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V-Force dispersal query

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V-Force dispersal query

Old 15th Feb 2007, 16:04
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Tarrant Rushton

I joined FRL in 1966 and, although the airfield was in regular use by their Meteors and Canberras, it was no longer in use as a diversion for V- bombers. It had been used by Valiants well before then.

I imagine that Sir Alan Cobham was very keen to maintain this function for Tarrant as it would have helped him win the famous Critchel Down case which led to Tarrant being restored to agricultural use after 1970. As the land was no longer being used for the "defence of the realm", Lord Cranborne won it back.
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Old 15th Feb 2007, 22:48
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting that you can still see the pan location at Tarrant Rushton in the overhead, and in spite of all the re-development for the BL test tracks, you can still see them at Gaydon as well.
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Old 15th Feb 2007, 23:26
  #43 (permalink)  
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We're up to ten Class 1s and perhaps as many as 39 V-Bomber dispersal airfields......

So much for 36 including the Class 1s.
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Old 16th Feb 2007, 11:19
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Oh dear - just when you think things are starting to make sense, somebody comes along and shoots-down some more "facts" !
I had foolishly assumed that Humphrey's listing of dispersals was correct but to be fair I hadn't bothered to check, even though I'd already spotted some mistakes in his book. Despite that book being an excellent publication, it still seems to suffer from the odd glitch and he also has a strange habit of contradicting himself in parts.
The dispersal list is interesting and I hadn't noticed that Shawbury wasn't mentioned, even though the dispersal pan is still there to this day. It suggests that (once again) everything you ever thought you knew, is wrong! Aaargh!
If anyone can add any more definitive info on this subject, please do, as it would be nice to clear-up this saga before I finish my book
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Old 16th Feb 2007, 11:35
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Given it's relatively mahoosive runway was Stornoway ever an option?
 
Old 16th Feb 2007, 11:45
  #46 (permalink)  
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Indeed, Tim.

It's not even as if one could assume that there is a core list of airfields (as listed by Wynn) that were officially V-Force dispersals, with others that happened to be able to host them.

That list of his is wrong from top to bottom - omitting Marham from the Class Ones, giving too few four aircraft dispersal airfields, and missing others entirely, while including some (Stansted, for example, and perhaps Bruntingthorpe) which don't seem to have been used at all.
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Old 16th Feb 2007, 11:48
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And what about Luqa and Akrotiri, although Luqa had no ORP as such the Sunspot dispersal was used as an FOB and for QRA exercises.
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Old 16th Feb 2007, 11:56
  #48 (permalink)  
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What indeed?

Even before the Akrotiri Vulcan wing, surely there were plans to use some of those NEAF/MEAF bases?

Gib, El Adem, Hal Far, Luqa, Akrotiri, Muharrag, Masirah.....
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Old 16th Feb 2007, 19:06
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Was Stornoway not extended for the F3 as an FOB for 11 Sqn?

Why does Cranwell have a bomber dispersal on the east side near Rauceby Lane? Maybe the Tutors operate off it now?
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Old 16th Feb 2007, 19:17
  #50 (permalink)  
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I think Cranwell was a Valiant dispersal. We were there in 1966 for Exercise Unison. We used the 'old' dispersal buildings and on the wall was a box, unplugged, that looked like the standard 'bomber' box connected to the bunker at High Wycombe.

We plugged it in.

It obligingly went 'bleep' and continued to do so every 30 seconds as it sent out its comms security check.
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Old 16th Feb 2007, 22:03
  #51 (permalink)  
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Could somebody settle a long-standing query please? Was Porto Santo a dispersal too? It seems to have the right ORP areas.
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Old 16th Feb 2007, 22:25
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Tim McC - have I missed something? What's the book that you're writing?
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Old 17th Feb 2007, 08:00
  #53 (permalink)  
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Bedford was a 4 A/C dispersal the pans are at the Eastern end of 27.

The local pub (the Fox) closed not long after the last dispersal

Now sadly defunct

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Old 17th Feb 2007, 11:27
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Ah Bedford, where the FS (D*** G*****) would always say (when stopped at the back gate) "No one get off the bus" as it was always raining we had no intention of getting off.

Also remember the 'Honey Wagon' would always turn up and empty the bogs at lunch time, the smell of Racasan, Sh1t, and crap food.

