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Remember Silloth Homer?

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Remember Silloth Homer?

Old 27th Jan 2013, 07:34
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Remember Silloth Homer?

One of 2 ANS cross country exercises out of Thorney Island in the mid fifties would be up the right hand side of UK and down the left. Normal Nav course sizes meant that we had a string of 6 Varsities each time. In those glorious times of NCO crews, we had four SNCO Pilots - two of them had the surname of Pratt. One of them had a radio call sign of 'Sugar Mike Two Five'.
The WRAF operator of Silloth Homer in the Cumbrian region had the most beautiful dulcet tones and one would search for her voice - and when heard; ask for a true bearing (for which you had to transmit for her to get the resultant answer).
Our position was normally in the centre of the stream and we could normally hear all of the evenining's prank. SM25 would ask for a true bearing in an ultra strong Yorkshire accent 'SILLOTH HOMER, SILLOTH HOMER THIS IS SUGAR MIKE 25 SUGAR MIKE 25 TRANSMITTING FOR TRUE BEARING ONE TWO...............and when he transmitted for the bearing; we would press transmit and go "bleh blah blurh blah" - the lass was normally unable the get the required bearing.
Cue for sniggering from all.
Then one night (we had our midstream position), we checked in with Silloth and waited for the evening entertainment. On hearing "SILLOTH HOMER THIS IS SUGAR MIKE 25 etc. The other five cockpit waited with fingers on button!
When SM25 reached the transmission for bearing we waited for the 'ONE' and pressed the buttons - Blah blah etc.
The beautiful voice came back with "SM25, this is Silloth Homer, I regret I am unable to get a good bearing on your transmission and must advise we have had the same problem with that callsign.

Back came - "Silloth Homer, Silloth Homer this is Sugar Mike 25. Now don't worry thesel' Lass, there's some c#^ts up here f*&^%g me about>"
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 17:29
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Ah, yes, the 'two Pratts'!! I seem to recall that they were related (cousins??) One of them, Ollie, was the skipper of a Varsity which lost both engines over Dartmoor or Exmoor, on a night X-country.. He ordered everybody out and as he left, he remembered that he had left a toolkit under his seat. The remainder of the crew said they could hear him grumbling about it all way down! The aircraft did a rather neat arrival in a moorland stream - fuselage lined up straight down the water with the engines on each bank.
The Siggie on that aircraft had an 'interesting' departure. The exit was a panel in the outside skin with a further folding panel in the internal floor. The internal panel was reluctant to move and said Siggie applied extra force which was successful but reaction caused him to fall into the space revealed. He hadn't, at that time, clipped on his chute pack. Having done so, he then grabbed the 'D' handle which opened the outer panel and, again applied some serious effort and the panel released quite sharply and he exited involuntarily!
Looking in my logbook, I see that I flew with both of them in March '55 - both Sgts and differentiated as Pratt and Pratt E A. Don't know which was which.
... and Silloth Homer!!!! That voice had an effect on young 'just out of nappies' aircrew which is best not described on an open forum - quite delicious!

Last edited by Cornish Jack; 27th Jan 2013 at 17:36.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 21:26
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Silloth is still standing just, took some pics of the old guardroom at Christmas
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 07:41
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Silloth "used" for True Bearings (in spite of Gee quick fixing') by Canberra OCU (Bassingbourn) crews regularly in the mid to late 50s', if only to hear those dulcet tones. Allegedly the quality the exterior view' did not quite match the quality of the voice, by those who ventured that way "making enquiries" whilst on leave.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 16:54
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"most beautiful dulcet tones"

I always believed the lady had a soft spot for us baby u/t navs.
Call station A for a true bearing (transfer bearing 2 mins up track)
Call station B for a true bearing (plot bearing) and then that helpful voice "Juliet Papa your true bearing from Silloth on your transmission to "B" was 085". Thank you saved 4 minutes work! Of course there was the downside if she wasn't on shift one had to do the fix correctly without getting your aural fix.
Slightly off topic when asking one of our veritable NCO captains to get a bearing from Culdrose the reply was "Nay lad use St Mary's the Airforce has to pay 2/6d for a civy bearing so when down here help the Scillies exchequer." Can anyone confirm this cost?
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 16:45
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Pom Pax - quite possible. As a native, it is only natural that we should fleece the visitors, if possible
In a similar vein, in the 50s, Plymouth Roborough had a D/F facility but it required patience - the D/F hut was (apparently) some distance from the Tower and if a QTE was asked for, the duty chap had to hop on his bike and operate from there! By the time you got the result you had probably lost interest - or gone out of range!
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Old 31st Jan 2013, 06:10
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Another Time

It was Ollie Pratt. There were two NCO Pratts - initials O.L. and D.E, At the time Ollie was F.Sgt.

The voice from Silloth was beyond belief at 10,000ft in the dark. We heard the stories from those that had visited Silloth with various excuses and the various descriptions.

But you REALLY had to hear it in the dark at height (sometimes 21,00) and that was when the voice was really real.

I am sure that on that last run; everyone heard all the next frequencies being selected at the same time and Ollie's ghostly voice muttering with a great grin - "Got thee!! tha boogers!

Just wanted to keep the memory alive - if only for a little while

JohnB
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