|Graham's war grave at Arbroath Western Cemetery|
A few days ago Cath and I took the dogs for a walk through a cemetery in nearby Arbroath, a trip that took us past the simple memorial stones marking the war graves. It had been some time since I last passed that way and at that time the names on the grave stones didn't really mean much to me beyond the sacrifice they were prepared to make in the service of their country. This time was different.
The words HMS Peewit, the naval camp where some of the fallen had been based, were inscribed on the headstones and it has been the subject of a little project that I return to from time to time (I've written about it a couple of times - see links at the bottom of this post). This Fleet Air Arm base occupied farmland just a couple of miles from our home in Carnoustie and is remarkable in that three of the hangars that housed the naval aircraft during WWII are still standing, being used as farm buildings.
|An HMS Peewit hangar emerges from the mist during one of my earlier visits.|
A few of the buildings once essential to the running of the base are also intact although in various states of disrepair. I feel the past in a particularly heavy fashion whenever I visit, in large part because of the wartime graffiti left behind by the naval staff which brings the whole complex down to a very personal level.
I've often wondered what happened to some of the young men who spent their time at the base learning to land their aircraft on a facsimile of a carrier deck painted onto the concrete of the runway. Well, now at least I know what happened to a few. Their bodies lie beneath the plain, white headstones in the graveyard.
|S/Lt (A) James Graham Irvine|
He was S/Lt (A) James Graham Irvine, or Graham to his family and friends.