roundel jsl spacer hunter1
previous thumbnails next

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesI arrived at Wunstorf with my convoy late on the afternoon of Friday, October the 15th. Few of us had been there before. I never had. As with most RAF Stations in Germany, with the exceptions of newly built Wildenrath, Laarbruch, Geilenkirchen, and Brüggen which were new Stations and collectively known as the 'Clutch', Wunstorf was an ex-Luftwaffe base. With the arrival of 122 Wing added to its existing establishment it was overcrowded. Our Officer accommodation was in the roof space of some old Luftwaffe buildings and was both smelly and primitive, with tin lockers and airmen's beds. The smell was of drains as the toilet vent pipes terminated in our roof area. The Officers Mess was unremarkable and typical of many in Germany. The roads in the Station were noteworthy for the number of semi-derelict and derelict cars at their kerb sides, something I had not witnessed since Pembrey and which would certainly have never been allowed at Jever. The airfield hard-standings and aprons were vast, having been extended and heavily used during the Berlin Air Lift. We were allocated a hangar belonging to one of the home Squadrons, itself now on detachment. The nearest important town was Hannover and, from a flying point of view the local landmark was the Steinhuder Meer, a huge, almost circular, lake which I had overflown many times before.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesIt was at Wunstorf that I began to develop severe vomiting headaches. I had had them occasionally before, but now they were worse and more frequent. I saw the MO when I was suffering with one and he promptly ordered me to be sick in the wash-basin in his surgery. An order which I couldn't obey as I had emptied my stomach down a toilet not 15 minutes before. He didn't listen to what I had to say and told me in no short order that I had gone to him only because I wanted to skive off flying. Untrue. Thank you, Doctor.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesAs to flying: my first flight was a half hour sector recce and my second, on the same day, was as No.2 in a formation and involved a QGH and 3 practice GCA landings.1 This was my first experience of GCA, something we didn't have at Jever.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesTwo flights followed on the 25th. Firstly I flew as No.4 in a battle formation and tail chase, then I flew alone and, for a reason not now remembered or recorded, I was diverted to Fassberg. I spent the night in the Orderly Officer's room which, tradition had it, was haunted as it had been used by Reichsmarschall Göring whenever he visited. I slept well.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesAfter flying back to Wunstorf next morning, two more sorties followed. The first was as No.4 in a high level battle formation, and for the second I was detailed to go to a specific village and sketch a map of it from the air, adding as many salient features as possible. I flew round that little village on the North German Plain so many times that, by the time I left the vicinity, nearly all the population was outside watching me and pointing at me! Nobody bothered to look at my artistic efforts when I landed.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesThe 27th saw me airborne twice. In the morning I flew as No.2 in practice close and battle formations. Later, again I was No.2 in a close formation. We did a formation Vic take-off, climbed, and broke for a tail chase, then reformed in worsening weather and did a Vic QGH, clocking up 35 minutes IF in a sortie of 45 minutes duration. The same day I was checked out as being capable of, and qualified
1 GCA = Ground Controlled Approach. It was also known as 'talk down'. A radar controller at the end of the runway could, and did, guide pilots to the runway threshold in conditions of very poor visibility. This facility was a vast improvement on the usual QGH procedures to which we were accustomed and which only brought the pilot over the airfield at circuit height or just below.
previous thumbnails next
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes