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RAF Bovingdon - 1960s

Old 7th Oct 2022, 08:59
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Yes indeed it is Liverpool - The Old Liverpool Terminal - Somewhat smarter than Luton don't you think? I just thought it was a good photograph of The Ambassador.

Postscript: Inferior images removed and replaced with this:



Jack Overbury on his return to Bovingdon from Schipol.










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Old 18th Oct 2022, 09:13
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An interesting Titbit


Image: British Newspaper Archive.




Source Pan Am Historical Foundation.

In the event the early post-war American Transatlantic services to London were operated into Hurn Airport. Heathrow was then not operational and presumably Bovingdon (ideally situated) was not used because it was then still a military airfield.

Slight drift here:https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-s...ght-180975833/

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Old 22nd Oct 2022, 12:32
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The Dawn of Aphrodite


Extracted from 8th Air Force News 2005 with thanks.



Col Kelsey (left) Major Hough (2nd Right) and other members of The First Fighter Group. June 1942. Probably at Goxhill, Lincs. Photo: Roger Freeman Collection American Air Museum in Britain.



'Mother' and 'Baby' 1944. The 'Mother' would usually be at a much greater height than this. 'Mother' ships were sometimes at an altitude of 18,000 feet above the 'Baby' at the initial rendezvous point. Photo: American Air Museum in Britain.



Little is mentioned about the part that Bovingdon's USAAF Operational Engineering Section played in the early days of the ill-fated 'Project Aphrodite' in which war- weary B17F/G aircraft were developed to be used as remote controlled Flying Bombs. For a general overview use this link:
https://theaviationgeekclub.com/proj...fes-v-1-sites/

The first flight trials took place at Bovingdon on the evening of 24th June 1944. Colonels Cass Hough and Al Key flew the B17 'Baby' while Major Henry J. Rand operated as the Controller in the B17 'Mother' ship. Cloud restricted 'Mother's' height from a planned 20,000 feet to 6,000 feet but the trials were considered a reasonable success. During June 1944 Ten aircraft were converted to 'Babies' at Burtonwood, Lancs and flown initially to Bovingdon. Intensive crew training at Bovingdon and Honington ? commenced in great secrecy probably towards the end of June 1944, with each volunteer requiring 25 hours flying time. The Project came under the control of the U.S. Third Air Division H.Q. at Elveden Hall, Suffolk. At this stage further aircraft were being converted at Honington Airfield, Suffolk where technical and operational support for the Project was then based. Volunteer crews included men drawn from the 388th BG (B17) Knettishall, Suffolk and the 458th BG (B24) Horsham st Faith, Norfolk. The latter were experienced in the use of Azon guided weapons and some of their B24s were used as 'Mother' ships. The U.S. Navy also participated as 'Project Anvil' using war- weary PB4Y-1 aircraft.
The first mission was planned to operate from RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk towards the end of the first week of July 1944 (I think the explosives were loaded there on July 7th). The Technical Support Section moved in from Honington en-masse. However lengthy delays, mainly weather related were encountered. It became clear that a very busy Emergency Landing Strip was not suitable for Bombers each loaded with 20,000lbs of high explosive, plus Escorts, sitting around waiting for the weather to improve. The Americans were not made to feel welcome at Woodbridge. One account has the ten drones parked up wing-tip to wing-tip in an isolated corner of the airfield together with the Project's tented encampment. There were complaints from the RAF about tarmac damage caused by the heavily loaded aircraft. To cap it all, much to the Americans' concern, a Luftwaffe Junkers 88G-1 nightfighter lost and low on fuel landed on the strip to be captured intact during the early hours of 13 July 1944.




On or around 15 July 1944 the Mission was cancelled and the Project decamped from Woodbridge to their new base which had been known as RAF Winfarthing now renamed RAF Fersfield in Norfolk. Here they remained for the duration of the Project although a few of the last missions are thought to have been flown from the parent Airfield at Knettishall from where technical and operational support was supplied to Fersfield.

(Further Reading: 'Final Flights' by Ian McLachlan Published by PSL 1989. and 'Aphrodite Desperate Mission' by Jack Olson published by Putnam 1970.)




