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RAF Bovingdon - 1960s

Old 28th Aug 2009, 15:09
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B25 Mitchells do fly in IMC
Thanks for the reminder - still got it on tape, must transfer it..
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Old 28th Aug 2009, 16:59
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...over the other day and there seems to be some clearing work going on around the old control tower. All the old shrubbery has been removed and you can now see the tower quite clearly.

Anybody any idea what (if anything) is going on?
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 13:31
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RAF Bovingdon

Very nice to see that aircraft. TX195 was the first Anson that I flew as a Navigator on the Coastal Command Comms Flight on 25 April 1962. Others flown were; 858, 859, 981 and 987. Correct me if I am wrong but I make that 5 Ansons not 4. Maybe that last one was added after you left? I flew it on 23 May 1965. I left the Comms Flight on 19 June 1965 to go and fly Valiants. Agreed there was a VIP Valetta as well.
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 15:21
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Nav Rad, your first trip was with me! My logbook shows: April 25th 1962, Anson 195, Bovingdon-St Mawgan-Bovingdon - 1.30 Day each way. I left CCCF for Argosies in Sept 1962. My last Anson flight was to Leuchars- Stornoway-Prestwick-Bovingdon on Sept 19/20 in 815, a Fighter Comm Sqn Anson. P/O Piper, the Nav, was filling in time on FCS, so I must have helping them out. While I was on CCCF the fleet consisted of 3 Anson 19's, 195,858,859 and a Mk21, 981. Our Valletta was 504. I do regret not entering full serial numbers in my log book.
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 15:27
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Was the VIP Valetta red and blue?? I was spectating at the Chesham end one day, and it damn near seemed to take the fence down on take off. I seem to remember that Sir Anthony Eden was on board, going to a conference somewhere, or my memory may just have faded.
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 15:35
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I don't remember any red on 504, I think it had a plain blue stripe along the side. However, there was a lot of dark red mahogany in the passenger cabin!
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Old 21st Feb 2010, 12:42
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I Remember

My introduction to aeroplanes came in the early 1950s when as an infant I was taken to play on the hulks of the old civil Halifaxes that were dumped on a dispersal just off the lane to Whelpley Hill. Several years later we moved to Ashley Green, a couple of miles from the airfield. I remember lying in bed in the mornings listening to the lovely sound of a fleet of C47s being warmed up across the valley before the day's flying.
School holidays were mostly spent perched atop the remains of the fenced hedge at the Chesham Road end of the runway. My pal David was usually with me - his dad had been a skipper at Bovingdon on Halifaxes and Yorks with LAC. We were always full of anticipation when the traffic lights turned red, we munched on our baked bean sandwiches and wondered what would turn up next. It could be very busy. I recall Globemasters (always a thrill), C54s ,C130s, once a B50, Packets, Providers ,Noratlas, Samaritans, Hastings, Shacks, Neptunes, Devons, Herons, Pembrokes, Varsitys, Valettas, Meteors, Vampires including one that overshot and ended up astride the Chesham Road, T33 and the Fouga Magister.
One foggy morning, much to our glee, a Shackleton landed short in the field before the runway. It roared snorting like an enraged bull over the Chesham Road and swept the fence away with its tailwheel up the runway.
What else do I remember? The squeaks of taxying C47s, the Pilots waving to us, the squeals of tyres on landing and the smell of newly mown grass blown on warm slipstreams. The song of Skylarks and the gargle of an Anson climbing up into the clear blue sky.

Last edited by OUAQUKGF Ops; 31st Mar 2011 at 09:25.
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Old 21st Feb 2010, 18:22
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Goodness me, you made it sound like yesterday, all those lovely memories. Did the same thing as you, cycling from near Aylesbury to stay on the same bit of road. Meteor T.7 landed long, swerved off the runway, slid across the skyline in a big cloud of dust, and a collapsed port main u'c. C.47s by the ton, and yes, I even remember a B45.Tornado. I saw it shortly after it had taken off, and was heading west as I was between Wendover and Great Missenden on my push bike.!! Only time I ever saw one flying. No point in me posting same types as you. The sun always seemed to be shining on silver aeroplanes in those days. Happy times, started my lifelong interest. Cheers, John.
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Old 22nd Feb 2010, 08:12
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How much more exciting the 1950s were to those of us in short pants at the time. So many different aeroplanes to be seen, both civil and military, dozens of RAF bases scattered around the UK - and steam trains belting along the main lines in defiant mechanical fury. There were still the quiet little branch line services as well....the sun always shone in summer and it always snowed in winter.

There was no health and safety nonsense, you accepted risk and acted sensibly.

And your father would still be able to find a long enough empty road where he could try to max the family Zephyr up to 100 mph.

