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RAF Bovingdon - 1960s

Old 16th Mar 2020, 18:03
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Blankets For Palestine


Blankets are loaded on to a Halifax of British American Air Services at Bovingdon, bound for Palestine as part of the refugee relief efforts. My thanks to The Editor of Aeroplane Monthly for permission to reproduce this photo.

I've dated this image to the early Summer of 1947. My initial reaction was that these blankets were for Palestinians. However this flight was prior to the creation of The State of Israel and the Israeli-Arab War of 1948. The refugees were Jews from Europe and Asia.




This image gives some idea of the size of the Pannier. Photo-credit Key Aero.



A little bit of Drift now:
SitNews: Remembering Operation Magic Carpet By DAVE KIFFER







Avro Tudor 2 of Don Bennett's Fairflight at Aden October or November 1949. The company's two Tudors performed 25 rotations to Israel carrying Yemenite Jews.


Yemenite Jews. Is this a Tudor? Bennett's aeroplanes were operated as freighters but he received ARB approval in early autumn 1949 to allow seating for up to 78 passengers.


Lest We Forget:
https://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/photos/flight-1948

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Old 23rd Mar 2020, 16:44
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A Few Photographs


Autumn 1942. Photo- American Air Museum. Roger Freeman Collection.



P47 66674. 26th September 1943. Cass Hough's Air Technical Division carried out vital R+D on drop tanks to extend the range of fighter escorts.
Photo-American Air Museum. Roger Freeman Collection.




Merlin Engined Mustang comes to grief after Test Flight. 13th March 1944. Photo - American Air Museum. Roger Freeman Collection.



P38 Take-off accident. 11th April 1945. Photo-American Air Museum. Roger Freeman Collection.



Spitfire Mk9s. 485 New Zealand Squadron. 30th March 1944. Photo-spitfiresite.com.



Spitfire Mk16. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

B29. Much hyped visit 8th October 1945 but not the first B29 to be seen at Bovingdon.



D.H.Hornet. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

B17 Postwar. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk



Avro Anson Bound for Biafra. Written off after forced landing in sand-storm at Port Etienne, Mauritania 17th August 1968. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk



Avro Anson (with curtains) Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

Now here is an aeroplane for somebody to identify! Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

D.H. Heron. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

English Electric Canberra 3. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk


More to come..........

























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Old 23rd Mar 2020, 17:12
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Rather a flashy C47. Photo- bovingdon-airfield.co.uk



C54. Rather a splendid looking coach behind. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

D.H. Venom NF.

HP Hastings. Met Flight 202 Squadron. Based Aldergrove. Photo-Susan Jarman.



Thought to be Puczynski senior. Early fifties? Photo- John Puczynski.



Gloster Meteor EE549 with Fighter Command Comms Squadron. Broke World Air Speed Record 7th September 1946 (616mph). Puczynski senior left of air intake was the C in C 's personal fitter. Photo- John Puczynski.



Photo- John Puczynski.



Photo - Laura Gunn.

The following photographs were taken by David Taylor RAF Aerodrome Fireman and date from the late nineteen-fifties.















A porch is constructed to keep out the fumes from the ramp. A station inspection by The AOC is pending.













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Old 23rd Mar 2020, 17:36
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Originally Posted by OUAQUKGF Ops View Post


Now here is an aeroplane for somebody to identify! Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk
S.O.95M Corse III
i.e. The tailwheel variant
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Old 28th Mar 2020, 14:35
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Oh No, Not Again! (A little relief from Isolation)


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Old 28th Mar 2020, 17:50
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The author flew in one of the last flying Mosquitos at Bovingdon during the making of "633 Squadron". Two Merlin engines gave this twin-engined fighter one of the highest top speeds of any WWII piston-engined aircraft.



In the early years of the Second World War, de Havilland Chief designer R.E. Bishop’s team produced the Mosquito, originally an unarmed bomber powered by two Rolls Royce Merlins. The airframe was made mainly of wood to conserve strategic materials. During four years of combat, the Mosquito proved to be one of the fastest of contemporary aircraft. It was successfully developed as a fighter, a bomber and even as a reconnaissance aircraft. It was flown from aircraft carriers and was even pressed into service as a high-speed airliner in BOAC colors, carrying passengers in the bomb bay between Britain and Sweden.

