A Wartime Incident in Stonehaven
(By Gordon Ritchie, first published in Stanehyve, the magazine of the Stonehaven Heritage Society, Issue 83, Summer 2012)
The attached photograph has been in the Heritage Society’s collection for some years and although I had asked for further information, I never have been given the full story. Dr Andrew Orr from St. Cyrus spoke last season on the Sea Dog Barnse from Norway, who died in Montrose and to whom there is now a statue. He was also involved last year in the return of a fishing boat to Norway which had come here during World War II.
He obtained the following information on the Sea Plane which was a Type MF11, register number 346, used by the Norwegian Navy Air Branch. Between 9th April and 7th June, 1940, Norway was at war with Germany and this plane was on operations when it became separated from its squadron at Eidford Voss and ended up in Stonehaven. The pilot was Stein Gustavvson Abildso and the plane touched down in Stonehaven Bay on or about 25th April 1940. This was witnessed by local boy Sam Jolly, who saw it taxi-ing up on to the beach, before it was towed back to the harbour. It stayed only very briefly in Stonehaven before flying on to Helensburgh. In June 1940, a Lieutenant Torstein Diesen, who wanted to continue to fight against the Germans, flew the plane to Finland where it later fell into German hands.
The sea plane has now been immortalised by the “Stoney Banksie” as a sculpture along the Boardwalk, alongside his Lighthouse and many boats and he has christened it “Ella”
(Ella photographs by kind permission of Martin Sim)