!!! Do you remember Dave Glyde? --- info sought by Roy Taylor, please see entry at bottom of page!!! Roy has also written a book about his RAF radar NS years, details below. Also Roy Eames would like to hear any information about his RAF buddy Lawrence 'Lol' Jackson who was stationed at Ventnor with him in 1952-55.He was originally from Tottenham, and last known at Milton Keynes.


- On Parade at RAF Ventnor -


(Why this weird colour? Well it's the best I can do to provide an aura of dismal damp tarmac!)

This section constitutes a record of those people who served at RAF Ventnor who have been in contact, or of colleagues mentioned by those people. In addition the 'Supernumeries' section at the bottom is a list of ex RAF people who although not having served at Ventnor, have found sufficient interest in the site to be moved to make contact, something which I truly appreciate. Some of those on parade have sent their own depositions, these being available from the links below.

Right Marker for this parade has to be Roy Eames, as it was he who placed an advertisement in the Saga magazine requesting ex Ventnor personnel to contact him. I did, and Roy thought that perhaps the Internet might be a source of further contacts. Finding that no dedicated RAF Ventnor site already existed I determined to attempt to create my own, and you have already seen some or all of it.

Contact information or Email addresses are provided only with the agreement of the person concerned, but some details of the remainder could be made available to proven genuine enquirers if agreement was obtained by me from the person concerned provided always that their E Mail address has not changed. No telephone numbers or postal addresses are stored in my computer.


 

No.1 Flight

Roy Eames. Served in 1955 as Radar Operator. On demob Roy returned to Quantity Surveying, later working on his own account before becoming a PE teacher. Roy lives in Bromley. He remembers Len Walmsley who was also an operator, now living in Newport I.W. Roy learnt fom him (July 07) that Derek Lamb who was an operator on their shift had recently died. Roy's Email address will be found on his own page.

Roy's contacts from his Saga advertisment were:

Terry Hope

Ricky Pratt

A.J.Smith

Ken Bysouth

O.W.Kemp--served 1949-54

Addresses & telephone numbers of above are available.


Our Earliest Serving Contact

I had discovered that
Shaw Taylor, the former ITV announcer, quizmaster and commentator, who will perhaps be mostly remembered for his long running Police Five slot, served at Ventnor from late 1943 and through 1944. He lived locally and he kindly invited me to visit for a chat to impart information for my web page. Shaw thus was our Senior Man until March of this year when sadly he received his very final posting. However by that time Elizabeth Hutchings had serendipitiously appeared. She had been an operator at both the Needles and Ventnor CHLs from 1944, so she must take on that acolade. Elizabeth remembers in particular Barbara (Bobs) Ivory who was mentioned in dispatches for bravery during the bombing. As Elizabeth lived at the Down Lane site it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that some of the gentlemen next listed slept in her bed! By that I mean some time later I hasten to add.

Tony Turnbull was an MT driver for six months at Ventnor from May 1946 but later the fitter i/c the MT section. Our third earliest contact, he reports that the WAAFS vacated the Down Lane site in September 1946. It is hoped that we hear more from Tony as this period is as yet a very grey area in these records.

Charlie Sanson came to the Down Lane site in 1949 as an eighteen years old RAF Policeman/Dog handler from Wallsend and during his service was promoted to Corporal. After demob he worked for the Gas Board and married a local girl. He left that job after 32 years and set up a taxi service. He died in June 1997. Jim Nettleship served at Ventnor around this time, later being posted to RAF Mountbatten near Plymouth. Vernon Simlar came from Plymouth to serve at Ventnor. Thanks to Mark Wood, the nephew of both Charlie and JIm, for this information.

An anonymous Cowes resident served his Reserve Fortnight at Ventnor.


Harold Lewis served as a Ground Radar Mechanic from March 1950 to June 1951 working on the CH equipment. From his eyrie at the top of one of the steel masts he observed the start of the construction of the Rotor site. I have had the very great pleasure of meeting Harold at the top-site on several occasions. Click on his name to read what he has to say about his time at Ventnor.

