Birsay, Orkney: Norman Baldwin (1913 – 1995)

Orkney is one of our favourite places and so what better place to visit to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.

While walking from Birsay we came across this very intimate memorial bench to Norman Baldwin. Norman Baldwin was stationed on the Islands of Orkney during the Second World War and the islands and the people made a lasting impression on him. He wrote about this time in his book, ‘Fae Abune th’Hill’; the book includes beautiful line drawings by the author. He wrote, ‘Birsay shore holds very special memories for me; scenery, history, poetry and above all, friendships’.

Norman Baldwin was based at RAF Crustan radar station at Abune the Hill on the north of Mainland Orkney during the Second World War. The remains of the camp can be seen here. This was a wind swept spot that would have been a challenge to live and work in.

Birsay, Orkney

Birsay, Orkney

Birsay, Orkney

In memory of Norman Baldwin 1913-1995 Ex RAF Crustan Artist, Naturalist & Writer Orcadians his friends Orkney his inspiration 'A vision of a sanctuary My feet will never tread again' NB
In memory of Norman Baldwin 1913-1995 Ex RAF Crustan Artist, Naturalist & Writer Orcadians his friends Orkney his inspiration ‘A vision of a sanctuary My feet will never tread again’ NB

Comment from his daughter received on my Home Page:

“I was delighted to see the memorial bench dedicated to my father, Norman Baldwin, who was at RAF Crustan in Birsay, Orkney. He so loved the Orcadian people and made many friends there. My parents, my sister and I have been up to Orkney on a family holiday, and Dad introduced us to his lovely friends. They were such warm and generous people. I was only 10 years old at the time (in 1956), but I remember them well, as well as the beautiful place. I visited Orkney a second time with my parents in 1962 and my sister and nephew flew up to Orkney to arrange for the bench to be put in place with the memorial. It was placed in a special place for Dad. Thank you for the photograph and your tribute

Elizabeth”