Royal Air Force Greatworth

962 Signals Unit

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The Inn at Greatworth

Posted by M Hall on July 23, 2013 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (3)

An email to Hook Norton's wasn't very productive, just a vague invite to `re-man'? It is possible, I supose, to read into that, that The Inn will re-open as soon as another licencee is found. It would be a shame if The Inn followed the fate of The Marston Inn at Marston St Lawrence which closed down last November. But consideringt the rate at which we are loosing our public houses through-out the country it isn't any surprise when we loose one we use. In my village alone we have lost three out of eight pubs, yes it's a large village and some were inns in the old coaching days of the `Bath Road/London Raod. Back on track, The Inn at Greatworth, if it did close, might cause some bother to our current format of re-unions, so some discussion should be indulged in at this time so as to prepare ourselves for change, if it comes? 

August 14th 2013 Reunion changes

Posted by M Hall on September 30, 2012 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (17)

Re-Important Changes to re-union venue The RED LION at CULWORTH 10.30-11.00 14 August 2013

Due to Greatworth's The Inn Being closed at that time! Emails have been sent to members requesting feedback. The Red Lion at Culworth have already been telephoned and have confirmed they can accomodate us for food and parking.

The second Wednesday in August will be our FOURTH reunion.

Update for the Culworth venue:-

To date we have :-

Arthur,

Mike Langrish,

Mike Thomas,

Pat & Ken Gabriel,

Don Thomas,

Don',n'Margaret,

Tony Millard,

Kieth Morris,

Eric & Kath,

Martin (Tom) and June,

fourteen folk so far, I have phoned The Red Lion to update.them.

It'll be much the same arrangement as on previous reunions, 10.30/11.00 ish,

there should be staff about to take any orders etc. Visit the site, come back for

lunch etc at The Red Lion, who will advise us as to when they can

expect our return??

Last minute decisions to attend, as ever, don't worry, just turn up. If you

phone The Red Lion (01295 760 050) to inform them

that you (name?) are joining the `reunion' .



This year Tony Cornish cannot be with us unfortunately, Tony has taken part in all the previous reunions, travelling all the way from New Zealand to be here, a remarkable distance to travel to see family and friends.

We'll be thinking of you Tony, next time maybe?


The Cabin

Posted by M Hall on September 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (13)

To the north west of the TX Hall, close to the northern side of the `old path' to the nissen huts acommodation compound, is a structure noted on several old maps as `The Cabin'. There still is a structure there today, it is shown on the wikimap (Right column, down a bit!) and it looks like an old disused pigsty. I do not know if this is the original structure, but OS maps in 1880's show something in that position called `The Cabin'. There is a copy of said map in the gallery `Greatworths entrance'. Did we (RAF) use it for anything? Or was it the local farmers feed store or something? I've had a trawl around the internet, but haven't found anything useful. Perhaps the two members who live at Greatworth can throw some light on this? (knock knock!!)

There are now some photos in `The Cabin' gallery that have been added to ilustrate this building and its location.

PS. This `Cabin' should not to be confused with the control cabin in the TX Hall

The Old Greatworth Enigma

Posted by M Hall on September 10, 2012 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (5)

Around 1945 an aerial reconisance flight photographed the Greatworth area, Stu Cooke has included a copy he obtained into the gallery. Examining this photo, one is struck  at once with the editing that has been done to this photo. The Tx Hall and some of the towers/masts have been removed, BUT the newly built nissen hut compound left in full view. What was going on here? You may well ask, if `they' were that security concious, why didn't they conceal the complete camp? Leaving one part visible would only provoke curiousity. RAF Greatworth was highly visible for miles around, principaly because of its aerial towers and masts, nissen buildings were almost exclusivly used only by the military, so any passing stranger/spy would immedietly understand the purpose of the place. The photo itself is an enigma, why was it taken at all if the area was that sensitive?

The Tx Hall was built circa '39 to house the transmitter units for Bletchley Park**, when WW2 ended the Cold War with Stalin's Russia began and RAF Greatworth became part of a larger communications system. RAF Greatworth became a permanant feature, so residential buildings were added, these were the nissen huts in a compound to the west of the tx hall. It isn't known at this time, how married personel were accomodated at RAF Greatworth, or where the C.O. lived in 1945.

This blog has been posted as an encouragement for discussion among the members. If you have a comment, observation or even some information, then you are welcome to post here, the more the better.

