Tag Archives: raf

1997.189.22

The interior of an officer’s Nissen hut

Photograph of the interior of an officer’s Nissen hut at the RAF station on Tiree in World War II.

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Courtesy of Mr Mike Hughes

This photograph shows the inside of an officer’s Nissen hut on Tiree during World War II. The Reef, the central area of the island, was requisitioned by the Ministry of War in 1940 to build the RAF Station which became operational in 1941.

Some four thousand RAF personnel were housed in hundreds of Nissen huts around Crossapol and Hough. The Nissen hut was designed in 1916 by Peter Nissen, a Canadian mining engineer, and was used extensively by the Allies in World War II in the construction of new facilities.

The hut consisted of sheets of corrugated steel bent into half a cylinder and closed at the ends with semi-circular masonry or wooden walls. Because the curved sheets stacked easily together, one hut could be packed on to a three ton truck. Six men could assemble one in four hours, although the record time was 1 hour 27 minutes.

Black and white photograph of the inside of Nissen hut during World War II.

The inside of an officer`s Nissen hut on Tiree during World War II. (Photograph from Mike Hughes in Filing Cabinet 2 drawer 1)

1997.189.9

Polish airmen from RAF 304 Squadron in 1942

Photograph of Polish airmen from RAF 304 Squadron in 1942.

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Courtesy of Mr Mike Hughes

Polish airmen from RAF 304 Bomber Squadron are shown here taking a break from servicing their Wellington aircraft. After the Nazi-Soviet victory in Poland in 1939, a large part of the Polish Air Force was evacuated, eventually being withdrawn to the United Kingdom.

Polish pilots were among the most experienced in battle, most of them having fought in the 1939 September campaign in Poland and the 1940 Battle of France. In addition, pre-war Poland had set a very high standard of pilot training.

Created in 1940, 304 Squadron was based briefly on Tiree in the spring of 1942, flying Wellingtons on anti-submarine duties. The squadron was one of fifteen in the RAF manned by Polish airmen, the most famous being 303 Squadron which claimed the highest number of enemy kills during the Battle of Britain.

Black and white photograph of a Polish aircrew in 1942.

Polish aircrew from RAF 304 Squadron based on Tiree in 1942 take a break from servicing the Wellington aircraft in the background. (Photograph from Mike Hughes in Filing Cabinet 2 drawer 1)

1997.148.37

1943 ENSA concert party

Photograph of an ENSA concert party in 1943.

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Courtesy of Mr Angus MacLean

ENSA, the Entertainments National Service Association, was set up in 1939 to provide entertainment for the British armed forces during World War II. Operating as a part of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute (NAAFI), it was affectionately known as ‘Every Night Something Awful’.

This photograph is of a travelling concert party which performed in front of the RAF base personnel in October 1943. Concerts consisted of a couple of hours of singing, comedy and sketches, some good and some not so good.

Their spirit and dedication was admired and appreciated, even on return visits of the same concert party when the show had been seen before.

Black and white photograph of a wartime revue.

Wartime revue at RAF Tiree on 15/10/1943. (Original in Filing Cabinet 2 drawer 1: 1997.178)