Peter Long’s brief history of Watton – 1952

The year began with a change of Command when Air Commodore G.H.Randle took over from Air Commodore Jones as Commandant CSE.

The remaining GCA units on Watton, Controller and Operator training and GCA Squadron left the Station and 90 Group in March.

192 Squadron began receiving replacements for their Avro Lincoln aircraft in late April when the first two of four Boeing RB29 Washington aircraft WZ966(55) and WZ967(57) arrived at Watton to carry on the signals intelligence gathering task.

In the same month No.199 Squadron left Watton and 90 Group to become part of 1 Group, Bomber Command, taking three Lincolns and three Mosquitoes. One more Lincoln, which would make up 199’s full establishment, had just arrived at Watton and was being fitted with its special equipment. This aircraft WD131 would join 199 when it was ready for squadron service. Sadly, whilst flying with 199 Squadron, 131 was lost with its crew over Germany in June 1955 during a night exercise when it was in collision with a USAF F86D Sabre.

During June, at the request of the Admiralty, the CSE detached a Lincoln of Development Squadron to RAF Ballykelly in N.Ireland to assist in trials of naval RCM equipment.

Washington RB29 WZ968(56) arrived with 192 Squadron on 19th June. It joined the other two RB29s at the Special Radio Installation Flight (SRIF) to have its special equipment, sensors and aerials fitted.

On or about 20th July, an Avro Anson of ‘R’ Calibration Squadron crashed into a field of corn not far from the airfield. Sadly both the Pilot and the Navigator died in this accident.

On August 1st the CSE’s ‘N’ and ‘R’ Calibration Squadrons received squadron numberplates.

‘N’ Squadron became 116 Squadron and ‘R’ Squadron became 527 Squadron.

During 1952 Development Squadron had been receiving a number of jet aircraft comprising three Gloster Meteor NF11’s and three deHavilland Vampire NF10’s. These aircraft were to help the squadron with its task of testing the new ECM and monitoring equipment being developed by the CSE’s research facility. They also replaced the squadron’s three remaining ageing Mosquitoes which left Watton for disposal.

The last Avro Anson to be taken onto strength at Watton arrived at Watton to join ‘B’Flight 527 Squadron at the end of November.

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