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Thorney Island Emsworth

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Thorney Island Emsworth

Old 20th Aug 2009, 07:46
  #81 (permalink)  
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Thorney was home to 242 OCU in 1966. The equipment consisted of the Argosy, the Hastings and the mighty Beverley.

No Belfasts I'm afraid; the conversion unit for the Belfast was 241 OCU based at Brize Norton.
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Old 29th Sep 2009, 06:26
  #82 (permalink)  
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My dad was flight mechanic on this Vertol 44B (Yngve 02).
I have take a ride in the cockpit in the late 60s! The is one survivor in Flygmuseum in Linköping. This aircraft Y 02 carshed just after start in the early 70s.

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Old 13th Sep 2010, 16:38
  #83 (permalink)  
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Hi I can confirm that Gnat was actually a training aid for the Painter and Finisher Trade training on west camp.Course 179 being the last Painter and Finisher training course to use this Aircraft, as the training section was closed for refurbishment in 1988 for 24 months. All training was relocated to Devilbiss Headquarters in Bournemouth for this period,the Painter and Finisher trade training, however returned back to west camp sometime in 1990.However the gnat was never used again as a Painter and Finsher training aid. As a substitute the course were sent to various RAF Bases to Paint there Aircraft Gate Gaurds as a course training project.I would like to know what happened to ths aircraft.
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Old 15th Sep 2010, 10:09
  #84 (permalink)  
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Emsworth Museum

Mr & Mrs Mechta Senior help out in Emsworth Museum once a week. Both are Ex-RAE Farnborough and interested in aircraft (Mechta Senior was a flight test observer on the Comet 1 & Mrs Mechta Senior was an aerial photographer in Dakotas).

They told me the museum has a recording of a Hercules training captain who worked at Thorney Island, and the museum has put on exhibitions in the past about the various local airfields, so there should still be a fair amount of material there, although the theme does change quite regularly.
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Old 29th Dec 2010, 16:41
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Hercules XV181 after its mishap

I'm almost 100% sure that this is my father's plane.

Navigation Instructor Flt. Lt. "Dolly" Gray - or Charlie - deceased only a few years ago.
I have another picture of the same , where it is parked on the side of Thorney runway, awaiting repair.

My father was the Nav. Instructor on this plane, with 12 Nav. students on board.
A trainee pilot was at the controls when it happened.

The story goes ( according to Dad ) :
They were landing with a strong cross wind, when a hefty gust suddenly hit.
The trainee pilot tried to stabilize the plane at first, but the captain took over as soon as he saw what was coming. By that time, the plane had already "bounced" ; the captain managed to keep it on an even keel, but after the wing had already hit the ground.

Dad says that the crew jumped out while the plane was still rolling down the runway. He also praised the Fire-Rescue crew who were there before the plane had even stopped.

If anyone is interested, I'll have a look for that picture and post it here.

Thorney was a beautiful R.A.F.-base .
Used to sail Albacores there, and picnic on Pilsey Island.
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Old 31st Dec 2010, 23:25
  #86 (permalink)  
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Gnat PF179

This aircraft is still around wearing the same colour scheme and has recently moved to Bruntingthorpe

see here Bruntingthorpe Latest - Page 12 - Key Publishing Ltd Aviation Forums
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 07:59
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Nav training Valetta at Thorney Island. 1950.

Note all the astrodomes. Lots of opportunities for getting lost!
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 08:02
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My dad trying to get lost in a Wellington from Thorney Island. 1950.

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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 08:10
  #89 (permalink)  
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Nav training Wellington from Thorney Island 1950.

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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 08:13
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Thorney Island Anson, 1950

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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 08:50
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Nice piccies, Dan - thanks!

I've always thought of the early 1950s as the 'dark ages' - because hardly anyone took any photos, for one reason or another. I guess film and cameras were rather expensive...

