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Thorney Island Emsworth

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Thorney Island Emsworth

Old 9th Jan 2009, 14:35
  #41 (permalink)  
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Lots of aircraft to choose from here Hampshire Aircraft Crashes and Accidents.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 15:41
  #42 (permalink)  
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Wasn`t Thorney originally passed to the Navy? I distinctly remember some matelots at the gate when I visited the sailing club once....and being introduced to the "Senior Naval Officer Thorney Island" at that venue. I also remember some Vietnamese Boat people wandering about at roughly that period. My parents currently live at Chidham, and have a good view of the island across the Nutbourne Bunny where they had at one time a boat moored.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 16:41
  #43 (permalink)  
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Re.the JP paint mystery, the 'bored painters' theory may be a lot closer than one might think !

At Dunsfold, when the last and least 'airfield manager' moved in ( following John Farley is going to be a tough act for anyone, let alone an ex-storesman with no interest in the place apart from wrecking it ASAP for his northern chums ) I accompanied him with a sub-manager on his initial walk-round.

When we got to the paint shop ( where Top Gear were for a while in later times, now they're in half of Experimental ) there was a Morris Marina resplendent in shiny new paint...the newbie flew into a ballistic rage, assuming it was a 'homer' - despite the sub-manager trying to restrain him.

What the sub Brian and I knew, but the idiot hadn't bothered to find out, was that it was a quiet period for the paint shop and it was an airfield vehicle, all totally above board !

Naturally no apology or acknowledgement was forthcoming when the facts finally penetrated the rhino-hide.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 18:54
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Nos. 53 and 59 Squadron flew Blenheim IVs fitted with Bristol Mercurys from Thorney during WW II and both squadrons had accidents there.

I had two stints at Thorney in 1962 and 1965 when it was being assaulted with great determination and from every conceivable direction by us sprogs who were learning to fly the Argosy, the Hastings or the Beverley.

it was a great place to be.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 19:44
  #45 (permalink)  
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As it was when I did my first UAS Summer Camp there in 1970!

Probably my last sight of what an Officers' Mess was supposed to be like...
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 21:06
  #46 (permalink)  

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So what happened to the Herc to get bent like that? Bit after my time I guess. Remember the sunshine hanger well, since it was my place of work for 2 1/2 years back in the early 70s. Followed that by a Herc course, then off to Lyneham-on-the-Hill.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 21:29
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FWIW I posted a couple of interesting press cuttings here: http://www.pprune.org/military-aircr...ircraft-2.html
about the Varsity stolen from Thorney Island that subsequently crashed on a village in France in April 1955.

Post No. 37 refers.
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Old 10th Jan 2009, 11:05
  #48 (permalink)  
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Thorney Channel

I'll try to get some photo's the next time I'm down there ( within a few days ) - my boat's out of the water at the moment, but when re-launched in March I'll photo the Emsworth side ( where I'm convinced there's nothing ) and go down the Thorney Channel & see if there's anything to photograph; of course by then everyone will probably have forgotten this !

I suppose the real people to ask would be the local pro' fishermen; not a very approachable lot, and if asked questions they'll probably think they're being accused of something, or that there's money to be made out of it.

I do know the pub they tend to use ( The Bluebell, Emsworth, which is actually a very nice pub ) so I suppose I might have to visit 'for research purposes' !
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Old 10th Jan 2009, 15:11
  #49 (permalink)  
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I've checked the reference list of crashes and there were at least 4 Blenheims that crashed in the water near Thorney, so the engine lump could be a Mercury from a Blenheim


Last edited by Dick Whittingham; 10th Jan 2009 at 15:12. Reason: typo
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Old 10th Jan 2009, 17:35
  #50 (permalink)  
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I walked right around the perimeter of Thorney Island in 2003 - the runway approach lighting for 30 (I think) that was on piles in the sea was still visible, although looking very sorry for itself.

It's quite sad to see remnants like that, knowing that they were laboriously constructed and maintained and then - abandoned.

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Old 10th Jan 2009, 18:47
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The lighting supports still there? I guess they might have gone now - I seem to recall that Chivenor's were pointlessly removed some time ago.
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Old 11th Jan 2009, 20:35
  #52 (permalink)  
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Camoflaged Gnat T1

In a previous post I mentioned that I had some photgraphs of a Gnat in an unusual colour scheme and I have at last located the pictures. As you can see the Gnat may not be in the best of health but it is wearing a camoflge colour scheme, even down to the serial. Its not visible in these shots but it actually carried the fictitious serial of PF179. It was rumoured at the time that this was due to it being painted as part of the Paint Finishers Course #179. How true this is, I cannot say. The aircraft is acrtually XR541. I wonder what happened to it after these shots were taken RAF St Athan's, Picketstone Site on 29th May 1988.

Sorry about the colouration in the first picture I must have been getting near the end of the film.......remember those days?

