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The Invergordon Archive

Returning Crew
The Invergordon Archive
Returning Crew

The crew of a Catalina walk up the slipway at Invergordon. Their aircraft can be seen in the background, on the left, with an He115 (see picture #1423) moored in the Cromarty Firth.
Picture added on 27 November 2010 at 13:14
Comments:
I don’t think this picture shows the old Invergordon Slipway! It is more likely to be Balblair ..my reasons are ..the Flying boats were moored over there and looking from the Invergordon slipway most premises you would see were the Ferry houses at Balblair, whereas this picture shows far in excess of these buildings. But it's a super picture all the same.
Added by Duncan Murray on 27 November 2010
The smooth concrete surface of the slipway in the picture would suggest it is not the slipway at Invergordon, perhaps the slipway at R.A.F. Alness?
Added by Ron Stewart on 27 November 2010
Ron, at first I thought Alness Slipway but no ..if you look from the Alness Slipway you look virtually straight up towards Dingwall with the old Evanton airfield protruding slightly south into the Firth. There is evidence on the picture of a built up area behind the aircraft across the water..if you look at picture #1427 you will see what I mean and why I don’t think it is Invergordon Slipway. However I have been wrong before.......
Added by Duncan Murray on 28 November 2010
Don't think it's Balblair slipway as it was built like the Inverg one and fairly rough in parts.
Added by Doug Will on 29 November 2010
After closely checking the original photo and a search of wartime aerial photos, the skyline has been identified as Dundee. This puts the aircrew on the slipway at Woodhaven, which later became a seaplane base for 330 Squadron (Norwegian) Catalinas.

After leaving Invergordon, the He115s went to Helensburgh. Two of the aircraft were subsequently used for clandestine operations to Norway and Germany. Two other He115s went to Malta for similar missions. The Norwegian sorties involved transporting Norwegian resistance and supplies to and from Norway. Later the 'Shetland Bus' fishing boats from Shetland did similar work.

The closest person in the photo is John Iverach, a Canadian navigator, who flew in He115s with Norwegian pilots. On this occasion he either flew as a crew member on the Catalina or flew together with the Catalina, to prevent the He115 being attacked by friendly forces. Iverach was later shot down by Spitfires, whilst returning to Calshot, by Southampton, from a clandestine He115 sortie over Germany.

Iverach's biography records a stay at Woodhaven where his Norwegian pilot, Knut, scared the living daylights out of Iverach. On a local trial flight Knut flew the aircraft under the Tay railway bridge, to the great consternation of the passengers crossing the bridge by train. The He115 was a large aircraft, so the wingtips were very close to the bridge piers and the tide must have been out to get under the bridge!
Added by John Robertson on 02 December 2010
My father, John Iverach, is not the figure on the front left. I believe my father, the Heinkel navigator, is on the far right, holding the dark coat. I think Knut Skauvhaugen, the Norwegian pilot, is second from the left. I will have to check my dad's photo albums to try to identify the other two. Where did this photo come from? I would love to get a good quality copy! Please let me know! Perhaps this is a photo of the Heinkel 115 crew returning? The crew was involved in secret service missions for approximately six months, and eventually ran out of the stolen Heinkels!
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