Some twenty years later, only a handful of Mosquitoes remained flying. In the spring of 1963 United Artists planned to make the film “633 Squadron” starring Mosquitoes in a re-creation of Fred Smith’s novel about a fictitious Mosquito Squadron tasked with attacking a heavy water factory in Norway. Eight Mosquitoes were finally located to serve in the movie. Five came from the Civilian Anti-aircraft Co-Operation unit at Exeter, two came from the Royal Air Force and one from private owner Peter F.M. Thomas. The flying sequences were handled by Captain John Crewdson’s Film Aviation Services at Bovingdon, an RAF station just outside London, and on location in Scotland.

By the time the film project appeared on my horizon, although still a teenaged schoolboy, I was writing occasional aviation articles on a freelance basis. When John Crewdson offered me the chance to come and fly in a Mosquito during the making of the film I needed no second bidding. So one blazing hot day in an English summer I found myself taken back in time as I passed through the main gate at RAF Bovingdon.

Crewdson introduced me to the pilots. We briefed for the flight. I was to fly in Mosquito T.T.35 TA 639 with Flying Officer C. Kirkham from Royal Air Force Little Rissington. Kirkham was to be the leader of Red formation. The second of the three Mosquitoes making up Red formation was another T.T.35 flown by Flight Lieutenant D.J. Curtis. The third aircraft was a Mosquito T.3 flown by J.R.”Jeff” Hawke, an colorful ex -RAF Lightning pilot who was later to ferry two of the Bf 108s used in the film over to the USA.

I would be taking photographs from the right hand seat of the lead aircraft. Our formation would consist of these three aircraft only and the resulting camera shots from the ground would be multiplied by the film technicians to give a full squadron of twelve aircraft.

We walked out along the line of Mosquitoes, each now sporting a set of dummy guns in the nose, full wartime camouflage and markings and one or two with very realistic, but simulated, battle damage. At the end of the line loomed our Mosquito. While Kirkham carried out his pre-flight checks I struggled into my parachute harness. The sheer size of the machine made pre-flighting difficult as the engines and spinners were way above our heads. I watched in fascination as Kirkham extracted the hydraulic pump handle from the bowels of the cockpit and rattled it along the exhaust stubs of the Merlins to check their integrity, a latter-day version of the railroad wheel tapper’s hammer.

With pre-flight checks completed I followed Kirkham up through the hatch in the belly of the Mosquito. There was only room for one person to move in the cockpit at one time. Encumbered with parachute harness, flying helmet and camera I eventually managed to wriggle and fold my six-feet one inch height into the right hand seat. Once our ladder was handed up to us and stowed, the outer hatch was slammed shut by our ground crew, sealing us in the cockpit. I strapped in.

Our aircraft had been standing in the sun all day. Consequently it was abominably hot under the Perspex canopy and we were soon sweating profusely. We cracked the clear-view panels open to entice a current of air through the cockpit. While I fiddled with my window, Kirkham commenced his pre-start checks. An external power trolley had already been plugged into the belly of the Mosquito and the starboard engine was primed.

Kirkham gave a thumbs up to the ground crew and clicked the ignition switches on, followed by the starter. The huge three-blade propeller to my right shuddered, stopped and jerked into life again until the Merlin caught and burst into life with a thunderous blast of sound. Clouds of exhaust fumes swept in through the open clear-view panel. By the time I had closed and locked the panel the port engine had been cajoled into life.

Kirkham contacted the tower, obtaining clearance for Red formation to taxi to Runway o4. Altimeters were set to the QFE of 993 millibars. Power was advanced and at 1500rpm the brakes were checked. Slowly we moved forward and turned, brakes squealing, onto the perimeter track, leading the other two aircraft down to a disused runway where all three aircraft turned into wind to complete the run-up.

The pilots checked that the brakes were fully on. Now our throttles came forward and at 3000rpm the thunder of the Merlins battered through my leather helmet, shaking the whole aircraft. I could see behind each aircraft the grass flattening in swathes as the pilots ran up each engine in turn.
Now Kirkham cycled the pitch controls, checked the trims and switched the fuel boost pumps on. We had trouble contacting Red 3, who started on his internal batteries and whose transmissions were rather weak at low rpms. Finally Kirkham checked the fuel panel, located awkwardly between and behind our seats. With checks complete we taxied round to the duty runway. The wind was calm.