 

** Bletchley Park confirmed this by email with me last year.

News item

Posted by M Hall on August 12, 2012 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (1)

PRESS RELEASE 

 11th OCTOBER 2011 

 Aston Martin Racing aka Generation AMR

       As part of their expansion plans, Generation AMR are moving from their Devon home to be at the heart of the UK motorsport scene. The team has acquired a key facility at Greatworth Park, close to Silverstone Race Circuit, which will enable them to push forward with their GT4 and GT3 programmes over the coming years. The new workshops, formerly owned by 888 Race Engineering, are being renovated and modernised as part of the move.

       New engineering facilities, in partnership with the Hardinge Group, are in progress and will see the team well equipped to take on more race and rally projects in-house. As well as the race team workshops, David Appleby Engineering will continue to develop the Aston Martin GT rally car project and a new Sparco showroom will be available for customers to browse the very latest products.

       The renovations are due to be complete in early 2012, meantime the team will be busy preparing a number of cars for customers over the winter and testing prior to the 2012 season.

New Photos

Posted by M Hall on May 7, 2012 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Many thanks to everyone, for the photos that have been posted into our sites gallery, pictorial illustration of the camp from its earliest years untill the pressent day. A non member has given me several photos of the HS series Marconi TX's fitted after my day at GTW bringing our collection of equipment photos more up to date, many thanks Fred, for those. Greatworths nissen huts of the past are illustrated in detail now, a historical era that had been quite forgoten by the sixties, now returned to view for all of us who arrived on the scene later, we can only ponder how life was like for an airman here in those days!

You can take the man out of Greatworth, but ????

Posted by jeff on April 3, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (1)

I was enjoying the recent sunny weather sitting in a garden arbour facing the evening sun minding my own business. I must have fallen asleep, because I was suddenly woken up by a loud mains hum and a blinding white light in my eyes ! I lept to my feet and took two long strides looking for an isolater switch and mentaly cursing DS 13 bleeder resisters before I was fully awake !

       How can a man suffering with all my aches and pains cover a distance of over 6 ft instantly without a twinge?       Have a lorry with an exhaust note of  a too familiar frequency pass close!

                        Haunted  Jeff Patchett    Seventy nine and three quarters.

Members Email Addresses

Posted by M Hall on April 3, 2012 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (4)

If you change or have changed your email address, please update your profile to your new email addess.

If you put your or anyone elses email address into a blogg or forum posting, indeed anywhere on the internet, protect us all from unwanted attention (spammers) by using this simple procedure:- my-email#emailprovider dot com (or dot co dot uk etc). As yet there are not `bot trawlers that can decode addresses that are non standardised this way.

Care should also be taken with phone numbers too, ID theft is getting quite common and can have serious consequences.

`Personal Messages:- We do have a PM service running, (from a members profile page) this can only be read by the recipient only. I and no-one else has access to anyone elses PM. So swapping phone numbers, addresses and email addresses is reasonably secure. I don't recommend sending credit or debit card details via this though.

Greatworth's 3rd reunion

Posted by M Hall on April 3, 2012 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (5)

August is upon us and the reunion but a week away, this year has zipped along so fast, too fast really, but we got it together in time, just, despite the years distractions, weather and etc. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone who comes and to looking around the old place again. There's a new kid on the block too, but you'll find out about that on the day.

Some past personnel at RAF Greatworth

Posted by John F Mills on March 18, 2012 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (4)

These are the people that I remember by name when I was at Greatworth 1955/56.

These are the people who I remember by name

CO Flt Lt L L Dixon

W.O Parker

Cpl Dave Green with the Ex GPO Morris 8 van

Sgt Ken Russell

SGT Dave Hanmmond

LAC Dave Buckley from Blackpool

Dennis Hodgson from Yorkshire

Snr Tech 'Mac' McCabe

Ch Tech Croft who replaced CH Tech Neville Langley-Hansford

Charlie Dawson - the CO's Batman

Larry Lever - MT Driver

LAC Brian Wheelhouse from Essex

John Cox - Ariel Square Four motorcycle- John may have voluteereed for Christmas Island Nucleat Tests. He was into Amateur Radio and was AG3???.


'Doc' Hallows -ex RAF Apprentice from South London



Reunion 2012 date proposed as the 8th August?

Posted by M Hall on January 3, 2012 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I propose Wednesday 8th August 2012 as the date for 2012's reunion at The Inn at Greatworth for this years reunion meet. This is the second wednesday in August and will be our 3rd Reunion.

I have made this proposal very early in the year so as to `get in to' everyones diary in good time for their organisation of their years commitments, i.e. holidays and vacations etc.

Should this date prove unsuitable for the majority of interested parties, please reply to the blog with another proposed date.

