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    The Sunderland Flying Boats

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The war years of World War II brought a contract to the Blackburn Aircraft Factory to produce the Sunderland Flying Boat, a four engine flying boat used for long distance transport, reconnaissance, U-boat patrols and search and rescue.

 

The Blackburn Aircraft factory was located in Dumbarton nearby to Dumbarton Castle on the west side of Castle Road. The slip way for the launch of 241 completed flying boats was located only about 150 yards in a westerly direction from the base of the castle and was proximate to the Rock Bowling Club.

 

The first Sunderland was completed in October 1941 and the last Sunderland flying boat left Dumbarton in October 1945, producing, in total, 241 Sunderland boats.

 

At its peak the factory employed over 4,000 people from the local area.

 

At the end of the Second World War the demand for aircraft dwindled and the Blackburn factory ceased production of aircraft. The Blackburn firm were asked to tender for the building of prefabricated housing, due to a national shortage of housing stock, the firm were successful and received an initial order in 1945. The firm built 'prefabs'  from 1945 - 1952. The Blackburn factory finally closed in 1960.

Robert Aitken