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RAF Spitalgate FLTLT Bullivant & SqnLdr Crump

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RAF Spitalgate FLTLT Bullivant & SqnLdr Crump

Old 17th Aug 2010, 12:55
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RAF Spitalgate FLTLT Bullivant & SqnLdr Crump

I am researching history of RAF Spitalgate in Lincolnshire in the 1960s and am seeking assistance from anyone who could help with any photos of the activities of the gliding school located there during this period. Unfortunately, I do not have the unit or squadron number. In particular, I am seeking photographs of the personnel including FLTLT Peter Bullivant and SQNLDR Crump. Many thanks
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 20:24
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Spitalgate housed not just a gliding school but was a gliding centre too.
Memory is a bit dim now so somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall there was originally No 1 Gliding Centre at Swanton Morely, then No 2 GC was formed at Kirton - in - Lindsey, then the two merged and became Central Gliding School at Spitalgate until the Army made this airfield unuseable (as they are wont to do - just look at Catterick!) CGS then moved to its present home at Syerston.
GC or CGS, they had a gliding school operating in parallel, but I don't know the numbers - they may have been in the 63X or 64X range.
I never met Pete Bullivant, but as far as I'm aware, he was an instructor at the centre/CGS not on the school.
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 21:42
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Spitalgate was the home of 644GS - a weekend school commanded by Flt Lt Albert Johnson. No 2 Gliding Centre moved from Kirton Lindsey to Spitalgate in November 1965. Peter Bullivant was one of the staff instructors, having previously been CO of the Gliding School at RAF Henlow (can't remember its number). George Crump was never on the staff of 2GC but was CO of 633 GS at RAF Cosford.

I have some photographs, surprisingly few, which I shall dig out and post.

Gyp
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Old 18th Aug 2010, 06:51
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I hope this posting works as its my first foray into Photobucket.
The picture was taken as RAF Kirton Lindsey in 1965, before the move to Spitalgate. The seated line are Bill Walker (later to become an MP), Ann Moss, the unit's secretary, Flt Lt Tom Rayner, CO, Flt Lt Harry Monks, Adj. (left the RAF shortly after the picture was taken, Bob Hewitt, E G Hart, CFI. In front is Flt Lt Brian (Bebe) Sharman, the new Adj. and standing behind Harry Monks is Peter Bullivant.
The CO and Adjs were regular serving members of the RAF, the others were commissioned in the RAF Reserve, Class J - effectively civil servants. The airmen were a/c maintenance technicians, some with impressive carpentry skills, and drivers.
In all it was a very happy group, self-contained as the only flying unit on the station and thus free from interference.
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Old 18th Aug 2010, 08:54
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The swiftness with which you replied to my humble request is greatly appreciated. The photograph is most welcome and excellent quality. I thank you most sincerely for taking the time to help me out. Actually this is the first photograph I have of the staff. Cheers...
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Old 18th Aug 2010, 08:57
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Many thanks indeed for this information and the speed with which you responded. I really appreciate it. Cheers...
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Old 18th Aug 2010, 14:25
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Wow! I took my 'A and B' at Spitalgate - it must have been in about August 1972 when I was 16 and about 2 months old. Three solos in a T31 and that was it.

I have some old photos somewhere which I'll try and look up. I also have my old ATC logbook. I can't remember my long-suffering Instructor's name, but I do recall two things. One was that he was obsessed with collecting mushrooms, which he used to spot from the circuit and then collect when we landed. The other was the first solo. We were instructed to pull off the launch at 900' QFE as I recall and fly a square circuit. It was not explained to me that without an instructor aboard I would get a higher launch. On my first solo I think I reached the dizzy height of 1,100' or even 1,150' QFE. So as I flew exactly the same circuit as before (singing 'she flies like a bird in the sky' from a television advert at the top of my voice) I landed half way down the field. There were very long faces over this but I was permitted to fly the remaining two circuits on the understanding that I pulled off at 900' QFE.

Happy days, except that I didn't solo again for about 7 years.
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Old 18th Aug 2010, 15:17
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Swanton Morley continued as a CGS outpost long after the move from Spitalgate to Syerston.

If my memory serves me right, Pete Bullivant was Prince Andrew's instructor in the 'Royal Barge'.

As gyp said, George Crump was a long time CO of 633 at Cosford and passed away about five years ago. I have some old photos of George tucked away somewhere but they were all taken at Cosford. PM me if they are of any interest.
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Old 19th Aug 2010, 07:19
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F/O (at the time) Bullivant sent me solo in a T31 at Kirton-in-Lindsay on 28/11/63.

Dave
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Old 20th Aug 2010, 11:20
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Thanks to Airclues, Dakkg651 and Footless Halls in addition to the others for your help. If any photos are available or any other info...would be most welcome.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 03:48
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I met Pete Bullivant travelling on a train to London for the Biggin Hill airshow. He persuaded me to join No.616 Gliding School at Henlow where I served for 12 years. He was a master at electric round the pole flying and wrote a book on the subject. Would have liked to spent more time in his company as he was a very interesting person.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 06:28
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Spitalgate was the home of the WRAF recruit training depot and occasionally the Queen Bee would ask us to fly some of the girls on a Wednesday(sports) afternoon. We would offer a gentle float through the skies, a bit of instruction so that they could fly the glider, or aerobatics. Although the majority had never flown before, most asked asked for loops and chandelles.

