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RAF Watton in the 60's

Got a hole in an old log? Empty lines in your notebook? Request that missing serial here, hopefully someone can help. Requests over 6 months old only please.
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jpickers56
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Location: Cromer, Norfolk

RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by jpickers56 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:03 am

Long shot I appreciate but looking for any information on RAF Watton during mid to late sixties before the based closed for flying in 1969. I lived in the vicinity (Saham Toney) and went to school at Watton, and in my early teens already having a fascination for aircraft spent many a day at the end of Griston Rd end watching the action. Plus when aircraft in the circuit they flew over our house in the downwind leg.
If anyone can provide a list of based aircraft with 360 Sqd, Canberra's, 98 Sqd Canberra's, 51 sqd Hastings, 115 sqd Varsity and Argosy and believe 97 Sqd has a mix of Canberra, Varsity and Hastings.
I also recall a Navy facility with Gannet and Sea Vixen's amongst others and recall FAF Noratlas visiting to do para drops in the Stamford PTA.
One event I attended on base was a families day which may have been in September 67 and coincided with the disbandment of 98 Sqd.
It does appear that not many spotters visited Watton as find little info in old magazines, any information will be appreciated.
MTIA John

Weazel69
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Location: North Norfolk

Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Weazel69 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:03 pm

there was an HASTINGS T.5 - TG556 - ex.36 SQUADRON - 556 Derelict Airframe on the Dump - 15.09.1969 I have a couple of ageing slides of said A/c
forewarned is forearmed

Mustang531
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Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:47 pm

Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Mustang531 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:38 pm

On the ABPIC site, there is a photo of Varsity T.1 taken at Watton in 1968, as it's a Signals Command aircraft, assume it's a based machine. It was SOC the following year and flown to RAF Andover for fire training. This was the one on its own next to the A303 for many years, I last saw it in 1975 and a scrappy removed the sorry looking remains the following year.

Mustang531
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Mustang531 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:40 pm

The serial of the Varsity that ended up at Andover was WL691, forgot the important bit!

tm74sqn
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Location: Oxfordshire

Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by tm74sqn » Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:49 pm

jpickers56 wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:03 am
If anyone can provide a list of based aircraft with 360 Sqd, Canberra's, 98 Sqd Canberra's, 51 sqd Hastings, 115 sqd Varsity and Argosy and believe 97 Sqd has a mix of Canberra, Varsity and Hastings.
I also recall a Navy facility with Gannet and Sea Vixen's amongst others and recall FAF Noratlas visiting to do para drops in the Stamford PTA.
MTIA John
I visited a few times in the late '50s / early '60s, but log books in deep storage - no easily available computers in those days!
I don't remember Hastings, but possible. Nor do I remember Sea Vixens - but I certainly remember RN Sea Venoms.
There are also (unconfirmed) reports of a U-2 operating from there- however at the time there are reports of U-2 operations from Lakemheath, so there could be some confusion.

Mustang531
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Mustang531 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 8:47 pm

The Navy unit was I think 831 Squadron. I believe it was a mix of Gannets and Sea Venoms.

jpickers56
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Location: Cromer, Norfolk

Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by jpickers56 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:48 pm

Thanks guys for your replies so far.

luxto
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by luxto » Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:52 am

tm74sqn wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:49 pm
jpickers56 wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:03 am
If anyone can provide a list of based aircraft with 360 Sqd, Canberra's, 98 Sqd Canberra's, 51 sqd Hastings, 115 sqd Varsity and Argosy and believe 97 Sqd has a mix of Canberra, Varsity and Hastings.
I also recall a Navy facility with Gannet and Sea Vixen's amongst others and recall FAF Noratlas visiting to do para drops in the Stamford PTA.
MTIA John

There are also (unconfirmed) reports of a U-2 operating from there- however at the time there are reports of U-2 operations from Lakemheath, so there could be some confusion.
A friend told me he had seen a U-2 operating from Watton in 1959 and this was later confirmed by Chris Pocock in his excellent book "50 Years of the U-2"which mentioned 1958 as well. The U-2's at Lakenheath were in 1956.

