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First in France for Montrose Air Station

Posted onJuly 4, 2014

First in France for Montrose Air Station


First in France for Montrose Air Station

On August 2 and 3, Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre will host First In France, one of the first national events commemorating the 100thanniversary of the outbreak of World War 1.

The picture shows Montrose Air Station in 1917.

Montrose Air Station, which is on the outskirts of the Angus town of Montrose, was established by the Royal Flying Corps’ II (AC) Squadron in 1913. Eighteen months later, the Squadron’s pilots had taken to the skies in their biplanes, en-route to France and the First World War’s deadly, and ultimately decisive, Battle in the Air.


“II (AC) Squadron left Montrose Air Station on August 3, 1914 – the day before Britain declared war on Germany,” said Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre Curator and aviation historian, Dr Dan Paton. “Their biplanes had no armament and no parachutes as their intended role was reconnaissance, providing the army with vital information about the German Army’s movements.”

II (AC) Squadron met up with the other three RFC Squadrons at Dover and, as dawn broke on August 13, 1914, the Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Major Charles Burke, led his men into the air and they flew to Amiens. ‘As I was gliding down, I saw another machine – Harvey Kelly,’ wrote Major Burke -II (AC) Squadron’s Lieutenant Harvey Kelly had become the first British pilot to land on French soil following the outbreak of war.

The RFC’s reconnaissance role soon expanded to include fighting over the French battlefields and, two weeks after his historic landing, Lt Harvey Kelly became the first British pilot to down an enemy aircraft. However, the Battle In the Air took a heavy toll on the men who had been based at Montrose and Lt Harvey Kelly, and many of his II (AC) Squadron comrades, failed to fly home.

“Our First In France event is our way of remembering Montrose Air Station’s pioneering pilots and all the brave men and women of the RFC and RAF who were based at Montrose from 1914 – 1918,” said Dan.

first in france

First In France is being organised by Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre in partnership with the RAF and the Western Front Association and will begin with a day of special events. “It’s so important to remember the First World War and how it shaped the world we’re in today,” continued Dan.

“To encourage as many people as possible to come along to our weekend of commemoration, on Saturday, August 2, entry to Montrose Air Station will be free. As well as all our usual exhibits relating to the story of Montrose Air Station and those who were based there, there will be lots of other things to see and do. The full programme can be viewed at www.rafmontrose.org.uk and includes children’s activities highlighting the lasting legacy of World War 1, a vintage aircraft display and a thrilling re-enactment of a dogfight by replica biplanes similar to those flown by II (AC) Squadron 1914 pilots.”

On Sunday, August 3, the Heritage Centre’s First In France Project will be launched at a private reception by the Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Georgiana Osborne. The Lord Lieutenant will formally open the new building which will display the Heritage Centre’s World War 1 Collection, funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This high-profile event, made possible by grants from Angus Council and Museums Galleries Scotland, will be attended by specially-invited guests, including local dignitaries, senior RAF officers, representatives of II (AC) Squadron and members, supporters and sponsors of the Heritage Centre.

Wing Commander Blythe Crawford of RAF Leuchars is one of several RAF representatives who will be attending the event. “We are humbled to be invited and thank the team for all their efforts in putting together the First In France event,” said Wing Commander Crawford.

“Montrose Air Station was vital to the air effort in WWI. Firstly, as the home of II(AC) Squadron, which was the first to deploy to France and, secondly, as a training base for RFC and, subsequently, RAF pilots throughout the war,” continued Wing Commander Blythe. “The RAF is immensely proud to be associated with Montrose Air Station, which will remain a perpetual memorial to all those who served not just at Montrose but across the RFC and RAF.”

There will also be some very important guests at the launch – relatives of the men and women who served at RFC/RAF Montrose during World War 1, including John Simson, the nephew of one of the Air Station’s World War 1 flying instructors. “I am delighted to have been invited to this event,” said Mr Simson. “I am sure my uncle Eric would have felt honoured to be remembered for his service at Montrose and would have wanted this recognition to be shared in full with his comrades, both men and women and of all ranks.”

For more information about Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre’s First In France event on August 2 and 3, visit www.rafmontrose.org.uk.