As well as Summer Camp 1970 there, 3 of us also had a short UAS detachment to 46(?) squadron, which was highly enjoyable. One memorable trip was low level from Thorney to Glasgow at low level - I recall we crested a ridge on Exmoor just as a post office van did the same thing coming the other way! His surprise at a windscreen full of Andover must have been considerable. As we got further north, the navigator became quite alarmed at the large road which wasn't on his map - it was the M6 near Shap which hadn't yet appeared on RAF charts. Or so he said. We landed at Glasgow, picked up some army people and dropped them off at Benbecula, then flew airways to Lyneham with some more army chaps. Lyneham seemed like Heathow in those days, it was so busy!

At Lyneham, a clipboard clutching Plt Off resplendent in best blue and red armband walked up to the aircraft and made "Kneel it!" signals. This caused the Captain to fly into a rage and he immediately shut down both engines and explained what he thought about the pedigree of air movements officers in general - and this particular one in particular. "Kneeling system is u/s, get some b£oody Comet steps!", he suggested. But they weren't availiable, so a scissor truck to the para doors had to suffice.

Then a quick transit back to Thorney and a beer with the crew. Fun days, back when we still had a proper air force.....
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 16:54
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I would be interested in seeing the photo. On 8 Jun 75 I was a member of the 71 MU salvage team from RAF Bicester that arrived at TI to recover XV181 from the airfield to the 'Sunshine Hangar' on technical site. We had to put the nose on a track-jack. It took us 3 days altogether. Has luck would have it I was also a member of the team from RSS at RAF Abingdon that dismantled the aircraft and transported it by road to Marshalls of Cambridge during the very hot summer of '76. i was on the task from 1 Jun to 23 Jul 76.

While we were there in '76 the RAF handed over command of the station to the RN. I remember the food was dismal after the RN took over. On one occasion we were given 1/2 chicken and some rice for our evening meal. The following day we were given a plate of chips and a few beans. The cook explained that we had been given 2 days ration of meat the day before! We had several similar instances of such with the mess. Eventually our very popular flight commander (later Gp Capt) Bob Hooper (now deceased) came down from Abingdon and put us out on Rate 1s. Shame.

Happy days.

Last edited by AARON O'DICKYDIDO; 3rd Jan 2011 at 11:27. Reason: Inclusion of dates.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 08:58
  #93 (permalink)  
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Some great photos on this thread...
I have been doing a little research about Thorney to confirm whether it was used for the Anson scenes in the 1948 film 'Landfall' (from the Nevil Shute book),I am now 99% sure that the Ansons were filmed at Thorney Island,I am also 99% sure that the Wellington scenes were filmed at Lee on Solent.
My original thread is here...

Landfall Filming Locations ?? - Key Publishing Ltd Aviation Forums

But during my research I came across this list of aircraft accidents local to TI,dont know if of any interest going back a while to the engine/wreckage photo

These listings are based on reports contained in Civil Defence, Police and Air Ministry
reports, although all the incidents at Thorney Island airfield are not shown. This table has
been compiled from information in Burgess and Saunders 1990, 1994, 1995.

04.09.39 Anson Thorney Island creek
07.02.40 Anson West Wittering
16.08.40 Hurricane Manor Farm, Chidham
18.08.40 Junkers 87 North Barn, Chidham
26.08.40 Hurricane Birdham
26.08.40 Hurricane West Wittering
21.09.40 Junkers 88 Mudbury Farm, Bosham
25.09.40 Blenheim Stockers Sands, West Wittering
08.10.40 Blenheim Chidham
07.11.40 Hurricane Earnley Mill, Birdham
13.11.40 Blenheim Thorney Island
15.11.40 Spitfire Birdham
02.12.40 M/smitt 109 Off Pilsey Island
06.12.40 Blenheim Nr Thorney Island
18.04.41 Junkers 88 Thorney Island
07.08.41 Hudson Thorney mud flats
19.08.41 Beaufort Thorney Island
31.08.41 Spitfire Within study area
17.09.41 Beaufighter Emsworth Channel
29.09.41 Hudson Thorney Island airfield
04.08.42 Havoc Little Grove Farm
25.09.42 Blackburn Roc Nr Thorney Island airfield
12.01.43 Liberator Thorney Island
23.03.43 Hampden Marshes, Thorney Island
20.06.43 Spitfire Appledram
26.09.43 Thunderbolt Appledram
08.02.44 Wellington Wakefords Farm, Chidham
08.02.44 Mosquito Westbourne
18.06.44 Typhoon Prinsted
23.06.44 Mosquito Thorney Island
09.09.44 Mosquito Thorney Island airfield
10.02.45 Lancaster Thorney Island
126Appendix 2: UKHO raw data for wrecks in the AONB
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 04:49
  #94 (permalink)  
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There may possibly be another link to the 'Landfall' film; Nevil Shute Norway, to give his full name - an aero design engineer who was senior stress man on the R100 under Barnes Wallis, see 'Slide Rule'- founded Airspeed at nearby Portsmouth airfield.

