Sir William Roberts

Discussion in 'Warbird Displays' started by nuuumannn, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure whether this is the right place to put this, but on 23 November Sir William Roberts passed away in Scotland. For those of you not familiar with the name, Roberts was the founder of the Strathallan Collection of Historic Aircraft. Formed in the early 70s at Strathallan Airfield in Auchterarder, Scotland, Strathallan was one of the first privately owned big collections of flyable warbirds in the UK. The list of aircraft that Roberts gathered together would be the envy of any collector/museum to this day.

    He had a Mosquito, B/TT.35 RS712, now at Air Venture, Oshkosh, which was restored on site at Strathallan, the Hurricane that was destroyed in the hangar fire in Canada, Shuttleworth's Lysander, a Lancaster that went to Kermit Weeks, the Fairey Battle in the Brussels museum in Belgium, The Hudson now at the RAF Museum, Hendon, two Bolingbrokes (Blenheims built in Canada), one of which was the basis for the one that used to and soon to fly again at Duxford, several Spitfires of different marks and a host of different light aircraft of a variety of types.

    Throughout the 1970s, Strathallan was a great place to go see a variety of warbirds fly about the Scottish countryside and to see them up close being restored when the museum was open to the public; its role in establishing privately owned warbird operations is often overlooked considering the growth of places like Duxford in the last thirty years. Sadly, Roberts had to sell his collection and following the museum's closure in 1980, in an auction in 1981 the aircraft were dispersed; the Mossie's listed price was 100,000 pounds (ST)! The majority of the aircraft of the Strathallan collection can still be traced, the biggest number in one place being the Scottish National Aviation Museum at East Fortune near Edinburgh. Despite this however, Roberts retained his love of flying and kept his Miles Magister, which he often brought out for a spin. It's still at Strathallan airfield as far as I know.

    I used to be a member of the Strathallan Aircraft Society when I lived in Scotland and got to know many of the aircraft from my association with East Fortune. Whilst I never knew Roberts personally, I knew many characters associated with him and the collection well and they all talked about him with mute admiration.

    Slange Willie.

    (Slange Var - Gallic for 'Cheers', followed by the raising and downing of a glass of single malt)
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    A sad loss. The little airfield at Strahallan is in a beautiful setting - last time I was there was in 1985, for the Scottish National Parachuting Competition, and some of the collection was still there then, although the only one which stands out was the Shackleton.
     
  4. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, Terry, it took awhile for a lot of the aircraft to be dispersed. East Fortune was something of a collection point as many of the aircraft passed through its hangars on the way to other destinations. I've seen photos of a large number of former Strathallan equipment there. Sadly the Shack and the Comet were scrapped, although their noses survive at different locations - you might have seen the Shack at Midland when you were there Terry. The Shack was nicknamed Zeebedee after the cat in The Magic Roundabout!!!
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Ah, it's that one then! I seem to recall the Lancaster was still in the hangar too. I asked if I could have a look around, having explained my genuine interest (staff were keeping the mad parachutists away from the hangar!), and it was arranged for the next day. Unfortunately, the chap who'd arranged it was delayed, and I had to leave before he arrived - darn!
     
  6. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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  7. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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