Again this year, I am circulating this proposal to ALL members of this site, just because some members cannot*  attend, doesn't and will not exclude them from being part of the reunion, it is as though they are there in spirit, if not in actuality. So for those of us who do attend, please, lots of blog entries and pictures. This includes folk who do visit these shores from afar to make the scene.

Tom Hall

* A large part of the sites membership is scattered around the world.

Some more Greatworth history

Posted by Roy on November 8, 2011 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (11)

Hello Martin,

As you suggested. I have had a trawl (crawl) through the Early Years to see if anything familiar turns up.  At first I thought the Nissen Huts rang a bell, but all Nissen Huts look alike really.  What decided me against was that the aerial masts in the background were too close - our billets backed onto open fields to the N and the masts were between us and the Tx site to the E or SE - and the Mess was larger than I remember..

The OS 1946 map showed up very  little and I wonder whether the camp was excluded because it was a military site and thus a secret not for the general public.

What was interesting was to see the railway.  I'm sure I remember a single track in a deep cutting near the village.  I suspect it was unused even then, and I never did discover what railway it was or where it went.

I'm sorry I cannot be of more help to you, but I'll keep on trying.

Regards,

Roy

Some Greatworth History

Posted by Roy on November 6, 2011 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (12)

 

Roy

Nov. 05 2011 at 12:36 PM Hello Martin,

You've certainly gor the old grey matter working and I'm sorry that there were not too many cameras around in 1951 to record the scene.

The accommodation site I remember was about half a mile across the fields SW of the Main Site. (The aerial photo shows a later one with a tennis court on the Main Site, but that is not the one I remember). Our site was on the right hand side of a minor road W then N out of Greatworth. From the aerial photo there now appears to be a large expanse of greenhouses around there. A little to the N of these is another large building which looks as though it could be a farmyard. Either one of these is a possible although my guess is the farmyard. When I last saw the site in the late 1980s the huts and the COs house were no more - just acres of cornfield.

The COs house was about 100 yards from the old accommodation blocks on the village side and was sited about 50 yards back from the road. It was a detached house, and that's about all I can remember. If there was a garden, then it would have been a pretty big patch for anyone to manage.

You ask about the ablutions. They were separate from the Nissen Huts, at right angles to them and furthest from,and facing, the road. I believe they were constructed of stone or concrete, certainly something more durable than the huts. The boilerhouse with chimney and a small coal fired boiler was attached. The usual facilities were inside and comprised about half a dozen basins, two or three toilets and an ancient bath. All just about acceptable in Summer, but I don't like to think about what Winter must have been like there. And don't ask about the drains - at least they seemed to work.

If anything else comes to mind, I'll let you know.

Regards,

Roy

 

Old Accomodation Blocks.

Posted by M Hall on August 17, 2011 at 2:55 AM Comments comments (7)

Martin, following discussions last Wednesday at the Reunion about the postion of the old Nissen Huts, I contacted Derrick Savage (who was there at that time) I forward to you his reply, it appears that they were in the next field, to the LEFT, just over the hedge from the new accomodation block, Derrick thinks that they even used the same path across the Aerial Farm to the Transmitter Hall. So it looks as though the mystery is solved, the Nissen Huts were alongside the Public road B4525, next to the "new" Block.

Subject: RAF Greatworth old site position.

 

Hello Eric.

Thanks for your E-mail. Its amazing how information gradually disappears with time. I am firmly of the opinion, that there is no such thing as permanent record. Even in these modern times with advanced communications and information storage techniques, given enough time information details fade away.

 

Now to try to answer your question, I would like to know where the new accommodation block was situated relative to roads and the transmitter hall using the Google satellite image of that area.

 

I am assuming the Google default satellite view is showing north at the top of the page. Now centre your viewing of the Google satellite image over the cruciform shape of what was the transmitter hall and zoom in to include the B4525 road running east/west. Approximately 250 yards north of the hall there is another, what looks like some sort of industrial compound that has a well defined car park. This car park looks relatively recent. The northern edge of this car park was as far as I can tell the southern boundary of the old accommodation block. This extended right through to the B4525 road where there was an entry gate to the site. As one came through the gate, 6 nissen huts were on the left and on the right was the canteen /recreation nissen hut. I expect you have seen my photographs of these huts and that of the interior of the tranmitter hall.

 

Now two very interesting features of the satellite picture is a well trodden footpath stemming out from the corner of the car park towards the transmitter hall. I am fairly certain this was the access path to the hall we used, when I was there. I distinctly remember one of the rhombic 90 ft aerial towers being very adjacent to this path. The 2nd point of interest is the concrete bases of some of the aerial towers that can be seen in the field near to the industrial buildings (ex accommodation area), one of which is immediately next to the path.