Our Mosquito lined up, with the other aircraft trailing us, propeller discs shining in the sun. Power was advanced to 3000 rpm against the brakes. The noise and vibration were overpowering. Brakes were released with a jerk and we were rolling. Jabs of differential brake kept us tracking straight as the Mosquito tried to swing to the left under the torque of the Merlins. At fifty knots the tail came up and the rudder was becoming effective. As we accelerated more rapidly the noise was undiminished but the vibration was lessening. At 110 knots the Mosquito lifted off, and at 130 the gear was folding itself majestically into the nacelles. We climbed straight ahead to two thousand feet and Kirkham throttled back to zero boost to maintain 150 knots at 2,400rpm, then turned us gently to let the others catch up.
By now I was half-turned round in the bucket seat, craning to see rearwards to report on the progress of Red 2 and 3. As we turned through a lazy circuit, the others gradually closed up behind us and took station with their wingtips level with our tailplane. I started taking photos again.
With Red 3 aboard we tightened the turn and started to dive towards the field.
Speed drifted up to 220 knots as we tracked towards the camera crew out on the field. Bumping in the turbulent air over the boundary fence we bottomed out of the dive at 250 feet and pulled up to an altitude of two thousand feet again. The radio squawked that the next run should be lower and steeper.

Down we went again, the slipstream wailing over the noise of the Merlins. The quartering sun picked out the colours in the roundels and squadron markings on the fuselage of the aircraft hanging just off our right side, turning the arc of the propellers into shimmering discs. I attempted to take some pictures of Red 3 during the dive and luckily managed to squeeze the release for the last time just before the onset of g-forces at the bottom of the dive pushed me firmly down into the seat. Once more we motored up into the quieter air, circling the field while we changed formation into echelon starboard as briefed. We were now ready for our third dive.
Now the tower called us to wait as the technicians had some unspecified problem on the ground. For five minutes we orbited over the peaceful English countryside

Through a transparent panel in the hatch below my feet I could see tantalizing glimpses of cool rivers and ponds. My harness was damnably tight and the cockpit was still oven-hot. On this heading the sun was a blinding disc in the sky ahead of the nose and we were slowly being roasted.

We turned south and mercifully the sun was blanked off by our wingtip, leaving the black silhouettes of the other Mosquitoes gently rising and falling against the blinding light.
The tower came back on the air:”One more run, please, and make it closer.” Kirkham looked across at me and grinned. The other aircraft crept closer to our tail. I turned my head to the front as we started the dive to see the airfield framed in the windscreen. Kirkham reached up and wound on the rudder trim handle to keep us straight as the speed increased. Then the g-force was pulling hard on my camera as we bottomed out of the dive. The perimeter track whipped past underneath, the grass of the field expanding and blurring. I had an overwhelming urge to pull my feet up. A hurried glance at the altimeter showed that it was registering a mere hundred feet. Our true altitude was somewhat lower.
We flashed over the camera crew and pulled up smoothly to a thousand feet.
“That’s all, Red Leader,” crackled the radio. We broke formation, preparing to make individual landings. The engine noise took on a more strident note as the propellers were moved into fine pitch. Now at 2350 rpm, boost pumps were switched on and as we pitched out on to the downwind leg the flaps came down. Kirkham checked the brake pressures. As we drifted down through five hundred feet the audio horn blasted our eardrums until it was silenced by edging the throttles forward. We descended in a long left-hand turn. Gear extension was marked by a slight nose-down pitch and an interminable wait before the gear locked down. At 120 knots we came round onto finals, calling:”Red Leader, Finals. Two greens” We rumbled down finals to a wheel landing, with the usual Merlin ear-splitting popping and banging once the throttles were closed. Finally the tail dropped and we turned off the runway, taxied back and swung into dispersal. Kirkham switched the booster pumps off and pulled the fuel cut-offs, and the slowing prop blades became visible as they jerked to a halt. Under my feet the hatch was opened and in turn we climbed down the ladder, deafened and relishing the cool of the evening air. Our aircraft loomed over us, engines ticking as they contracted, the air shimmering over the burning exhaust stubs, with the smell of hot oil in the ai


This was the last of the big twin-engined piston fighters to see wartime service in the Royal Air Force. It was indeed a privilege to fly in this old warbird -the Mighty Mosquito.

Author David Brown. Copied from: View from the Cockpit Website.





