There are a whole cast of characters involved in this project, some of them still alive. A core, gathered by Jack Waterfall, are loosely called the co-ordinating team: Jack Waterfall, Tim Harris, Vic Attwood and Rachel Kellett.
Jack Waterfall, our indefatigable team leader, initially joined us all together for the Heligoland39 Project. And we are still here.
The son of Paul Harris who flew R for Robert during the first named battle of the war, the ‘Battle of the Heligoland Bight’ 18 December 1939. Since 2007 he settled in Montreal Canada, managing the Manoir Kanisha and shipping domestic pets to all parts of the world.
Our man in Inverness. Tim Harris has known Vic Attwood for about 40 years and solicited his involvement. Before retiring in the Highlands, Vic was Cargo Operations Manager with worldwide responsibilities for a major international airline. He was a recognised expert in the carriage of animals by air and for 16 years and chaired the international committee that devised the procedures, and regulations for the industry. His claim to fame is when he did a day trip to Africa to deliver a lion.
Niece of Richard Kellett who was Squadron Leader on the Heligoland raids. Rachel inherited Richard Kelletts’ documents and life story and has documented it here. Rachel lives in Suffolk where she helps to run a forest school in her woodland.
RESTORATION at BROOKLANDS 1989 to Today
Brooklands Museum, the home to the last surviving Wellington originally made at Brooklands. Here they have recently made a VIMEO page which hosts a collection of videos relating to R for Robert, including an interview with Jack, Vic and Rachel December 2020.
British Forces News Restoring the last surviving Wellington Bomber to its former glory British Forces News.
The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, Drumnadrochit, IV63 6TU. The design consultant is Adrian Shine, who himself was involved in the pre salvage project using the John Murry survey vessel. The Loch Ness Project, although mainly concerned with natural history objectives, also uses sonar and underwater camera equipment, to find objects of interest on the Loch bed and over the years, an operation called Operation Groundtruth.
RAISING 1985 to 1989
One of our Bombers is no longer is missing
BBC Newsreel story of the recovery of the Brooklands Wellington Bomber from Loch Ness (KPMLP 1298 Archive Series Volume 4 – Newsreels). Made by Ronald Hanmar and well worth watching. The skipper is a character.
One of our Aircraft by Robin Holmes
Robin in effect masterminded the fundraising and raising of the Wellington. This is the story.
It begins with Robert Rines.
Robert Rines, an American lawyer, composer, inventor and physicist best known in Britain as a cryptozoologist who used some of his inventions to try to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. 1970 with a team from the Academy of Applied Science (an organisation he foundered), he arrived with latest high definition sonar and reported finding major targets in Urquhart Bay. Over the next 6 years controversial results published included the now famous flipper and head photographs. [Holmes p6] (Later Rines developed a scanning radar unit that was used extensively in the Gulf War). Robert Rines and Sir Peter Scott together investigated the possibility of a Loch Ness Nessie. (Robert Rines died 2009)
In collaboration with the Academy of Applied Science, in 1976 Martin Klein and Charles Finkelstein of Klein Associates, New Hampshire, USA used a Klein Side Scan Sonar for a scientific survey of Loch Ness. They observed what looked like a twin-engine aircraft (a Catalina aircraft) on the sonar traces, and in 1978 Klein returned and made an improved image. To publicise these results together with a new photographs taken by Robert Rines a public lecture entitled ‘In Search of Nessie’ was organised by the World Wildlife Fund at the Eden Court Theatre, Inverness 27th June 1977. The speakers were Dr Robert Rines and Sir Peter Scott [Holmes, p6]
A 2020 podcast with Marty Klein about a Side Scan Sonar (Klein Marine Systems formed in 1968)
Heriot Watt University
Heriot Watt University, after its charter granted in 1966, established an Underwater Technology Group (UTG), in their Engineering Department in 1969 with a brief to carry out research into methods of visually surveying the sea bed. To facilitate this they developed an unmanned submersible controlled remotely (ANGUS for short). Robin Holmes was a Senior Lecturer at Heriot Watt in the department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
For over 30 years Robin Holmes was a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. His special interest was in sea bed surveying by unmanned, tethered submersibles called ROVs. He located and identified the Wellington, and set up a charitable trust called The Loch Ness Wellington Association Ltd. to finance and organise the recovery of the old Wimpy. His book, ‘One of our Aircraft’, retells this roller coaster of a lifting.