Gordon Reid arrived about 4 months after Harold and like him was a keen footballer. He was posted on to Sopley in 1951.

Mike Butler was at Ventnor from June 1950 to 1952 as an operator. He recalls "entertaining" the G Reservists including organising weekly dances at the Burlington Hotel. The bad winter conditions prevented transport to the top site. A continuous radar watch was kept by the CHL for a fortnight from April 17th. 1951 after the submarine "Affray" did not rsurface after submerging 30 miles south of the Island.

Alan Millar was a NS Operator who was at Ventnor from 29th. January 1951 until July 1952.

Gordon (Rick) Richards having volunteered for overseas, was posted to Ventnor in February 1951 after training as a Radar Mechanic at Yatesbury. He had to endure tented accommodation at the Down Lane site before 'graduating' to a wooden hut but later in 1953 enjoyed living at the 'luxurious' Lowtherville Road site. He recalls Corporal Ron Evans, Tony Rossiter, Ken Howe, Bob Munroe, Bill Will (now d), Taffy Evans, Dick West (now deceased), a John who coloured photographs, somebody Pollard, and Tony Riches. Rick played football for the station team and Shanklin. He married Monica Bracken from Shanklin and after his demob they lived in Sussex. Rick now lives in Canada and is happy to chat via computer to those who also served in a similar capacity.

Bernard Bannister was Corporal of the FireSection 1951- 52 He was present during the big move from the Down Lane domestic site to the new Lowrherville road location. He recalls being promoted to Corporal along with three others then immediately being required to carry out the morning flag raising ceremony. He was another one of Ventnor's keen Wednesday afternoon footballers.

Keith Antoine from Northolt arrived at Ventnor in 1952 via West Kirby and Yatesbury, as an AC2 Radar Operator. He was billeted in the old domestic site situated at the bottom of Down Lane. He says that the accommodation consisted of wooden huts sleeping about ten, heated by the usual iron stoves. While he was there the new 'luxury' domestic site opened at Lowtherville road. The top site equipment at that time was the refurbished CH2 kit, but there were other rotating aerials for GCI work. Keith recalls that the height finders (early Type 13?) rarely worked effectively, and also that Gee was still in use. Keith was posted on to Heathrow and then to work on mobile gear in Germany. He had trips to the Far East before returning to Sandwich. Keith remembers his time at West Kirby as a combination of probably the most formative and most miserable episodes in his life. He now lives on the other side of the world near Brisbane.

Mike Harrison served as an Operator at Ventnor from July 52 until March 55 and now lives in Australia. He reveals that besides being a keen footballer he was a Winter Gardens and Hole-in-the Wall enthusiast!

Wallace Clayman was at Ventnor between June 1953 and May 1954 and went down the hole many times but spent most of his time stood down especially when there was a major change of equipment. The only NCO he remember clearly was Flt.Sgt Marsden who was not his favourite. At one time the C.O. went to America on a course and the acting C.O.was a Pilot Officer.

Alan Reed arrived in 1953 from Yatesbury as one of a posse of seven Radar Operators only to be told that there was no accommodation for them! They had to lodge at a guest house named "Cosy Nook" until billet beds became available. Alan was the founding father of the Rugby Fifteen mentioned below.

Geraint Hughes served at Ventnor as a NS Operator from 1954 to 1955. In later life he entered the Church and ultimately became Dean of Brecon cathedral. Geraint has kindly sent in several photographs including one of the RAF Ventnor rugby XV and these, which identify a considerable number of his old comrades, I have grouped on a separate page.

Mike Powell was present in 1954/55. He remembers Flt.Sergeants Daniels and Halliday and Corporal Michael Angelo Figini. At that time the Technical Officer was Flt.Lt. Harry Barnes.

