Tain History

Tain Community Collage

Wartime Airfields

Tain Airfield was a major RAF fighter and maritime patrol airfield during World War Two, and still remains famous today, both at home at abroad. Among the airfield's many feats was sinking some of the last U-boats during the conflict, one of which (U-534) has since been salvaged to become a popular museum at Birkenhead in Merseyside. Tain Airfield continues to be tangible, with its control tower especially being somewhat iconic and extremely evocative.

Fearn Airfield, also known as HMS Owl, originally served as Tain's satellite airfield before becoming one of Britain's most important World War Two naval airfields. From 1942 this place proved extremely busy through holding numerous Fleet Air Arm squadrons for torpedo bomber and anti-shipping training. Much of this airfield still remains, with Fearn's naval control tower now being used as a private house following long restoration.
 
Both memorials are the main standardised design already widely utilised by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust (ABCT), and its objective is to eventually commemorate each known disused airfield site in Britain with one of two forms of standardised granite memorial - well over 80 have already been unveiled to clearly major effect, with nearly 200 of them to be in place by the end of 2018.

ABCT is the world's first national airfield charity, truly revolutionary,  and making a real difference to the advancement and betterment of everyday society.

Press release by ABCT August 2018


On 11 August 2018 Kenneth Bannerman of ABCT, aided by Geoff Bolton, a leading aircraftsman who served at RAF Tain during his National Service in 1954 and who now lives in the area, unveiled the memorial on the site of  the wartime airfield.


Some of the local people who attended.

Tain History

Old Statistical Account (1790)    Click to view 

New Statistical Account (1837   Click to view   


Tain's history in old photographs:


1864 - Tain railway station under construction.


1880s - The schooner St Duthus at Great Yarmouth.


1889 - This photograph shows the start of the Easter Ross cycling club's 12 mile race.  It was taken at the rear of Urquhart's shoe shop in the High Street by William Smith.


c. 1890s - An unusual picture of a bullock cart.


c. 1890 - The Mackays at Rheguile.


c. 1890 - The Oddfellows' Hall building site.


1897 - Planting a tree for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.


1897 - Procession in the High Street to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.


1897 - Procession to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.


1907 - Stafford Street.


1907 - Sir Arthur Bignold arriving at Tain station.


1907 - Sir Arthur Bignold receiving the Freedom of the Burgh of Tain.


c. 1910 - Miss Henderson out for a drive.


c. 1910 - The United Free Church choir outside the Collegiate Church.


1910 - The annual inspection of the town's water springs, Culpleasant.


c. 1914 - Royal Navy Air Service seaplane taking off from Tain River.


c.1920 - Carriers at Tain station.


c.1920 - The St Duthus cycle and motor works in Sutherland Street.


c. 1920 - Ready to take part in the local ploughing match.


c.1930 - Cars outside the St Duthus Hotel.


1950s - An 1899 Wolseley going from John O' Groats to Lands End.


1957 - High Street ironmonger's shop of Wallace & Fraser burning down.


1966 - The Queen Mother outside the Tolbooth with Provost Hay.


1966 - The Queen Mother arriving for the town's 900th anniversary celebration.


1974 - The last Town Council outside the Tolbooth.


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