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616 Gliding School-RAF Henlow,1974

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616 Gliding School-RAF Henlow,1974

Old 15th Nov 2007, 12:30
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Location: Nirvana..HAHA..just kidding but,if you can tell me where it is!
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616 Gliding School-RAF Henlow,1974

Anybody about from that era?
Dave Walker,Rex Harding, George Huntley.
When I find my old logbook I will come up with some more names.
Home of my handle!
Yaw String.
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Old 18th Nov 2007, 12:46
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I did my gliding proficiency as a spotty Air Cadet in June 1974 and it was George Huntley who sent me solo.

George ran his own coach company in Luton called Huntley Coaches. I seem to remember they were not the most modern of coaches!
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Old 21st Nov 2007, 13:44
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When i was there the 'older' staff members were:

Alan Tapsell
Scott Hansen
Alex Tziros
Dick Bowyer
peter? Harborne (forgot his first name ) - Vulcan pilot! obviously moved onto the 4th V-bomber, the vigilant

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Old 16th Dec 2008, 09:40
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I was on 616VGS from 1981 to 1993 Venture era and first on the Vigilant conversion. The school had an excellent 50th anniversary dinner this June.
George Huntley my CO died a few years ago,and also Alan Babbage. Roger MorrisRoe is now CFI of Nene Valley Gliding Club at Upwood where Alan Wyse also flies. Russ Way was the adjutant.
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Old 16th Dec 2008, 10:52
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Anybody got some photos to post? I'd love to see some from the wooden days. Perhaps you recognise my 'handle'.
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 01:11
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Some of us go back even further, to the beginning of 616 in 1958 through the 60's.
Anyone remember:

Peter Bullivant (the first CO and a real gentleman)
John Allan (later a Concorde FTO)
Tom Huntley (George's elder brother)
Dave Braham
Tom Williams
Stan Easton (who later died in a tug/glider crash)
Peter Kirk
Peter Valentine
John Bennett
Dennis Watkins (later the CO)
Otto Cerney (who was in Colditz and worked on the escape glider there)
Roy Brown
Alan Pond
Peter Foreman
Stuart Matthews (later a very senior guy at Fokker Aircraft)
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Old 1st Jan 2011, 19:13
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Thread Starter
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Location: Nirvana..HAHA..just kidding but,if you can tell me where it is!
Posts: 350
More names

Some names from my 1972-75 Logbook:
Pete Foreman...A perfect circuit..yes..mostly flown by him..(nice chap)
Rex Harding..always smiling..the jolly farmer from Blunham
Doug Caswell, Dave Walker, Henderson, Holdsworth, Ray Smith.......good friend from Campton, Cooper, George Huntley... Luxury Travel!, Alan Babbage...my aeromodelling mentor at 2462 Henlow ATC., Dave Bourne....Fix your car in a jiffy!,Mackintosh,Ian,Hatton, Murray, Bishop, Stan, Higgins, Clayton, C.Evans, Roger Morrisroe....Good guy, Chris Hook, Hopkin, Roger Wyse, Michael Muir.....Kingsley Michael Studios!

Remember diving approach on east run to scare the fishermen(A Chris Hook/Dave Bourne speciality).....Flour bombing the winch...Summer course madness..Great omelettes from the sergeants mess..Stuffy visits from CGS..Taking off solo in T21 with pax belt undone and seatback flying forward and impeding control column on winch launch(after summer party and bugger all sleep!)...loosening straps of CCF cadet so he could chunder over Henlow village..then forgetting to re-tighten them on west run approach and his face, as his bottom left the seat during some turbulence!!!
Learning to reverse the 5 tonne winches into the hanger...putting the yellow landrovers into first gear, leaving them to set off by themselves, then trying to catch them before they reached the edge of the airfield!!!
Sharing a thermal, in two Mark 111s, with my dear friend Chris Lackman,(great guy and unfortunately no longer with us) and hurling verbal abuse at him as he appeared to be pushing me out of the core!!
That scorching summer of 76 as a winch driver,and the fires when the winch cable used to snag on the summerfeld tracking!(worse for the pilot when top of launch occured at 200'!!!
Loosing god knows how many beeny hats over Henlow,Shefford, Stondon, Clifton etc!...
The sheer stupidity of not being able to get top brass permission for my good friend Stuart Goldspink to land on MOD property and then, watching the London Gliding Club boys drag the "hotship" off the enormous airfield, onto a small farmers paddock for a Chipmunk aerotow retrieve back to Dunstable!