Gary Peach was an LAC Ground Radar Mechanic detached to Ventnor from RES (Radar Engineering Squadron), RAF Henlow in 1955 with the express purpose of dismantling the CH equipment. He felt very unhappy about that, taking a sledge hammer by order to a rack of electronic equipment and it hurt him blow by blow, but orders were orders. He worked in a small area with one DU5, and behind him was a three foot thick concrete door on rollers which concealed a relay computer which still seemed to be in use amongst all the filth. He was told that it was strictly out of bounds so guessed it was still on the secret list. Of course The Calculator and its technology was unknown to him at the time so he missed out on a private showing of some of Britain’s most advanced electronics. He was billeted in the Terminus Hotel Ventnor and after about a week he contracted flu or something similar and was delirious for about three weeks. The landlady’s daughter was the Island Beauty Queen and she acted as his nurse but he never knew a thing about it until it was almost all over. By the time that he was fit enough for duty there was only a week or so remaining and the Aerial riggers (also from Henlow), were busy wrecking the wooden RX aerials. He was given time by the corporal in charge of his party to recover and idly sunned himself at the foot of the wooden towers but soon had to shift when one of the solid copper quarter wave elements, about 10m long and 2” diameter aprox., landed stuck in the ground a very short distance from him.

Mike Betts is our latest recruit (23.04.15) .He arrived at Ventnor in 1955 and departed in 1956. He has sent some photos of his friends.

Ron Cripps. Arrived in 1956 and departed in 1959, the start of a long career in the RAF reaching the rank of Wing Commander. He well deserves his own special page. Until a Group Captain joins in the fun perhaps we should regard Ron as our honorary CO?

Geoff Parker served as a National Service Radar Operator between 1955 & 1957. He was a Trad Jazz fan and favoured The Hole in the Wall. No doubt you'll have fond memories of the Merrydown cider and red current wine then Geoff? Sadly the HITW is no longer there having lingered on for many a year as a sorry example of that sad sight, a dead pub. The Prince went decades ago though, and merely to improve the road on that corner.

Alan Pavier has just arrived (Nov 2010) on parade via Forces Reunited. He was a J/T Radar Fitter at Ventnor March to October 1957 when he was posted on to Aird Uig. He remembers Carlo Money and the Prince of Wales very well.

Ern Martin remembers a Sergeant/Warrant Officer Dave Davis.


 

No.2 Flight

Don Adams from Oxford, Chas Wickes from Leicester, Bob Turton from Tadcaster, Graham Bowden from Bristol (now lives near Lymington), Geoff Carter from London, Cpl. Lewis from Bembridge, 'Steve' Stevenson (was living on the Island but now deceased), Mike (Lefty) Collins (presently lives on the Island). There was also a Sgt.Attril who was a local man. His son has informed me that he died very recently (Sept.2014) but unfortunately he never knew of this website.

Cpl.Peter Noake and his cheerful wife Beryl, lived in married quarters off Down Lane, where I visited them on several evenings to be taught the rudiments of photographic enlargement by Peter. Beryl, now in Runcorn, has been in contact and reports the sad news of Peter's premature death in 1989 after a career in Computing.

Dave Taylor, Consoles J/T at Ventnor in 56/57 was a friend of Graham Parker, a fellow Trad Jazz fan. I am happy to report that they have been able to make contact via this site. Dave would now like to hear from Jim Smart of Morden, Surrey who also served at Ventnor.

Tony Garret has recently joined our ranks. He arrived at Ventnor in September 1958 as an 'R' J/T, went back to Locking for 'C' training, and when he returned in the Spring the camp was operating on a Care & Maintainence basis. That meant only one morning's work per week only so unsurprisingly he has fond memories of the Lugano coffee bar, the beach and an undisclosed number of young lady holidaymakers. Nirvana indeed! Despite the short working hours he contrived to be inside the Type 14 when some capacitors chose to explode allowing him to shoot the line that he and his companion had been blasted off the plinth.
But his holiday at Ventnor was all to good to last so he was sent to learn about Bloodhound and then worked at missile sites in the UK and at Woomera. Eventually he returned to the Type 80 at Buchan and to the superior FPS6 heightfinder. Then it was out east to RAF Penang. He was demobbed in 1969 and after a career in the Computer industry retired in 1993 and now lives in Macclesfield.