On a non-aerobatic flight is Pam Hipperson, one of our drivers, here taking pictures from the rear seat of a T-31.

Another passenger was Colonel Jeanne M Holm, Director of Women in the USAF. (She was responsible for more people than the entire strength of the RAF at the time). She was given the 'luxury' of our canopied barge - and she opted for the instructional flight.[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 07:31
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Not tracked my photos down yet but I have got my logbook of the time.

My first air experience flights in a glider were from RAF Linton-on-Ouse on 20th April, 1974 in a T21 WB939, I wrote the name of the P1 on the first flight as John Brown and for the second and third flights as 'Butt', which I suspect is a mis-spelling as I think I remember he was of Indian origin. The first flight was a heady nine minutes, the others three. I was fifteen.

Then I attended RAF Spitalgate. On Monday 19th August I made four flights in T31 '799' as P2 with my P1 being Fl. Lt. Johnstone. Each flight was 3 minutes. On Tuesday 20th August I made seven flights with the same P1. Not all these flights were three minutes - there was one of 11 minutes, one of 7 and one of 5. Wednesday 21st was more intensive - no less than fifteen flights. One was of four minutes and all the others were three, barring four practice cable-breaks. This marathon was then followed by the three solos, each of 3 minutes duration.

I had one further flight as P2 to a Fl. Lt. Beeston in a different T31 - '794' - which I logged as 'bad flying act'. I can't remember what that constituted but as the flight lasted an impressive four minutes it can't have been too crazy.

As far as I recall once the third solo was over I never saw Fl. Lt. Johnstone again. The over-riding impression all this left on my sixteen year old mind was of the tremendous efficiency with which everything was organised - for example the Land-Rovers with their custom-designed trailors to retrieve the T31's and whisk them back to the launch point. I also wondered what the point of it was because even at that tender age I realised that though I had taken my first step into the air and could tell my family and friends that I was 'a pilot', I could hardly claim much expertise in flying!

It took me almost a year to fly again - a four minute hop in a K13 at Morridge. But that's another story.

In my logbook I wrote the full registation of the T31 as 'XY799', but a couple of years ago 'Shortstripper' pointed out that this was a mistake and the registration was actually 'XE799', which I see from Slingsby T.31 is now being restored. Hope someone manages sometime to fly her for more than four minutes...

Anyone know anything about the gentle, mushroom-loving Fl. Lt. Johnstone?
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Old 27th Aug 2010, 10:46
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Some more meat on the bones

* The VGS based at Spitalgate was 644 - now at Syerston since early 1975.
* Flt Lt Albert Johnson was actually OC of 643 VGS (probably when they were at Hemswell). Later as Sqn Ldr AS Johnson he was a Senior Gliding Instructor at ACCGS until IIRC around 1999. Believe he still flies with Four Counties Gliding Club at Wittering
* Peter Bullivant's son, Richard, was OC 644 VGS in the early 1990's. We were both on 644 together for around 10 years but lost touch after he left 644.

Not a lot but it may help piece other threads together
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Old 27th Aug 2010, 10:49
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Reference "... and for the second and third flights as 'Butt', which I suspect is a mis-spelling as I think I remember he was of Indian origin..."

I beleive your spelling to be correct as I think this refers to the then Warrant Officer DH Butt (later comissioned?) who in around 1983 became the first VGS instructor to reach the 1000 hour target on the Venture Tmk2 with 642 at Linton.
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Old 28th Aug 2010, 05:53
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The Cadet Mk.3(T-31) in the photograph XA302 is now hanging in the RAF Museum at Hendon. The Sedbergh with the canopy believed to be WB962. I finished on 920 hours on Ventures.
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Old 29th Aug 2010, 11:09
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T-21, I am astounded by the impressive strength of your spine! I did a third
, almost to the hour at 306, of what you did on the Venture and I still suffer with "Venture-back" to this day! Possibly added 600 on the Vig compounded things
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Old 29th Aug 2010, 16:41
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Thank you very much, all. I'm afraid I took no photographs while at Spitalgate - I guess I was concentrating too hard, although that may not have been apparent from my circuit discipline. So nothing more to add.

But what a wonderful adventure it was for a 16-year-old!

I am glad to hear that the long-suffering gentlemen who taught me to fly all those years ago are still with us and still airborne. I reflected on these postings last Friday as I gently bumbled across central England in a beautiful shiny Super Dimona.

Thanks again.

'Footless'
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Old 13th Sep 2012, 13:26
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Hello there
I am Mike Ashcroft, know during my RAF days as Taff.
I have just joined this forum and have spotted your rquest for info about Flt Lt Bullivant.
Have we met? I served with Flt Lt Peter Bullivant at RAF Spitalgate for 5years 1967 - 1972.
I have not met him since. He was my best man at my wedding and my first son bears the name Peter as a middle name.

I don't quite know how this forum works yet but my email is [email protected]

Like to hear from you.

Best regards
Mike
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Old 13th Sep 2012, 14:12
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Hello there

What a fantastic photo of Pam Hipperson flying, the pilot on this flight was civilian instuctor Ken Ward, we were all great friends, and I married Pam Hipperson. I served at No2 Gliding Center 1967/72
I have also painted a picture of this very flight.
Fantastic
Regards
Taff Ashcroft
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