I eventually grew up and am now quite responsible and operating triples from a jungle strip somewhere in Borneo.. Still having fun though!

Have recently bumped into many colleagues and friends from my LGC days, through our recent company retraining program. Sadly, no contact with any ex 616 fellows!

Happy New Year to all, from those great years of the mid seventies. The ATC certainly kept so many of us out of trouble!


Last edited by Yaw String; 1st Feb 2011 at 07:54.
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Old 10th Jan 2011, 16:20
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616 Gliding School in the early 1960s

I was there and can talk about most of them at 616 GS in those happy days:

Virtually everyone was living in Hatfield and working for de Havilland that later became Hawker Siddely and the British Aerospace. As such they were involved with the Comet, Trident, 125 Executive Jet, DH 110 and other types of the day.

Peter Bullivant (the first CO and a real gentleman). Peter was the CO and later went on to be a permanent RAF Gliding Instructor at RAF Swanton Morley. Regrettably he died back in about 1974

John Allan (later a Concorde FTO). 616's CFI and the one of the very best. Now retired and living in Yorkshire where he runs an equestrian establishment with his wif.

Tom Huntley (George's elder brother). Mad man who was injured in a crash at Halesland, the ATC/CCF ridge soaring site in Wiltshire, after trying to do a 360 after a cable break. He recovered.

Dave Braham. Stiill living in Hatfield

Tom Williams. Sergeant in RAF. Very capable guy and a good instructor

Stan Easton (who later died in a tug/glider crash) He too became a permanent RAF gliding instructor.

Peter Kirk.

Peter Valentine. Staff cadet

John Bennett. Still living in Hatfield.

Dennis Watkins (later the CO)

Otto Cerney (who was in Colditz and worked on the escape glider there)

Roy Brown

Alan Pond. Also went on to be a permanent instructor at Swanton Morley. Regrettably he also died about 12 years ago

Peter Foreman. Staff cadet injured in the same Tom Huntley's crash. Went on to work for Rolls Royce

Stuart Matthews (later a very senior guy at Fokker Aircraft). Adjutant at 616. After he left Henlow, he became resposible for corporate planning at British Caledonian. He went on to be President of Fokker's subsidiary company in North America and afterwards he was President of the Flight Safety Foundation. Knighted for his services to aviation and now lives in Washington D.C. He can provide many photos of 616 in those days.

Dick Lyon. RAF Squadron Leader who now lives up in the Wirral and is writing a history of Air Cadet gliding.

Anything else you want to know
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Old 12th Jan 2011, 21:32
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I suggest you guys check out the thread on PPRuNe in avaition history and nostalgia. Not sure how to give you a link, but here is my best attempt:


Lots of news from years gone by, and plenty of names from the past....enjoy
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 12:31
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George Huntleys Granddaughter

My Granddad, George Huntley MBE passed away aged 66 in 2000 after battling cancer. He was a wonderful man, fantastic granddad and is missed everyday. He always told me many fond memorys he had of gliding and teaching. If you do have any storys about my granddad i would love to hear them.

Unlce Tom (georges elder brother) is still alive and lives in bourmouth with his family.

Kirsty Hughes
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 16:03
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I visited your Grandad's brother Tom Huntley, another ex-616 instructor, a few weeks ago. He had a most unfortunate crash in a T21b at Halesland in 1960. He is not too good now and is in a nursing home. He always called your Grandad 'Nipper'.
Still, it was good to talk over our time at 616 Henlow and the fun we all had.
Yes, your Grandad was a great bloke and a very good pilot & instructor.
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 05:07
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616 GS

616GS 28-7-67-WIP copy.jpgI have a photo taken on a week's course July 22 - July 29 1967. Some face would be familiar. I am last on the right at the front. The officer on the left of Watkins is the Station Commander (Grp. Cpt. ?).
The cadets were from Harrow Public School (a right bunch of tearaways).
The photo was taken out the front of the glider hangars. Date is either 27th or 28th July 1967.