Source: Wikipedia N.B. The above is not wholly accurate. For instance on August 4th 1944: The Crash 'Near Orford' and the crash at Sudbourne are one and the same, the pilot being killed and the engineer surviving.








Lieut Colonel Roy Forrest, Commanding Officer USAAF Fersfield seated in Gremlin Gus 11.




Ack: Flight Aware and Doug Hildreth.




The first image, which was probably taken at Fersfield , appears in the first edition of Roger Freeman's classic book 'The Mighty Eighth' (1970) and is there mis-identified. The B17 is 42-30595 Gremlin Gus 11 and as far as I know it was the only B17 so 'modified'. It was adapted to carry Hydrostatic Bombs the loading of which necessitated the removal of much of the top fuselage which was then replaced by a fairing on completion of loading. Unusually the cockpit was left exposed to the elements. It is said that the windshield came from a large motor car and that the B17 was nick-named 'The Roadster'. It was designed to sink the German Battleship 'Tirpitz', which the RAF finally managed to do on November 12th 1944. As can be seen in the last photograph this B17 was salvaged in 1946 and looks to possibly be back in the USA rather than in Britain.

A couple of interesting links:https://www.forcedlandingcollection....0-mugwump.html

https://thefrontlines.com/story/WW2-project-aphrodite/
Captured Ju 88 Radar Nightfighter

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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 14:43
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Gremlin Gus 11 ?

I know I should get out more and it has now stopped raining - however I have been looking at this somewhat overlong silent movie shot at USAAF Honington. Right at the end of the reel from 28.52m is footage of what looks to be a B17 drone taking off and taxying. The departing B17 and particularly the taxying B17 look very much like 'Gremlin Gus 11', the tail letter H being that of the 388th Bomb Group. What do you think ?? I've also added a tit-bit about another B17 which is seen in the Movie.

https://eafa.org.uk/work/?id=214

https://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/11721











'Scuse Thread Drift.

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Old 27th Oct 2022, 08:18
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Made in Chesham

Originally Posted by Heathhurn
I was deputy Satco at Bovingdon 67 to 69 and while there I worked closely with the MOCA civil Fire Crew who had been there for years previous. They told me that before the USAF left they buried tons of spares in the grass areas as well as burying a complete Lightning aircraft adjacent to the fire ground. I never got to excavate, but there will be some interesting finds if ever it is dug over. When the Battle of Britain filming finished the film company buried their dummy bombs in the grass adjacent to what was the underground avaition fuel storage facility. The fuel tanks were removed in 69 by flooding the gravel pits in which they were buried, then the empty tanks floated to the surface for removal. The largest aircraft that visited when I was there was a DC6 which came in to have seats fitted by a local firm. The Fouga Magister was resident as were Bassetts Ansons Pembrokes & Devons. The Ansons were sold off from Bovingdon in 68 and two went to Biafra flown by some intrepid pilots from Elstree who did their tail dragging conversions with the RAF before departing. Another Anson set off in the hands of a PPL accompanied by an air hostess from Luton for the States and on the first leg to Prestwick ended up in Ireland. I don`t know if they ever crossed the real pond. My time at Bovingdon was interesting as 3 films were made there during my time these being Mosquito Squadron, Battle of Britain & 633 Squadron. Mitchell, Messerschmit, Spitfires and Hurricanes were all mustered by Grp Capt Hamish Mahaddie as needed.



1968. Thought to be the DC6 mentioned above.

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/c...-aircraft-seat

Aircraft Seats are still produced in Chesham (Buckinghamshire not Berkshire) by this company Flying Service Engineering. I expect Chevvron remembers their old factory towards the bottom of Nashleigh Hill.

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Old 5th Nov 2022, 14:29
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Mystery Object

From Bovingdon 1943. What is it ?




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Old 28th Nov 2022, 08:31
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Ack Warbird Information Exchange
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 08:57
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Extract Daily Mail 8th January 1953






Note Court appearance of Tudor Fleet Captain Marian Kozubski.

Although not based at Bovingdon the Avro Tudors of William Dempster Line were to be seen at the airport during the early 1950s. The photograph below was probably taken at Stansted.



Ack Ruud Leeuw.


Daily Herald October 27th 1951. BNA.

