SKY OVER SCAPA 1939 ' 1945.

Lamb, Gregor.


Bellavista, Kirkwall, Orkney, new ed., 2007. 280 pp., numerous photo-ills., + a plan. D.j., 30 x 21cm. FINE. The Royal Navy's first purpose built Air Station was established at Hatston where the busy fighter squadrons were disembarked. Another station was established where brave pilots acted as 'the enemy' to give the cruisers and battleships of the Home Fleet practice in anti-aircraft fire. This was much needed for with the invasion of Norway, Orkney found itself in the front line. Two RAF Stations were built to protect Scapa against the new threat ' long range enemy bombers. The dress rehearsal for the Battle of Britain began in Orkney in March 1940 with the attempted destruction of the Home Fleet in its base, Scapa Flow. In the 'Battle of Orkney' the islands became the first part of Britain to be bombed, here the first British civilian was to die, and the first enemy aircraft was brought down on British soil. Squadrons based in Orkney in a defensive role now found themselves taking part in offensive missions and aircraft flying from Hatston sank the cruiser K'NIGSBERG in Bergen harbour, the first warship to be sunk by aircraft alone. After supremacy in the air had been established, the Orkney airfields became training grounds for some of the major operations of the war. At one point fifteen squadrons of aircraft were based in the islands and at times there were up to ten aircraft carriers in Scapa Flow. This is the story of airmen and islanders in six tragic years of war.

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