I'm have now attached the file. Also you can e-mail me [email protected]


Rick Wilson.

Last edited by ricko47; 22nd Apr 2017 at 07:35. Reason: spelling, attachment
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Old 17th May 2011, 17:31
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Sorry to report to those who knew him that Tom Huntley, who was with 616 at the very beginning back in 1958 until 1961 passed away yesterday in hospital in Bournemouth.
Tom was George Huntley's older brother and was a very 'colourful' character. He was also an International Rally Driver, a Conservative County Councillor, an ABA-approved Boxing Judge and a great bloke.
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Old 30th Dec 2011, 14:16
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616, the very early days

Nowadays I can’t remember a thing but I still have some vivid memories of 616 in 1958 and the early sixties!

I think Glifly has caught the majority people on 616 – at least those stalwarts who stayed on for a few years – but he’s missed a few. Anyone remember Peter Sinfield, Richard Cheshire, Russ Way, Philip Mordaunt, Albert Mellors, and Ken Macintosh?

Pete S disappeared c.1960; Richard started as a staff cadet c.1959; Russ joining c.1960 and was adjutant for many years; Phil, who could shout from the winch and be heard at the launch point, came c.1960 (wasn’t he GdH’s stepson?); Albert came c.1961 and was notable for his mac, wellies and beret (a prequel to Compo and Frank Spencer?); Mac, another future CO, came c.1962.

As Dutch Knight comments, many of 616’s staff were recruited in de Havillands, with Tech Pubs providing at least Peter Bullivant, Peter Kirk, Peter Foreman, Dennis Watkins,
Ken Macintosh, and later Ron Robinson. If all that lot had done the ‘week courses’ Tech Pubs would have surely have felt it – though they probably talked so much gliding that their absence wouldn’t have been noticed!

Dutch Knight expands on some of the names given by GliFly but he’s confused Peter Foreman and Peter Kirk – it was the latter who had the Halesland accident with Tom Huntley.

Those were the days. Sadly, I don’t think we are remembered by the 616 of today.
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Old 10th Jan 2012, 17:58
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hi i am george huntleys great grandson unfortunately he passed away with cancer on the 18th of may 2000 would you be able to tell me more about his work with 616vgs henlow gliding squadron please
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Old 10th Jan 2012, 18:18
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Smile Spitalgate '68

Did my glider training at Spitalgate with Air Training Corps. Solo on 16th birthday. Best bit being 16 on a WRAF basic training base!!!
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Old 13th Jan 2012, 22:44
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Andrew, you have a personal message.
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Old 13th Jan 2012, 22:56
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I'm sure 'Bargee' won't mind me adding the photo which is from his collection of the Summer 1962 course at 616 Henlow.
The instructors, from the left are:
PO Rosser (not an instructor), Dennis Watkins, the late Stan Easton, Ron Page, the late Flt. Lt. Pete Bullivant, Peter Valentine, Pete Kirk, Cdt. W.O. Dick Cheshire, and a squadron officer who was a trainee.
To think we got all those cadets solo in one week!

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Old 24th Jan 2012, 17:59
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There was a small re-union of ex-616 instructors at Nene Valley Gliding Club in Summer 2010. Here is a photo showing with T21b 'DAR' which is kept there by a private syndicate.
From the left Bob Bennett, John Bennett, Chris Armstrong, Roger Morrisroe, Peter Valentine, Pete Kirk and David Braham.
The ashes of the late Tom Huntley were scattered from that T21b last September by Roger Morrisroe and John Bennett and Tom's son Graham who had his first glider flight whilst doing the scattering.
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Old 23rd Feb 2012, 11:00
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Operated out of Henlow on a weeks summer course probably about 1998 in the Vigilant. Memory not what it was.... is this the place that had an ATC building made out of old Hurricane crates? Is it still there?
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