This accident has already been covered on this thread. However I've just come across this extract. Interesting that Customs were not always available at Stansted in those far off days.

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Old 30th Nov 2022, 17:40
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92nd bomb group b17 images

An interesting selection here with many, but certainly not all, photographs taken at Bovingdon.
92nd BG based at Bovingdon August 1942- January 1943. Alconbury January 1943 - September 1943. Podington September 1943 - July 1945. Having first arrived at Bovingdon from the USA with new B17s the 92nd had to forfeit their aeroplanes and be content with hand-me-downs from the 97th Bomb Group who were at the time based at Polebrook.
Click on image.

https://www.asisbiz.com/il2/B-17/92BG.html

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Old 30th Nov 2022, 18:32
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Donut Dollies



B17 41-9042 'Berlin Sleeper' previously with 97th BG Polebrook but transferred to 92nd BG Bovingdon September 1942. Later said to be with the 303rd BG at Molesworth and renamed 'Ridge Runner'. This photograph is one of a sequence of four very similar and unattributed. In one of the images the camouflage over the Hangar Doors can be glimpsed and is very similar to that of No 1 Hangar at Bovingdon. The 'Life Magazine' photographer Margaret Bourke-White was active with the 97th BG at Polebrook in the autumn of 1942 but none of her images show 41-9042 or any American Red Cross Mobile Canteens in Hangars. There is already a photograph of the 'Berlin Sleeper' being towed down the runway at Bovingdon posted on this thread (#197) and it seems reasonable to attribute the location of the above image to Bovingdon. The American Red Cross Clubmobile here above consists of an adapted E83W FORDSON together with a trailer - the registration in this case JWL619.











Photo Credit Panzernet. Possibly Bovingdon.....



A bit of light-hearted drift here - Snetterton not Bovingdon.

.The Butterfly Balcony: Women In Wartime - ARC Clubmobile

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Old 30th Nov 2022, 19:33
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Originally Posted by OUAQUKGF Ops

XJ727 was eventually upgraded to HAR 10 specification and served with 2 FTS and The Central Flying School (Helicopters).



At Shawbury during the 1970s. Incidentally XJ727 was one of the helicopters used at Wittering in 1974 to train Harrier Pilots in hovering techniques. Photo L.A. Rodger.
I flew that same airframe at Shawbury in March 1979. They were really quite big for a primary trainer!
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 19:41
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Good to hear from you !
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 22:16
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Bovingdon post war

I've been wondering for some time about the history of Bovingdon post WW2.
Bovingdon was one of the 7 civil airfields (Ministry of Aviation?) designated as 'the' airports to serve London in the immediate post war era prior to Heathrow taking on most of the services,others being places like Blackbushe, Fairlop and Stansted.
At some time in the '50s Bovingdon was transferred to RAF control, presumably as more and more services moved to Heathrow and its then 'relief' airport at Gatwick.
Looking through some of my 'archive' material about the history of Farnborough ATC, I found this:-
'The arrival of senior ATCO (Air Traffic Control Officer) Ken Pearson from the civil airport at Bovingdon in 1954 brought a new impetus to developments in the ATC organisation at Farnborough'
I believe this same Ken Pearson later served as SATCO at Heathrow at some time and a move from Bovingdon could have meant he was destined for greater things, so could 1954 be when Bovingdon was transferred from civil back to RAF control?

