geneva Convention. At the time the Admiralty expressed the view that there was no problem as long as there was no attempt to act covertly, ie, to hide the installation - they went ahead anyway. Perhaps one of the reasons for the move to Compass Head was a change of opinion by the Navy.

The lighthouse staff had their own accommodation in the buildings at Sumburgh Head and certainly, the senior keeper Tom Hughson and his wife, lived close to the radar:

 
On 2 May 41 Feachem wrote a report on the proposed new site at Compass Head for the Director of the Signal Department at the Admiralty. Generally, the report was very favourable and noted that radar cover should be much better than from the current site. Aerials at the proposed site would be slightly higher than the aerials at the lighthouse and the location should provide good detection capabilities through 130 degrees, from Fitful Head to the south west, round to the the east coast of Shetland to the north. He undertook to submit further reports if there were more developments to the plan. A modern photo, showing the relative positions of the 2 sites, is below:

During Jul 41 fewer friendly aircraft movements than normal were recorded due to long periods of fog. However, it must have had an effect on the personnel as Feachem noted in the monthly report that the foghorn sounded for 165 hours, that the horn  blew every 9 seconds and that the blast lasted for 7 seconds. It must have been very annoying for those unused to it, especially as the foghorn was only 7 yards from the Transmitter Hut!! This recent picture shows how close the two structures were - the building in the foreground was the Transmitter Hut:




In September the performance and effectiveness of the CHL radar was greatly improved. This was due to the equipment being overhauled and to the decarbonisation of the diesel engines by a new Stoker Petty Officer called Mathews. Detection ranges on aircraft were now in the region of 130 to 140 miles.  Shipping was also seen at longer ranges, eg, the SS St Magnus III (1,530 tons) was picked up at 54 mies, though it must be said she was flying a protective ballon!




HMS Erebus, launched in 1916 and displacing around 8.000 tons, visited the south of Shetland.  She had two 15" guns with a range of over 22 miles. The opportunity to go on board to observe how her radar systems worked was taken by Feachem and Lt Evans. The ship was also used to help calibrate the CHL equipment. It was known that she was moored 8 miles out from the lighthouse on a bearing of 080 degrees. It was a bad angle for AES1, being largely obscured by the foghorn. Nevertheless, she was fixed to within 2 degrees, though the range was over a mile out. The CHL equipment was adjusted accordingly.



 At the end of the month Feachen also noted that work on the new site at Compass Head had started on 1 Sep and that steady progress on the approach road and hut foundations was being made. There was a good display of the Northern Lights on 18/19th and 19/20th Sep, followed by a few days of high winds.

The following month Feachem records that the good performance of the radar continued, with one enemy aircraft being seen to the NNE at a range of 153 miles. Progress was being made on the Compass Head site but poor weather had caused some delays, with both snow and gales being experienced. The wind had caused the loss of 50 operational hours at Sumburgh when the aerials had to be lashed down. Feachem took leave from 2 Oct to 25 Oct 41, during which time Lt Angus Orr assumed command of AES1. In his report for Nov 41 Feachem highly commended the excellent service which had been given by 2 RAF Radar Mechanics, Kennedy & Baldock, who had maintained the station since Jun 40, sometimes in very difficult conditions - they were being replaced on promotion to the rank of Sergeant. He also made the observation that the work of the RAF Radar Mechanics at AES2, 3 & 4 was worthy of similar praise.

In his report for Dec 41, he noted that AES1 was entering its third year of operations. He also commented on the good cooperation which existed between the Fair Isle CDUs and AES1, the interest and skill of the telegraphists being particularly helpful in passing plots quickly and efficiently. The report went on to say that all the AES had had an influx of new personnel, mainly volunteers. Whist most of these men could be taught basic radar theory and, with experience, became reasonable operators,  there were some beyond training. Feachen suggested that, before arrival, new personnel prove that they could at least write and use a telephone!



Two engineers arrived from Metropolitan Vickers in Manchester to replace VT58 valves in the Transmitter with VT98 valves, which it was thought should result in a great enhancement to the radar performance. As the CHL equipment had been operating so well before the changeover, little improvement was noticed at the time. However,  Feachem stated that a major advance was to be expected when the Unit was converted  to a single common transmit/receive aerial system by the RAF's 71 Wing. This conversion was actually carried out between 16th and 18th Feb 42 and almost immediately increased detection ranges were observed, with some aircraft responses seen at more than 200 miles. The best recorded detection was at 226 miles on the 26th of the month. In the next photo from the Feachem Collection, the new common Transmit/Receive aerial can be seen above the old Receiver Hut; note the now vacant old Transmitter gantry to its left.


The new CHL system continued to produce excellent results into Apr 42, with returns from high ground (permanent echoes) from as far away as Aberdeenshire and the hills around Bergen in Norway. There were also good aircraft returns from all round the area of interest, including numerous plots at over 200 miles.The "Atlantic Special", a frequent German reconnaissance flight, passed though the radar cover during early mornings - 18 such flights taking place in April.  Although fighter intercepts had been attempted and occasionally the aircraft radar responses had merged, no success was achieved. Feachem suggested that fighters with airborne intercept radar were needed because of the lack of proper daylight at that time of year. Nearly all of these recce fights passed close to Sumburgh between 04.00 and 06.00.

In May Feachem reported that the four RAF Radar Mechanics attached to the station were suffering from problems caused by service accounting mix-ups. They were not receiving their proper allowances and, in fact, were also being debited with sums they didn't owe. The worst debt now stood at more than £32, a large sum in 1942. He recommended that the matter be attended to before the men were posted as it would be more difficult for personnel at another station to understand the situation.

