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Battle of Britain 'At Home' days.

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Battle of Britain 'At Home' days.

Old 9th Jun 2013, 11:33
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Battle of Britain 'At Home' days.

Just dug some of my old Air Pictorials out and the July '64 has a list of the 'At Home' days for that year.

Sat 19th Sep 1964

Acklington (Flying Training Command)

Benson (Transport Command)

Biggin Hill (Flying Training Command)

Colerne (Transport Command)

Coltishall (Fighter Command)

Finningley (Bomber Command)

Gaydon (Bomber Command)

St Athan (Technical Training Command)

St Mawgan (Coastal Command)

Ternhill (Flying Training Command)

Waddington (Bomber Command)

How times change.

Incidentally the USAF strength for July '64 (not counting ANG and other reserves) was 850,000 men and 15,000 aircraft.
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 18:12
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Go back ten years and even more stations were open for Battle of Britain "At Home" days. According to a report in The Times in September 1953:

In 1953 more than a million people visited 70 RAF airfields for their Battle of Britain "At Home" days. The total reached 1,149,800 compared with last year's record of 966,000. The biggest crowd was at Biggin Hill, Kent, where there were 160,000 spectators
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 18:49
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I'm sure it won't be long before they are banned by the EU !
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 19:25
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I'm sure it won't be long before they are banned by the EU !
Call me Dave will beat them to it as there won't be any places to visit.
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 19:47
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I went to the one at Gaydon as Pa was stationed there at the time.
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 20:21
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Cosford 1952. I was only five at the time, but that's probably when my lifelong love of machines aeronautical began.
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 21:35
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It would have been around 1955 when I was 'taken' to my first BoB Day. I say taken as a friend said lets go so, aged 12, we jumped on our bikes and without telling our parents cycled off to Hooton Park, it was over 10 miles away.

Once there we joined some hundred or so people expecting an open day. The was an R Aux A F San there but not show. Not to disappoint the crowd they called up on I guess RAF common for any stray aircraft. We experienced a wondful impromptu display with I think a Hunter or Swift but definitely a Shackleton.

There was no fun fair, beer tent, market tat etc, just aircraft. I think that was another reason that I joined up.

Just one or two BoB shows today will do practically nothing for recruitment; mind you what do the RAF need of recruits?
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 22:19
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Always remember going to Gaydon every year through the late 60's. I remember, 2 ANS was there with Varsities at the time, so post V bomber days. The year that particularly sticks in my mind it was a low overcast and we watched a USAF display team taxy out, then back in. The tannoy announced that the weather was out of limits for USAF display flying. This was drowned out as 4 Lightnings launched and proceeded to do a brilliant, flat, display ending with disappearing into the grey clouds above. Magic day, and I suspect drove my choice of career.

Smudge
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 22:50
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If I remember correctly, BoB Open Days were on the weekend following the 15th Sept. So was there at Finningley, Sept 20th 1964, in No 1 Blue, blancoed belt and shiny boots, doing something of supreme importance - like pointing people to the loo.

Would have felt very proud as one of our Vulcans was on display, and I got to go inside them on a daily basis.

Last edited by alisoncc; 9th Jun 2013 at 22:52.
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 00:42
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You should all buy my book "The Royal Air Force At Home" The History of the R.A.F. Air Display from 1920.

The point of the 15th September is that it was the Saturday of the week in which fell the 15th. So if the 15th was on a Sunday, at home day was on the preceding Saturday 14th. Likewise, if it was on a Monday, then the airshows would be held on the following Saturday, 20th September. The most ever, simultaneously, was on 15th September 1945, 100 stations. Here after, the trend was rapidly down but with improving displays. Occasionally, the trend bucked. In 1973, tradition slipped as Finningley was authorized to hold it's on the prior 8th September. The other six being on 15th. This was to avoid Finningley competing with the nearby Doncaster St Ledger. A defining moment, on 18th September 1965, more than 45 Lightnings flew at the 12 at homes that year. Bearing in mind there were only six squadrons and an O.C.U. to squeeze that lot from, it gives an idea of the ability to fit in such extra curricular activities then compared with now!

FB

Last edited by Finningley Boy; 10th Jun 2013 at 00:44.
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 06:56
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I posted this a while back; def worth a watch.

