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Vickers Varsity

Old 27th Jan 2017, 12:05
  #261 (permalink)  
 
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A quick query, I've just come across a not very good photo of a Varsity from 1963 - around Easter. I was at school in Birkenhead and the CO of the CCF RAF section had wangled a week's visit to RAF Gutersloh. Memories fade but we were flown to Wildenrath from (I think) Topcliffe in this Varsity - the interior of which was set out for either navigational or signals training. From the photo the serial was WF329. Would this have been Topcliffe? And what unit would the plane have been from? One clear memory is that we sat on the apron for 45 minutes while trying to start one of the engines.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 15:44
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Originally Posted by RLinSW4 View Post
From the photo the serial was WF329. Would this have been Topcliffe? And what unit would the plane have been from?
Yes, WF329 served with the Air Electronics School at Topcliffe until written off in a fatal accident there in August 1964.

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Old 27th Jan 2017, 18:03
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airfield replaced by another faceless housing estate.
Not quite, as yet; the airfield site is still mostly open ground, though housebuilding has started and within a few years will extend over not just the airfield site but a large area to the NW. The resulting new town, Northstowe, will eventually house c.15,000 people. The old SHQ and Officers' Mess have been retained as "heritage" buildings.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 22:52
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The old SHQ and Officers' Mess have been retained as "heritage" buildings.
Am I right in remembering that there were 2 Officer's messes in the mid 60's?
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 23:06
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Not sure - perhaps someone who was there in 5 FTS days can answer?
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 23:14
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I am pretty sure there were if my memory serves me.
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Old 28th Jan 2017, 00:35
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Yes two officers mess,s .One for permanent staff was to the left as you entered the camp gates and the other was behind the airmens blocks to the right of the NAAFI.There was a general car park opposite the students mess and a bridle gate which led down a lane to the "Hoops"pub!
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Old 28th Jan 2017, 09:57
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At the beginning of 1962 the Varsities moved down from Valley to Oakington. I had been at Oakington on Vampires and the our previous course had just passed out. This meant that my course then moved to the main officers mess as was the custom so we let all those piston pilots have the Student's Mess.

My initial flying training was at Tern Hill on Provost T1s. Only two of us were selected for all jet advanced training at Oakington, the rest went to Valley for Vampire/Varsity training. The result of the shifting around was that our fellow students at Tern Hill were fell behind so they ended up as the supporting flight to mine and my colleague's Wings Parade.

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Old 29th Jan 2017, 18:26
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FYI
Viking, Valetta & Varsity Facebook group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1804531073096855/
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Old 30th Jan 2017, 11:47
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Yes, WF329 served with the Air Electronics School at Topcliffe until written off in a fatal accident there in August 1964.

Thanks. Nice photo. Gutersloh in 1963 was a lively place - two busy Hunter PR squadrons, if I remember rightly, and a couple of detached Lightnings always sitting waiting to do something noisy.
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Old 30th Jan 2017, 16:05
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Gutersloh in 1963 was a lively place - two busy Hunter PR squadrons, if I remember rightly,
Close to correct; 2 & 4 Sqns, actually FR - they flew the FR10. (There were no RAF "PR" Hunters, though the Navy had a few PR11s. The difference? FR had guns) Not long after that, 19 & 92 Sqns moved there with Lightnings.
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Old 5th Feb 2017, 09:59
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Oakington 1962

I was a school boy at Hatton Park school in Longstanton in 1962 and remember the loud drumming noise of the arriving Varsities. We were used to the whistling of the Vampires and a few Meteors. I rushed home to our married quarter called "The Mount" which stuck out onto the dispersal and spied at least half a dozen Varsities parked haphazardly on the grass just outside. I inspected them all and they appeared a motley collection as every single one was painted differently. I remember F Freddy was the coolest looking and J Juliet looked really scruffy! Within a few months I think 5 FTS had the entire alphabet and were soon painted the same. My dad let me inspect the inside of the aircraft and I soon became an expert on the drift sight mounted immediately on the right of the rear entry door. I will never forget the sounds and smells of that aircraft as I drift off flying my 777 now through the ever ending night skies!
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Old 5th Feb 2017, 17:36
  #273 (permalink)  
 
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Any memories of the Varsities flying at Gaydon?
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Old 5th Feb 2017, 18:44
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Spent quite lot of hours in the back of a Varsity as a trainee navigator in the 1950s. Trips up to 8 hours, one to Tripoli in the days of King Idris. Re-fueling stop at Istre in France
Based at Bishops Court Northern Ireland near Downpatrick, google earth still shows runways
got my Nav Brevet, still got one at home somewhere.
My logbook does not show full serial numbers, only last three numbers

Last edited by Exnomad; 5th Feb 2017 at 18:56.
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Old 5th Feb 2017, 19:54
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Originally Posted by Exnomad View Post
My logbook does not show full serial numbers, only last three numbers
All is not lost.

Apart from a couple of oddballs, the RAF's Varsities were serialled WF3xx, WF4xx, WJ8xx, WJ9xx and WL6xx. So knowing the last 3 numbers would be enough should you wish to identify individual aircraft.
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Old 5th Feb 2017, 20:49
  #276 (permalink)  
 
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Crew: Air Commode Student and Master Pilot instructor. Detail. Circuits and very bumpy bumps (optional) After one lurching skidding hopping event (I wished that I'd never clambered aboard the beast) master pilot speaketh up. 'And now I'd like to see a normal landing' His highness muttering under his breath 'So would I son so would I'
One VRT officer cramming hanky into mouth to stop ungentlemanly laughing.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 08:34
  #277 (permalink)  
 
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Chief Instructor at Oakington c1965

During a student's night flying test at Oakington, the examiner was the Chief Instructor, of Polish descent, who wore a monocle. During the test, the CI gave the student a simulated engine failure, to which the student responded with "Engine Failure Checklist starboard engine". At this point the CI was scrabbling round on the floor and his response was "You vill haff to vait. I haff dropped my v****ng monocle!!"
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Old 8th Feb 2017, 13:04
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Originally Posted by Planet Basher View Post
Any memories of the Varsities flying at Gaydon?

Only as a 15 year old who was - as several of his pals were - sorry to see the Victors go only to be replaced by grotty old propeller driven things. There were also Valettas, even uglier!
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Old 8th Feb 2017, 19:57
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If you care to take a look here you will find a few that I took at Gaydon in 1969.

Happy days!
YS
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Old 8th Feb 2017, 21:27
  #280 (permalink)  
 
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The Valetta was very similar to the Varsity, the obvious difference was the Valetta had a tricycle undercarriage.

Forgive the thread drift but this one crashed in Hertfordshire near Tring killing 16 16 Die In R.A.F. Crash - British Pathé
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