Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Appeal for MAEE Helensburgh, or RAF Helensburgh, staff identification

MAEE emblemWe have mentioned MAEE (Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment) Helensburgh before, just to make sure it was in the system, and that information about it could be found.

This time, the mention is slightly different, and is in the form of a specific appeal.

The photograph (click for a slightly larger version) below shows some of the staff posted to the establishment, and is thought to date from 1942-1943.

It comes from the collection of Robin Bird, whose father was the photographer for MAEE. Robin has written one book about the facility (now out of print) and is working on a second, which he would like to publish with the names of the staff. Unfortunately, the picture has no further information to offer. Although many such pictures had the names of those present on the back, the rear of this photograph is blank.

Any information regarding the personnel shown would be most gratefully received, and forwarded to Robin.

MAEE staff 1942-1943

MAEE staff 1942-1943 courtesy of Robin Bird

The appeal is also being made on the Helensburgh Heritage web site: Who were these MAEE staff? where Robin added:

Do you recognise anyone in this Second World War photo, taken about 1942-3 at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Rhu, which was officially known as RAF Helensburgh for security reasons?

The man seated centre in the front row would appear to be the head of department, and he is surrounded by RAF and WAAF personnel and civilian trades people.

MAEE at Rhu was a mix of RAF and civilians carrying out research on seaplanes, anti-submarine weapons and air sea rescue until in 1945, at the end of the war, the establishment returned to Felixstowe where it was disbanded in 1953.

Unfortunately there are no names on the back. MAEE does not have an old comrades branch or an RAF Squadron association to keep people in touch.

Perhaps someone may recognise a face — many MAEE people had digs in local houses — I know it is a long shot!

The important point to glean from this note is that the facility was not generally known as MAEE, and was in Rhu (a little way along the road), but was referred to as RAF Helensburgh – so it may be that there are records to be found, but that searches need to be done under a variety of heading, or important facts may be missed,


June 11, 2012 - Posted by | Appeal, Aviation, Maritime, military, World War II | , , , , , ,

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