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Old 29th Mar 2020, 09:53
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In the above photos, Meteor WS848 is an NF14 and Venom WX948 is an NF3.
Both are parked roughly where the ice rink used in the TV show 'Dancing on Ice' has been built.
Re: 633 Sqdn. I was present wearing my ATC cadet uniform standing behind the camera for a couple of short sequences; it was a brilliant summers day but when the film came out both scenes had been darkened to simulate night and boy those arc lights are HOT.
One scene was Donald Houston telling Cliff Robertson he'd 'got old Davis's permission' to go on the raid; they ran it twice, once each from the viewpoint of both actors and while they were moving the camera, a stand-in (looking very much like Charles Bronson - don't think it was him though) stood in front of the lights so the cameraman could set up his light levels; at the end of the shoot the director said 'save carbons' and the lighting man removed then from the light unit - they were glowing red hot even in that bright sunlight!

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Old 29th Mar 2020, 14:08
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Regret services temporarily Suspended........


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Old 29th Mar 2020, 14:55
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Ah a 316 bus which ran from Chesham Broadway to Hemel Hempstead via Bovingdon, alternating with the private 'Rover' company buses along almost the same route, the Rover going via Nashleigh Hill and Lycrome Road and Whelpley Hill too but the 316 routed up Eskdale Avenue and Lye Green Road, missing out Whelpley Hill.
Travelled on both services many times as one of my aunts lived in Hemel.

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Old 29th Mar 2020, 16:57
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That Bus is specially for you Chevvron. And yes the Production team of 633 Squadron were blessed by brilliant weather. I too spent a day on the set by the threshold of 04 with Mossies buzzing around the place like, well like Mossies ........
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 07:59
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Originally Posted by OUAQUKGF Ops View Post
That Bus is specially for you Chevvron. And yes the Production team of 633 Squadron were blessed by brilliant weather. I too spent a day on the set by the threshold of 04 with Mossies buzzing around the place like, well like Mossies ........
It was a pity they had to write off an airframe on that crash sequence which was also used in 'Mosquito Squadron'. The day my fellow cadet Mike and I were there, that aircraft was parked on the pan south of the tower so we wandered over to take a look at it. Even from 6 feet away those bullet holes looked real and it was only when you got really close that you could see they were just carefully painted bits of plywood glued to the fuselage which was otherwise undamaged.
Meanwhile, Cliff Robertson had borrowed the vintage ex RAF motorbike used in one or two scenes and was happily racing round the grass area between hangars 2 and 3!
Just loved the sequence in the finished film shot from 04 threshold (and also used in 'Mosquito Squadron') with the Mossie touching down and half a dozen Ansons parked in the background, their white painted roofs showing up well!
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 14:33
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The familiar sounds of their Engines as distinctive as their Appearance


Bovingdon 1962. Photo - Village Website.
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 16:08
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A wander round rhe hangars would often be rewarded with offcuts of stick-on 'dayglo' (some of them quite large) thrown away in rubbish bins which was much treasured by cadets for sticking on bikes, motor bikes, even model aircraft
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 10:34
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'Operation Hannibal' Bovingdon 1955





In 1955 The Italian Air Ministry awarded a 145,000 contract to Maycrete Ltd of London to supply prefabricated aluminium buildings to the Italian Air Force. They consisted of: 10 Troop Barracks, 15 Officers' and NCOs' Barracks, 08 Messing Quarters, 04 Club Rooms/Canteens and 20 Shipston type three bedroomed Bungalows. These were airlifted from Bovingdon to Rome by C119 Fairchild Packets of The 46a Aerobrigata who detached personnel to Bovingdon for the duration of the operation.
The first relay in early autumn 1955 consisted of three aircraft carrying all the components required for the erection of just one Barrack Building.




C119 of 46a Aerobrigata. A later photograph at Bovingdon in August 1957. Many thanks to Bernard Martin for permission to include this image.


It was reported that a slight hiccup occurred when an inbound C119 took a wrong turning off the A41 and landed, some 26 miles up the road, at The Rocket Propulsion Establishment, RAE Westcott. Easily done with one war-time airfield looking much like another.









Westcott Airfield.

Westcott was a rather rundown looking place surrounded by high fences, police patrols and immediately post-war, peopled by German Rocket Scientists.



Westcott November 1964.

Westcott November 1964. (Photographer Tony Eyles)


I fear that viewing this film is rather like watching paint dry. One expects that Alec Guinness will appear at any moment but sadly he does not.


https://www.bis-space.com/wp-content...tt-History.pdf





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Old 12th Apr 2020, 21:55
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Night on The Bare Mountain



Beechcraft C45 Expeditor. Photo - Larry West .



