AIR TRAINING CORPS
AT R.A.F. UPWOOD
Tony Saint pictured on the back row, third from right
The photograph is of the High Wycombe Air Training Corps on summer camp at Royal Air Force Station Upwood in the late 1940s. The accommodation for the Air Training Corps was the prisoner of war camp on the base.
The corps was made of cadets in their last year at school or in their first employment (apprenticeship). Many of the schoolboys attended the Wycombe Technical Institute (Motto: "Quit Ye Like Men") which did not have a cadet corps, as did the Royal Grammar School.
The Commander of the group was Flt Lt Mallinson. Tony was based at R.A.F. Booker, at that time a flying Training School for both RAF and RNAS pilots. The cadets enjoyed flights in Tiger Moths, Ansons, Dragon Rapides, and gliding in Kirby Cadets. Whist at Upwood Lancasters were added to the list.
The members at that time were between senior school, or first job, and their national service. The time in the corps proved to be well spent when called to Padgate for service. Ex-cadets had some idea of what the RAF was like and received a distinctive service number which proved to be a mark of recognition for ex-cadets.
Many thanks to Tony Saint, for the information and picture.
Grammar School Air Training Corps Squadron 714
Summer Camp at RAF Upwood, August 20th to 27th, 1947.
By Cadet Ernest O.E. Knight.
Admissions Register numbers ( mostly year 1942) added where these could be found.
Back row. 3908 R.W.Bustin. 4303 D.D.Moyes. 3940 E.O.E.Knight (me). 4216 A.G. Smith. Lawn. 3986 D.E.G.Studey. 4125 E.P. Goodwin. ?
Middle row. 3970 P.R.Smith. 3792 or 3793 Jenkins. 4021 F/Sgt.D.J.T. Cockerill. F/L H. Nixon. PO Bennett (an old boy ex RAF pilot). 3744 Sgt.A.S. Clark. 3722 Cpl. A.D. Witherick. 3927 P.T.Goddard.
Bottom row. Loverock. 3954 J.E.Paul. 4056 T.J.Fowler. Jones. Simons. Ralstone. 3881 D.J.Endercott. 3917 J.Durtnal.
Adjacent to RAF Upwood was a vacated Prisoner-of-War camp and this was our accommodation. My first of only two memories of this camp was our first sight of the ablution or washroom block. We were confronted with a row of perhaps ten WC pans without partitions! Very disconcerting for us delicate Grammar School boys! To avoid a serious onset of constipation, Nicky Nixon had to arrange for the camp carpenters to provide timber studwork screens lined with hessian sacking. This was not a lot of good, the hessian was see-through, but we got by.
My second memory was supposed to be the camp highlight, a flight in a Lancaster Bomber. This was for two hours. The flight to which I was allocated carried a full crew plus three of us cadets. The first cadet went down with the bomb- aimer, a superb viewing spot, the second sat next to the navigator, also a good position, but with a full crew there was no real spot for the third---me. I ended up sitting on the floor with the mid-upper turret gunner`s legs dangling in front of my face. We were given inter-com earphones so we could hear the conversations between the crew members, but these were no good to me, I hadn`t got any where to plug them in! The floor was hard, it was freezing cold, it was extremely noisy, it was very turbulent, I felt very ill, and I was, twice. No convenient paper bags in the seat pocket for me. I didn`t have a seat! I did have my cap to use though, which I left behind when we eventually landed! I wonder who found this ? So that experience comes high on my list of unpleasant memories.
Many thanks to Ernest O. E. Knight, for the information and pictures he sent me