The Loch Ness Wellington Association
The LNWA Ltd was formed by Robin Holmes in 1982 to raise funds and co-ordinate the lifting of the Wellington. It continued to function after the main lifting, to organise another salvage operation to retrieve the front gun turret still on the bottom of Loch Ness. At the AGM 1988, they announced that all the items lost from N2980 during its recovery in September 19085 have been retrieved from the bottom of Loch Ness’. [Minutes 1988]
Members: Robin Holmes (Chair), Ken Crichton, Treasurer, Alan Crewe, Bob Allwood, Marty Klein, Norman Boorer, Don Storer, W Ranger, Air Commodore R Kellett, D Hillman, Brian Jones, Paul Harris, Jeremy Petts, Jim Pow, Morag Barton
The Loch Ness Project’s participation in the pre-salvage survey of 1981, an account written by Adrian Shine, author and designer of the project
Drumsmittal Primary School
Through Ian Benzie, who was headmaster at the time, Drumsmittal Primary School became involved with the salvage project back in 1988. The Association gave pupils of the school, including Naomi Leech, Robert Macfarlane and Robert Duncan, the honour of unveiling the Cairn.
Head of Drumsmittal school. He became involved in the making of Cairn at the edge of Loch Ness (networking master stone mason Hamish Gatt, and the Elgin Rifle Club for bronze work.)
Donald Wood, was an Inverness fireman at the time of the lifting in 1985. His unit were tasked with the job of washing the mud off the wreckage of N2980 before it was loaded onto transport for the journey down south to Brooklands. Donnie took some photographs of the action.
RAF Kinloss Sub Aqua club – 7 divers from here retrieved the cockpit section of N2980, including the co-pilots seat. The team was led by Flt Lt Grizz Fairhurst.
Morayvia Museum where the Loch Ness Wellington Exhibition will move to on February 28th 2021 after Inverness.
A BBC archive film – Bob Wellings reports on a monster in Loch Ness; a submerged Wellington bomber which crashed in 1940, and the plans to raise it. This clip is from Sixty Minutes.
Bob Allwood – Working in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of Heriot-Watt within a group led by Robin Holmes, Bob Allwood became ‘manager’ of the recovery operation organising vessels and liaising and persuading a number of companies to assist in what by today’s standards was a very low cost operation.
Dennis Winsor was involved in the salvage of the N2980 from Loch Ness in 1985. Having spent a lifetime working at Brooklands and being involved in many projects, he always speaks fondly of those times and his memories. Now aged 90, his grandchildren made contact with us and send us this file of slides describing in good picture detail the 1985 raising.
R for Robert Crews
Loch Ness Wellington Crew:
Squadron Leader Marwood-Elton – Pilot of R for Robert, who successfully steered the plane into the Loch
Co Pilot John Slatter
Sgt. Fensome, rear gunner, the only one not to survive.
Sergeant Wright – wireless operator.
Four trainee navigators were
Pilot Officer Lucton
Sgt Cyril Harry CHANDLER (Died 12 Aug 1941)
Raymond Edmund LITTLE (Service No: 628631 Died 26 June 1942 aged 21)
Edwin John FORD (Died 31 May 1942 aged 32)
Other Wellington Stories
Richard Kellett Squadron Leader on the Heligoland and Wilhelmshaven raids, and on the Loch Ness Wellington Association for the raising of R for Robert.
FJ Williams family from New Zealand visiting Brooklands museum
This is a video is a tribute to our Great-Grand Mother’s first husband, Ted who was a pilot in the Second World War. He was killed while on a mission over Emden, in Germany while flying a Vickers Wellington Bomber. He was a New Zealander flying with 405 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron.
The other existing Wellington (VICKERS WELLINGTON X MF628/9210M) lives in Conservation Centre at RAF Cosford. It is a Mark X (ten) so one of the later ones and was built at Squires Gate, Blackpool. It’s possible to view the aircraft on one of the Open Weeks https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford/whats-going-on/events/conservation-centre-o/