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TITLE
The Home Guard at Helmsdale
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_HELMSDALE_02
PLACENAME
Helmsdale
DISTRICT
Kildonan, Loth and Clyne
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
SUTHERLAND: Kildonan
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2001
KEYWORDS
Second World War
radar stations
manoeuvres
audio

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Helmsdale is a village on the east coast of Sutherland. During World War II the R.A.F. built a radar station at Crakaig, in the parish of Loth, a few miles southwest of Helmsdale. There was another radar station at Navidale, about one mile northeast of Helmsdale. The local Home Guard at Helmsdale came under the command of A. W. Mackay, headmaster of Helmsdale School. In this audio extract, a Helmsdale resident remembers one of the exercises carried out by Mr. Mackay.

'They used to have exercises, you see, and the chap in charge of them used to be very keen, you know, he used to call them oot at unexpected hours, you know? He had a chap wi a bicycle that was a dispatch rider for him. They decided to call him oot because the Germans blew apart the Helmsdale Bridge. So when they arrived at the bridge he took charge and he said, 'Well, you, you and you, half a dozen here, you're dead, go and lie down on the bridge. You're dead, we'll forget about you until a stretcher party comes to take you away' you see? And he posted some at one end of the bridge, some at the other end of the bridge and told, 'Let nobody across for about ten minutes, quarter of an hour. I'll give you the signal when you can take them across.' It was only going to last for a short time, you see, and this woman came and the fellow at the bridge said, 'You can't cross the bridge, the Germans have blown part of it up you see?' And she said, 'Well, I'll have to go. I'm going for my messages.' And of course off she went, and she came to the first dead man lying on the road and she said, 'That's a stupid fellow on the other side of the bridge. He told me that the Germans blew the bridge up.' 'Oh well, my dear, I canna help you,' he says, 'I'm dead'

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The Home Guard at Helmsdale

SUTHERLAND: Kildonan

1980s

Second World War; radar stations; manoeuvres; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Helmsdale Memories

Helmsdale is a village on the east coast of Sutherland. During World War II the R.A.F. built a radar station at Crakaig, in the parish of Loth, a few miles southwest of Helmsdale. There was another radar station at Navidale, about one mile northeast of Helmsdale. The local Home Guard at Helmsdale came under the command of A. W. Mackay, headmaster of Helmsdale School. In this audio extract, a Helmsdale resident remembers one of the exercises carried out by Mr. Mackay. <br /> <br /> 'They used to have exercises, you see, and the chap in charge of them used to be very keen, you know, he used to call them oot at unexpected hours, you know? He had a chap wi a bicycle that was a dispatch rider for him. They decided to call him oot because the Germans blew apart the Helmsdale Bridge. So when they arrived at the bridge he took charge and he said, 'Well, you, you and you, half a dozen here, you're dead, go and lie down on the bridge. You're dead, we'll forget about you until a stretcher party comes to take you away' you see? And he posted some at one end of the bridge, some at the other end of the bridge and told, 'Let nobody across for about ten minutes, quarter of an hour. I'll give you the signal when you can take them across.' It was only going to last for a short time, you see, and this woman came and the fellow at the bridge said, 'You can't cross the bridge, the Germans have blown part of it up you see?' And she said, 'Well, I'll have to go. I'm going for my messages.' And of course off she went, and she came to the first dead man lying on the road and she said, 'That's a stupid fellow on the other side of the bridge. He told me that the Germans blew the bridge up.' 'Oh well, my dear, I canna help you,' he says, 'I'm dead'