Mustang531
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Mustang531 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:34 pm

Regarding 831 NAS being based at Watton, it was jointly based at Culdrose too. According to the book, British Museum Aircraft which was published more than 40 years ago and looking at some individual aircraft histories, the following are still around.
Gannet ECM.6 XG797 at Duxford was with the unit at Watton from May 1965 for about a year.
Sea Venom FAW.22 WW138 in the FAAM at Yeovilton was on charge 1962 to 1965, so could have spent time at Watton. Another one is WM571 at Solent Sky in Southampton. Not sure where it is now, but XG629 once displayed at the Torbay Aircraft Museum was with 831 from July 1964 for about eighteen months.

jpickers56
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by jpickers56 » Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:13 am

Mustang531 wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:34 pm
Regarding 831 NAS being based at Watton, it was jointly based at Culdrose too. According to the book, British Museum Aircraft which was published more than 40 years ago and looking at some individual aircraft histories, the following are still around.
Gannet ECM.6 XG797 at Duxford was with the unit at Watton from May 1965 for about a year.
Sea Venom FAW.22 WW138 in the FAAM at Yeovilton was on charge 1962 to 1965, so could have spent time at Watton. Another one is WM571 at Solent Sky in Southampton. Not sure where it is now, but XG629 once displayed at the Torbay Aircraft Museum was with 831 from July 1964 for about eighteen months.
Thanks for the added information Mustang531

Mustang531
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Mustang531 » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:09 pm

Adding to the list of former 831 NAS aircraft, Gannet ECM.6 XG831 displayed at the Davidstow Airfield & Cornwall At War Museum is another that may have been based at Watton.

LM47
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by LM47 » Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:44 pm

If you PM me your email, I will scan the Varsity production list / histories and send them to you.
Meteor NF (T) 14 WS807 was on the gate in 1967.
Unfortunately the logs I kept from ATC camp in July 1967 were in a box of stuff that got stolen from storage.

LM47
Posts: 378
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Location: Dunoon,Argyll.

Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by LM47 » Wed Feb 03, 2021 2:13 pm

Some more 831 NAS stuff.
Sea Vampire XA155
Sea Prince T1 (ECM classroom) WF122
Sea Venom ECM 21 XG608
Sea Venom ECM 22 WW292 WW200 WW221
Gannet ECM 6 XG831 XG798 XA459 XG797 XG832


One of the Signal Command's Hastings was C2 WJ338.

Precinct7
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Precinct7 » Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:25 pm

Hi jpickers66

the magazine Southend Aeronews later Anglia Aeronews had regular coverage of Watton in the 1960's
all these magazines have been downloaded in mil-spotters-forum.groups.io

if you join Mil Spotters you can get access to them all

Vulture 01
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Vulture 01 » Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:04 pm

On an ATC visit to Watton c 1966 we were given flying in a 115Sqn Varsity. Taxying out I saw what I think was the wreck of a Lincoln on the firedump: the nose glazing was very distinctive.
Would anyone know the serial for this please?

Mustang531
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Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:47 pm

Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Mustang531 » Tue Mar 09, 2021 10:36 am

Regarding the Lincoln on the fire dump at Watton, looking at the UK Serials website, it mentions WD132 was SOC at Watton on 27/11/62 and there is a link to a photo of it taken in February 1967. I would say this is what you're looking for.

Precinct7
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Precinct7 » Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:53 pm

confirm this was WD132/C. saw it n the dump in August 1967, on from memory west side of airfield
, the airfield boundary was a hedge with large gaps, so we went inside the Lincoln for a look

on another visit in mid 1968 it had gone

Mustang531
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Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Mustang531 » Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:29 am

Going back to the references to RN aircraft based at Watton in the 1960s, apparently the next issue of Flypast magazine, contains an article about the Sea Venom, which might be of interest. It's due out in the next week or so.

Condor68
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Location: Carnoustie

Re: RAF Watton in the 60's

Post by Condor68 » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:14 pm

LM47 I if its any use I still have the Watton info you sent me a few years ago.If its any use to you I will stick it on a PM.

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