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Memory 13 - Peter Stait - 1951-1953

Peter Stait - Marham 1951 - 1953

I was a national serviceman for two years from July 1951 to 1953. After doing my recruit training at RAF Melksham I went on to No. 5 radio school at RAF Yatesbury. in February 1952 I was posted to RAF Marham, where I spent the rest of my two years as an air radar mechanic attached to the Technical wing servicing Washington bomber aircraft as they came into the service hangar from the squadrons. The squadrons at that time included 35, 90, 110 and 207 if my memory serves me right.

The radar training at Yatesbury had made us familiar with the British equipment of the time, Rebecca, Gee and I think AYF, but of course the Washingtons were equipped with US radar, notably APQ-13, so we had to do another course on that when we got to Marham. I had been 7 months in the RAF before all the training came to an end and I began to be of any use.

During my first days at Marham I was lodged in some comfort in a brick barracks with central heating, but as more aircrew were transferred we erks were moved out into wooden huts with coke-burning stoves.

Towards the end of my time I became a corporal (local acting paid, in the parlance of the time) in charge of a radar servicing team. I was quite proud to serve in the RAF and enjoyed most of my time, at least after the recruit training bit. I made many good friends, some of whom I met in later years, but most of whom I never saw again. If any of them turn up on this site I hope they will get in touch with me.

In February 1953 during the major flooding in East Anglia the station provided men and communications to help with damage containment in the area. As there was not much to do on the station because of the flood crisis I managed to find wangle myself a place as an operator on the radio communication truck, which was positioned right by the Ouse. I remember watching the water level rising and wondering what would happen to the truck if the bank defences burst. I was probably too young to worry much about it however.

Good luck to you all.

Peter Stait : stait@freesurf.ch

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