Remembering the role RAF Dumfries played during the Second World War

During the Second World War RAF Dumfries kept thousands of aircraft flying and trained aircrews in the specialist skills they needed for their vital missions.

A bustling airfield from 1940, men and women prepared and repaired aircraft and throughout the war. Bomb aimers, gunners and navigators trained here, before going to join Bomber Command.

A team of dedicated volunteers now run a museum committed to ensuring the vital work that went on during the war isn't forgotten.

Charlie Ewing, Director of Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, said: “You understand what the buzz must have been like, what the busyness, the people, the aircraft flowing through it was a phenomenally busy base during the war.

Letters written by airmen are treasured here. Credit: ITV

“I think unless you have been here and work amongst history you don’t realise how exciting it can be. Whether it is because we are working on an aircraft or something we discover whilst doing that.

"Whether we are in the archive and we come across some very personal information, it leads you to investigate and to understand and to comprehend. It makes you realise just how different it was for people back then."

It wasn't unusual for Lancaster bombers to arrive at Dumfries for servicing and repair, delivered by women from the Air Transport Auxiliary.

Kirsten Forbes, a volunteer archivist, said: “When we get a helmet and a pair of goggles we found out who worn them and where they served. It is just fascinating and in order to make decent displays that can interact with people we want to build up that whole story around someone. We want to know the personal history rather than just an artefact.

“The local pub in Castle Douglas seems to have become a second home. So when the gentleman were then posted elsewhere they wrote back and we have a photo of a woman Iris with airman in the garden of the pub."

Biggin Hill and Duxford may be the most memorable airfields from WW2, but no one should forget the critical role RAF Dumfries played. Credit: ITV

Pride of place in the museum is a Spitfire which crashed in Loch Doon in Scotland on a training flight in 1941. It's been carefully restored and now future generations are able to see the past for themselves.

David Reid, Chair of the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum: “We had Poles, French, Czech’s, Belgian’s all of the Commonwealth countries so it is these people who never went home that we think about.

“On a day like this it would be non stop firing all day. The sound of aircraft in the air you never hear it nowadays but it would be non stop every day for six or seven years."

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