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RAF Forres

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Derelict airfield buildings, 2012
Derelict airfield buildings
© don cload
Concrete runway, 2011
Concrete runway
© Jean Aldridge

RAF Forres lay approximately one mile to the west of Forres, south of the A96, and was also known as Balnageith.

The airfield is reported to have opened on January 25, 1941, as a satellite to RAF Kinloss and a bomber training unit of 19 OTU (Operational Training Unit) operating aircraft such as the Armstrong Whitley, Avro Anson, and Vickers Wellington. The facility closed to aircraft on October 22, 1944, after which the site was used as a camp until the middle of 1947.

A few of the original buildings remain in the area of the southwest corner of the former airfield.

A short concrete runway is reported to have been added in 1960, on the eastern part of the site, where a small number of modern houses have encroached upon part of the area, and a caravan park on another.

Aerial imagery of the nearby land shows that part of the perimeter road has survived, and closer examination of the detail shows that a few dispersal areas connected to the road have also survived.

Memorial

Memorial cairn, 2006
Memorial cairn
© Des Colhoun
Memorial plaque, 2006
Memorial plaque
© Des Colhoun

In 1997, a memorial cairn commemorating those who served at the airfield was funded by local people, and erected at the side of what was then a Little Chef restaurant, now the Bervie Chipper (2012).

The memorial also commemorates the presence of Polish Army forces on the site, billeted there from 1945 to 1947.

The memorial plaque reads:

19 OTU FORRES

The Royal Air Force Satellite at Forres
was constructed at Balnageith in 1940.
The Whitleys of No 19 Operational Training Unit
RAF Kinloss used this site until late 1944
and during that perido trained thousands
of aircrew for Bomber Command.

This cairn was erected in memory of
Airmen and Airwomen who served here
and especially those who gave their lives
while flying from Forres.

The cairn also commemorates the presence
of the Polish Army forces who were
billeted on the site
between 1945 and 1947.

"We were but warriors of the working day"

A commemorative model of an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft was later added nearby.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, 2011
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
© Ian Paterson

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Aerial views


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