Published: 14/06/2011 15:14 - Updated: 14/06/2011 15:15

The real saviours of Nimrod XV244

I refer to your supportive front page article last week about the Nimrod Heritage Group’s efforts to save a Nimrod (XV244) for posterity and create an aviation heritage centre on the RAF Kinloss site. Since then subsequent stories have appeared in other publications referring to a second group called Moravia which may lead to some confusion. I hope you will allow me to clarify the situation.

While totally supportive of this wonderful project, I need to correct some inaccuracies which do a severe injustice to many wonderful people, both serving RAF and civilian.

The Moravia group identified in these other stories certainly did not save Nimrod XV244 from being scrapped. This honour belongs to the Nimrod Heritage Group (NHG), which I have had the privilege of chairing since August 2010.  If it had not been for the NHG and its joint committee of civilians and both serving asnd retired RAF Kinloss air and ground crew, Nimrod XV244 would have been destroyed in January of this year.  The actual saving of this iconic aircraft can be attributed to Orkney and Shetland MP the Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP, Depute Chief Whip to the House of Commons, who has been one of our members since it’s inception.

The idea of a heritage centre based at Kinloss should be attributed to one of your own.  I was asked to join the group by David Morgan from Forres, well known journalist and aviation expert.  Based on his enthusiasm for maintaing a historic centre based at or near RAF Kinloss, a meeting was called at RAF Kinloss attracting civilians, retired and serving members of the RAF.

A business plan was subsequently written by us and charity status was applied for.  This was granted by OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) in March of this year and until publication in your newspaper, we had been awaiting follow-up communication from RAF Kinloss.  We had purposely kept a low profile with our involvement until we reached a position of certainty in relation to securing XV244 by the announcement last week first by RAF Kinloss about the scrapping of the XV240 gate guardian and the subsequent announcement by the Moravia Group of its role has confused matters.

The NHG still has an offer in writing to buy the aircraft this group claim to have saved.  The purchase has only been delayed, we have been told by the authorities involved in its sale,  because of to the Libyan situation.

It has been a privilege to work with the members of the Nimrod Heritage Group, but it is disconcerting that somehow a civilian led organisation qualifying for charity status who has worked with RAF Kinloss since last August appears to have been sidelined for no apparent reason and a non-status group appears claiming credit for saving XV244.

Having said that I and I am sure all members of the Nimrod Heritage Group totally support any plans to maintaining  the heritage of the Royal Air Force in Moray and the role of the Nimrod.  In my case, I fully believed we were playing our part, is a great pity that there appears to have been an alternative agenda and credit was given to the wrong group.

I hope this letter clarifies the situation and sets the record straight


Neil Thain


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