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RAF Upwood

Old 3rd Dec 2007, 16:37
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I was there for a few days in mid 1961, when it was the Aero Med Training Centre. We were given some fairly harsh training as were going to a relatively high altitude and had to wear the Taylor Helmet and pressure jerkin. I recall that we were taken from 25k ft to about 50k and taken back down to 25k. Most of us finished up with a strange red spotty rash on our torsos and one or two ruptured their eardrums but didn't know about it until they took their helmets off and had blood running out of an ear. There was also the unalloyed pleasure of wafts of Ruddles based carbon di-backside to jolly things along!
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Old 4th Dec 2007, 19:33
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I did that Aviation Medican Course at Upwood in about 1962 or 63, when I was a Lightning Simulator instructor...I remember we trained for about a week for that explosive decompression...For the training we were strapped into a disarmed bangseat in a classroom and we wore the kit but were pressure fed just neat air. All the stuff inflated and we had to learn to breath against the pressure.

Quite difficult really as in normal breathing the body makes a slight effort with diaphragm etc to INHALE and just relaxes to EXHALE...When you have air or oxygen being fed into your mask with the toggle down to stop leaks, if you RELAX just slightly, a gale rushes into your nose and mouth and inflates your chest to its maximum...Then you have to strain to EXHALE it by blowing strongly to get all that air out again...Slight relax...Gale up nose...Blow strongly and so on and on.

It is quite amusing and slightly frightening as you wait your turn watching the guy in the seat...The pressure comes on and he turns down the mask toggle...His pressure vest and G-suit are inflated, but there is nothing around his neck! His neck inflates out sideways like some sort of bullfrog!

On the big day you pre-breath 100% oxygen for about and hour before carrying your portable supply with you down to the decompression chamber...You have already been wired up with electrodes and as you enter the chamber and strap into the seat, the Doc plugs in all his wires so that he can monitor your physical state from outside.

The chamber is closed and up it goes slowly to about 24,000 feet...You are then given a warning that it is imminent and that your first action must be to turn down that toggle...You are also asked to keep replying to a "Thumbs Up" query with a similar gesture if all is well...You sit and wait...

BANG!...a frightening bloody great bang and the place fills with vapour and you are now at 56,000 feet...Wrestle the toggle down...feel the pressure coming in start to PRESSURE BREATH...just as you have been doing in training all week...stay calm BLOW...slight relax...GALE up nose BLOOOOOW....Thumbs up to doc through the window...BLOOOW! They bring you fairly quickly back down to sea level and you climb out with some relief.

Well, that is the end of the course really and you can go off back to base
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Old 8th Dec 2007, 09:31
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Interesting stories, thank you.
I am keen to learn how many medals were awarded to service men and women stationed at Upwood. I have applied to the RAF Museum for access to their libray. The search will not be easy so any pointers in the right direction would be appreciated .
Regards
EM
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Old 8th Dec 2007, 10:15
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From one who keeps his overdraft in Ramsey:- suggest you also contact the Air Historical Branch. You may find Squadron Form 540s' which are an "operational record" will help so you will need to discover which Units were at Upwood 1939 to 1945 as a first step.

Good Luck, AD
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Old 8th Dec 2007, 13:47
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I did the ground instructional technique (GIT) course at Upwood 68-69 time, I think it was by then some sort of school for Handbrake House branch, certainly not used for aviating anymore. Incidentally the GIT course was one of the best courses I ever did and the doubtful pleasures of the March Cabaret and Gaming Club helped to fill the evenings.
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Old 8th Dec 2007, 13:48
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Thank you for this information. To save me a lot of travelling do you know if this information is available online?
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Old 8th Dec 2007, 14:21
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Epsilon minus, for the units try this link here:

http://www.rafweb.org/Stations/Stations-U.htm

and for some records if the link works try here as well:

http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/NR/...onLogBooks.pdf

and you might find some usefull gen here:

http://www.rafupwood.co.uk/

Last edited by Exrigger; 8th Dec 2007 at 14:22. Reason: fixed typing errors
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Old 9th Dec 2007, 08:39
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I attended a SNCOs Management Course at RAF Upwood in 1974. It was there I learnt all about time & motion and critical path analysis during Lightning Brake Chute packing exercises and the like at Little Snoring. Happy days - rudely ended by a Unit recall for Operation Agila, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
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Old 9th Dec 2007, 08:53
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SNCOs Management Course at RAF Upwood
I too attended this course in '70. I thought it was an exellent course, lessons learnt stood me in good stead a few years later in civvy street.