The radar performance in Jun 42 was below normal standards which was assumed to be because of rapid requests from the Filter Room to change sweep areas, "tired" valves and work on the aerial.  A photo of some of the Sumburgh Lighthouse buildings from the first half of 1942 from the Feachem Collection follows, the van is parked outside the senior keepers quarters:

It was noted in July that all the Northern Lighthouse buildings on the site had been repainted grey from their original white, leaving the AES white buildings to appear very prominently. The naval ratings were set to work toning down the radar building by painting them in a similar wash to prevent them standing out from a distance. Following work on the equipment, the performance of the radar had improved considerably, with 15 aircraft being seen at ranges beyond 150 miles

By August the allowances problem for the RAF Radar Mechanics was resolved. Work at Compass head continued satisfactorily, with most of the outside construction complete. Work had begun on the interior of the main building but decisions regarding the Standby Power House were awaited before the floor could be laid and appropriate wiring installed. The remains of the  Standby Power House at Compass Head in 2012:

On 11 Jul 42, Feachem proceeded on leave until 2 Aug and was replaced by Lt Wilkinson, RNVR. His return to Shetland was aboard the SS St Magnus (pictured earlier), which sailed from Leith & Aberdeen to Lerwick. On 15 Aug a Spitfire from Sumburgh was seen to crash into Quendale Bay, NW of the station, unhappily the pilot was killed. He was Sergeant Schaeffer who had visited AES1 just five days earlier and seemed tohave been a very keen individual. The aircraft was probably a Spitfire Vb from 164 Squadron (known as the Argentine-British Sqn due to the number of volunteer Argentinian airmen on its strength). The radar was off the air twice for prolonged periods in August, the first time for quarterly maintenance and the second time for a turntable change. Preparations at Compass Head were progressing well. In the common Transmit/Receive Block the wiring and floors were complete, the Transmitter was in position and the Receivers, extra Plan Position Indicator (PPI) and Plotting Tables were in the building. Foundations for the new Navy Type 273 radar were also in place. The main problems were the absence of the new aerial, motor and framework plus the lack of jointers to connect the main power cables.

I don't have the precise date when Feachem left AES1, but I believe that Lt Wilkinson, RNVR, arrived in Oct 42 and formally took over the Unit on 3 Nov 42. I do know that Lt Feachem took over AES6 at Dunnet Head, Caithness, on the UK mainland in Nov 42.

AES6 - Dunnet Head
AES6 was the last of the 6 North of Scotland CDUs to open (in late 1940), and was initially commanded by Lt DM Carmichael RNVR. Like AES5 it was what the RAF called a Chain Home Low and a Chain Home Extra Low site. It was located at Dunnet Head, the most northerly part of the UK mainland, and very close to Burifa Hill - an RAF GEE site, part of the Northern Gee Chain.
 



 
It was very close to the Naval Base at Thurso which,  in Feachems time, was commanded by Captain Newcombe - an ex WWI veteran.


Feachem  took over the Unit in Nov 42 and left early in 43, when he was relieved by Lt Astley. At the time Feachem arrived the station was equipped a CHL radar, I believe with a single Transmit/Receive aerial, and an NT273  radar which had 3' diameter parabolic  dishes  inside a perspex cylinder known as a "lantern" - it looked like this:

Although the NT273 could detect aircraft, its prime purpose was the detection of surface plots.  After the war Feachem returned to Dunnet Head and the next 2 pictures were taken amongst the ruins of the site. The first shows Richard Feachem himself in June 1965, alongside a building which had been used as a plinth for a radar, possibly the NT273 or the later NT277S, which was  installed after his tour of duty:

The second shows more of a panoramic view, with the building from the previous picture on the right:

The next three pictures were taken by Martin Briscoe a few years ago. The first shows what appears to be the base of a CHL radar 20' gantry in front of an operations block:

The next shows part of the interior of, what appears to be, the combined Transmit/ Receive  Block:

The last photo from Martin shows the Mk III IFF Kiosk/Cubicle.


Three more photos of the AES6 buildings, which were taken recently,  follow and are used (with permission) from this excellent site: http://www.anti-aircraft.co.uk/

 
Located on the UK mainland and close to the rail head at Thurso, AES6 attracted far more than its fair share of visitors, from senior officers to more junior ranks, plus some civilian "scientific advisors". Being very close to the large Naval base at Thurso; it probably had less independence than thew other AES. Also, due to its situation close to a number of airfields (Skitten, Wick, Castletown etc) and busy shipping routes, the station usually plotted greater numbers of tracks than the other northern CDUS. Feachem left early in 1943.
Part 2 of Lt Richard Feachem, RNVR  - Wartime  Service (AES1 to AES7 is here: https://ahistoryofrafsaxavord.blogspot.com/2018/11/lt-richard-feachem-rnvr-wartime-service_20.html
 
Acknowledgements:

Richard Charles Feachem for permitting me to reproduce material from the collection of his father - Richard William Feachem
 
Mike Dean

Bob Jenner

Martin Briscoe
Irene &Tony Mouat
David Waters
Unst Heritage Centre
Sandison & Sons Archive
Shetland Amenity Trust
Shetland Museum
ADM 116 - 4275
ADM 116 - 4897
However, I accept responsibility for any mistakes and will be happy to make corrections where necessary.
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