John Winkles hailed from Birmingham and arrived at Ventnor in November 56 via Bridgnorth and Compton Bassett. He served at Ventnor until August 58 as an SAC telephonist at the domestic site. He met and eventually married Doreen, a girl from Niton, their first date being at the Rex cinema. They moved back to the Island in 1983. John now lives in Ryde and was able to retire early in 1993 from his job of managing the Ryde to Shanklin railway. John's close friends were domestic site men, medical orderlies Cpl.John Homer and SAC Charles Munday, who sadly are now no longer with us. John's little circle frequented Jack's Snacks in the High Street and the Thistle cafe in Pier Street where they were served by Marlene and Muriel who he still meets regularly. John tells us that F/Lt. Houghton was the Adjutant during that period and he wonders where the man who really did the work in Admin, Cpl. MIck Gostick, might be these days. Sqdn. Leader Bell was replaced by Sqdn. Leader Deytriek during John's time. More memories are promised.

Brian Stanbury arrived at Ventnor in its final months. He was a Storeman and had to make many trips to Sopley transferring equipment. He had to sleep in the armoury near the Guardroom prior to taking the contents away the following day. It seems that we were well stocked with pistols, rifles, Brens and stacks of ammo. Brian now lives in Fareham.


John Brown who served at Ventnor for most of 1958 has sent a nice letter telling of how he found the place then. I wonder if anybody else recalls the 'Manhattan' bar in a pub opposite Burts Brewery?

George Sutton served as a 'Snowdrop' during the sad days of the camp winding down, and he tells us a little about that on his own page.

Reg Tarrant was the Provost Corporal in charge of the police posse in 1953.

George Pinkney was a NS LAC in 1956/7 who worked in SHQ on mess accounts. His pal was Paul Burbage the PBX operator.

Graham Potter is the latest recruit to the site. He was at Ventnor from late 1956 until March 1958 doing his National Service. Sqn Ldr Deytrich was still CO when he was first there. Graham was the only "accounts" person there (his misfortune as he had qualified as an accountant before conscription), and was at the weekly pay parades at both admin and "Topsite" usually with Flt Lt "Tiger" Houghton, who was the Adjutant. He called the names from the pay list, "last three" would be returned, and "Tiger" then handed over the cash. Thus he had some contact with all the people there. Others remembered are Flying Officer Passby, W/O "Tubby" Barham (i/c cookhouse), Flt Sgt Fitton, who was posted to Beachy Head, and Flt Sgt Hoper, who he thinks replaced Flt Sgt Fitton. Also remembered are Cpl Norman Lock, an RAF Provost Policeman. Graham was at the Battle of Britain Parade in September 1957, where there were two bands, one RAF and the second Air Cadets. The first part of the parade went well, then the cadet band took over, resulting in complete chaos as their timing was completely different to the RAF band, causing the parade to go completely out of step. In later years Graham saw F/O Passby refereering a Southern League Football game.



Reunions:-

Well not reunions in the strict sense but.....

In October 2005 the author met up with George Sutton and they spent a very pleasant afternoon together touring the perimeter of the top site and taking a look at what little remains of the domestic site. The following week there was a repeat performance for the author when he enjoyed a similar experience by meeting the man who lit the blue touchpaper for this site, Roy Eames.

The author has met up with Harold Lewis on several occasions at the same venue for a pleasant natter regarding their varied experiences of service at Ventnor. The latest of these was in April 2015. They have also together inspected the RAF St.Lawrence site.

At the end of April Graham Bowden and his wife Margaret visited the author at his home for a coffee stop on their way to a conference organised by Graham for fellow academics at Ventnor. It was the first time we had seen each other in 50 years and it was evident from the outset that his characteristic infectious enthusiasm quite clearly remained.

