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PETERTHEEATER
08-07-2009, 11:24
AP 3236 records that there was an aviation fuel store with distributing facilities at Benbecula.

C1 tanks with a total capacity of 1500 tons.

Having tracked down a number of the lesser fuel sites listed in the AP I am wary of the name which implies that the 'depot' was near to the airfield of that name. In the absence of a rail system or road connections with a suitable port (such as Stornaway) fuel must have been brought in by coastal tanker to one of the small (tiny!) ports around Benbecula Island.

Lochboisdale, the current ferry site (?) is a possibility and there is a curious arc shaped jetty just SW of Coilleag but the other tiny ports seem suitable for fishing boats.

Does anyone have any ideas/ Indeed, how does aviation fuel get to the now Benbecula Airfield ?(former RAF Benbecula)

PNK
08-07-2009, 12:36
I did have a look for this site but with no luck. Parts of Benbecula seem to have been obliterated.

PETERTHEEATER
08-07-2009, 14:24
Loganair operate the Jet A1 facility at Benbecula Airport so how do they replenish their stocks? The same route that the RAF did I bet.

I shall continue my tour of the Western Isles and see what I can find. :wink:

TenTonTone
26-07-2010, 11:24
During my year at Benbecula there was no BFI. I don't recall RAF aircraft refuelling there on trips to rotate Army/RAF Reg't units firing on the RA Ranges, & the BA flights from Glasgow, using Viscounts & later 748s didn't either. There may have been a small bowser on hand for Loganair (yogibear) but most aircraft carried enough fuel to get in/out without needing stocks. As to getting supplies in, we had to have vehicle fuel & heating oil brought in, & it mainly arrived from the mainland in tankers via the good offices of Caledonian MacBrayne (Cal-Mac) who operated ferries into Lochboisedale, Sth Uist, & Lochmaddy, Nth Uist. Another possibility was that, in those days, the Army used to operate a LCT from Rhu, near Helensburgh, on the Clyde, to a small military jetty at Loch Carnan on Sth Uist.

PNK
26-07-2010, 12:50
I wonder if the WW2 faciltiy was just surface tankage which became redundant when the war was over. I did wonder why Benbecula had storage for distribution as it can only really supply Benbecula airfield in which case it would only need an airfield BFI. Could it be that it was recorded as a requirement but never installed?

canberra
26-07-2010, 19:09
From my days in the RAF IIRC Benbecula has very limited stocks of aviation fuel for the civvies. I think there is a SAR fuel dump there.

ianbache
26-07-2010, 20:04
In the 1990s there were trials to fly the Jindivik out from Benbecula, i know the Meteor shepherd aifcraft was fitted with long range external tanks for the journey, but how they would refuel the Jindivik i couldnt tell you any ideas ??

canberra
27-07-2010, 18:18
That was a good idea, Im guessing they were thinking of moving STCAAME to Stornoway?

ianbache
27-07-2010, 18:50
A Jindivik did fly for the first time on the 21/09/94 in the Hebrides using a new mobile control cell and a new Azimuth control trailer transported from Llanbedr,
Info taken from Target Rolling by Wendy Mills

mbriscoe
12-04-2013, 13:55
Interesting, it is unlikely to have been brought by road through Lochmaddy because I am sure the causeways had not been built at that time. The roads up from Lochboisdale would have been quite poor at that time so it would be quite a long journey from there.

Some time ago I posted a question on a South Uist forum about the Rocket Range and found that there was a reply for me so I have posted another question about where the tanks were and how the fuel got there.

MB

PETERTHEEATER
12-04-2013, 14:06
Thanks. It is still an itch waiting to be scratched!

mbriscoe
13-04-2013, 20:29
Thanks. It is still an itch waiting to be scratched!

Had a reply from the forum admin


Martin, I would assume it would be from Lochcarnan. Worth checking out. Fuel depot is there.

I looked on Google Maps and there is one large tank and four smaller ones.

That is obviously the current site but makes one wonder if it was built on a wartime site.

MB

mbriscoe
14-04-2013, 10:19
Does not prove that WWII but Canmore (http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/170967/details/south+uist+loch+carnan+jetty/) has:


Archaeological Notes

NF84SW 12 (http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/results/?mapno=NF84SW&site=12&submit=search&autolink=1) 83117 43068

Ministry of Defence jetty and dolphins.
Information from RCAHMS (DE), August 2005


There is also a power station (http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/277195/details/south+uist+sanndabhaig/) there.