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Old 11th Jan 2009, 22:13
  #53 (permalink)  
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Great photos - never seen that aircraft before! This thread's dug-up some gems!
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Old 12th Jan 2009, 15:46
  #54 (permalink)  
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thanks all for the pics,my sister was surprised by the old aircraft.being an ex trolly dolly and getting laid of last year,she still has the flying bug.
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Old 12th Jan 2009, 18:51
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There is [or certainly was] a protocol which allows any interested person to visit the Church and the graveyard at Thorney.A few years ago [5 probably] I turned up at the piquet post and requested that I be allowed to visit these places - I also thought I might get a beer at the Sailing Club if it were still extant.A very polite young Army chap arranged a Land Rover escort for me across the runways, past the Mess etc to the graveyard.Unfortunately the Sailing Club was closed.For nostalgic reasons I asked if they would take me back past the hangars and the place where the OCU Ground School was. They let me park and wander around the area.Suggest anyone interested in visiting takes his/her passport and politely requests same.
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Old 12th Jan 2009, 19:31
  #56 (permalink)  

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Last time I tried that was about 20 years ago, with no luck. There used to be a public right of way across the runway (!) which made for a few interesting approaches. When I mentioned this, and access to the church, I was told that the church had been de-consecrated in order to allow the right of way to be closed. They seem a little more helpful now.

On another note, there was a story went the rounds after the airfield closed that the runways and buildings had been mined during the war. It makes sense, since any invasion force would have got there pretty quickly and it would have given the Luftwaffe a base on British soil. The interesting bit about the rumour is that apparently this had been forgotten until the Station Commander's office was being stripped, when the switch panel was discovered. So all of us who worked there, including me, were literally sitting on bombs

Last edited by Herod; 12th Jan 2009 at 19:43.
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Old 12th Jan 2009, 20:59
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There was a bulk fuel storage tank just behind the ground school. Beside this mound there was a warning sign along the lines of "AVGAS-No Smoking Within 100 Yards".

One day, Flt Lt Pete Sharpe (a Yorkshire navigator of great renown) and who was the funniest guy I ever worked with, got a ground school course on top of the grass mound just after lunch erecting a parateepee whilst their survival fire was already blazing.

Now Pete had already established that AVGAS had not been stored there in living memory and that the tank was actually full of water.

Not many people knew that.

Flt Lt Frosty Winterbottom, who was Deputy I/C Groundschool, came back from lunch and saw this happy band with raging fire atop an apparent bulk storage tank full of AVGAS.

It really did not do his heart any good at all.
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Old 14th Jan 2009, 09:59
  #58 (permalink)  
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In the summer of 1969 the International Helicopter Rescue Meet was held at Thorney Island (at that time a fairly prestigious annual event and attended by most of European and NATO rescue forces). I was sent down from Northwood (still HQ Coastal Command) as part of the press hosting team, and was amazed by the variety of helicopters (and hovercraft and fixed wing); at the same time I had almost carte blanche to go wherever I wished (and fly in as many of the aircraft as possible - although I declined the US CG offer to be the man on the end of a balloon and long piece of elastic picked up by the C130 flying overhead, as later seen in a 007 movie). As well as a lot of presentations the format consisted of a number of various rescue scenarios including cockpit rescue. The 'rescue crew' would be on standby, a jet with 2 POB would 'crash' and smoke generators would then go off around it as the rescue crew scrambled, rescued the 'survivors' and took them to the delivery point. Looking at the photo it appears to be in the right sort of area that was used and mocking it up in cam paint would have been relatively cheap but quite effective for the scenario. I believe that may well be the explanation, and now all I have to do is hunt down a drawer full of photos of the event.
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Old 14th Jan 2009, 10:46
  #59 (permalink)  
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Que Pee

Lots of comment on your photos - except for the Bulldog! To put that straight I flew this aircraft XX513 a few times in 1975-76 as it was coded 01 of Southampton UAS.
We were based at Hamble (RIP) with a Headquarters & Mess in Southampton, but in 1975 our Parent Unit was Thorney. The Bulldogs often visited there hence your photo.

It very likely indeed that the pilot in your photo was the CO - Keith Jarvis.

We held out Annual Dinner in 1975 at Thorney Officers Mess but soon after (not related!) the parent unit changed to RAF SC Bracknell. Believe it is now Boscombe.

Any ex SUAS folk from the 70's out there in Ppruneland?
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Old 14th Jan 2009, 21:23
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Well done, yes the third International Helicopter Rescue Meet took place at Thorney Island from 10th-13th June 1969.

JP3 XM346 was SOC on the 9th June 1969.

A report by Adrian M Balch , in Air Britain Digest August 1969, mentions the use of a Jet Provost during the competition.

There just had to be a sensible reason to paint a JP3 in camouflage finish.

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