He often visited Langstone Mill, between Langstone village and Emsworth.

Dan Winterland, is it a trick of synchronisation or is the starboard engine on that Anson slow / stopped ?
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 17:12
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With that sort of prop pitch angle, it's got to be feathered.
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 18:08
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Double Zero, there was a good reason for Nevil Shute Norway's regular visits to Langstone Mill; he lived there!

See the Autumn 1939 reference here:

Nevil Shute Foundation—Title
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 19:56
  #97 (permalink)  

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Cornish Jack, not sure about the later marks, but I'm pretty sure the original Anson had fixed-pitch props.
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 21:38
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That would of course make good sense. Airspeed of which he was Director were based at Portsmouth Airport, not too far away........

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Old 6th Jan 2011, 04:54
  #99 (permalink)  
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Ref the Anson photo. A quick check of the registration shows that it's a T21 specificly built as a Nav trainer in 1949. One would suspect that at that late stage, it would have been fitted with CS featherable props.

I've no idea why they are flying assymetric formation, or for that matter if it was my dad who took the photo. He was very keen on photography and had a good camera, even as an impoverished Navigator student in the 1950s, so it is possible that it's one of his. All the photos came from his photo album which I have scanned.
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Old 6th Jan 2011, 16:07
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I feel a few personal links here ! For a start, since 1974 I’ve sailed from Langstone; my mooring is a few hundred yards South West of the Mill.

BTW I was a technical photographer on Harrier and Hawk trials at Dunsfold for 14 years.

By sheer coincidence, a long standing girlfriend’s grandfather, Robin Milne, was a Test Pilot for Airspeed, his daughter Jenny, my ex-girlfriends’ late mother, played in the Mill as a girl.

I knew Nevil Shute Norway spent a while there and then moved to Langstone Towers.

Robin Milne often took NSN up with him; one of Robin Milnes’ lesser jobs was to count the new bomb craters in Langstone Harbour, as there was quite a sophisticated decoy set-up in and around the harbour, with oil-fired flames etc on rafts and around, controlled by command posts, a few bits and pieces remain, and I found a chart of the decoys.

Whenever faced with some twerp suggesting we do ‘risk assessments’ for working on club moorings, the mention that we’re walking – and digging – on tons of unexploded ordnance usually shuts them up ! Craters are still evident from softer patches of mud.

Milne ( who I never met, sadly ) did rather well, he began operational flying on Camels in the Bolshevik Campaign, flew all sorts during World War II including production flight testing over 2,000 Oxfords ( ! ) and carried on into the jet age with DeHavilland.

I have his log books and other material, when it became clear his daughter Jenny was gravely ill she gave them to me; Neil the Tartan Terror kindly quickly published a tribute to her Father which she saw and was very pleased about, before she died 3 years ago today the 6th – another coincidence, I hadn’t thought of that.

I’ll have another look through the material of Robin Milne’s to see if there’s anything of particular interest to the Nevil Shute Foundation, and of course Thorney Island.
Thanks to all for a fascinating thread.

Below, not Thorney I'm afraid but I hope of interest; decoy arrangement in Langstone Harbour, WWII.

Last edited by Double Zero; 6th Jan 2011 at 16:35.
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