It seems to have been used by the MOD vessels taking stores out to St Kilda.

PETERTHEEATER
14-04-2013, 10:45
Fortunately, Street View has been there, The four tank group are post war and do not appear on a 1970 ish OS map but the separate single tank does. Looking at it from ground level it has a full brick surround and slightly domes top and is probably a C2 Type tank that has been upgraded post-war. The record indicates 'Benbecula' Aviation Distribution Depot was C1 tank(s) totalling 1500 tons. C1 Type tanks were earth covered (mounded) whereas C2 Type were not and were built in locations where it was not practicable to get them slightly below ground and covered as in the rocky location on Loch Carnan.

So, fuel brought in by coastal tanker to the Loch Carnan jetty and pumped into the tank and taken to Benbecula by road tanker or even aircraft refuellers a road distance of about 12 miles.

The only thing I don't like about my assumption is that there appears to have been only one tank, vulnerable!

Ironically, in September last year the island ran critically short of diesel fuel and fuel oil due to all or some of the tanks failing a mandatory safety inspection and undergoing repair. Due to abnormal tide conditions, fuel delivery to the jetty was not possible for several days. Either the WW2 tank (if indeed that is what it is) has fared better than the modern counterparts or was itself the victim.

mbriscoe
14-04-2013, 11:21
The West coast is obviously a lower risk than other areas. A colleague at work came across the remains of a RN fuel site where there had been a couple of tanks. No one seems to have known anything about it and no one has ever come up with any reference to it. There is no jetty, just some concrete blocks with a pipe where presumably a flexible pipe was attached.

PETERTHEEATER
14-04-2013, 11:27
Maybe the German Navy built it to store fuel for Unterseeboots enabling excursions to harass shell the islands:)

mbriscoe
14-04-2013, 13:31
I was looking at the map again and noticed one problem, Lochcarnan is on South Uist so there is crossing across to Benbecula. But one site has the causeway/bridge being built in 1942, it says to connect the airfield to Lochboisdale but that could just be someone's presumption and if Lochcarnan was operating then it could have been to connect to there.

RAF transport (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=10906954&l=50c2784448&id=239730476171) taking fuel across?

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=10906954&l=50c2784448&id=239730476171
(http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=10906954&l=50c2784448&id=239730476171)

If you go down to the power station on Google Streetview, the house just past it has been blanked out.

mbriscoe
15-04-2013, 22:42
Another reply on the South Uist forum


Martin, there were two bases in the Uists during WW11, Benbecula and Sollas in North Uist.
There being no fixed link between any of the islands at the outbreak of the war, Benbecula received the equipment and fuel for the airfield from LCLs which beached in the South Ford between Benbecula and South Uist. The remains of the slip leading from the beach can still be seen to the east of the house beside Carnan Store. I can remember a lot of the American equipment coming onto the island at this site when the Rocket Range was testing the Corporal missile in the early 60\'s.
There are still several small brick built buildings up to three miles out from the runway which were part of the infrastructure during the war years. Likewise, there are similar remains at Sollas.
The airfield at Sollas received their fuel from the shipments delivered to Lochmaddy. Should also mention that there was a rough grass strip at Askernish which I recall hearing served as an emergency landing strip on a couple of occasions.
There are still a few old boys about who will have more detail, will post it when I have had a blether with them. Cheers

Still not sure if any tanks were built at Lochcarnan in WWII so queried that.

MB

Ray
15-04-2013, 23:01
I flew in to Benbecula in a PA28 a couple of years ago and discovered that they did not supply Avgas.

mbriscoe
17-04-2013, 00:09
This comment was added on the other forum


Hi Martin,
I seem to have read somewhere, that the area around old Tom Morris's golf course at Askernish, was commandeered during the war as an airstrip.


This is Askernish (http://www.askernishgolfclub.com/).

That site has


The air service continued until 1938, by which time Benbecula had become the main airport for the islands - Askernish was used only "on demand" or for landings by the newly formed Air Ambulance service. Post World War Two the course was used regularily by visitors, although the condition declined due, once again, to lack of regular maintenance.

mbriscoe
21-04-2013, 16:04
More in from South Uist


It turns out that my earlier post was only partially correct. The LCL and LCT's did indeed use the south ford as a beaching point for fuel transfer - only it was the fuel for the Corporal missiles which were being fired during the 60's. The American would fly their personnel in from Germany for a three month stint in Uist.

