Condition survey, photography, interpretation

An old black and white photo of a huge flying boat being towed up a road, with an old-fashioned double-decker bus passing underneath one of its wings

Photo: Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust

RAF Wig Bay on the sheltered shores of Loch Ryan was developed as a specialist Flying Boat Base in World War 2 where these enormous machines were maintained by a specialist workforce. During the 1950’s the base serviced and scrapped flying boats from all over the world. It closed in 1957, and now little is visible except for piles of rubble, a few brick sheds and expanses of concrete.

Many people in Kirkcolm and Stranraer have strong connections to and memories of RAF Wig Bay. In this project, local residents surveyed what survives of the base. As well as recording its current condition, this revealed a few surprising survivals of 1940s technology.

An old-fashioned metal light switch on a concrete wall, with 'off' and 'on' labels

Last used in 1957? Volunteers Steve and Matt noticed that this light switch still works, we could hear the contacts inside click when the button was turned.

At a series of local drop-in events, photographs, memories and artefacts, were shared by the community and documented.

With so many great stories about the base still vibrant in local memory, we returned with a group of young people from Apex Stranraer to record them further. The group created 2 short films, that tell the stories of the base from the point of view of two men who were children at the time it was operational.

The young people then turned the cameras on themselves. You can see what they thought about the site, discovering its history, and learning how to make a film in their funny video about their experiences, Young Film Makers behind the scenes of the Wig Bay movies.

Three young people standing outside a brick building wearing hi-vis vests, earphones and operating a video camera on a tripod


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