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RAF Stradishall



RAF Stradishall  No: 1ANS 1965-67


By John (Gary) Cooper


An Airmans Daily Diary


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I arrived at RAF Stradishall, Suffolk in September 1965, this was the RAF’s No: 1 School of Air Navigation. The station operated Varsities, Meteor NF14’s, a Meteor T7 and the newly acquired Dominies.


My job as an engine fitter was to report to No: 1 Hangar Station Servicing Flight on Meteors but as the Meteors were to be phased out (12th January 1966) I flitted around between SSF and the flight line and there was virtually nothing to do These meatboxes were being replaced with Dominies.


When 12th January 1966 came round I was then transferred to the Primary Servicing Team in No. 2 Hangar doing periodic servicing on Vickers Varsity Hercules engines. The worst job on this engine that I recall was the replacement of the oil cooler cross drive, an absolute swine of a job where most of the time you worked ‘blind’.


Home for me until I came top of the Married Quarter list was Trenchard Block, I very soon was allocated No: 65 AMQ which was situated in Poplar Drive diagonally opposite the guardroom. Discipline on ‘Strad’ appeared quite strict (must have been due to all these trainee fresh faced Navigators!) for within two days of starting work I had my name taken for knocking off work 10 minutes early, I wondered what they did with all these names?


My private diaries do not show too many incidents happening at Strad, I do recall a new Dominie doing a ‘wheels up’ at RAF Manston and a trolley accumulator being blown away in the wind which then hit the starboard engine of a Varsity propeller and was completely demolished whilst undergoing engine runs!


Much of my time at Strad was spent visiting Station Sick Quarters twice a day, a weekly visit to the ENT department at PMRAF hospital Ely and a three monthly visit to the CME in Goodge Street London resulting in a skin graft operation on my right ear drum at PMRAF hospital Halton in December 1966, thereafter I was ‘grounded’ for working above ground level due to vertigo.


In No: 3 hangar (used for ground equipment etc) was positioned a French Caudron GIIIc 1912/13 aircraft work could be done on this in our spare time as a volunteer, I worked on this to stop getting bored! This example is now in the RAF Museum at Hendon, photos of my time working on this can be found here: these photos were kindly passed on to me by Kevin Peters who took them in our time whilst working on this project.


Much talk was made of giving me a medical discharge as I was stuck in an office from 0800hrs-1700hrs daily and that was boring so I slapped in an exchange posting request with a chap from 29 Squadron Wattisham, this was thankfully accepted. I moved to Wattisham in August 1967.


Those names remembered at Stradishall

Those marked* I am in contact with


Gary Cooper * Engines

Barry Salt * Engines

Eric Hedges *

Kevin Patience*

Bill Coles Engines

Ch/Tech Cyril Sharman

Laurie Montagu

Don East

F/Sgt Carrington (Deceased)

F/Sgt Haldean replacement aka Stripey

F/Lt Reid i/c SSF

Sgt Rose Engines

Dr Coghlan Unit Medical Officer Civilian

S/Ldr Davie Senior Medical Officer

Gordon Weekes * Engines (now in Canada)

 Mac MacCullum

Stew Powney Engines

Sgt Alan Warner Engines

F/Lt Pass Education Officer

Mr Roberts Station Barrack Warden

SAC Cushion

Ch/Tech Bob Metson

Bill McManus

Johnny Wicks Airframes

‘Pincher’ Martin Engines

Johnny Cope

F/Lt Stavers

Warrant Officer Ingram

Roger Pierce

Pat Persse

Ch/Tech ‘Smudge’ Smith

Wing Commander Ramsden

‘Blacky’ Blackbourn Engines


Copyright 2008 John Cooper

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