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RAF SULLOM VOE WAR MEMORIAL

World War 2 - Detailed information
Compiled & Copyright © Michael Peck 2008

The RAF Sullom Voe war memorial looks out over the bay. It is a rectangular shaped plinth, with sloped top, built with local stone and set on a concrete base. On the top is a plaque commemorating RAF Sullom Voe. Sullom Voe is the sheltered inlet between North Mainland and Northmavine that leads out into Yell Sound. Named after the tiny settlement of Sullom on its east shore it was a quiet backwater, home to a few fishing settlements, until the onset of World War II. The the settlement of Graven, on the east shore of the Voe, became home to a base for RAF flying boats, patrolling the North Atlantic in search of German U-Boats. To protect the flying boat base, a fighter airfield was built at RAF Scatsta, also to the east of Sullom Voe. Work began on the first runway at the beginning of 1940, and it was complete by 25 April that year. A longer second runway was built between July 1941 and April 1942. During construction, pipe mines were laid beneath the runways in case of invasion. These were made safe and cleared of explosives at the end of the war. After the war the flying boat base ceased to exist, and RAF Scatsta fell into disuse.

18 Group was initially formed on 1 April 1918 in No 4 Area. It was transferred to North-Eastern Area, 8 May 1918. Disbanded 18 Oct 1919. It was reformed on 1st September 1938 as No 18 (Reconnaissance) Group of the Coastal Command for operations with the Royal Navy's Rosyth and Orkney & Shetlands areas of operations. Its headquarters were established at Rosyth, and of the three groups forming Coastal Command's planned dispositions on the outbreak of war, it was the only one with a fully operational Navy/Air Force Area Combined Headquarters (ACHQ). It covered the much of the North Sea and areas to the north and west of Scotland, north of a line running north west from the Mull of Kintyre.

Photograph Copyright © Michael Peck 2008

ROYAL AIR FORCE STATION
SULLOM VOE

From these waters of Sullom Voe, British, Norwegian, Canadian and other Allied Aicrew
left to fly their misisons in Catalina and Sunderland Flying Boats of R.A.F. Coastal
Command (18 Group), during the period 1939-1945.

Sadly, and with deep regret, some did not return to these friendly waters.

This memorial is dedicated to their memory and is in recognition of their supreme sacrifice.

The memorial also remebers all of the other Aircrew, ground and Marine Support Personnel who also served at this station during the Second World War.

Throughout the Station's history, many hundreds of missions were flown to the limits of endurance by Aircrews and their Catalina and Sunderland Flying Boats. Routine ani-submarine patrols were part of every-day Operations as "Constant Endeavours" were made to search, find and destroy enemy U-Boats. Some operations were designated "Special Missions," and involved flying deep into occupied Norwway, North to Spitzbergen, Russia and the Artic Circle. At war's end R.A.F. Sullom Voe could record with pride the Award of a Victoria Cross and many other Decorations to its Aircrews for acts of outstanding bravery.

"THEY SERVED AND FOUGHT AND DIED SO THAT WE MIGHT BE SAFE AND FREE."
"DE KJEMPET OG DøDE OF VANT, SA VI KAN LEVE TRYGT OG FRITT."

Photograph Copyright © Michael Peck 2008

Last updated: 18 November, 2008

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