Newsletter 2011

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Should you go back – a further reflection

Pursuing the theme of last year’s editorial, I had to drive from Newbury to Bristol Airport last July to pick up family members returning from SW France. A beautiful sunny afternoon with plenty of time on my hands, so I opted to travel via the A4 – Hungerford, Marlborough, Calne etc – a more pleasant journey than the M4. And so of course I passed by the site of the former No 2 Radio School, RAF Yatesbury. Many fellow veterans will have passed through its portals during the years from the second world war until the end of National Service in 1961: a reduced demand led to its closure in 1965. My time was from April to November 1956 as an air wireless fitter trainee on AWF113, one of the last intakes to be trained on T1154/R1155. I had an early lesson in the perils of even small quantities of West Country scrumpy in the Black Horse in Cherhill!

No sign of the base now save for the road in from the A4 which passes the site of the guardroom – (Chiefy Dunlop?). It has been returned to farmland, but a small portion is occupied by the Wiltshire Microlight Centre. The runway appears to be a section of the main road through the camp running parallel with the A4, and their operations didn’t seem to detract much from the serenity of the surroundings. Had I more time I would have had a short flight: it would have been very pleasant, a few hundred feet up over that part of Wiltshire, close to Avebury. An altogether happier experience than my visit to Watton a year earlier.

The RAF Yatesbury Association aims to preserve the memories and history of RAF Station Yatesbury and sister stations in the vicinity.  Membership is open to all who have an interest in this area.  A book – ‘History of RAF Yatesbury’ by Phil Tomaselli – ISBN 0-9548236-0-5 is available from the Association’s secretary in addition to some of the usual on-line sources.