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Old 10th Feb 2012, 19:08   #1 (permalink)
 
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V Bomber dispersal airfields after 1968

Gents,

A quick query on the V Force for you. Once it was stood down on the entry into service of Polaris, and adopted a tactical nuclear role, did the system of dispersal airfields remain in any form of practise or use?

In other words, in ttw measures, was it intended in the late 60s or early 70s that the Vulcans etc would go to the dispersal airfields as things warmed up, or were those plans scrapped with the end of the strategic role?

For those worried about OPSEC, the list of dispersal fields is well known and in the public domain!
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Old 10th Feb 2012, 19:41   #2 (permalink)
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Jimlad, when the deterrent was handed over to the RN only one thing changed. The V-force stood down from the QRA. We no longer mounted one aircraft per sqn at RS15.

In fact the perceived threat from the V-force increased significantly after 1968. Two sqns deployed to Akrotiri and forward dispersals in Iran and Pakistan increased the reach by thousands of miles. When we first deployed the peripheral SAM belt was quite thin east of the Black Sea. Post deployment there was a significant increase in SAM 2 and 3.

I spoke with a crew member from the Strike Wing and they had covered similar targets to the Bomber Wing but clearly the perceived threat was now greater.
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Old 10th Feb 2012, 20:35   #3 (permalink)
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I remember Vulcans arriving at Leeming on dispersal in April 1979.
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Old 10th Feb 2012, 20:41   #4 (permalink)
 
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Gents,

This is extremely helpful information- thank you for taking the time to post. I'd be particularly interested in whether Llanbedr, which was by then an RAE establishment, was still used in this way, particularly post 68. Also, whether any dispersals ever ocurred in RAF Chivenor, which wasnt a named location for them.
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Old 10th Feb 2012, 21:27   #5 (permalink)
 
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I have heard a connection with Vulcans and Llanbedr,but not certain.
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Old 10th Feb 2012, 21:43   #6 (permalink)
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Jimlad, Llanbedr was a Cottesmore dispersal. I can't recall if the Waddington Wing used it. Similarly Chivenor was used as a dispersal at some point.
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Old 10th Feb 2012, 22:05   #7 (permalink)
 
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The Vulcan's at Leeming in '79 were on a normal practice dispersal, were they not?

The Aircrew and Groundcrew practising removing the spiders and associated detritus from the dispersal caravans by the Crash Gate to Lawson's Cafe.

From my point of view, as the Runway Caravan Controller, the only excitement was The Scramble.

As the aircraft applied power, the ground shook, the Runway Caravan shook, I shook, my stomach shook. My breakfast was deposited on the grass adjacent to the Caravan, surprisingly the regurgitated best efforts of the Airmen's Mess shook..

Awesome.
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 00:33   #8 (permalink)
 
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Dispersal?

3 o`clock in the morning....Doorbell rings

Wifey goes down to answer it, she quickly returns & says

"There a bloke down there called Micky Finn - he says you have to go to work!"

10 o`clock ...I step out of a smelly vomit ridden Hastings to the beautiful sight of lots of water, loads of hills and some heather.

Midnight - all 4 AFs done, new chutes fitted and I`m staring at the dark waters of Cambletown Loch and my `heed` is thumping from the serious number of malts I`ve tried...

Happy days!
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 00:35   #9 (permalink)
 
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..also "enjoyed" Brawdy, Filton and Bedford...but Macrihanish was the best....
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 07:29   #10 (permalink)
 
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Not just the Vulcan fleet. I can well remember a generation exercise at Marham in the early 80s when 55 dispersed to Kinloss. 4 x K2s complete with crewchiefs in the 6th. seat. The support groundcrew were driven from Marham to Kinloss in the old 32 seat blue grey coaches, not one of the happiest days.
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 09:45   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
but Macrihanish was the best
Also used to get the most magnificent kippers there.
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 11:32   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
The Vulcan's at Leeming in '79 were on a normal practice dispersal, were they not?

The Aircrew and Groundcrew practising removing the spiders and associated detritus from the dispersal caravans by the Crash Gate to Lawson's Cafe.

From my point of view, as the Runway Caravan Controller, the only excitement was The Scramble.

As the aircraft applied power, the ground shook, the Runway Caravan shook, I shook, my stomach shook. My breakfast was deposited on the grass adjacent to the Caravan, surprisingly the regurgitated best efforts of the Airmen's Mess shook..

Awesome.
As far as I can remember it was a practice. I was a baby Dark Blue on the Bulldogs that were then based at Leeming - we went to Topcliffe every day.

The OC of the Vulcan det promised our course a beer if we'd attempt to infiltrate the dispersal area by the cafe. Unfortunately the det minibus was spotted entering the cafe car park and disgorging us so we were bubbled early on and soon in the bag.

How we laughed as we were chased and captured
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 22:42   #13 (permalink)
 
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Llanbedr was a nominated Victor dispersal in 1970
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 22:51   #14 (permalink)
 
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50(B) Sqn were frequent visitors to RAE Bedford in the early '80s.

I remember one exercise when the SEngO longed a thunder flash straight into the guard sangar on the roof whilst getting to throw it over the roof into the field beyond.

"Stay on the bus" was always the call on arrival at the Keysoe Road gate, as if we wanted to get off......
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 08:23   #15 (permalink)
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It always amazed me the way the Fox (now long shut) always managed to order extra beer just before you lot turned up at Bedford.
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 12:01   #16 (permalink)
 
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I was on the Waddington wing from 74 to 79 and my log book records dispersals to Conningsby, Bedford, Wyton and Wittering
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 16:00   #17 (permalink)
 
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Bedford Visitors

I was RAE Bedford from 79 to 83 and we had regular visits from the tin triangles but never the Victors
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 16:12   #18 (permalink)
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Ballykelly was a Cottesmore dispersal. I seem to remember not being able to react to a scramble message because a train was due to cross the main runway!
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 17:28   #19 (permalink)
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t7a, quite correct, in fact the Bomber Controller had the time table and provided the train was on time it would work.

Another feature was we had the only flush toilets on the airfield. With the low water table, they said, the resident sqns had Elsans.

One year we had the JSHTU - Hovercraft trials unit - they would hover taxi from the sea down behind our dispersal. They came barging towards us on the ORP and had to do a hurried air dump.

Then there was the strictest adherence to the Bomber Command 4-hour feeding cycle. We had a post-flight, then a high tea of ham and eggs, steak and chips in the mess, and a late supper of H&E when we got back from the bar.

The favourite steward was Jenkins who could do wonders in lighting the fire, laying the tables, and delivery the meals quickly in batches of 5. Like your favourite cew chief, Jenkins was the favourite steward. The others hated him
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 20:47   #20 (permalink)
 
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Was the V Bomber dispersal known as Operation Kinsman, or am I thinking about something else?
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