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Scotland WWII aircraft crashes brought to book by Highland man

By Hector MacKenzie

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Keith Bryers with copies of his books, the fruit of 50 years of research.
Keith Bryers with copies of his books, the fruit of 50 years of research.

A FASCINATION sparked by a teenaged visit to a Highland war memorial prompted a Highland man to complete an epic labour of love he is now ready to share with others.

Keith Bryers has completed a two-volume book charting details of Scotland’s wartime aircraft crashes, the culmination of half a century of research into a subject that gripped him from an early age.

Mr Bryers, who is based in Munlochy, explained: “I have been researching the history of airfields and aircraft crashes in Scotland for the last 50 years or so.

“My original interest was sparked when I was a young teenager by a memorial to airmen in Petty Church, near Dalcross airport, which was a wartime RAF base. The memorial, which is still in the church, lists names and dates of death but no one seemed to know anything of the circumstances which had led to their loss.

Keith Bryers at the Petty memorial which first sparked his interest.
Keith Bryers at the Petty memorial which first sparked his interest.

“Over time, I gathered information from many different sources and I started a database on crashes all round Scotland. It was only when I retired from full-time work nearly six years ago that I had the time to get my research notes into good shape and began to write them up into book form.”

Mr Bryers, who is still a member of Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team, was sufficiently dedicated to see the project through to publication of Scotland's Wartime Aircraft Crashes which has been produced by Aviation Books Ltd.

It covers all of Scotland, Scottish territorial waters and cases where aircraft took off from here to crash elsewhere, including in or off Scandinavia.

The fully-referenced volumes comprise more than 700 pages in all and contain some 60 photographs and three maps.

The main part of each volume is a day-by-day compilation describing some 4500 crashes predominantly Royal Air Force - in which aircraft were destroyed with over 6700 fatalities. Each entry includes details, where known, of the crew, type, identity and unit of the aircraft, the circumstances of the loss and a description of the crash location. Crew burial and commemoration details are also provided

Volume 1 covers the period September 3, 1939 to December 31, 1942 and includes background material on airfields and how crashes were dealt with.

Volume 2 has a reduced amount of background material and covers losses for the period January 1, 1943 to September 2, 1945.

He said that after 50 years of research, retirement has given hime the time to compile the books which can be purchased online via on-demand printing from both Amazon and The Great British Bookshop, or from selected local bookshops.

He said books purchased from The Great British Bookshop or local bookshops will have a better print quality than is available through Amazon but at the same purchase price of £22 per volume (plus postage and packing, where applicable).

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