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Memories of RAFG

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Memories of RAFG

Old 14th Nov 2017, 19:20
  #161 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: UK
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In the mess at Brüggen, Sunday lunchtime just starting my second pint of Heini, mate says ‘could you do me a favour’?
The favour was to drive him to Rotterdam Europort in his VW and drop him off (his wife was in the UK with the other car) and drive the VW back to Brüggen. No problem.
We got to Europort as night was falling, filled it up from the jerry can and I then experienced my first drive in a beetle. There was a strong crosswind and this ancient beetle had a six volt electrical system. I drove on lights like sidelights in this strong wind (it was a bit like steering a boat) and my technique was to get behind a truck and stay there line astern! Two hours later I got back to base.
Never again !
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 09:32
  #162 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Beetles

I bought a second-hand (third, fourth?) 1961 1200cc Beetle from Willi Otten's garage near Wildenrath. The first trip was exciting. The accelerator linkage went over-centre and it stuck at full throttle. I was late for a briefing and I shot through the Wildenrath gate past a wide-eyed guard who just raised the barrier in time to stop me being decapitated. Once that little problem had been solved, it was utterly reliable, the 6-volt battery starting it first time even when it was completely encased in rain-ice.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 11:19
  #163 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Boulevard of Broken Dreams
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Diversity

In this modern world we live in, the word 'diversity' seems to be oft quoted and very en vogue... which reminds me of an occasion when based at Laarbruch.

One Sunday evening after dinner, 4 of us trudged over from the Mess to the Astra cinema to watch something (can't remember now) and whilst walking over it dawned on me that one of us was RAF, another Army (220 Sigs), another Royal Navy (stacker on exchange) and me a civvy Metman!

'Diversity' - nothing new under the sun!
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 13:05
  #164 (permalink)  
 
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Royal Navy (stacker on exchange)
Surprised that happened, I always struggled to get them to exchange anything...
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 13:17
  #165 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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[QUOTE=NutLoose;9957748]Surprised that happened, I always struggled to get them to exchange anything... [/QUOT

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Old 15th Nov 2017, 13:37
  #166 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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On detachment to Sylt my mates and I, after a few beers, decided to go for a swim. Strolling along the beach we came across a sign which said something about ' no clothes to be worn past this sign'. Aha we said, the nudist beach! With the beers egging us on we took off our trunks and with expectations of nubile maidens dashing over the dunes to ravish us we carried on strolling. Nubile maidens never showed up just a few fat old fraus who, thankfully, took no interest in us whatsoever
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 13:47
  #167 (permalink)  
 
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"On August 20, 1968, the Soviet Union led Warsaw Pact troops in an invasion of Czechoslovakia to crack down on reformist trends in Prague"..

As Max Boyce used to say "I was there!"

I relate this in the full knowledge that memory is less than perfect, but I insist that the essentials are correct.

At Gutersloh we had 19 sqdn Lightnings on QRA/ Battle Flight [I don't think 92 had arrived from Wildenrath or Geilers at that time], plus 2 and 4 sqdns with Hunters, and a chopper unit. On the night of 19/20 August I was the night duty forecaster, with one assistant, in the ground floor Met Office under the tower and beside Ops. There was no flying, no weather, and I assume that the few duty personnel around were in their sacks or at least thinking about it. This probably included my observer, because we could snatch 40 winks in turn between about 2300 and 0100.

In burst an American.
"The bastards have invaded Czecho!"
In burst another American "why aren't you guys flying!"

Calm down dear, and tell me about it.

"The Pact has invaded .......... our SOPs are to land at the nearest NATO base, get cracking!"

There was indeed a large US chopper parked outside the window.

Now Gutersloh is really rather near to Czecho, so that was quite exciting.

So I did something I had never done before [or since], and rang the Staish, put the US Captain on the phone to him, woke the observer, ran off umpteen copies of the forecast for the Pact countries and awaited the hooter. Within minutes we were a tad busy, as the sh1t hit the fan.

When I got home my wife mentioned something about "yet another Taceval". Little did she know she was nearly put on a coach to Calais.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 15:37
  #168 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Goudie - I remember it well. We had a hiring in Westerland. On the second day there,
as a family we went to sit on the sand dunes. I am chatting with my brother when a local chap came running past onto the beach, stripped off, did some exercises and then went for a swim. Mum's face was a picture!
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 16:21
  #169 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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RAF Gutersloh Officers' Mess, Annual Reception (not allowed to call it the Battle of Britain Reception!).

Staish is worried about how to ensure that the German guests are linked up with their nominated hosts, and devises a 'cunning plan'. At the end of the reception line is a Rock officer with a loud booming voice. He would pick the guest up and the end of the line, walk them a few steps to the Ante Room door, announce their names in his loud voice, and the host would come smartly across the room to greet his guest and escort them to his circle. What could possibly go wrong?