East Anglian Film Archive: About Anglia: Battle of Britain Anniversary Preparations at RAF Coltishall, 1961
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 11:52
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If I remember correctly, BoB Open Days were on the weekend following the 15th Sept. So was there at Finningley, Sept 20th 1964, in No 1 Blue, blancoed belt and shiny boots, doing something of supreme importance - like pointing people to the loo.
Two were memorable for me, one was at Saints in 76 where they used to drag out the ME410, Tony, FW190 etc and run them, indeed i was on one team that did it for a record of the engine sounds that was sold.

I was stuck demonstrating to the public an H.E.I.U with ignitors cracking away for all to see, and can remember some little kid about 10 asking me if it could be used to fire the ejector seats.

The other was at Brize Norton and we took a Puma with a Gimpy mounted in the door, I spent a happy hour letting the kids cock and dry fire the weapon trying to shoot the RAF Policemen that was plodding about.... the kids and families loved it, but the plod seemed perturbed that everytime he turned round there was a Gimpy pointing at him

I know one shouldn't, the other highlight was a group of about 10 nurses appeared and asked if they could have a look around, so in they climbed hitching up their skirts to get in and not doing a lot for my blood pressure, they mentioned they were going to Odious soon and asked for my name.....
About 2 weeks later they all arrived at Odious on an official visit and as they walked into the building they all recognised me and said hi NL... needless to say my ranking in all things female went up in the world when people realised they all knew me

..

Last edited by NutLoose; 10th Jun 2013 at 11:54.
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 12:01
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I can remember a Stirling at one.....................
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 18:39
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I remember doing my 1st ever 'Duty Fitter' at Lindholme, BoB Open Day 1954.

I had passed out of Boy's service still under 17 and 1/2, but I reached that age on BoB day and became an LAC and everyone else in ARSF made sure I was on my 1st weekend duty as soon as it was possible.

A busy day, but immensely enjoyable. The only time I saw a Sunderland do a low pass. I never saw another one in the air.
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 18:51
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And one day you may see another Harry, there are several projects on the go,

One is to build a Stirling Bomber

My Blog


There is also a Westland Whirlwind build on the go in the UK (that's the twin piston fighter version)

Home - Whirlwind Fighter Project


And of course the Whitley Project

Whitley_project : A project to rebuild the Whitley bomber
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 18:52
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Went to the last one at Hendon, by public transport from Eastcote, and parents left at home biting nails - I must have been about 12. Remember a Mosquito flying around with one undercarriage leg up and one down. must have gone elsewhere or sorted it as there was no accident.
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 19:45
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There was a Stirling at Cosford '52, but I was too young to go into it. IIRC it had a ladder for access to the sharp end, and then a walk down to exit nearer the tail. Shame. The things you remember, even at that age. Tigers with the nose painted as tigers, and a Canberra being unsporting and creeping up hidden by the hangars and suddenly it was there, all noise and wonderment. Would love to have flown the Canberra (among others), but it was not to be.
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 20:41
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Odd isn't it, as 12 years olds and we were off as far and as wide as the trusty tredder could carry us there and back in a day, no silly helmets, fluorescent jackets or knee pads.. Brought up in the Country I and my friends used to roam far and wide from the age of about five playing in rivers and climbing trees.... Today you would be lucky to make it out the back garden on your own without parent supervision.... Changes for the better?



..

Last edited by NutLoose; 10th Jun 2013 at 20:45.
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Old 10th Jun 2013, 21:17
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You're right Nutloose. At 12 years old I used to ride around 20 miles round trip to Fradley Aerodrome most Sundays to watch the Birmingham Model Aircraft Club fly their models. Sneak in the back of the old airfield with your packet of sandwiches and plastic bottle of orange squash, aahhhh them was the days.

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Old 11th Jun 2013, 01:05
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Do not forget the size of the 'ordinary' Air Displays.
At RAF Brawdy in darkest Wales, 1987, the visiting aircraft included 4 German Navy Starfighters and 16 F-16s. We ran out of parking space. Rumours of the after-party had spread NATO-wide - we only actually invited 1 Starfighter and 2 F-16s.
The party did not disappoint - I remember almost none of it!
I awoke with:
1 One of my oppos shaking me to announce we had to replace the entire croquet lawn before noon as the PMC was threatening court marshals.
2 The mother of all hangovers
3 A nurse called Sheena
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