Last edited by chevvron; 1st Dec 2022 at 15:24.
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 22:21
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
I flew that same airframe at Shawbury in March 1979. They were really quite big for a primary trainer!
The first helicopter I got my hands on at Farnborough and handled the controls was a Napier Gazelle engined Wessex Mk1 which was even bigger!
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 22:56
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Originally Posted by chevvron
The first helicopter I got my hands on at Farnborough and handled the controls was a Napier Gazelle engined Wessex Mk1 which was even bigger!
Yes, at the time I went through training the RAF also used twin Gnome engined Wessex 5s as the advanced trainer. A flying emergencies trainer; the emergencies checklist was the thickest of any aircraft I flew. To get through them all on the course it seemed that you needed to practice a couple on every sortie!
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 23:10
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
Yes, at the time I went through training the RAF also used twin Gnome engined Wessex 5s as the advanced trainer. A flying emergencies trainer; the emergencies checklist was the thickest of any aircraft I flew. To get through them all on the course it seemed that you needed to practice a couple on every sortie!
We had 2 of those, XL728 and XS241.
I would sometimes look at the next days flying programme to see if there was anyone programmed for solo C/T (continuation training) and saw OC Flying's name, so I knocked on his door and he was only too happy to take me up.
He handled the checklist of course, then proceeded to teach me hovering over a fixed spot, air taxying, liftoffs and touchdowns etc for the next hour; all great fun for a mere ATCO.
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Old 1st Dec 2022, 09:18
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Originally Posted by chevvron
I've been wondering for some time about the history of Bovingdon post WW2.
Bovingdon was one of 6 civil airfields (Minsitry of Aviation?) designated as 'the' airports to serve London in the immediate post war era prior to Heathrow taking on most of the services,others being Blackbushe, Luton and Southend.
At some time in the '50s Bovingdon was transferred to RAF control, presumably as more and more services moved to Heathrow and its then 'relief' airport at Gatwick.
Looking through some of my 'archive' material about the history of Farnborough ATC, I found this:-
'The arrival of senior ATCO (Air Traffic Control Officer) Ken Pearson from the civil airport at Bovingdon in 1954 brought a new impetus to developments in the ATC organisation at Farnborough'
I believe this same Ken Pearson later served as SATCO at Heathrow at some time and a move from Bovingdon could have meant he was destined for greater things, so could 1954 be when Bovingdon was transferred from civil back to RAF control?
A difficult question to answer. I don't know when control of Bovingdon was handed back to The Air Ministry. Probably not earlier than 1954 more likely 1955-56. You can see from the link that in 1952 The Ministry of Civil Aviation were already thinking about divesting themselves of the airfield. The Americans returned to Bovingdon in May 1951 with the C47s of 7531st Air Base Squadron and the RAF Fighter Command Communications Squadron had been based there since the early-fifties with the Coastal Command Communications Squadron also present from the mid-fifties. So together with the civil traffic it was a pretty busy airfield during that period. Incidentally as a footnote if you look on this link not only is there mention of Bovingdon reverting to the RAF but also a sketch which indicates the possibility of additional runways at Heathrow north of The Bath Road.............

http://filestore.nationalarchives.go...-52-220-20.pdf

Last edited by OUAQUKGF Ops; 1st Dec 2022 at 16:22. Reason: Mention of additional runways at Heathrow (1952)
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Old 1st Dec 2022, 09:33
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I joined the Coastal Command Com Flight from 152 Sqn in Bahrain in September 1961, living in the Officers mess at CC HQ at RAF Northwood. We used to traval up to Bovingdon in a J2 daily, where we had 4 Ansons and a Valetta based. We moved to live at Bovingdon about 6 months later. Then I left when my Argosy course started in Sept 1962. Apart from the Met men, I can't remember any Civilians in the tower.
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Old 1st Dec 2022, 12:55
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I can remember military flying from Bovingdon in the early '50s, mostly Meteors, Dakotas, Ansons and the occasional Vampire, the approaches for civil and other military aircraft being mostly out or our eyesight where we lived in Chesham at the time which was on low ground adjacent to the cricket and football fields (which both still exist) but a house move in about 1954 to higher ground to the north west of Chesham meant we had a much better view of other traffic.
I do however remember one momentous sight from this earlier home; I heard a noise, looked outside and glimpsed a large aircraft with '6 propellors facing backwards' heading in the general direction of Bovingdon; on running indoors to tell my older brother, he hit me saying I was lying! I don't for one minute expect a B36 actually landed at Bovingdon, it must have just been a flypast for some reason
Addirionally from that era before '54, the noise of an approaching Meteor with its engines slightly out of sync produced a wailing noise which, to a 3/4 year old, I found frightening and I would run indoors and hide - until the day my brother locked me out in the garden and I realised it would not harm me!

Last edited by chevvron; 1st Dec 2022 at 13:31.
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Old 1st Dec 2022, 16:31
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" I would run indoors and hide " Yes most evenings I do this too when the American Special Forces C130s rattle the chimney pots......My late wife called them 'Tractors' having met a C130 head on up the lane and just over the treetops whilst she was walking our dog.........
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