Pity about the fox though, IIRC rumour has it that the landlord would always ring the sqn up to warn us of a no notice exercise, due to MOD having to warn him to stock up on beer, due to a previous det drinking the pub dry and upsetting the locals.
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Old 17th Feb 2007, 12:18
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Bedford

Does anyone recall the "Bedford Incident"? It was 1971 I think. At the culmination of a force dispersal exercise the scramble message contained "exempt Bedford". Naturally no one thought anything of it, went off to fly the briefed sortie and recover to base. A couple of days later I was in the Ops room at Waddington when the bomber box bleeped. I thought it was going to be a routine broadcast; but no; it was the Bomber Controller bringing Bedford up to RS05. This was shortly after Horsley became AOC 1Gp and apparently had noticed that the requirement was to maintain dispersed operations for 28 days. He decided that the capability should be exercised and the Bedford crews drew the short straw. At the time Bedford was a Scampton dispersal.

YS
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Old 17th Feb 2007, 15:04
  #56 (permalink)  
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Pity about the fox though, IIRC rumour has it that the landlord would always ring the sqn up to warn us of a no notice exercise, due to MOD having to warn him to stock up on beer, due to a previous det drinking the pub dry and upsetting the locals.
The locals certainly knew when "them bloody noisey things" were comming

I seem to remember all hell letting loose locally after Bedford scrambled at about 0300 one day
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Old 17th Feb 2007, 17:31
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I think Cranwell was a Valiant dispersal. We were there in 1966 for Exercise Unison. We used the 'old' dispersal buildings and on the wall was a box, unplugged, that looked like the standard 'bomber' box connected to the bunker at High Wycombe.
In the mid 70's Cranwell was a planned dispersal airfield for a USAF detachment. IIRC the op order called for support of up to 6 x F4s. I seem to remember that this task was cancelled before 1980.

YS
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Old 17th Feb 2007, 18:09
  #58 (permalink)  
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Even before the Akrotiri Vulcan wing, surely there were plans to use some of those NEAF/MEAF bases?

Gib, El Adem, Hal Far, Luqa, Akrotiri, Muharrag, Masirah.....
Gibraltar was 'too difficult' and not used routinely by the V-force.
El Adem was a staging posts and also an FOL for use on the El Adem and Tarhuna ranges. It was too far forward to use as an operational base.
Hal Far was Navy
Takali had closed
Safi was an MU
Luqa was a NATO/CENTO base and used by up to 16 V-bombers. Initially Valiants, then Vulcan Mk 1 from the Waddington Wing and later the Mk 2. It was used, as was El Adem, for the Libyan ranges. It was too close to UK to be useful as a staging post.
Akrotiri was used as a base for the Libyan Ranges. It was too far forward for operational use by the V-force who would have overloaded the base if it had filled up with shorter range aircraft.
Nicosia had been used before Akrotiri opened.
Muharraq was a staging post.
Masiah was a CENTO dispersal for Vulcans from Akrotiri.
Mashad was a CENTO disperal
Merhabad was a CENTO dispersal
Peshaw was a CENTO dispersal
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Old 17th Feb 2007, 19:19
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I don't know if it has already been mentioned but dispersal airfields are shown in a book ADVERTISING..He mentions on page 84 that there were 26 dispersals plus the ten main bases.ORP were found on all but six of them.

I did a book on the same subject (ADVERTISING) a good few years after that old Brookes book. Although it was by no means perfect, I think it was rather better, but the saga of the dispersal airfields is one which has never been questioned until now. Clearly, the list in Humphrey's book isn't accurate and I should have bothered to check this sooner (I foolishly assumed it was correct, even though other snippets in the book are also patently wrong).
I guess the only way we might get something close to a definitive list would be if any former crews can specifically name any airfields and whether they hosted two or four aircraft, and whether they were Valiants, Vulcans or Victors. We might just be able to clarify the situation once and for all? (boy, am I an optimist!).
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Old 17th Feb 2007, 19:22
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Tim McC - have I missed something? What's the book that you're writing?

A new and very large book on the Vulcan. It will hopefully be the "last word" on the subject although I've long since accepted that no book is ever perfect! I believe some other books are also in the pipeline but they ain't gonna be as big as the one I'm doing - it could double as a door stop!

So, any anecdotes, photographs, information... anything at all... all contributions gratefully received!
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