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Ex RAF Wing Commander cleared of stealing nameplate

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Ex RAF Wing Commander cleared of stealing nameplate

Old 7th Aug 2021, 13:21
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Ex RAF Wing Commander cleared of stealing nameplate

I would be interested in any comments, he still took it, good intentions or not, and another shocking state of the RAF losing people’s personal possessions worth a considerable sum. It reminds me of Benson losing the PR Spit pilots irreplaceable photos etc.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crim...s-b949460.html

Last edited by NutLoose; 7th Aug 2021 at 13:35.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 13:39
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My civilian take is this:: relics of historical interest frequently disappear into skips, unloved, unvalued, abandoned by the owner, be it the RAF or an individual. The issue becomes cloudy if the rescuer sells it on.

When a certain RAF HQ closed permanently, the RAF moved out, and contractors were due to develop the buildings and site for housing..

There was a lot of RAF memorabilia abandoned, and a slack handful of MoD civilians remained on site for a month or two. Most of the civilians couldn't give a stuff about historical but apparently valueless artefacts. Some, with long RAF association, gave the material a home.

And yes.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 13:48
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Having been on the periphery of a fairly rapid squadron rundown/disbandment and seen that due to lack of time/personnel some items were clearly destined for the skip before the last one out of the door turned the lights out I’m minded to agree with langleybastion….




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Old 7th Aug 2021, 14:05
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I forgot to add, I do feel justice was served and resulted in the correct outcome, the selling it on though as mentioned is the cloudy area.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 14:41
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The whole country was aware that it was missing.
Why did he not come forward at that time?

There was much distrust and finger-pointing; certain people got blamed for stealing it, and there were years of bitterness over this.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 14:59
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I recently wrote about the closure of Laarbruch and that a farmer bought a steel cabinet at an auction for a piffling amount (lets say less than DM100) and when he open ended it found a Harrier PFCU test set that was especially developed and purchased by some numpty for circa £6m. It was never used in anger.
While this item was neither stolen or historic, and bearing in mind that Harriers were then still a massive fighting force and arm of the UK’s defences, it demonstrates the typical lack of control (and care) of supposedly expensive articles religiously held on heavily scrutinised inventories but, in the end, discarded as if they were Christmas tinsel.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 17:14
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Presumably if it had been 'found' by an airman and sold on, it would have been a case of stealing by finding. As it was the PMC who 'found' it, it wasn't...
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 17:24
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I believe I know the Wing Cdr and can verify he is a very fine chap. I'm glad he was acquitted, I've got a wave guide from an air defence radar given to me by the techies when it was broken up....I think I'll leave it in the loft.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 18:20
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I know of a Squadron's wartime operational record book that had to be rescued from a skip because the squadron boss didn't want it taking up room in his registry.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 18:38
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Originally Posted by hec7or View Post
I believe I know the Wing Cdr and can verify he is a very fine chap. I'm glad he was acquitted, I've got a wave guide from an air defence radar given to me by the techies when it was broken up....I think I'll leave it in the loft.
I too remember him, as a good man and fine officer
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 21:27
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Originally Posted by jolihokistix View Post
The whole country was aware that it was missing.
Why did he not come forward at that time?

There was much distrust and finger-pointing; certain people got blamed for stealing it, and there were years of bitterness over this.
A lot changed between 99 and 05, most notably HQ 11/18Gp closed and none of the people who could have shed light would have still been at BP. I was there in 99, and a member of the Mess Committee, first I’ve heard about it going missing. One of the problems of places like that is that they’re forever receiving pieces that are of great value to the individual but of relatively little interest to the service. As for Phil Angus, I’ve worked for him and with him, one of the finest officers I’ve known.
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Old 8th Aug 2021, 08:05
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But he could have offered the nameplate to the RAF Museum or the National Railway Museum, instead of flogging it for personal gain….

If he did and they didn’t want it, fair enough. I still have one of the original copies of a historical Spitfire flight, on 16mm film, which I rescued from a rubbish bin over twenty years ago. I offered it to both the RAF Museum and the Imperial War Museum. Neither showed an interest in having it.
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Old 8th Aug 2021, 09:01
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If you are looking for a possible real scandal, can I point you towards the "Central Repository". This was at 7MU Quedgley and thence at Stafford and now at Donington.

There have been a number of concerns that the hoard of stuff is not being controlled or properly looked after. It is also said that Property Books (the non public version of an inventory) are not being reconciled with what is physically held.

The RAF seems unconcerned at an official level.

I don't know how true the concerns are - perhaps a couple of guys/gals on holding postings could take a sample?

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Old 8th Aug 2021, 10:05
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There's no interest in "old stuff" in the RAF or anywhere else because it doesn't bring any professional benefit to those in charge

The occasional concerned person who saves historical records and items is thought to be "eccentric" if not crazy. It's only years later that they gain any kudos - and that's from historians, not the outfits where the items came from.

But in this case railway nameplates are well known to be valuable - deciding yourself to "save" it and then selling it on is a definite no-no IMHO
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Old 8th Aug 2021, 10:35
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If the wg cdr is telling the truth then his understanding of ownership of Mess property was deficient to the point of negligence for a PMC. And when offered £12k for something he'd 'borrowed', did he not feel under any sort of obligation to go back and check that he was actually entitled to sell it? That omission alone is damning, irrespective of prior reputation.
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Old 8th Aug 2021, 11:57
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OT. The sheer volume of items in Mess Silver Stores was staggering. Back in the early 70s, at Watton, the PMC and I (Mess Sec) did a detailed review of the contents that were costing our small Mess a fortune to insure. Two 16th c. Pewter Plates, anyone? After discussion with the appropriate authorities, a few historic items were sent to 7MU … and permission given for the excess items to be auctioned to Mess members. We were told that 7MU was bulging at the seams with unwanted Mess silver.
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Old 8th Aug 2021, 14:05
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RAF Rheindahlen Mess silver was auctioned to members before the forced merger with the pongoes. Seems sensible. We gave some lovely stuff good homes, and the bidding was sharp. Not sure where the money went though ....................... !
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Old 9th Aug 2021, 06:09
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Langley,

Unless otherwise agreed, the money should have gone to The Central Fund, which was source of finance for non public projects.

The comments above regarding the 'take on history', extends to the retention of many important documents, their examination and their passing to the National Archives. There is a long and complicated story but, of course, with most things done by email, there is little enthusiasm for any real assessment as to what should be retained. In my view the review process should be done by volunteers, with some knowledge of the RAF and its history. These people would agree what to retain and from a basis of experience.
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Old 9th Aug 2021, 07:01
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Was given a couple of dusty old books that a civilian pilot was going to throw out and who thought he'd check with me (as a history nerd) if I wanted them first - turned out to be a pair of logbooks to a KIA Blenheim/Beaufighter pilot and DFC winner who served on ops pretty much constantly from 1941-3, Malta Pedestal, Bay of Biscay, Norway, Atlantic etc, heaps of missions, various Luftwaffe aircraft shot down etc etc. I couldn't believe that he was going to bin them and many years later I was contacted by the pilots very elderly son who was only 4 when his dad was killed, bit of a wrench but I gave them back to the rightful owner (after checking his credentials).

I suspect the Wg Cdr knew the nameplate was worth something, but also knew it would probably end up in a skip/box lost for ever if he didn't save it. Bit cheeky but there you go, at least he saved it and it is back in the public domain again.
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Old 9th Aug 2021, 07:40
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A huge section of brass plate taking pride of place, dominating the front arrival area of Bentley Priory that could not be lifted or moved by one person, as I remember, and wouldn't fit into a car or any ordinary skip.
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