Gradually 115 Squadron’s Argosy aircraft were arriving at Watton to be fitted before joining the squadron’s strength. Although still awaiting financial approval, the HAS 801R (Nimrod) Comet replacement project was gaining momentum within Watton’s EWSW planning and research sections with plans being drawn up for various equipment fits. Another ‘special’ aircraft was being looked at as a potential ECM platform. During April, Officers from EWSW travelled to 15 MU at Wroughton to view a Canberra BMk 15 to assess its potential for electronic warfare tasks.
April was also the 50th Anniversary of the formation of 115 Squadron and the occasion was duly celebrated at Watton.
The end of RAF Watton as an operational flying Station was fast approaching. Finally the Station Commander was able to inform the Watton Town Council that the years of complaints about night flying from RAF Watton would very soon be addressed. The annoyance would cease within a year as the Station was going to close. “. . . The change in tune by the local population had to be heard to be believed . . . ” (Quote – Jack Hulbert, Station Met Officer). Until the actual closure date was decided upon, work at Watton would continue as usual.
Financial approval for the Nimrod project was granted in August, so all the planning could now be put into practice.
On the 8th October a meeting took place at Watton to discuss and finalise the redeployment of Watton’s flying units and associated sections.
On the 30th October, Mr George Baillie, Principle Scientific Officer, retired as head of Research at Watton. George Baillie arrived at Watton in 1945 when it was handed back to the RAF. For 23 years he had led Watton’s RW/EW research teams and the success of Britains electronic warfare equipment and techniques was due in no small part to his leadership and knowledge of his trade.
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 1945-2007
A Story of a Peacetime RAF Station
© Peter J. Long 1999 -2007