A MAN who discovered long-lost photos documenting the Queen’s visit to Vale of Leven Hospital more than 50 years ago is on a mission to identify the nurses featured in the pictures.

Gordon Buchanan was browsing through an antiques store in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, when he stumbled across a box of 35mm slides – 50 in all – and decided to buy them.

On opening up the box, the 58-year-old was shocked to discover the slides featured dozens of nurses and what appeared to be the Queen on a visit to an unknown location.

After some detective work, and trawling through newspaper reports from the time, Mr Buchanan discovered that the Queen had visited Helensburgh and the Vale in 1965 and that the seemingly professional pictures were taken of a royal visit to the Vale of Leven Hospital.

He said: “I found them in an antique shop in Blairgowrie when I was passing through because I have an interest in old cameras and photography and came across the box of slides.

“I thought it was quite unusual to see the Queen and bought them for about £10. Kodachrome is a fantastic medium and they have really stood the test of time.

“Apart from some scratches and dust, the quality is incredible.

“I had a rough idea they were in that kind of area and I looked at the British Newspaper Archive online to see where the Queen had been.”

The Queen visited the area with the Duke of Edinburgh on June 28, 1965 to open the new £800,000 county buildings in Dumbarton.

After disembarking from the Royal Yacht Britannia, Her Majesty and the Duke visited the Singer Factory, Dumbarton Municipal Chambers and Dumbarton Common before leaving for the county council offices.

In the afternoon they cruised around Loch Lomond on the Maid of the Loch paddle steamer, before visiting the Vale of Leven Hospital and Helensburgh Municipal Chambers.

Mr Buchanan, from Aberdeenshire, posted scans of the slides on Facebook in a bid to track down some of the nurses, but is hoping to spread the message wider.

He added: “I got them about a year ago and I was quite busy, but now I have some free time I thought I would try and find some of the people in the photographs.

“I’m now hoping to try and reunite some of the people in the slides with the photographs. Some of the nurses must be over 70 now.”

Billy Petrie, Freeman of Argyll and former Provost of Argyll and Bute, told the Advertiser he attended the historic visit when the royal car arrived at Helensburgh.

He said: “I was in the street when she came. I was a member of the county council at the time.

“I was in proximity of the royal car. I remember the occasion fine, she came up Sinclair Street and she was met by the Provost of Helensburgh and other members of the town council.

“It was a nice sunny day, dry and bright and the crowds were out because it was the Queen coming for probably the first time to Helensburgh.

“Any of the royal family coming is a major event, but the fact it was the Queen just meant the place was mobbed, as far as I remember.”

Readers who recognise anyone in the photos are asked to get in touch with the Advertiser. Are you one of the nurses in the slides or do you recognise anyone who is? We would love to hear from you, please contact