Flashback to Dundee’s own Channel 6

Posted onJune 27, 2014

Flashback to Dundee’s own Channel 6

Flashback to Dundee's own Channel 6

This week Dundee Channel has been doing a lot of work in Kirriemuir for reasons that will become apparent later in the year. It was at this time we met former guitar player with Saz, Kevin Grubb. Kevin has copied us this video of the band in 2002 when their video, Sing Like An Angel topped the Dundee Channel 6 chart for 13 weeks !

Channel 6 was Dundee’s own Restricted Licence TV service which was popular with students and local bands as it offered a showcase and a video platform for their songs. Back then you had to call a premium rate phone number to vote videos to the top spot. Long before you could download an mp3 for free !

David Rushton the man behind Channel 6 now runs arts channel Summerhall TV in Edinburgh.

For those of you who like a bit of background the following article appeared in The Scotsman in 2001:

Dundee is traditionally the home of the three Js – jute, jam and journalism. However, the City of Discovery might soon be adding another J to its list by becoming the home of Scottish jocks, or video jockeys to be precise, following the launch of Channel 6, Dundees very own 24-hour music television channel.

Channel 6, which went on air at 11:59pm on Thursday, is the brainchild of Dave Rushton. Rushton is considered by many as the forefather of local television after playing an integral part in rewriting the legislation for the 1996 Broadcasting Act, which saw more than 60 local television licences made available by the Independent Television Commission for community service broadcasters.

The new free-to-air terrestrial channel is broadcasting to a potential audience of 125,000 people living in and around Dundee who can receive the service, which will deliver pop and rock music videos, arts programming, student animations, video productions and live bands from studios in the heart of the city, simply by retuning their television sets.

Already Rushton is keen to boost the potential core audience of 13-to-35 year olds by transmitting to the north of Dundee and into Angus, which could eventually see viewer figures swell to around 160, 000.

He says: “Local television is definitely a growing concept and the Local Broadcasting Group (LBG) is soon to launch another seven stations throughout Scotland. It has taken a lot of people a lot of time and effort to get Channel 6 to where it is today and there is great interest and enthusiasm around Dundee for the station.”

Rushton has invested £500,000 in Channel 6, but it is by no means his first foray into running a local TV station. He was also responsible for setting up Edinburgh TV, which went on air last March. However a poor transmission signal across the city meant he was unable to achieve the viewing figures he wanted, therefore he decided to sell the licence to LBG along with the licences for Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, Inverness, Dumbarton, Ayr and Aberdeen and invest the money in setting up in Dundee.

LBG is part-owned by broadcast, video and film group VFG, which has already invested £4.75 million in developing a local TV network and is looking to raise a further £50 million to develop the channels across the UK which it aims to have up and running in two years time – drawing an overall daily audience of up to 4 million.

Rushton, who will continue to manage the Edinburgh TV station until September when he hands the reins over to LBG says he decided to go to Dundee for political reasons.

“I believe Dundee is a city which is fired up by cultural investment,” says Rushton, “and there is already a very strong cultural and creative base here with the Contemporary Arts Centre and the Dundee Repertory Theatre, and a high number of animation and graphics students in the city. The council have also been very supportive of us coming here and it is also a city where we can get a very good signal, which is vital. If you are looking to set up a local TV station then you have to be able to give viewers high-quality content – that is one of the reasons we decided to make Dundee a music station, because there is a lot of quality music content out there and also because there is a lot of musical talent in this city.”

Channel 6 will initially feature videos of new music releases alongside animation for a younger audience, but Rushton and Bernadette Kesting, facilities and marketing co-ordinator, are both keen for the station to act as a platform for developing Scottish bands.”

Kesting says: “We will be very content driven and while music videos will be the majority of our content we do aim to bring in local talent from Dundee and throughout Scotland. We want to hear from new bands, we want to hear from people who fancy themselves as the next big VJ. We want to get rid of the stigma that local means twee. We want to be able to put a music video made by a Dundee band up alongside a video by Madonna and not be able to notice the difference.”

Channel 6 also offers a full Teletext service, which operates much like Ceefax beneath the picture. Rushton is offering this as a free advertising platform to local businesses as well as offering viewers local information such as Whats On guides, bus and train timetables and local council information. He is also keen to offer small-to-medium enterprises operating in the Dundee area the opportunity to advertise on television, something which has until now been out of their financial reach.

