Number 12, January 2010
Some of the articles included in the annual paper copy of the Newsletter have appeared on this site over the past year. They are repeated here for completeness and so that the two versions of the newsletter are similar. Webmaster.
Should I go back?
Another fourteen page edition this year. At the last committee meeting at the beginning of December I reported that I appeared not to have enough material even for twelve pages due to a lack of contributions. I needn’t have worried. Regrettably though, despite the appeal in the last edition, nothing from lady veterans.
As an ex-Avionics man I’m very pleased to have two or, stretching a point three, items on aeronautically related subjects. And that prompts me to digress a little – I beg your indulgence but the end point probably chimes with many of you.
In the 60s a popular local trio, Talisman, entertained audiences in Essex and beyond with a mix of songs, much of it their own material with folk/jazz/blues/cabaret influences, with purely acoustic guitar and bass accompaniment. I think they appeared before audiences at the MASC on a number of occasions. Who remembers Chessy Harrington’s rendering of Piaf’s ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’? Anyway, one of their numbers, entitled ‘Never try to go back’ told of the likely disappointment for anyone attempting to revisit the fondly remembered places of their earlier years.
I share with a handful of other Veterans the interesting experience of having been stationed at RAF Watton in Norfolk in the 50s. During WW2 it had been the home of RAF and USAAF units, the latter a maintenance unit responsible for repairing battle-damaged Liberators from surrounding operational bases. In my time it was the Central Signals Establishment, involved in cold war signals intelligence and countermeasures activities, flying a motley variety of interesting aircraft.
Regularly holidaying on the North Norfolk coast from the 60s onwards, my wife and I detoured that way to have look whilst returning home in 1993. The old place was there much as I remembered it, but in the guardroom local enthusiasts had set up a very good museum, devoted at that time principally to its WW2 history. They intended later to widen the collection to cover the cold war period. The visit brought back a number of fond memories.
Forward to 2009, again after a holiday in Salthouse, we returned for another look, and to see the museum’s new material. Disaster, the guardroom was no more and whole area was a very sizeable housing development. The former pattern of internal roads had been incorporated into the layout of the estate, bearing names like Mosquito Close and Liberator Avenue, but otherwise it was unrecognisable. It was of course a very appropriate use of what had become a brown-field site. We have to move
on, but it caused me a moment or two of sadness.
The moral is, think carefully before you decide to go back, but if you must, do a little homework first of all – a spur-of-the moment visit might bring disappointment.