Keep coming blokes, the car-park is forever open.


 

The Royal Airforce Association Local Flight

Tony Smith 12.53-7.55

Jim Cook 54-55

Brian Stone 6.55-2.57

Dick West 11.55-5.57  Dick was a Radar mechanic from Essex and lived in the same billet as Ron Cripps.

David Groves 9.47-9.45

Names kindly provided by Mike Crowe, the local RAFA organiser.


 

Fall In, the Supernumeries!

David C Jones has turned up today (09.05.15). Born in Cowes, as a seven year old he survived the bombing there in August 1942 when seventy people were killed. After Hednesford and training at Netheravon he served as an RAF policeman in the Provost branch at Duxford in 1953, but very briefly visited Ventnor in 1956 for a fortnight of refresher training then required as part of The Reserve after NS. He now resides near Washington DC in the US.

Alan Lambert: he served in 1956. He contacted the IW Nostalgia site, which passed his name to me. Waiting to hear from you, Alan.

Maurice Clarkson has been in touch from New Zealand to tell me about his father Bill who served during the war years. He was at No.1 RDF School at Cranwell in early 1942. (That is interesting as I had previously believed that all CH training was done at Bawdsey). After serving at Dunwich and elsewhere he arrived at the Needles CHL which had a centrimetric Type 41. The site was a Combined Services affair. After further service on the mainland, including Poling and Truleigh Hill, he was demobbed in 1945. I think Bill is the earliest serving RDF man we have heard about so far. Besides the sites already listed in my Acknowledgements section, Maurice has found the RAF Neatishead museum near Horning, of great interest both on foot and on-line.

Jeff Chambers served at Aird Uig as a J/T from 1959 to 1961 where he worked on a Type80 with four turning motors. He now lives near Brisbane.

Tom Vellacott who served at Trimingham made contact regarding 'Steve'.

Derek Helling was a NS Operator at Trimingham, now residing in St.Louis.

I have been contacted by the mysterious'Paperant' a fellow resident of the Isle of Wight I believe. This picture shows him at Cosford as a Boy Entrant in the fifties. He has kindly donated for display this image of an unusual medal, the reverse of which is shown to the right. Is that man 'tugging of war', or is he abseiling? I wonder if anybody is able to shed a little more light about the sporting event at which this medal was won? Click on the picture to see the very apt inscription on the obverse. Many, many thanks 'Paperant' for allowing me to display this probably unique artifact.

 

 

John Holmes was an SAC 90 Group man at Ventnor in 1956 to install UHF aerials on a CH steel mast. He recalls climbing through the clouds at times! He lodged with a Mrs. Knightly and enjoyed off-duty times with Nora, Warrant Officer Littleton's daughter.


Mike Rees passed through Locking in 1959 (Class GRF69) and was posted as a nineteen year old fledgling J/T to RAF Seletar There you may read his interesting account of working for two and a half years with the mobile kit of 61 Signal Unit in a hot and humid exotic location, and where he enjoyed a social life markedly different to my own at El Adem.


Tony Young has been in contact. He bashed the square at Hednesford and later served at the large R3 site at Seaton Snook where they had seven Type 13s.


I have been contacted by Roy Taylor who served at Trueleigh Hill. He has requested information concerning his Operator friend SAC Dave Glyde from Enfield, who was posted from Trueleigh to Ventnor in 1957. Dave badly damaged his back in a swimming pool diving accident and Roy would dearly like to know what subsequently happened to him. Roy has written a 195 paged book entitled 'RAF National Service in Six Movements' ISBN 1 - 873203 - 98 - 5 which tells of his life as a Gee Operator and his involvement in athletics. It is obtainable from Woodfield Publishing who specialize in RAF subjects.


