New book on Aberdour’s links with WW1 research station

Listen Up by Diana Maxwell
Listen Up by Diana Maxwell

A book detailing the involvement of the Naval Research Station, HMS Tarlair in Aberdour, during the First World War is being launched tomorrow evening (Friday).

‘Listen Up! HMS Tarlair and Memories of the Hawkcraig Admiralty Experimental Establishment Station’ written and researched by Aberdour resident Diana Maxwell, will be launched tomorrow at 7.00 p.m in Aberdour Church Hall with free admission.

The book is a detailed history of the Naval Research Station situated at the village’s Hawkcraig Point, during the First World War.

It combines for the first time both local and national records alongside personal recollections of the people who lived and worked in and around the base.

The research station was closed down soon after the war had ended and Diana’s latest book is a record of the impact that it made, both during the war and to the area, for current and future generations to enjoy.

Diana has always had a keen interest in the local area, and while researching the 1918 era, she stumbled upon details of HMS Tarlair.

While carrying out her latest research, she also found out that the man in charge of the base, Captain Cyril P Ryan, had at one point lived in her house, Hawkcraig Cottage.

On the night, Diana will give an illustrated talk about the naval station and will be signing copies of her book.

The event comes as part of The Festival Heritage Exhibition, which will be held in Aberdour Church Hall, starting at noon on Friday, August 8 and runs until 9.00 p.m that same evening.

It will then run throughout the weekend beginning Saturday August, 9 from 11.00 a.m – 5.00 p.m and Sunday, August 10 from 1.00 p.m – 5.00 p.m.

The exhibition will feature old photographs and memorabilia of the base, an indepth talk from one of the key researchers, and also a working demonstration of a photophone similar to the one that was developed at the naval station and used to communicate between Hawkcraig Point and nearby Inchcolm Island using light beams.

The research and recording of the history of HMS Tarlair will continue for the next year and is largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s “First World War: then and now” programme.

HMS Tarlair’s part in WW1

Between 1915 and 1918, HMS Tarlair was the centre of a highly concentrated effort to defeat the german U-Boats sent to attack British shores.

During its short period of operation, major technological advances were achieved, not just in the detection of enemy submarines, but it was also the first example of collaborative work between civil and military scientists and researchers.