The images above are from Paul Briggs who administers the 41 Retro Facebook page.
The service to remember the bus crash that killed 6 people and injured many others during a Squadron exchange with 421 Sqn RCAF at Baden-Soellingen, Germany in 1983. Many thanks to 41(TES) Sqn and SOCA and many others for the excellent support they give to this event every year, which is greatly appreciated.
The message below was passed by our Sister Association in New Zealand:
What remains of RNZAF WIgram
Built on the out-skirts of Christchurch, it came under increasing pressure from the 'Greenies', 'Noise Abatement chappies' and the ever encroaching demands of those hungering for their little slice of 'God's Own' (back in the day when a timber frame 1000 sq ft home on a quarter acre section was quite normal… and almost affordable).
Its significance today is that it is the home of the RNZAF Museum with two of the hangars still in use for storage and restitution work. A number of smaller 'out buildings' (former Barracks and others) now converted to archives, libraries, photo recovery, study centres and research facilities.
Many of the Station houses were cleaned-up and sold on the open market .Large parts of the air field are now in the hands of developers and are being converted into up-market housing estates
In the centre foreground is the old No 1 Officer's Mess and accommodation blocks. For a number of years it was used as a 'back packers' hostel but when recently sold, was up-graded to an event / conference centre (with accommodation available) and will be the venue for this years 41 Squadron BGM and Reunion - timed for April 12 – 14.2019. Current plans will have the Friday night Meet & Greet in the Mess while the formal dinner on the Saturday night will be held in the aircraft display area of the Museum seen here behind the Mess on the hard standing… abutting part of the old the air field.
In its day the base was the home of the Central Flying School (Pilots and Navigators) as well as 1 TTS (Electrical and Instrument training facilities - later Avionics)
It was an attractive Base and apart from being rather cold during the winter (by NZ Standards) and almost unbearably hot during summer it was not a bad posting.
Our thanks for your salutations, and may I offer our very best wishes to your squadron for the coming year, as the RAF heads off into its second hundred years…we watch with interest.
All the best…
Bryan S Franklin
BAv RAeS ISASI
Vice President 41 Squadron RNZAF Association
The following information was provided by The Royal British Legion:
Call Out to Normandy Veterans - D-Day 75
You might be aware that in response to a reported shortage of appropriate accommodation in Normandy over the period of the D-Day 75 commemorations, The Royal British Legion recently announced that they have chartered a ship via our travel provider Arena Travel, the MV Boudicca, to provide a fully funded tour for 300 Normandy Veterans; each with one carer.
We are respectfully asking ex-Service Associations to help us communicate this opportunity to their respective memberships. Our aim is not to compete with previously arranged travel plans but rather to ensure that every Normandy Veteran is aware of the opportunity to utilise the Legion’s fully-funded travel and accommodation option that includes travel insurance. Ideally, we seek to provide every Normandy Veteran with the opportunity to travel and share time with erstwhile comrades whilst attending major commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day on both sides of The Channel.
A comprehensive transport plan has been designed offering the collection of individuals from their respective homes to the Port of Dover and subsequent return at the completion of the tour. Following embarkation in Dover on Sunday 2 June 2019, the MV Boudicca will set sail on the itinerary outlined below, returning to Dover on Sunday 9 June 2019. A programme of activities specific to the Normandy Veterans has been designed that includes attendance at national level commemorative events, visits, demonstrations at-sea by the Royal Navy as well as historical briefings.
There are significant on-board medical facilities and the Legion will provide a cadre of additional, qualified care staff to support those travelling with us. The vessel’s itinerary allows sufficient time for the on-board veterans to take full advantage of what we hope will be a memorable experience for each of them and provide sufficient time for rest and times for reflection.
Below is the current outline itinerary for the MV Boudicca. This is subject to change.
Day 1, Sunday 2 June 2019
They will need to complete the eligibility form in its entirety and return to Arena Travel by Monday 4 February 2019 via post. They will also have access to our Frequently Asked Questions and the mobility policy for the ship from our website.
In the event that applications exceed availability, priority will be given to veterans who participated in the D-Day Landings, with the remaining spaces allocated to Normandy Veterans via a ballot.
If there is no oversubscription on the closing date, then all eligible applicants will be awarded a space on the ship. The results of the ballot will be confirmed by Arena Travel via post before the end of February 2019. A veteran who is unsuccessful in the ballot will have the option to remain on a reserve list in case a place subsequently becomes available.
Please direct any questions or concerns to Arena Travel on 01473 660800.
