Peter Long’s brief history of Watton – 1962

On the 1st January Development Squadron was given the number plate of No.151 Squadron.

For a short period, A’Flight 151 Squadron took onto strength Handley Page Hastings TG530 ‘Iceni’.

The life expectancy of the remaining six Lincoln aircraft of B’Flight 151 Squadron was now in question. The Lincoln force could not be increased beyond this number.

The future of the CSE was the subject of discussion by Signals Command.

Lincoln aircraft were still involved in ongoing exercises with various SAGW units and in April took part in unspecified trials in conjunction with the Anti-Submarine Warfare Establishment (ASWE).

Exercise ‘Fairwind 7’, a NATO exercise in two phases was held in June. CSE aircraft were involved in both phases. In phase 1, Lincolns provided ECM against a naval task group and in phase 2 they carried out ECM attacks on a RN Aircraft Carrier. Varsity aircraft sorties were flown on special trials in support of the Lincoln effort.

In the same month, two Lincoln aircraft detached to Gibraltar for exercises with the Royal Navy. Due to the unserviceability of one of the Lincolns the exercises were a failure.

Further concern was being felt about the operational life of the Lincoln force, this time because of the perceived shortage of power plants from any source. It was thought that the Lincolns would be non-operational in considerably less than two years.

In Exercise ‘Matador II’, an air defence exercise held in September, CSE Canberra aircraft carried out ECM against various SAGW Type 82 radars including those of 263 Squadron – Watton Vs Watton. CSE Lincolns deployed to Kinloss to provide ECM in support of ‘V’Force attacks. During this exercise CSE Lincolns were ordered to jam a Russian ‘spy’ ship.

Further to the policy discussions concerning the future of the CSE, a meeting was held at Watton regarding the re-deployment of units away from Watton.

The last regular Airwomen (WAAF) had left Watton in January 1948. Since October 1959, a scheme had operated where Airwomen (WRAF) were recruited from the immediate locality of the base. They worked on base but lived at home and were termed local service airwomen. On the 24th October 1962 the first regular Airwoman (WRAF)since 1948 was posted in to the Station.

These and the previous ‘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

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