I despair at the ruination nuLabor has brought to the UK....
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Old 22nd Feb 2010, 08:35
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... and as an air cadet in 1968, travelling alone from Watford to Bovingdon for a day's gliding.

Great days. Cr*p weather as I recall, but great days.
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Old 22nd Feb 2010, 11:22
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You will see from my private message to you the odd story I've included. I note that you feature a number of times in my logbook. Great days!

Nav Rad
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Old 22nd Feb 2010, 13:46
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Oh, me too! First stop was always the "customs pan" to see what exotic visitors there might be. It was always worth going "round the back" to walk along the footpath behind the USAF hangar, bound to be a nice C-47 of some sort to point the camera at.

Yes, the spot by the traffic lights was best; any long term visitors would taxi right past you anyway to park on the opposite side of the airfield from the hangars.

Anyone else remember the South African Air Force Shackletons?

I never did find the Swift on the fire dump though.
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Old 5th Aug 2010, 08:59
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Halifax at Bovingdon

This is a long shot but somebody may have been there. April 10th 1951. LAC Halifax G-AGZP takes off at 07:17 (a bit early for casual watchers). Shortly after take off and loses (literally) number one engine. Shortly after that it loses number two through oil starvation caused by the loss of number one. Lands back at Bovingdon 07:42. What I would like to know is where did the number one engine land. I have heard accounts (a) that it landed in a Farm called 'Deadmans Farm' and (b) it landed near the place where he was killed (in G-ALDV) in 1958. Anyone have any recollections of the Halifax.

Oh Thank you OUAQUKGF Ops - I remember those times well !
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Old 5th Aug 2010, 09:34
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brakedwell; two of the Ansons were PH858 and '859; if I could find my 3822 I could possibly give more on the others. The Valletta as far as I recall was 'standard' white top/natural metal undersides with broad blue cheatline. If Honey Monster sees this post he would be able to enlarge as he scrounged more than I did.
There was a pilot (Flt Lt Colbourne?) with a badly burned face. His takeoff technique in the Ansons was full throttle down the runway, tail up, then retract the undercarriage without rotating!
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Old 5th Aug 2010, 10:06
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I only recorded the number part of the serial numbers in my log book. The other two CCCF Ansons I flew when stationed at Bovingdon was a Mk19 TX195 and a Mk21 ** 981. The Valletta serial number was **504.

Dickie Colbourne was badly burnt in a Mosquito accident when both engines stopped due to fuel starvation after a night take-off. He was awarded the George Medal for rescuing his navigator from the burning wreckage. I flew with Dickie a couple of time and remember him being an over cautious pilot. which doesn't tie up with your description of his take off technique.
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Old 5th Aug 2010, 10:26
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This must have been a 'one off' then. The intercom conversation went something like 'ah well we should be airborne by now, undercarriage up'.
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Old 6th Aug 2010, 05:54
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Anyone remember the 'At Home Day' at Bovingdon in 1966? Or was it 1967? IIRC, there was an impressive fire-fighting demonstration.
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Old 6th Aug 2010, 20:28
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Bovingdon Memories

In those wonderful ATC years managed to scrounge a flight to Bovingdon in a Devon from Northolt.
The idea was then you "scrounged" another flight to somewhere else and eventually made it back to where you started from even if it meant a night stop and a meal ticket (1 shilling)
However our plans all went to pot when we landed to find camo netting over the control tower and the remains of a Mosquito still lying on the grass.
It was just after "633 Squadron" with lines of Ansons a couple of Pembrokes and some american "prop" jobs.
In fact Bov was just like Kenley (a time warp) but Bov still had its aircraft.
We missed our return to Northolt due to wandering into the hangar to find "two more" complete Mosquito's with the cockpit doors down and steps in place.
A couple of hours and several missions later we wandered back to the tower to be told that another aircraft was going to Northolt if we wanted a lift back.
Many years later whilst working in the area for a day i went back to find the builders busy building a prison.
The control tower was still nearly intact at that stage so i stood on its balcony (of "you cant kill a squdron" fame) to look across where the ghost of the mossie lay.
BOV still survives though in the odd "Avengers" repeats.
Would have thought the control tower would have made a good ATC HQ for a local squadron (no vision in England)
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Old 7th Aug 2010, 08:39
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Didn't Bovingdon GCA have a weird VHF frequency? 140.58 springs to my aged mind.. London Approach used to do the first bit, just like Northolt inbounds off airways then hand off to GCA.
Old 7th Aug 2010, 12:23
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Old Photo

Hello Ray - do you remember that old photo that you had of your dad's Halifax after it lost its donk? I think you showed it to me about forty years ago. Any chance you can scan it and post it on this thread? (Don't ask me how!). Cheers Tom.
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