Peter Long’s brief history of Watton – 1948

On January 5th, Air Commodore Weston moved to another appointment and Air Commodore Dalton Morris CBE assumed command of Watton as Commandant CSE.

An Anson aircraft of CSE Flying Wing, flying from Shepherds Grove, crashed at East Wretham. Both crew members escaped without serious injury.

By the end of January all WAAF personnel had been posted away from Watton.

During February the Signals Research Section was retitled Signals Research Squadron, ‘Y’ Squadron became Monitoring Squadron and a new unit was formed which became RCM (Radio Countermeasures) Squadron. All of these units were under the control of Tech. Wing and their titles were descriptive of their tasks. To aid he work of these and other units the CSE would be receiving Avro Anson XIX’s and Mosquito Mk 34 and 35’s. A replacement programme was initiated, which aimed to replace the CSE’s eleven old and hardworking Lancasters with the newer Avro Lincoln aircraft. This was hoped to be completed by early 1951.

On 19th April, a CSE Mosquito PF553 was burnt out in a ground accident whilst being prepared for scheduled servicing at Watton.

One of the CSE’s remaining Halifax aircraft, from ‘Y’ Wing’s Monitoring Squadron carried out a signals intelligence gathering operation over Russian Occupied East Germany. The sortie, carried out in May, was undertaken because of the restrictions that the Russian authorities were placing on Allied access to Berlin.

The CSE’s Calibration Squadron was given an unusual tasking in that they were required to carry out calibration of equipment on board the Weather Ships ‘Recorder’ and ‘Observer’ in the Atlantic.

Because of the deteriorating relations between Eastern Europe and the Western Union, the CSE was becoming involved in various offence and defence exercises with both British and Western Union forces. The CSE usually supplied units for tactical signals monitoring and for RCM. The last reference to a Halifax aircraft being operated by a CSE unit was in Exercise ‘Dagger’ which took place in September. This Halifax, belonging to Monitoring Squadron, was tasked with jamming ‘enemy’ ground assets. All the CSE’s remaining Halifax aircraft had left Watton for disposal by the end of the year.

An Oxford Mk.T1 of the GCA Squadron was struck off charge in December having been badly damaged when it overshot the runway whilst landing at Watton.

The CSE received it’s own badge in December. It featured a hawks lure and had as it’s motto ‘ARS EST CELARE ARTEN’ meaning ‘The art is to conceal the art’.

Peter Long

These and the other ‘snapshots’ of my post-war history of RAF Watton are extracts from

‘In Support Of So Many’
Royal Air Force Station Watton 1945 ~ 2000
A Story of a Peacetime RAF Station

© Peter J. Long 1999