 

The old accommodation block looked like a grim prison compound while I was there. It was bearable during the summer months, but there was nothing endearing about the camp site throughout the winter, when it was decided to rebuild the transmitter hall around the old decaying nissen style hall. One end of the hall, where the feeder lines went out of the building was open to the elements throughout the building process. It was so cold in there the mercury vapour rectifiers would not vaporise properly shorting anode to cathode causing the demise of the 3 phase contactors as they welded together and the fuse link holders shattered as the fuse ruptured violently.

 

Needless to say I was glad to get out of the place. Anyway I hope the above information is of assistance to you. Please keep in touch and let me know what you discover about the place.

 

Kind regards.

 

Derrick R. Savage

War time Greatworth

Posted by M Hall on August 14, 2011 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (3)

 

 

Hi from Vancouver Island,

I wrote to RAF Innsworth and asked for my service record and have had it for some time. I just looked for it to discover what the place was called (eg ??SU) when I was posted there late '43. I cannot find it at the moment and will keep looking. Apart from the pic of the SWB 11, everything is unfamiliar in your photos. I recall that enormous butterfly condenser in the SWB 11 output stage. Back then no accommodation on site. Long, long road from gate to tx building.

Congrats on your reunion

Michael O'Hagan

In a following comunication Michael added:-

 

Hi Martin, (Tom)

The F.O in the guise of MI6 acquired the BP estate around 1938. It was the tenth in the series of acquisitions

for special purposes and given the nomenclature Station X.

The army element had its own T/R facilities, but I cannot be sure the RAF did not use them.

BP’s own records are poor on the RAF T/R history. Hinsley wrote the definitive history of BP, and we

corresponded in the 1990s. He acknowledged the paucity if comms history, pointing out it was not the aspect

in which the public were interested. We may perhaps assume it started around the same time as the Rx

station

I joined August 40. was at Moreton in the Marsh OTU Sep 42 to early 43. arrived at Chicksands B (Shefford) in

early ‘43-sent there whilst being security cleared. That must have been a couple of months, maybe less, and

many Waaf were similarly being cleared. During this time I went on a course at CREED, Croydon to learn High

speed morse equipment. I shall never forget that when my course assessment was read to me back at

Chicksands, it said, “This airman could not even put a bicycle pedal together.”

When I was posted in to BP, all four watches were working, and there were I think 4 or maybe 8 of us . I was a

WOM.

The 80:80 DTN lines were in and the block was working to SLUs around the world. Church Green was not established until 1944. Greatworth had no resident officer. We, at BP, had four I think. S/L Paterson led three P/Os who did watch duty.

I was taken to GW by Paterson whilst still serving at BP. I guess it was one of his routine visits and he took the opportunity to take me along. I was posted there latish 1944.

I knew of nobody else billeted at Helmdon, but that may not mean much. I once ran a dance at a local pub. I once won a goose egg in a raffle. I would hitch to/from London, recall doing the last bit to Helmdon on a hay-cart. GW worked four watches yet I do not recall ever doing a night shift. It would not have fitted well with landladies. I once rode the liberty truck (6d?) to Banbury. Forgive me if these are snatches of memory. Who was in charge there? I cannot remember. I do recall wanting to go to midnight mass and being sneered at by somebody-and that somebody being told to shut up by whoever it was in charge. I am fairly sure there was no sleeping accommodation and thus everybody must have been billeted out.Off the tx hall, there was a kind of mechanic’s rest room

At no time, as far as I can recall, was GW attacked and I think the same is true of BP. I tell a story of BP at the time when Sicily had been won and the jump to Italy was on. On our link to Catania, the undulators used a tube to convey ink to the pen. We ran out. None to be found anywhere, Frantic calls being made by officers to Creed. I walked downtown to the cycle shop and bought some valve tubing. It solved the problem. That link was back in operation. And the RAF still owes me sixpence.

The path from road/gate to tx hall was very long.

Just had another throw-out looking for my Service records to see what it says about GW. No luck, Will look in the storage room one day.

We seldom repositioned rhombics. I suspect that was because I got there after D-Day and BP was working Italy (and all the fixed stations) and bearings did not change so frequently.,

Sunday morning. 19 degrees. Life is good. I retired at own (foolish) insistence in 1964. The world has changed a bit since then, and because you lot in UK let the pound collapse, I get drastically fewer dollars.

Regards

Michael O'Hagan

Michael Continued again:-

Hi again. I've Found it.