Brian Balshaw served '57 to '59 as a J/T Ground Radar Fitter employed on Babs, Eureka and Tacan at Duxford and thus he considers himself to be..... a 'Cambridge man!' He bashed the square at Wilmslow before enjoying the Locking life and seems to have enjoyed reading the whole site. Being a virtual Liverpuddlian, he was able to correct an error in my West Kirby section regarding Lime street. He has now forsaken his home area and lives.......a mile from me! So I expect to hear more from Brian. If he shouts.

Ken Irwin reports that his father Bob was a Sergeant in charge of Supplies in at Ventnor in 1957 and his reminiscences are now appended here.


Colin Ensor has just fallen in (30.08.07) and has supplied some very interesting details about Leeming which dovetail nicely with my account.


Ian Stewart has done likewise (21.0109) providing recent pictures of C3 H Block and the NAAFI/Cookhouse.


Graham Fielder served at Sopley and enjoyed finding out something about their "satellite" site at Ventnor.

Martin Hall has just ambled on parade. He was a nine year man from 1959 on radio communications. He served at Greatworth and in Singapore. He found this site of interest as he has already constructed his own sites about RAF Great Worth and RAF Locking which are well worth a look. The latter gives non-Apps the chance to relate their anecdotes about their time at Locking.

Martyn Spence has turned up too. He was a Boy Entrant in 1956 and visited Ventnor from Wartling as an SAC Wireless Mechanic for one week only to refettle the VHF kit, which was by then out of use, for a NATO exercise in 1958. He went on to serve 38 years in the service.

Sergeant Brian "Eddie" Edwards just fallen in. He was an aerial rigger serving eight of his twelve years way out east and most of the remainder as an instructor and has included his service in an extensive website he has created for the Aerial Riggers Association.

Geoff Walton has turned out too. He was an apprentice in 1964, then served at Buchan, Madalena (Malta) and Saxa Ford on the heads including FPS6. Did Linesman course plus computer training then was at Boulmer where he looked after the High speed aerial system for the Passive Detection kit. Also worked on the T80, HF200 and T 84 and had a brief flirtation with the T85 [what a beast, he says] . Finally posted to RAF Bawdsey and again worked on all the old heads and spent a bit of time in the radar office, finally demobbed in 1972. He then went to work for RCA uk Ltd on a big OTH radar system at RAF Orford Ness [ google AN FPS 95 Cobra Mist] That gear was shut down after a couple of years due to insoluble noise problems so he went to work for Plessey Telecomm's building cross bar telephone exchanges for a few years then onto a job running the typesetting systems for a big printer in Beccles [William Clowes Ltd] finally ended up as the Site services manager and Chief Engineer and retired to Australia in 2004. Reckons he a great life, and his apprenticeship stood him in good stead in civvy life. For many years it opened doors that would normally have been shut. These days he just lazes in the sun, splashing in the surf and plays his my guitars and….life is good!!

Wow that's some career, I doubt if many know about that Orfordness set up. Geoff has a website about his hobby

Alex Dow hails from Scotland and was a NS instructor at Locking on the airfield approach radar MPN1 from 1958 to 1960, suitably prepared for this by an apprenticeship with Ferranti which included magnetron development. Alex was already familiar with the camp having spent a summer camp there as a thirteen year old ATC cadet. Evening entertainment for Alex was ballroom dancing at the Star studio in Weston and eventually he achieved the Gold standard, and it was dancing that led him to meet his future wife. Members of her extended family owned Locking Farm with most of the land towards Locking village and extensive acreage elsewhere. After NS Alex at first continued as a civilian instructor and then returned to Ferranti.


We have yet to have a Ventnor Officer turn out on this parade and indeed few officers names have come to light. It is both conventional and courteous to name Commanding Officers and I have commenced compiling such a list : if anybody is able to aid in this then please get in touch.

In the event that I have omitted to mention others who have made contact, then I apologise for that, it certainly would not have been intentional but more likely due to muddled organisation on my part. Accordingly anybody thus offended should make contact again if they would like to be mentioned here.

Right turn, Fawwll... out!

Text © 2007 D.C.Adams

Rev 210116