“We are pioneering a different kind of TV advertising. We want advertisers to use our Teletext service free of charge to compliment their advertising and we want them to commit to an annual contract. For just £3650 per year they can get ten ads on Channel 6 per day. We are treating ads as programmes and are encouraging advertisers to make their ads into mini soap operas much like the Gold Blend ads. That way the ads also act as content for us. The nature of our programming will, I hope, attract the same sort of advertisers which use MTV, such as the big drinks and sports brands. We are also looking at developing sponsorship opportunities within our programming.”

Rushton has also helped to establish a small production company called ABQ which produces advertising at a price comparable to the charges made by Channel 6, enabling advertisers to regularly update and change their commercials.

Already Rushton is in talks with some of the citys colleges to ensure the channels facilities are used as a training ground for TV production and animation students and he is also talking to a city nightclub to link up for programming live from the club, which can then be mixed with live studio bands, interviews and music videos.

With Channel 6 employing only seven full-time staff, MTV may not yet have much to worry about, however over the next 18 months with more local stations coming online its dominance as the number one youth music station could come under threat

Community Council to consider Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Disaster Anniversary

Posted onJune 24, 2014

Community Council to consider Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Disaster Anniversary

Community Council to consider Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Disaster Anniversary

Broughty Ferry Community Council has been asked to consider the build up to the 60th Anniversary of the Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Disaster at its next public meeting in Broughty Ferry Library on 1st July 2014.

At 0313 hours on 8 December 1959, the Mona was launched to assist the North Carr Lightship which was reported adrift in St Andrews Bay. Weather conditions were exceptionally severe with a strong south-easterly gale and the Broughty Ferry Lifeboat was the only boat in the area able to launch. The Mona was seen clearing the Tay and heading south into St Andrews Bay. Her last radio message was timed at 4.48am, and after a helicopter search she was found capsized on Buddon Sands. Her crew of eight were all drowned. The North Carr reef is off the coast of Fife. The lightvessel, later replaced by a beacon, is now berthed at Victoria Dock, Dundee harbour.

As The Mona was struggling to reach the North Carr, the Lightship’s crew of six were able to drop their spare anchor. They were all rescued alive and well by a helicopter the next morning, 24 hours after the first call for help had gone out.

The Mona disaster was the subject of an official investigation, in which the boat was described as having been 100% seaworthy at the time of the accident.

According to a letter to the Dundee Evening Telegraph, in January 2006, “Among some seamen, it was believed the vessel was tainted with evil, and they resolved to exorcise the boat in a ‘viking ritual’”. The Mona was taken to Cockenzie harbour on the river Forth in the dead of night, stripped of anything of value, chained to the sea wall, and burnt. The burning was done with the knowledge and permission of Lord Saltoun, the chairman of the Scottish Lifeboat Council. Questions were raised in the House of Commons about the destruction of a lifeboat built with public subscription.

The incident was immortalised in song by Peggy Seeger entitled The Lifeboat Mona, which is sung by The Dubliners, commemorating its great achievements and the hardships the crew endured.


Dundee Channel to film this years YeAABA Monifieth Championship

Posted onJune 16, 2014

Dundee Channel to film this years YeAABA Monifieth Championship

Dundee Channel to film this years YeAABA Monifieth Championship


Dundee Channel is to record this years Monifieth Championship swim held by Ye Amphibious Ancients Bathing Association. The association which is over 130 years old  retains a passion for open-water swimming which has been the main part of its identity since those far off days of swimmers that would go for their regular daily ‘Dook’ (before the regular use of indoor swimming pools) from Broughty Pier into the River Tay. *As ‘immortalised’ in the poems of William Topaz McGonagall.

This filming follows on from the successful filming of The New Year Dook and if you need reminded how that went the video is below.

