Kilroy (and me!) was here . . .
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I accidentally came across your website whilst researching RAF Watton and I must compliment the proprietors on such an excellent and comprehensive presentation on this renowned RAF facility.
Scrolling down the Guests letters I was delighted to read an entry from one of my former chums Roger Collins when we both lived in the NCO MQs in Dixon Road from 1958 for a couple of years. My father, like Roger's father Arthur whom if I remember correctly was a Master Navigator were both flying the B29 Washingtons at RAF Watton. I was amazed to read of his involvement in former MQs and airfields including Watton, RAF Sculthorpe and RAF West Raynham. I remember even when we were only 12 he loved cycling with me to nearby wartime airfields at Deopham Green, Shipdham, Bodney and East Wretham. A few of us RAF kids often sneaked into the Stanford Training area and were intrigued with all the empty houses, churches and we never got caught - happy days. I looked at Roger's company website at www.twsg.co.uk and was amazed to read he had bought 36 ex MOD estates and he started his own airline when he was only 25. After spending two years of my life with him on the camp and at Hammonds Grammar school in Swaffham. I was totally amazed. To me it is a great shame to see what has happened to Watton airfield with the development of the housing on the airfield as I was interested to note Roger has been revitalising airfields.
Hi - great to see the 1988 video. I was based at RAF Watton as part of the Honington Admin Wing Detatchment (HAWD) from Nov 1987 to Jun 1990. I was the last airman based at RAF Watton and worked as the PA to the CO to start with before going on to run the Guardroom towards the end of my tour. I have loads of memories of the unit and things that went on in those final years (I very well remember 'Slick' Watson's flying suit escapades - poor old Tim Hannis was the recipient - never did a night duty on his own after that 🙂 . I remember the setting up of the museum by Julian & Paul, and we even had the old BSA500 fired up, which I rode up the main drag from SHQ to the Car Club & back on virtually flat tyres.
Great work on the web site guys - really brought back good memories.
I was so interested to read Roger Collins' email from July 2017 mentioning he lived with his parents in married quarters in Dickson Close at RAF Watton from 1957. I remember him well as we travelled by train during term time by train from Watton to Swaffham where we both attended Hammonds Grammar School where I was in a class below him. Interestingly I read a lot about him over the past few years as he was connected with the property company that bought the entire post war married quarter site on the south of the Norwich Road at RAF Watton. Also nearby in Norfolk he bought the entire RAF Sculthorpe tech site and married quarters - likewise at RAF West Raynham in 2006. I carried out some research on him and discovered he has over a 40 year period acquired 35 former RAF married quarter and airfield sites which included Bomber Command HQ Bawtry Hall, RAF Hemswell and RAF North Coates. Also at only 25 years old was awarded an AOC and formed an airline called Macedonian Aviation based at Southend operating 2 ex RAF Devons and 5 Dakotas. I find this most interesting for a fellow RAF kid like me and if you are interested his company has a website at twsg.co.uk and it lists all the RAF facilities they have bought and a mention of the airline he started. A world apart from our time together at RAF Watton in the late 1950s!
I made 2 mistakes in my letter, Chiefy’s name was Peart and Alan’s friend was Boss. I’m getting old.
What a birthday present I’ve had today. I’ve searched many times for 192 Sqd info and today for some unknown reason this site came up.
I remember one or two names, Chiefy Pearse, Dizzy Beer, and I think it was Mick Farmer that I took to London on my Trophy when his wife took ill one time, also Alan Pinchin (from the Northeast like me) and his mate from Birmingham Doc I think his nickname was.
I know of these three Canberras on B flight WH698 WT 305 WT301, but what about WJ? 775.
Although I wasn’t on the Squadron very long I still have many memories.
Brian Kettlewell mentions the concerts, does he remember the C/O on the stage reading the poem written on a toilet roll.
Shame when it went to 51 it changed completely.
Sorry it’s taken so to reach you.
I was at RAF Watton from July 1955 to February 1957 as SAC Clerk Equipment. Accounts in EPAS in the Equipment Section. Would like to hear from anyone I knew there. Names I remember are Brian Reid, Norris Beatty, Dougie Weir, Tony Maya. I’m still in contact with the area as I married my wife Margaret Fitt and we still visit there regularly. Not much left of the camp now though.
Correction on my previous post: my dad (James (JIM) WOOD was Wing Commander at Eastern Radar from around 1967-71. Unfortunately I can't remember the exact dates. Would love to hear from any one who was stationed with him.
I served 1967-1971 at Eastern Radar before remustering as an ROV Russian linguist, stationed for the rest of my enlistment in Berlin Germany.
Have many fond memories of my youth in Watton (indeed married there) and would love to hear from anyone that might remember me. There was a certain jolly Flt Lt who taught me (plus two others) the are of fencing, which I continued for many years in Berlin, becoming myself a teacher.
I do wish I could remember his name. Hated the job as ATC assistant at the time, but many years later it helped me to get a superb possition, running Berlin Airspace. Its a long time ago, but would be so nice to hear of anyone who served at Eastern Radar around that time... Many thanks!!
My dad was Wing Commander of Eastern Radar in the 70's James W. Wood.
I was stationed at Eastern Radar betwen 1966 and '68. We lived in a hiring in Mundford until quarters were available in the Old AMQ site. There's a video which shows where we lived. I remember walking the narrow pathway from Eastern to the Shirley club, where I used to down a pint at lunchtime. The alternative to that for a Sceley was to pack a lunch and eat it in the smokey atmosphere of the crew room. Mind you, I used to smoke loike a chimbley up to a year before I got posted to Singapore. Lots of memories, especially of the Navy having fun in the Shirley.
