Further to the letter from Joe Gray (Flying boat visit; SN, 28/05/14), a number of Sunderlands visited Lerwick harbour in the 50s, the first such visit that I recall was during Exercise Mainbrace, which was held in September 1952.
Most of the flying boats for that exercise were based at Sullom Voe, including some US Navy ones.
Later, during Battle of Britain weeks, I believe in 1955 and 1956, we again had one in the harbour for a few days.
Also on at least one occasion we had one visit during the Up-Helly-Aa period (1956?). The official reason given for this visit was that the RAF were ensuring that the mooring facilities in Lerwick harbour were still suitable for flying boat operation!
Sadly Sunderlands were retired in the UK in 1957 and in the Far East in 1959 – the end of an era.
Please share your flying boats memories with us at email@example.com
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