The Monifieth Championship is a sea swim in the River Tay approx 3.25 miles. Its takes places on Saturday 28th June 2014 at 14:45. It starts at Monifieth and ends at Broughty Ferry Harbour.  More details can be found here  http://www.yeaaba.org.uk/monifieth-championship


Provost welcomes Prestonpans Tapestry to Perth

Posted onJune 15, 2014

Provost welcomes Prestonpans Tapestry to Perth

Provost welcomes Prestonpans Tapestry to Perth


Perth and Kinross Provost Liz Grant  hosted a civic reception to welcome the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry to Perth. The tapestry will be on display within St John’s Kirk, Perth until 31 July. The Prestonpans Tapestry, hailed as the longest in the world at 104 metres long, is a breathtaking tribute to the Jacobite rising of 1745, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. It was painstakingly created by over 200 volunteers from across Scotland and around the world and contains over 10 million stitches. Completed in 2010, each of the 104 metre-wide panels depicts a scene from the Prince’s early campaign – from his landing on Eriskay to his victory at the Battle of Prestonpans. Provost Grant said: “It is a privilege to welcome the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry to Perth. This was such an exciting project to record the Jacobite rising in a unique way, and it’s absolutely awe inspiring to see the end result up close. “Displaying this tapestry is a challenge in itself because of its sheer size, but the historic surroundings of St John’s Kirk do it justice. I have to pay tribute to all of the people involved in making this exhibition possible. I would encourage everyone who can to visit the Kirk while the tapestry is here and see it for themselves. The Prestonpans Tapestry is an initiative of the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust. Set up to campaign for the recognition of this defining period in Scotland’s history, the Trust has worked tirelessly to secure its place in the nation’s consciousness.

Drum Castle Banchory hosts a display of fashion design

Posted onMarch 28, 2014

Drum Castle Banchory hosts a display of fashion design

Drum Castle Banchory hosts a display of fashion design

Drum starts new season in style

The National Trust for Scotland’s historic Drum Castle near Banchory takes a trendy turn this springtime, as it hosts a display of fashion design.

The small exhibition commences on 3 April when the castle re-opens to the public for the visitor season. It features the artwork for a bespoke series of t-shirts designed for Trust properties in the North East, Angus and Moray by students from Gray’s School of Art.

The pieces have been selected following a competition with the 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates studying the BA (Hons) Fashion and Textile Design.

Drum Castle’s beautiful library will be the setting for the simple exhibition of the 13 pieces. The library is currently under wraps while a repair and restoration project concludes on the castle’s medieval tower, providing a neutral backdrop to the unusual, bold and beautiful designs.

Drum Property Manager and project manager, Alison Burke said:

“We’ve tapped into the creativity of some of Scotland’s most promising fashion and textile students to provide a completely fresh take on Drum Castle and the Trust’s other gems in the North East and beyond.

“We asked students to come up with stunning designs that are inspired by those beautiful places, but which also come at these historic sites with a contemporary attitude.

“The winning designs are striking, individual and will look fantastic on t-shirts to be snapped up and sported by visitors to our properties, supporting new design talent and raising vital funds for the Trust’s conservation work at the same time.”

Thirteen of the exhibited designs, inspired by Brodie Castle, Castle Fraser, Craigievar Castle, Crathes Castle, Drum Castle, Fyvie Castle, Haddo House, House of Dun, Leith Hall, Mar Lodge Estate and Pitmedden Garden will be printed up on t-shirts which will be available for sale at selected Trust sites from 1 June 2014.

Drum Castle re-opens for the 2014 visitor season on 29 March. It offers a unique architectural combination in Scotland – a square tower, and a Jacobean mansion house with exuberant Victorian additions. Inside there’s a superb collection of furniture and fine paintings dating back to the days of the Irvine family who lived here from 1323 to 1975.

The medieval tower at Drum is currently under scaffold as major repairs are underway. The £700,000 project is funded by a grant from the National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA which was made possible by the generous support of an anonymous donor and Historic Scotland.

For more information on Drum’s huge range of activities, follow them on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DrumCastleGardenEstate.


Gows gone but their time capsule remains

Posted onJanuary 26, 2014

Gows gone but their time capsule remains

Gows gone but their time capsule remains Gows in Union Street closed its doors this month after over 150 years trading in Dundee. Gows featured in the original Time Capsule series produced by Scott Somerville who went on to create the on line  dundeechannel.com. Back in 2002 the internet was far too slow to send video anywhere without waiting ages so the original video series was sold on VHS tapes in the city centre – remember them ? Time Capsule Dundee ran to 10 twenty five minute episodes which in some cases were the only video recordings of Dundee and the businesses in it at that time. Scott knew that the video would outlast many of the businesses and their true value wouldn’t be recognised for years to come. When dundeechannel.com launched in 2009 it did so with material created between 1999 and 2003 to give it a head start. Time Capsule also created series for Perth, Broughty Ferry, Arbroath, Forfar, Montrose, Tayport, Newport and Monifieth. The series stopped recording in 2003 and in 2009  dundeechannel.com launched when broadband speeds had improved. The video clip below shows an interview given by Douglas Masson 12 years ago in 2002. Street views would have been shot at the time but haven’t been included in the clip.