Last edited by goudie; 9th Dec 2007 at 13:09.
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Old 30th Dec 2007, 15:05
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What became of the swimming pool? was it filled in?
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Old 30th Dec 2007, 15:31
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what is upwood used for now? does anyone own it? some recent pictures show quite a few cars parked there???
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Old 30th Dec 2007, 17:20
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Were RAF airfield buildings a 'job lot' - they look very similar to current Guardroom and SHQ at EGQL.
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Old 30th Dec 2007, 17:40
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Got to agree, the "GIT" course in 1970 was the best course I did in the RAF. In the intro talk, we were told that they took the best bits out of a 3 year teacher training course and expanded them to fill two weeks. My wife (ex Ripon TC) was not amused.
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Old 27th Jan 2008, 10:38
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Upwood

It was, in fact, the Secretarial Training School until it moved to Cranwell in 1976. The buildings are a 'job lot'. The station was built as part of the 1934 expansion scheme to a generic design by Lutyens, approved by the Council for the Preservation of Rural England and the Arts Council. The give-away is the Officers' Mess frontage and the C type hangars.
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Old 28th Jan 2008, 07:58
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Lutyens

The design and build of these buildings is extremely robust and renovation would not be difficult. The architecture as aesthetically pleasing but it is the history attached to them, especially the Officers Mess, that could create a business case for preservation and as such unlock local government safes. My time is limited so research is non exestant at the moment.
As an operational station during WW2 there was two squadrons of Lancasters and one squadron of Mosquitos (path finders). I would wager that more than a few medals for bravery were earned by aircrew during thoses years, many of whom would have lived in the OM.
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Old 28th Jan 2008, 08:11
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Originally Posted by Epsilon minus View Post
As an operational station during WW2 there was two squadrons of Lancasters and one squadron of Mosquitos (path finders). I would wager that more than a few medals for bravery were earned by aircrew during thoses years, many of whom would have lived in the OM.
Possibly the highest awards at Upwood were awarded to men who had no connection with the Officers Mess, being part of the Royal Air Force, that is usually kept hidden and not talked about in public, namely the Erks.

On the 12 March 1940 at approximately 1000 hours there was an accident involving two Blenheims.

The two aircraft L6596 and L8845 collided just after becoming airborne and finished up a short distance apart, both caught fire. L6596 fire was confined to the engine nacelles and the occupants were able to escape from their aircraft.

The Pilot and sole occupant of L8845 was rendered unconscious. LAC Champion and AC1 Frost were the first to arrive at the scene. AC1 Frost searched for the wireless operator not knowing the pilot was the only occupant of the aircraft.

Once AC1 Frost had completed his search for the wireless operator the aircraft was well alight. Suffering from the effect of the fumes, AC1 Frost joined LAC Campion in rescuing the pilot which they did with the aid of a fire-proof blanket. The cockpit by this time was surrounded by flames and in imminent danger of the main petrol tanks exploding. After rescuing the pilot, a short time afterwards the petrol tanks did explode and the whole aircraft was rapidly burnt out. The pilot unfortunately died from his injuries. Wing Commander A. Leach (Commanding Officer, No. 90 Squadron) and Flight Lieutenant D. R. Biggs were withnesses of the rescue. In view that both of these airmen were not members of the flying crew of either aircraft, it is considered that the award for the Air Force Medal might not be appropriate. AC1 Frost and LAC Campion was recommend for either the Medal of the Order of the British Empire or the Empire Gallantry Medal.

L8845 was under the command of Sgt Alphonse Roger Hermels 517823 of 35 Squadron while an unidentified Mark 1 Blenheim of 90 Squadron was under command of Sgt Blanks. Sgt Blanks was uninjured in the accident but Sgt Hermels had severe back injuries and was trapped in his cockpit. Hermels died later that day from his injuries.
L.A.C. Campion and A.C.1 Frost was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal, which was automatically exchanged for the George Cross by the terms of the institution of that award in September 1940. The London Gazette of 5th July, 1940
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Old 28th Jan 2008, 08:40
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http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/...ght=raf+upwood
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Old 28th Jan 2008, 08:51
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Possibly the highest awards at Upwood were awarded to men who had no connection with the Officers Mess
This implies that you have a list of medal earners. Would you please share with us?
EM
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Old 28th Jan 2008, 12:04
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EM, the information was gained from http://www.rafupwood.co.uk/
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Old 28th Jan 2008, 12:46
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During latter stages of WW2, 156 Sqn Lancs PFF and 139 Sqn Mossies were stationed there. There's a stone memorial on the roadside near an entrance to the camp. There is a company (Turbine something or other) now utilising some of the hangars - they overhaul gas turbines. I drove in and had a snoop around a while ago. On youtube there's an 8 mins film called I think 'Lanc mainforce take off' It features genuine WW2 colour footage of lancs, some of it shot at Upwood and I think tother station is probably Hemswell in Lincs........
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