Cenotaph Dispersal reminder
In addition, we recently contacted all associations and military charities to assist the Legion in conducting a review of participants of the Cenotaph Dispersal. If you have not already done so we encourage you to complete the following survey by the 31 January 2019:
Assistant Director for Commemorative Events
Registered Charity Number: 219279.
There are many other D-Day events being held in the UK and Normandy. Here is a snapshot of key D-Day 75 event involving the Ministry of Defence, The Royal British Legion and Portsmouth City Council:
41 Squadron was once a Bloodhound Missile Unit. The hardware behind this part of our history is cherished and restored by Bloodhound Missile Preservation Group (BMPG).
The BMPG was formed with the objective of restoring items of the Bloodhound MKII missile system that are in the group’s possession. Currently these are a Bloodhound Launch Control Post (LCP) and a Type 86 (T86) radar.
Our sister Association in New Zealand has a rather large artefact undergoing restoration at Aerospace Bristol, Filton.
Reposted from Aerospace Bristol: http://aerospacebristol.org/freighter
Aerospace Bristol has returned one of the last remaining Bristol Type 170 Freighters home to Bristol from New Zealand in January 2018.
Designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, a total of 214 Freighters, and its passenger variant the Wayfarer, were built and used by airlines and air forces across the world. Sadly, only 11 complete Freighters survive in the world today, and this is the only one to be located in Europe.
The Goldfish Club is an Association exists to keep alive the spirit of comradeship arising from the mutual experience of members surviving, "coming down in the drink".
If you wish to find out more about this unique Association you can visit their webpage: http://www.thegoldfishclub.co.uk or contact them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information taken from: https://www.rafbf.org/
The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF's leading welfare charity with a proud tradition of looking after its own. We are there for all serving and former members of the RAF as well as their partners and dependent children.
The following information has been taken from the RAFA website:
Recent research has found that isolation and loneliness is particularly acute within the ex-military community, with one in six individuals reporting relationship/isolation issues.
Tackling loneliness is a key part of the RAF Association’s mission for the 21st century. Research indicates at least 170,000 RAF veterans could be living alone, or experiencing isolation issues. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, it’s a bigger threat to life than obesity and more dangerous to health than smoking. The lonely are more likely to need medication, suffer from depression or dementia and end up in residential care.
Our befriending service pairs volunteers with veterans and their families who suffer from loneliness and isolation.
The first recorded use of a mobile darkroom, the forerunner to the military Mobile Photographic Units (MPU), was employed by a famous photographer named Roger Fenton who supported the British Army during the Crimean war in 1853.
Not until World War One did we see the use of MPU's on the battlefield again, which during World War Two became known as Mobile Field Photographic Sections (MFPS) and later transformed into Mobile Field Photographic Units (MFPU) during the Cold War and again to Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (RIC) in the 1970s. This remained until 2003, when the RICs were united into the Tactical Imagery-Intelligence Wing (TIW), which finally converted to 1 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaisance Wing in 2016.
"RICs" from the past, starting in WW1 then on to 2011. (Ian Stannett)
Tactical Reconnaissance Units (Ian Stannett)
The mobile MFPS. The Trailers were known as J Class Trailers and all the vehicles collectively were called the Blue Train. Named after a blue train that ran across Europe similar to the orient express before the war.
As you can see there were Processor and Printer trailers along with many support vehicles.
The Tractor pulling the J Class trailers were generally Austin K5 3 Ton GS or Bedford OYD 3 Ton GS. (Ian Stannett)
Photographic Interpreters (Ian Stannett)
Ian Stannett successfully raised enough money to facilitate the refurbishment of 6 ATREL cabins, used by the RIC. (Crowdfunder).
You can follow regular updates from the project via Facebook.
The Squadron hold very little information covering the years that it operated the Bloodhound Missile (1965-1970). Fortunately the Bloodhound Missile Preservation Group (BMPG) have an excellent resource of information on their website and YouTube channel. Read more below:
The Bloodhound MKII missile system, as operated by 41 Squadron, was a key part of the integrated UK air defences during the Cold War, a wholly British designed defensive weapon to counter nuclear armed, high flying bombers at long range.
Bloodhound MKII became operational with the RAF in 1964 and continued to be improved as new technology became available with its operational role continually enhanced to include the countering of low level air strikes.
The missile system was withdrawn from RAF service in 1991, at the end of the Cold War.
You can learn more about how the system worked through the following reports
Updates and news direct from the Committee