The video is also available on www.dundeechannel.com

Ancestors in the Arctic

Posted onDecember 6, 2013

Ancestors in the Arctic


For over 160 years, Dundee sent ships to the Arctic to hunt the whales. It was a brutal, dangerous business but one which was vital to the economy of the city. As well as providing baleen or whalebone, the whaling ships brought home skins for the leather industry and oil that was essential for the scores of jute mills and factories. Ships built in Dundee became famous as possibly the best vessels for polar exploration of their time and Dundee seamen were sought for their experience and skill. The McManus Museum in Dundee holds a whaling collection that is recognised as being of national importance. One of the most significant parts of the collection is the images of whaling ships, whaling men and the Inuit of the Arctic. This book shows some of the most evocative images, together with explanatory text. There is also a brief introduction that explains the importance of the collection and the whaling industry to Dundee.

Born in Edinburgh and educated at Dundee University, Malcolm has had a variety of occupations from postman to college lecturer. His first published article was at the age of 17, his first book, ‘Scottish Battles’ was published in 1990 and he usually has a number of ongoing projects. In 1999 his ‘Mother Law’ was a runner up at the inaugral Dundee Book Prize; in 2005 his ‘Whales for the Wizard’ won it outright and in 2011 his ‘The Darkest Walk’ was a winner in the People’s Book Prize. An eclectic writer, he works with a variety of genres. He is happily married to Cathy and has a grown family. He is the author of three books chronicling crime and punishment in Victorian times – A Sink of Atrocity, Glasgow: The Real Mean City, and Whisky Wars, Riots and Murder. He lives near Elgin in Northern Scotland.

The book is available from all good book stores and on amazon.



Remembrance Day Dundee 2013

Posted onNovember 11, 2013

Remembrance Day Dundee 2013

Remembrance Day Dundee 2013

Dundee held a two minute silence in the City Square this morning to mark Armistice Day .The event was attended by The Lord Provost, local councillors and representatives of the civilian and armed forces. The Dundee Channel recorded the event which can be watched below.

Armistice Day – Wikipedia

Armistice Day (which coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays) is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at CompiègneFrance, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the ceasefire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.

The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. An exception is Italy, where the end of the war is commemorated on 4 November, the day of the Armistice of Villa Giusti. In the Netherlands World War I is not commemorated as the country remained neutral.

The Initial or Very First Armistice Day was held at Buckingham Palace commencing with King George V hosting a “Banquet in Honour of The President of the French Republic[1] during the evening hours of November 10 1919. The First Official Armistice Day was subsequently held on the Grounds of Buckingham Palace on the Morning of November 11th 1919. This would set the trend for a day of Remembrance for decades to come.

Most countries changed the name of the holiday after World War II, to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts. Most member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted the name Remembrance Day, while the United States chose All Veterans Day (later shortened to ‘Veterans Day’) to explicitly honor military veterans, including those participating in other conflicts. “Armistice Day” remains the name of the holiday in FranceBelgiumCanada and New Zealand; and it has been a statutory holiday in Serbia since 2012.

Remembrance Day Dundee

Posted onNovember 10, 2013

Remembrance Day Dundee

Remembrance Day Dundee






Following Remembrance Weekend Dundee is to hold a 2 minute silence in the City Square at 11am on Monday 11th November 2013. The weekend was marked with Dundee  joining the nation in remembering those who gave their lives for us and pay tribute to their memory.  There was a parade from the High School of Dundee to the wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance, St Mary’s Church, Nethergate.  Then the Remembrance Service at St Mary’s Parish Church with the Depute Lord Provost attending the Remembrance Service at the Black Watch Memorial at Powrie Brae.

Followed by the wreath laying ceremony at the Law Memorial then on to the Sub-Mariners Memorial at City Quay at ending with an Annual Remembrance Service on board Frigate Unicorn.

The public are invited to join the Armistice Day 2 Minute Silence in the City Square on Monday 11 November 2013 at 11.00 am.


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