1955

WZ966 on the ground at RAF Watton

192 Squadron Washingtons by Dave Forster 

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192 Squadron acquired three RB-29As as replacements for its three Lincolns in the first half of 1952. The first two aircraft (WZ966, WZ967) arrived at Watton in April and were joined by the third (WZ968) in June. Work then got underway at the CSE to develop an Elint fit for the aircraft. The modifications, carried out by the CSE, involved the removal of all gun turrets and bombing equipment; fairing over of the rear observation blisters; the conversion of the […]

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This is the old 527 Squadron hangar on the Griston side of the airfield at RAF Watton. Taken in 1954/55 it shows a Meteor NF 14 inside the hangar, you can tell the difference from the NF11 as that had a glasshouse type of canopy (Small panes of Perspex) whereas the NF14 had a one piece clear cockpit canopy. If you look closely you can see the tower of Griston Church through the hangar's open doors. This Hangar was a survivor from WWII, it was one of two built on the Griston side of the airfield for use by the USAAF 3rd Strategic Air Depot.

Gallery: Pictures from Ralph Swift’s album

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Flying on 527 Squadron – Early 1950’s by Ralph Swift

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All Material on this page is Copyright © Ralph Swift 2003  It is probably true to say that the jet aircraft design of the early 1950’s was still partly rooted in the piston engine era. We were still only about ten years into the jet age and the aircraft we were flying were designed and tested in the immediate war time and early post war years and carried with them all the trappings of a learning experience. The instrumentation and […]

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A Close Thing . . . by Ralph Swift

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All Material on this page is Copyright © Ralph Swift  Malta calibration was to prove traumatic. As well as my usual sergeant navigator I was carrying a Sqn Ldr navigator (who shall remain nameless). It had been a tradition in the RAF that the pilot in control was the captain of the aircraft but some of the senior navigators felt that it diminished their role and had lobbied the air ministry to change the unwritten rule and make them captain […]

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Flying the Canberra . . . by Ralph Swift

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All Material on this page is Copyright © Ralph Swift 2003  I disliked flying the Canberra, I had got bored and uncomfortable during the longer flights made possible by the greater range of the Canberra over the Meteor. On top of that, the Canberra just did not fit me. It had the same problems on one engine as had the Meteor, but in addition to that, I simply could not see very well out of it. I stand barely five […]

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Flying the Meteor . . . by Ralph Swift

Flying the Meteor . . . by Ralph Swift

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All Material on this page is Copyright © Ralph Swift 2003  The job proved to be just as boring as I had suspected and the following weeks were spent learning my new trade. The aircraft were Meteor night fighters, NF11 and NF14. and I carried a navigator for the first time in my life. I still flew the things with my old fighter style panache, much to the distress of my first navigator who had recently come off Lincoln bombers […]

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BBC TV Film: Television Goes Flying – 1955 video from the BBC at RAF Watton

BBC TV Film: Television Goes Flying – 1955 video from the BBC at RAF Watton

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NB: The video below requires Flash which is increasingly unsupported. If you can not see the video then visti this BBC page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p015pv4k On 27th August 1955, the BBC came to Watton to conduct experiments with live broadcast from the air. Ralph Swift was able to tell us most of the flying was carried out in the Varsity by Flt LT John ‘Dixie’ Dean and “Red” Vine who promptly had a “Star” pinned to the office door to identify their celebrity status! In […]

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Peter Long’s brief history of Watton – 1955

Early in the year, Development Squadron’s Varsity aircraft began the task of flight testing a passive monitoring radar receiver which was being developed at Watton. Code named ‘Breton’, this piece of equipment was to be used in the next generation of Elint gathering aircraft to be used by the CSE. The RB29 Washington aircraft of 192 Squadron were intended for use by the CSE only in the short term. Already, following the consideration of a number of suitable airframes for […]

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