1st March 43 from 21 out to 372 WU. Creed april 10

372 WU April 18 '43. renamed Church Green but with no date given then 8 R.S. in April '45.

No mention of GW and I suspect it was regarded as an outstation of 372 WU

although no mention of GW.

This reads promoted T/Cpl 28.7.44 so that must be when I went to GW.

Not much help, I’m afraid but it makes sense for the RAF to consider GW as an outstation of 372 WU.

Regards

Michael O’Hagan

2nd Reunion 10th August 2011!!

Posted by M Hall on July 30, 2011 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (1)

10th August at "The Inn".

What a day! A lovely sunny midweek August in the heart of Northamptonshire. We couldn't have picked a better day if we tried! As I write this, I look outside to see leaden skies over a drizzly morning. Oh well, back to normal eh? We had a total of 19 arrive at The Inn, our hosts Mark and Anne did a great lunch which was served after our walkabout, which this year was limited as the companies that work on the site didn't get much warning of our arrival, but we did get to look round the centre hall and some exotic VW campers, we had a `peer' through Tim Samways doors to see some very classy motors. Back at The Inn, lunch was served and lively conversasion and reminiscing that continued till well into the afternoon.

I have alread put my photos in a gallery, if any one has more to ad that's great, THE MENU is there too, you can download copies at will

It was a real pleasure to meet you all, specialy those I once served with, I think similar sentiments will be felt with all of us and I think `next years bash' is as good as booked? Several indicating a similar date, without reaching for the callender and this time it was the second wednesday in the month, do it the same next year? 2nd Wednesday into August?

June'n'Martin (Tom)

Greatworth's Veterans attending were:-

845 SAC Hall, 945 Cpl Millard, 767 SAC Sumsion, 810 J/T Burrel, 896 J/T Rogers, 202 SAC Cornish, 145 SAC Morris, 304 Cpl/Tch Walker, 199 Sgt Fyfe, 341 SAC Langrish, 641 Cpl Stoddart, 511 Sgt Wilson and 007 J/T Gabriel.

Supported by Marrion Walker, Geordie, Stuart, June and the two remaining ladies, can someone send me their names so I can edit them into here properly?

10th August 2011

Posted by M Hall on July 26, 2011 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

This year has really galloped by and it feels as though we haven't done anyting at all in that time. But of course we have, it's just that being busy speeds time up and August is just around the corner. Both of us are really looking forward to meeting everyone at The Inn this year, a high point of the year so far, that is a complete contrast to the begining of our year. I'll ring Mark and confirm the event this evening, anyone with special requirements from The Inn should also ring him, The number is +44 (0) 1295 710976

I'll try to be there earlier than last year, when we were a little late arriving. Just as last year take your cameras and camcorders, those of us unable to attend will not then be left out of the activities.

See you all soon.

Our nicknames

Posted by M Hall on July 19, 2011 at 4:18 AM Comments comments (1)

Back in the old days I was called`Tom', my middle name, it has a story to it. Back in July '59 as I signed on at RAF Cardington, one other signatory, who's name I forget now, asked if I'd like to go to the naafi for a pint. His invitation went " You fancy a pint up 't naafi Jack?", overheard by several other new signatories, we were quickly joined for a pint or three and the name `stuck', indelibly! Untill several years later I remustered from "armament mech guided weapons*"(grease monkey!) to "Ground Radio Tx's" and ended up at RAF Locking, in a completely different crew/environment. Taking the oportunity to introduce myself as `Martin', my real name, but it was immedietly `shortened' to `Mart'! As this rymed rather too easily to `fart', I wasn't impressed and I strongly objected, aided by the fact of being the eldest (being the only remuster on the course) and senior man! I quickly understood that Martin didn't roll from the tongue easily enough, so  I suggested that as my middle name was Thomas, to call me Tom, it caught on, so `Tom' I became and it's a name with which my older friends still refer to me. So, now you know! When we met back then, thats how you would have known me.

Martin

* Bristol Bloodhound (Mk1) then Blue Steel.

RAF Greatworth Station Call-Sign

Posted by Eric Rogers on June 30, 2011 at 3:23 AM Comments comments (3)

Do any members remember what the Station Call-Sign was? All Radio Stations operating on assigned frequencies are required to transmit identifying call-signs, including routine military services, RAF Locking for example used the call-sign MRM for transmissions on 5105KHz, at least from the late 1950`s until much later, probably until it closed. I think that Greatworth must have had a call-sign in the "M"  Air Ministry series, later (MOD), any clues? Eric (Rogers).


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