The Auchentibber Sea Plane

Seaplane – also known as a Screen Plane. From the 1960’s until the late 1980’s, some people may remember seeing the strangest thing in Auchentibber. A sea plane, sitting at the back of one of the old, derelict buildings (Brown’s Land) on the left hand side of Sydes Brae at the start of Parkneuk Road. It sat there for years, wasting away, rusting, and never moving. .” It was behind the old Brown’s land derelict building, out in the open and further up the hill, across the road from the Auchentibber War Memorial.

   The seaplane sat in the back yard, out of sight from the road, but behind large fences. In January 1960, Kenneth MacDonald bought Browns Land and removed the upper level of the old tenement. The MacDonald family still own Brown’s Land.

   Linda MacDonald Stead added, “My dad Kenneth MacDonald designed and built the plane known as a ‘screen plane’. It started life as a boat (owned by my dad). I have the propeller I believe stored somewhere. The plane was built in our back garden in Larkhall before being taken to Strathaven air field for its maiden voyage (which was reported on radio) this would have been sometime between 1977-1979 as my husband was the pilot. It was stored in the open air on dad’s land for some time unfortunately it was made of desirable material for selling making it a source of upset. Undesirables started stripping it for the parts.”

   Another plane existed nearby at a similar time. Margaret Nimmo Lehmann added, “When my oldest son, Glen was young, my dad (Robert Nimmo) told him a story about building an airplane with Robert Dickson in his Barn at Auchentibber Farm. I never knew about that until years later when my son told me. The plane was never finished. Dad and Robert Dickson were great friends.” Robert Dickson died in 1984 and it is unknown what became of the unfinished plane.

On social media:

Elizabeth Weaver Iain Mcalpine George Mackenzie. Bet you know something about this?

George Mackenzie First I ever heard of it Liz

Elizabeth Weaver I was sure you and Iain would have known about it – I can remember seeing it but I think we had to peep through the shed it was kept in.

Brian Weaver I must have passed it every week on my way to work at Stewartfield Farm, Elizabeth, but I really don’t remember it. Mind you, they say if you can remember the 60s, you weren’t there…

The Blantyre Project i think i have a photo of the plane in the late 80s. I’ll need to find it first. Now, thats the difficult part……

James Stirling elizabeth it was just lying in the field out in the open

Elizabeth Weaver I’m ancient, James! I think it was inside a building at some point in the 50s or 60s – but then again, my memory may be playing tricks.

Jackie MacDonald Sydes Brae?

Jackie MacDonald Every time I pass this place I think of that plane. Wonder what happened to it.

Paul Burns I remember seeing (what was left of it) back in the mid eighties.

Gordon Frew I remember seeing it too, was a bizarre sight

Michael Mcginley Often wondered how they got it in that yard? Obvious the fence was taken down

Jim Cochrane It was there long before that fence was put was there from the the late sixties which is the earliest I remember. I was in Auchenetibber farm loads when I was young and it was never ever there that I knew of.perhaps it had been at newfield before the Hamilton’s moved in.

Iain Mcalpine Have to admit never heard of it and spent a lot of time around Auchentiber. Would be interesting to know if it still exists some where.
Scott Burnett Remember peeking through the fence to see this on walks across to the fifty feet.

Sandy Hazeltine Never new this existed. If you find out anything more about it, please tell me Paul.

The Blantyre Project Sandy – I know of other full size aeroplanes in Blantyre, but have not mentioned their locations at the request of the owners. 

Sandy Hazeltine Cool, I feel another ‘lunch’ coming on…you can tell me then!

Janet Thornton We always peeked over the fence to have a look at the plane when we were up there. I thought it was an old stables
KellyAnn Maguire Ramsay What was this building?

 The Blantyre Project KellyAnn – the full history of this building is coming to this page this week, in a scheduled post. It was called “Brown’s Land’ and was originally a double storey tenement.
 Bary Maguire I remember seeing the plane well

Graeme Anderson What Robert dickson you talking about?

George Crisp Ring a bell Brian Murphy?

Brian Weaver Was this perhaps a decoy plane? There is a record of Glasgow having had decoy airfields used to draw enemy bombers towards targets out of the city. I remember being told by my uncle in the 1950s that the Heather moors above Auchintibber were regularly burned to attract enemy bombers but as the area would have been strictly guarded, there may well have been more than just heather-burning going on. I do remember seeing a number of World War Two buildings in the area and they would have served no useful purpose other than acting as decoys, so perhaps that’s where these planes came from. I’m also suspicious to read of this plane wasting and rusting away. The plane in the picture looks like a Lysander and they were made of aluminium alloy, stainless steel and wood, none of which would waste away easily.

Scott Mcintosh There are also the old gun turret bases along at the Hamilton end of Muttonhall Road. Decoy airfield doesn’t sound outrageous.

The Blantyre Project ah! I’ve found a photo I took, but unfortunately the plane isn’t on the trailer. I took this at the back of the building, which by the way was called “Brown’s Land”

The Blantyre Project's photo.
 Scott Mcintosh I can mind a loose conversation with young David Roxburgh when he said he reminded the plane being fired up in that yard. I can always remember the tail being visible above the wall of that yard. Maybe it was the ‘Blantyre Bomber’ ?

James Stirling the owner of the building stayed in blantyre, if he is still alive contact him, he would be able to tell you where it went

Thomas Caithness The plane was stripped apart and scrapped by a bunch of springwell boys out ferretingThe Blantyre Project Thank you. I will update that.

Thomas Caithness It was deserted at the time cant remember if the whole plane was stripped it was made of aluminium

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  1. I remember that plane at the back of Brown’s yard too – it looked like it was built by someone more used to working with heavy plant machinery than an aircraft designer. You could never get a complete view of it because of the fence. In the late 80’s I asked an old fella in Auchentibber about it, he said it had been built by two brothers but it was too heavy to get off the ground. My pal and I used to fantasise about making a documentary about it, we were going to call it ‘The Wrong Brothers’.

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