Having read with interest the letters from a local historian and the detailed and accurate letter from one of our engineering staff, your readers may be interested to hear memories of a Worksop Meteor/Vampire flying instructor of that era.
I arrived at Retford station in mid-February 1955 to join 211 AFS to find eight inches of snow. On inquiring for RAF Worksop, I was greeted with “You must mean Scofton!” My accommodation was quarter of a Nissan hut, barely furnished with a small but efficient coke fired stove for heating. Toilets, baths and washbasins were in a separate Nissan hut with hot water etc.
We flew four (or occasionally five) 40 min sorties per day as the Meteor Mk Seven trainers had very limited fuel. The ground crews were very efficient, turning the aircraft round in about 30 minutes or less between trips. Circuit landing training was carried out at RAF Gamston (which I believe is now Retford airfield). There was one incident when an instructor took off and discovered he had 20/20 fuel and had to land fast, the aircraft had not been re-fuelled between trips!
On another clear, still night a landing Meteor left a trail of sparks down the runway and couldn’t taxi, the wheels were still retracted! The aircraft was flying again in a few days.
In November 1955, we were told that 211 AFS was to be absorbed into 4FTS in the new year. Those of us who wanted to stay at Worksop needed to convert to Vampire T11 jet-training aircraft (with ejector seats and side by side seating - wow!) As I was ‘going strong’ with my future wife (a Manton girl), I did a month’s conversion at 4FTS Middleton St George before joining three squadron at Worksop. I well remember flying back down the LNER railway line from Middlesborough at 5,000 feet with my co-pilot having his dog sitting on my knee, much to the parking marshaller’s astonishment!
P. J. ARMSTRONG
Sqn Ldr RAF (Ret’d)