I played soccer against Eastern Radar a few times in the mid 70's and when I left they held a going away party for me and presented me with a plague
My Uncle, Flt Sgt Pilot Kenny Hayes flew Blenheims out of RAF Watton 21 Squadron & was killed over Holland.
Having visited his War Grave at the Hook of Holland I decided to join the Blenheim Society who have helped restore the only flying Blenheim plane which is at ARC Duxford. It has been down to Goodwood & has been seen flying at various events, weather permitting.
It is very worthwhile project & worth supporting by everyone.
Hi, I am searching for SAC Gordon Tweddle from the Workington area of Cumbria. Gordon served at Watton in the Commcen/PBX during 1971/2 period.
Are you still in Cumbria Gordon, if so please make contact.
We were stationed at Watton twice, with Wildenrath in between. I remember the guard room and having to wear dusters on our feet. The stones outside where "Blancoed". We lived in a caravan on the Drome garage whilst the married quarters were built. there was a pub called the flying Fish - My father was W/Op on Lincolons doing ELINT operations. The noise of the aircraft was terrifying. A corrugated hut was the RC church - the alterhative was to go to Swaffham. The children were well looked after. on the camp. When the railway was cut - travelling became very difficult on public transport and to get to the hospital at RAF Ely.
Just found the site, brought back good memories. I was an SAC Air Wireless mechanic during all of 1957 and first half of 1958 working on Washingtons, Canberas and Comets. until my National Service stint was over. Would love to hear from anyone who was there at that time. Can't be too many of us left !!
I was at Watton for a while during 1983/4.
Commanding Officer was Flt LT Hennesy. (apols for spelling if incorrect). A good man...helped me a lot. If anyone knows where he is, please let me know.
Hello, my uncle Geoffrey Gough was stationed there and was a welder in the workshops. He was there for 12months from January 1948- 49.
Anyone any memories of him would be greatly appreciated.
M/Nav Arthur Collins RAF Watton 1958
Do any readers remember either my father, Arthur, my mother Doreen or myself Roger Collins My father was a Navigator on B29 Washingtons having been posted to RAF Watton from RAF Waterbeach. We lived in an MQ in Dixon Close between 1957 and 1959. During that time l attended Hammonds Grammar School Swaffham travelling each day by train from Watton railway station As an RAF Brat l had many friends on the patch. Hope to hear.
I was wondering if there is anyone still around that was here with my Grandad, Taffy Evans (Hugh). He was from North Wales and here in the 50s sometime. I know that he was definitely here with John Beavin, and I have seen John's post about being a driver with my Grandad. Any information or stories anyone has would be amazing.
A Limey Amongst Yanks
(Frank Bartlett wrote this in May 1996, of his time at Watton in 1944/45. Frank lived in Chatswood, New South Wales in Australia until his death in November 2014.)
My memory is not what it used to be, I am now 75 which does not help, but I will endeavour to give you some idea of what I was doing at Watton.
Firstly I got posted to the camp from Wymondham as a Clerk G.D. after convincing the powers that be be that my typing was up to RAF standards, however on arrival I was shown my billet which was in one of the married quarters houses, very comfortable by the usual standards of accommodation. The RAF officer in charge then introduced me to the other staff which consisted of a corporal and an L.A.C. and explained our duty on a US Air Force Camp. It was necessary that all spares required by the US Air Force for the Mosquitos that they were flying at the time had to be ordered through the RAF so there was much form filling to be done by yours truly. I had no complaints about my typing standards from the C.O.
The U.S. canteen food was of the highest standards and we were treated very well, but one thing I could not get used to was the cold tea. A very interesting thing was the fact that the Yanks were not allowed to drink our milk, theirs was all imported from the U.S.A. in tins or powder form.
Entertainment was held in the Red Cross Club which I suspect was the NAAFI, it was always of the highest standard. One evening we were specially invited to a show being given by Bob Hope, on arrival amongst protests we were ushered up to the front row to sit with the U.S. Commanding Officer, of course we were not to know that the whole thing had been prearranged, so that when Bob Hope came on stage he asked who were the foreigners sitting in the front row, the C.O. however reminded him that of course he was a limey by birth, it was a great evening with Bob being supported by his usual bunch of entertainers. The following two days of Hope's visit was spent by him visiting all the sections on the camp.
However the big day came when the U.S.A.F. were transferred to Europe. We were left to clear up the mess left, uniforms, bicycles, guns and you name it. We gave the uniforms to the local farmers minus insignia of course, little did we know that this stuff would become collectors items. The RAF C/O and myself did a tour of the camp to see what else there was to find and lo and behold we found a full drop tank bidden in the grass, and as we both had Austin 7’s this was a magnificent asset since our cars had been run on anything that would fire such as paint thinners and paraffin etc. Next find was a full case of radio valves, which I shipped off home and sold at considerable profit after the war. I suppose there are always some things to compensate for the hard times we had experienced. Our nights were mostly spent in the local hostelry, names of which I cannot remember, I think because we never saw them in daylight.
I do however remember that the black, and white airmen were not allowed to mix, so were in the town on alternative nights, how times have changed. There was also a Church Army Hall somewhere were we could get tea coffee sandwiches etc. at a minimal cost, my pay at that time was four shillings and sixpence per day.
Then the big day came when I was posted overseas, to, I presume, make a nuisance of ourselves to the Japs, however that is another story.
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