Fuel was brought to the jetty at Loch Carnan and was then pumped through a pipeline which ran from the jetty to Creagorry where the fuel tanks were sited. The actual site is where the houses at Ford Terrace now are. The tanks were taken down in the early 60's and the site was eventually bought by the Hydro Board to build houses for their employees. Apparently the pipeline was laid on small sleepers and part of a goose neck can still be seen beside the road near the schoolhouse in LochCarnan.

There were apparently six tanks of a size roughly that of the largest tank in Loch Carnan.

It is a bit unclear whether the fuel was then pumped to the airfield or whether it went by road tanker. The reason, apparently, for the depot being this distance away was to reduce the risk to the airfield itself.

The Askernish strip apparently did receive a few aircraft that were unable to make it to Benbecula but was not active in any sense of the word.

PETERTHEEATER
22-04-2013, 14:02
I think your corresspondent is unaware that the Corporal missile used a liquid fuel engine powered with RFNI (Red Fuming Nitric Acid) as the oxydant and Monoethylamine as fuel. RFNI (also used in the later RAF Skybolt) is toxic, corrosive and requires special storage and transportation. It may well have been shipped in by LCL/LCT but would, I expect, have been in special tanks craned ashore onto road trucks.

The fuel could have been piped northwards but since the largest volume requirement was probably fuel oil and gasoline to support the range facilities electrical generators, heating and vehicles I supect the six tanks stored those fuels and the rocket fuel came in drums shipped to the range by road too.

I am aware that this thread is drifting. Benbecula airfield must have had its own BFI supported from Carnan that held a reserve stock. It was convenient post-war to adopt it for supporting the range and local population including the power station.

mbriscoe
22-04-2013, 19:44
I think your corresspondent is unaware that the Corporal missile used a liquid fuel engine powered with RFNI (Red Fuming Nitric Acid) as the oxydant and Monoethylamine as fuel. RFNI (also used in the later RAF Skybolt) is toxic, corrosive and requires special storage and transportation. It may well have been shipped in by LCL/LCT but would, I expect, have been in special tanks craned ashore onto road trucks.

The fuel could have been piped northwards but since the largest volume requirement was probably fuel oil and gasoline to support the range facilities electrical generators, heating and vehicles I supect the six tanks stored those fuels and the rocket fuel came in drums shipped to the range by road too.

I am aware that this thread is drifting. Benbecula airfield must have had its own BFI supported from Carnan that held a reserve stock. It was convenient post-war to adopt it for supporting the range and local population including the power station.

Agreed, can't imagine nasty stuff like that being pumped around pipes!

I get the impression that he is referring to wartime fuel for the airfield being pumped up for storage in tanks. It would a fairly secure place being both away from the shore where the fuel was landed and away from the airfield.

Ford Terrace is on the North side of the bridge / causeway so it is possible the pipe crossed there before the bridge was completed so then just a relatively short road journey to the airfield.

I get the impression that I can see roundish shapes in that area which could be the footprints of the tanks.

I will try and get clarification on whether the pipe and tanks are WWII or later.

PETERTHEEATER
23-04-2013, 05:38
The tanks were up-slope behind the terrace; I stumbled on this clip:)

http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l366/PRACHUAP/Benbecula-Creagorrytanks1968_zpsa0006903.jpg (http://s329.photobucket.com/user/PRACHUAP/media/Benbecula-Creagorrytanks1968_zpsa0006903.jpg.html)

Only three at this date 1968 maybe there were six but, to me, that seems too many.

EDIT: Just got my brain into gear! Given the location of the range (NF7615942757) one wonders why the pipeline was not laid south direct to the range area (Geirinnis) instead of north across water to Greagorry.

mbriscoe
28-04-2013, 13:40
Another reply


Have a look at the short film on www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/8261 (http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/8261)
Amongst Corporal firings it shows a couple of the LCL's waiting for the tide to go out at Carnan.

mbriscoe
11-06-2013, 22:16
This seems to confirm that the pipeline from Lochcarnan and the tanks were wartime.


11-06-2013 Re; wartime pipeline from Lochcarnan to Greagorry there were storeage tanks at what is known as ford Terrace and at Lochcarnan pier, the ones at Lochcarnan are still in use today by the fuel supplier based there, I can still remember when a fair bit of the pipeline was visable along the roadside.

PETERTHEEATER
12-06-2013, 05:11
Thanks Martin.