Photo- baaa-acro.


https://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.c...4-black-combe/





Black Combe Cumbria. Photo- Wikimedia


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Old 14th Apr 2020, 22:25
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Originally Posted by OUAQUKGF Ops View Post




In 1955 The Italian Air Ministry awarded a 145,000 contract to Maycrete Ltd of London to supply prefabricated aluminium buildings to the Italian Air Force. They consisted of: 10 Troop Barracks, 15 Officers' and NCOs' Barracks, 08 Messing Quarters, 04 Club Rooms/Canteens and 20 Shipston type three bedroomed Bungalows. These were airlifted from Bovingdon to Rome by C119 Fairchild Packets of The 46a Aerobrigata who detached personnel to Bovingdon for the duration of the operation.
The first relay in early autumn 1955 consisted of three aircraft carrying all the components required for the erection of just one Barrack Building.




C119 of 46a Aerobrigata. A later photograph at Bovingdon in August 1957. Many thanks to Bernard Martin for permission to include this image.


It was reported that a slight hiccup occurred when an inbound C119 took a wrong turning off the A41 and landed, some 26 miles up the road, at The Rocket Propulsion Establishment, RAE Westcott. Easily done with one war-time airfield looking much like another.









Westcott Airfield.

Westcott was a rather rundown looking place surrounded by high fences, police patrols and immediately post-war, peopled by German Rocket Scientists.



Westcott November 1964.

Westcott November 1964. (Photographer Tony Eyles)


I fear that viewing this film is rather like watching paint dry. One expects that Alec Guinness will appear at any moment but sadly he does not.

https://youtu.be/NYAjSR6NmC4

https://www.bis-space.com/wp-content...tt-History.pdf
Or Indeed John Clease in at the very end!
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 09:28
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Can you make The Connection?



Bovingdon. Circa 1948.






A Clue. Portrait by Cartier Bresson.



Pratap Singh Rao Gaekwad. The last ruling Maharajah of Baroda. 1908-1968. Deposed by the Indian Government in 1951 for 'irresponsible behaviour'. He returned to Europe and settled in Monaco. He was a successful race-horse owner who purchased Sayajirao for 28,000 Guineas at the 1945 Newmarket Sales. In those days an enormous sum of money. His wife was a style icon of her time.


The connection comes about in that the Handley Page Halton ZS-BTA had previously been 'owned' by the Maharajah. Here is an extract from The Aeroplane Magazine of 1946: 'His Highness The Maharajah Gaekwad of Baroda flew to England recently in his own H.P.70 Halton transport G-AGZP. Thomas Cook and Sons Ltd, the travel agents, arranged for the purchase of the aircraft which was flown to India and back by Squadron Leader E.A. Hood and a specially chosen crew of British American Air Services Ltd. '


A rare image of G-AGZP in the Maharajah's Light Blue Livery. Photo-credit Joseph Testagrose. The aircraft was subsequently sold abroad in 1947.

In the late forties The Maharajah owned Headley Hall near Leatherhead in Surrey where he kept his racehorses. A keen sportsman, he endeared himself to the locals by rebuilding the Cricket Pavilion which had been burnt down by Canadian Troops during the war. From 1948 until 1950 he owned the DC3 G-AKJH.



The Maharajah's Dak Croydon March 1949. Photo credit George Trussell Collection with thanks.

G-AGZP was restored to the British register in late 1949 and was operated by The Lancashire Aircaft Corporation at Bovingdon. On 10th April 1951 she lost part of the number one engine after take-off from Bovingdon (see #73 and #85 this thread). She was scrapped at Bovingdon in 1953.



Stansted Battle of Britain Day 1952. Photo-credit The late Gerald Lawrence.

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Old 16th Apr 2020, 08:59
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Never heard of the C119s but on one of my earliest visits as an ATC cadet ie 1962 onwards I was told of an incident involving a FAF Noratlas which was supposed to be bound for Haddenham (near Westcott!) mistaking Bovingdon for his destination, the runway controller having used up most of his stock of red verey flares on it as it was not in contact with Bovingdon ATC.
Could never figure out why a Noratlas would be going to Haddenham though; if it was for Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Halton would surely have been preferable, the nearest hospital to Haddenham in those days being Stone Mental Hospital (now closed) .
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 09:45
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That Spitfire in post #263 has quite a history: see

History of Spitfire SL721

and maybe she is still flying, having moved to Belgium 2 years ago.

I remember seeing it parked on a garage forecourt in Worthing around 1957 or so, and learning that the owner used to fire up the engine every Battle of Britain day.
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 12:47
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More on that Spitfire in its Swandean Garage, Arundel Road, Worthing days if you go to http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=9856.0.
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