Initially, it worked a treat. 'Ladies and Gentlemen, Herr Doctor and Frau Gruber'. Then in came the Gutersloh Stadt Chief of Police, one Friedrich Dryer. Rock picks him up, walks to the door, and announces 'Ladies and Gentlemen, Herr Dryer!' Immediate laughter from all the Brits in the room, followed by an angry 'Vie are they laffink at my name?' Oops.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 17:10
  #170 (permalink)  
 
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Clutch airfields.

I'm aware the post-war RAF built 5 of them, Laarbruch, Brüggen, Wildenrath, Nörvenich, and Geilenkirchen. That must have been enormously expensive to build, so why the short tenure at Nörvenich and Geilenkirchen?

I'm particularly interested in the last two. Anyone old enough to have served there when they were RAF stations? I imagine E3 people will have served at Geilenkirchen, but I'm curious as to why 40% of the clutch airfields were disposed of. They must have been almost brand new.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 17:30
  #171 (permalink)  
 
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Friends wedding reception held at his new German wife's parents, Friends parents were dyed in the wool middle England types experiencing their first trip abroad... Mother comes over to me and while eating asks me what it is.... Basically raw mince I reply... Much gagging and napkin filling ensues and off she goes, slightly later on she returns and is tucking in to a Frik, this is lovely she says and I checked this time, it's cooked...... What is it she asks..... Horse meat I reply.... Gagging and napkin filling repeated, I wasn't asked again.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 17:31
  #172 (permalink)  
 
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Geilen became NATO so wasn't really wasted, perhaps they paid for it.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 18:01
  #173 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
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I think the clutch stations were built and paid for by the Germans as part of the wartime reparations.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 18:06
  #174 (permalink)  
ICM
 
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Although I believe that construction of the Clutch airfields preceded Germany's joining NATO, they would almost certainly have been financed through the very early 'Slices' of what was then the NATO Infrastructure Programme - ie by cost sharing amongst the NATO Members of the time. I am unclear as to how Germany stood legally as "Host Nation" before becoming a NATO ally in 1955 but, on joining, it took on a substantial share of all Infra costs, largely on account of the number of facilities seen as being militarily required there.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 18:34
  #175 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Geilen became NATO so wasn't really wasted, perhaps they paid for it.
It was in Luftwaffe hands between 1968 and 1980 before becoming NATO.

Still, if the Germans and or other nations shared the costs for these stations, then nothing lost really, on the financial front.

I was just aware (Lord knows how) that Nörvenich in particular, but also Geilenkirchen had been newly built for the RAF and not kept very long.

Beyond the costs, why would those 5 new stations have been reduced to 3? I don't believe there was a threat reduction. Too far to the rear? Maybe have to give up the more forward Gütersloh to keep one of the two released clutch stations?

One more question - the place that became Ayrshire South Park, a large materiel park in Mönchengladbach, had been an airfield in the war. Anyone know why it wasn't retained as such, rather than building new?

I spent a lot of time in that area, and knew it quite well. I wish I'd been a bit more interested in history back then when I had access and opportunity to look around.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 19:17
  #176 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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The clutch airfields were built by the Airfield Construction Branch, then based at Wellesbourne Mountford
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 19:39
  #177 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Halfway through a second tour at Wildenrath 20Sqn disbanded and off we went to Gutersloh with 3 Sqn. Gutersloh! Oh no, middle of nowhere, almost East Germany. No more Roermond, no more Venlo and no more weekend picnics in the Ardennes. But once the station realized the HF was there to stay and we got used to operating from a line hut built for QRA Lightnings things settled down and I came to realize that Gut was the best kept secret; I loved it, the family loved it. The clutch - pah. We were fortunate to have another tour there, without doubt the best time of my career, both professionally and personally.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 19:52
  #178 (permalink)  
 
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@ Slow Biker ... that reinforces what I always thought. Get on the RAFG circuit and you're laughing. Breaking into it was an entirely different subject!! I've known guys who have done 2/3/4 tours there.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 19:59
  #179 (permalink)  
 
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Roermond, coming out of the bars and Cloggies launching firework rockets down the street at us shouting "ahhh Englishers... Exocet!!..."
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 20:15
  #180 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Roadster280 (#170),
..."Nörvenich and Geilenkirchen? .... I'm particularly interested in the last two. Anyone old enough to have served there when they were RAF stations?"...
ATC at Geilenkirchen 1960-62. We had 3 Sqn (Canberras) and 11 Sqn (Javelins) on the field. Family lived for a short time in "digs" in Heerlen (Holland), then in quarters in the Volkspark (Cologne) and finally on the station.

My story there starts on "Pilot's Brevet" Thread, page 223, #4447.

Danny42C

Last edited by Danny42C; 15th Nov 2017 at 20:18. Reason: Make myself clear
 

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