RAF Church Fenton Station Flight.
Working on Flying Aircraft at last.
[Avro Anson pre-flight servicing: Sketch by Joe Bosher.]
RAF Church Fenton Station Flight.
Early 1959 and first line servicing at last - for a short period. Real aeroplanes. Well! Two Avro Ansons, a couple of prop Percival Provosts and perhaps a visiting Valetta. There were a constant presence of de Havilland Chipmunks from Linton on Ouse practicing circuits and bumps but were only visiting. I really double checked every thing I did. Servicing the engine, renew a part then the pilot shouts "Right get kitted up for a flight". Jump in make the test flight with him - makes you a bit careful! We had two Ansons, a Mk 19 WD338 and a Mk 21 WD 340 (I seem to remember). they didn't give much trouble bar the few engine oil leaks.
Most of the servicing was basic stuff including refuelling - then checking - and signatures on the Form 700. Any component problems - just a trip to stores to replace the item (but that's another story).
Joe Bosher - Marshaller of the Royal Air Force.
Chiefy called me this as I collected my dayglow jacket and set of aircraft marshalling bats from the crew room. Mostly the marshalling was on our own planes but occasionally I was called out for more exciting bat waving. The arrival of a flight of English Electric Lightnings (P1) or Hawker Hunters required a number of marshals - cause the pilots weren't familiar with the layout of the peri-track and hangers etc.
We had a surprise when a squadron of Supermarine Swifts paid us a visit. I seemed to be the only person who recognised them - ATC training paying off - as they circled the airfield. They had come from somewhere in Europe and never usually seen in Britain.
RAF Church Fenton was a Training Group Headquarters of RAF Training Command at the time and had many high ranking officers on the staff and as visitors. So for their aircraft trips it was white overalls and shiny boots and brasses. Sometimes we had to paint hanger floors and signs and general bull.
Perhaps you can help here? I got the impression, from Chiefy, that some of the older pilots in the Group Headquarters needed so many hours flying our planes to qualify for something called "Master green". Hence I occasionally had to pre flight planes for groups of senior pilots - Group Captains mostly - I guessed ex- Wartime pilots.
These "old hands" would borrow a larger aircraft, such as a Varsity, fly to Malta for the weekend and return with crates of booze and fags.
Good Old Boy.
A couple of veteran WW2 pilots keeping their hands in (master greens) just didn't seem to give a damn! Joe Bosher - new boy, first time preparing a Provost aircraft for one of the Groupies . After inserting the starter cartridges I discovered that the Provost had awkward fasteners on the engine cowlings. The veteran Pilot before signing the 700 remarked casually " Well might as well just have a look around I suppose". Thumped the engine cowling with his fist and it fell off. He kindly helped me replace the panel. If it had been any one else I might have ended up in the Guardroom but the old boy just shrugged his shoulders.
The same chap piloting one of the Station Flight Ansons bounced it hard on the runway when making a landing. "Sorry about that" he told a worried Chiefy, inspecting the undercarriage. "Forgot it was the Anson. Thought I was flying the Varsity". Obviously a Senior Moment.
I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any stories about this aircraft; humorous, technical or historical. Please use the Feedback Form to contact me briefly, in the first instance.
Joe Bosher (74th).