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Colerne Airfield

Old 16th Jun 2010, 13:26
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My first ever visit to RAF Colerne was for the Battle of Britain "At Home" air show in September 1964. I think that was the first year the aircraft of the museum collection were on show. Lovely weather - the first and last time I saw a camouflaged Valiant flying, the Dutch Air Force had a team of four T-33s with a F27 Troopship support aircraft, a gleaming polished silver USAF Hercules and lots more goodies.
Made 'ad hoc' visits as an ATC cadet and was always made very welcome to take photos of the Hastings and the first RAF Hercules to appear in its brown camouflage colours.
I went to the airshows every year after that and have good colour slides taken at them all. I think the last show there was 1972?
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Old 16th Jun 2010, 18:51
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Thanks, Amos.
It was indeed the first time the Museum had been on display and I can well remember the difficulty the ground crew had in moving the aircraft, some without brakes, across the airfield.
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Old 14th Feb 2018, 21:17
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RAF Colerne

Originally Posted by stevef
I did a lot of voluntary work at the museum between 72 - 75, including the major refurbishment of the Spit V and Heinkel 162. Anyone remember Cpl Bertie Coombes, Chief Tech Jeff Richardson and Sgt Wally Hooper?

Regarding buried bits, I was employed as an MoD guard for a while in 1977 while contractors were carrying out conversion work prior to the Army taking over. Opposite the NAAFI shop and just to the right of the Post Office, there was a fairly large grass area buffering the AMQ (I forget the name but Poplar Way does ring a bell as being adjacent). A JCB was digging a trench and unearthed a corroded main landing gear which looked to belong to a Curtiss P40, judging by the bevel gear at the top of the leg. There was no evidence of crash damage as the assembly had clearly been unbolted from the wing structure. So, there might well be more parts buried in that area.

I don't recall a Hastings being on the fire dump but there was the forward fuselage of a Shack. I witnessed the tragic XV198 accident in '73 and still have the Air Clues magazine relating to it.
I was one of the first on the scene of this crash. I was Engines trade manager on Blue Team and about to air test our just finished Base 3 C130.
I arrived shortly after the Emergency Services with a photographer in order to get pictures of the positions of the engine controls in the cockpit and on the engines.Our S.Eng.O was a S/Ldr Skipsey,recruited,I think,as a Sqdn/Leader due to a severe shortage of Eng O's at the time. I had done time on 71 M.U and this was his first experience of an incident of any sort.In fact,I think it was his first posting.and last! Our tem Radar man was cycling home to Thickwood Qrtrs and had the terrible sight of the cockpit nd 5 faces bearing down on him!
I believe there is a plaque on the wall at the site. The Captain used to live in the OMQ directly opposite the crash site.
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Old 15th Feb 2018, 15:47
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Off at a slight tangent!

I was born in Bath 1941.
Mad keen on Aircraft from a very young age.
I used to spend days in the early Fifties outside of Colerne, fond memories of watching the action.

One of my close school friends in the fifties, lived in the village, so I got to know his family very well. His father was a civvy "Driver" on the airfield, a Mr Billett" (Apologies for forgetting first name)
He told me many years later that he was involved with Museum, especially the famous view of the aircraft laid out in a Triangle.

Worst part was getting there, the long hike pushing my bike up Bannerdown
hill, but offset by the great fast ride down at the end of the day.

My first air show was BOB at Colerne in 1952, highlight was an "Attacker" from Ford NAS.
I remember as we entered the airfield there was a very large dump of aircraft bits, all manner of "Ali". bits and pieces.

BOB in 1953, highlights... 3 B50 Washingtons. then three circuits by the Brabazon, two low flybys and a final touch and go , this was of course after the actual cancellation of the project. It was a gesture to all the local people from Bristol and Bath who were involved with the building of the "Brab"

Sometime later in the 70s when I started semi pro. aviation photography I organised a couple of private visits to photograph the Museum aircraft prior to it being broken up.

The other memory not actually aircraft, was when I used to spend all day watching the action. It was the continuous sound of "Skylarks" singing as they flew up, which is evoked when I hear the almost rare sound now at airfields of to-day.

Closing the hangar door.


Last edited by Old Photo.Fanatic; 15th Feb 2018 at 16:13.
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Old 15th Feb 2018, 18:32
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Thanks for replies, especially after so long, John Sawyer and Old Photo Fanatic. I have since moved on from Colerne (and the RAF) but will forever be fond of the place.
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