Local History - Action
RAF at Meikle Ferry
It was not until 1942 RAF Meikle Ferry was designated, its purpose to provide repair and servicing facilities for the many types of RAF marine craft at the busy flying boat bases at Invergordon and Alness. The Cromarty Firth had become rather congested and a secluded deep water anchorage was required. Meikle Ferry suited the bill.
Air-sea rescue craft were also stationed there in the form of high speed launches, as there were many RAF and naval air stations in operation around the Moray Firth and a lot of air traffic. Target towing aircraft were also using the Dornoch Firth to train air gunners from RAF Evanton.
Meikle Ferry Today
first RAF personnel arrived at Meikle Ferry in February 1942 and immediately
set to work on various types of marine craft that awaited repair and servicing.
They were accommodated in tents as there was a serious shortage of huts
at that time. At the outbreak of war in 1939, with practice bombing ceasing
in the Dornoch Firth,the huts at the ferry
were probably removed to where they were urgently required elsewhere.
During the early years of the war in the Easter Ross area, nearly all halls, stores and empty houses were used to accommodate the military.
farm buildings and hotels and private houses were also used until camps
were built. Unfortunately, many units had to make do with tents that
must have been an unpleasant experience in a Highland winter. Fortunately
RAF Meikle Ferry managed to obtain some hurricane packing cases which
they quickly concerted to reasonable living accommodation, as they would
have had many tradesmen in their ranks. Later a canteen was built and
Nissen type huts. They are in reasonable condition to this day, along
with the large boat repair shed.
Meikle Ferry could well have been the RAF’s answer to Fort George as they certainly had a lot in common. Both were built on a lonely, windswept point on the south side of a firth, beside a ferry and remote from any town or village. Nevertheless it is reported that morale on the unit was always high.
During 1945 part of the camp was flooded during a storm and a very high tide. With the end of hostilities in 1945 a sailing club was organised. The station closed down on 26th February 1946 and a farewell dance was held in the evening.
RAF Meikle Ferry must have played no small part in the training of flying boat crews in the Cromarty Firth, and by attending to the needs of the bases there, which trained many Catalina and Sunderland crews for coastal command. Their air-sea rescue launches saved many airmen from the Dornoch and Moray Firths.