Kilroy (and me!) was here . . .

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37 entries.
Stacey Arling from Catterick Garrison wrote on March 31, 2021 at 7:53 pm:
Good evening, I found myself at this website a few weeks ago while doing some research and I wanted to share my story. I lived at RAF Watton from 1995 -1997 and I remember as a 9/10 year old visiting the Museum many times. My favourite exhibition was the resident ghost pilot who would stand at the end of the corridor in the glass panelled door. I would see him all the time, sometimes moving through the museum, but mostly at the door. I saw him downstairs in the families club once as my mum was setting up for a party as she remembers me telling her "she didn't need to worry, he was my friend" - this did absolutely nothing to reassure her bless her. Since I was a young child I have credited this pilot ghost for saving me (whether or not I was actually as close to death as I felt as a young child I do not know but the story is as vivid as it ever was). There was a party in the families club, fancy dress, one of the mums was dressed as a penguin. I had run off to the loo, which I felt also had a spirit although not friendly like the pilot, as such I was rushing as fast as I could to get out of there. But being a kid I still found time to chuck a sweetie in my mouth before running. The sweet got stuck in my throat and I choked. Instead of running to find help I just stood, panicking and struggling to breathe. I remember him appearing at the glass panelled door just like the one upstairs. I remember so clearly looking right at him, and then him disappearing. The next minute, a giant penguin came running up and started smacking at my back managing to dislodge the sweetie. I was beside myself so she gave me a hug and said (something along the lines of) "you're lucky I just happened to look down here or I wouldn't have found you!" When she let me go, she took my hand and we headed off to find my mum and when I turned back, he was there back in the glass of the door window. I have always believed that it was him who sent someone to help me. Now the spirit in our quarter was a whole different story, he was not friendly and much stronger than the one in the toilets - and as it turns out, the reason we moved!
Elaine Hook from Halifax, West Yorkshire wrote on March 25, 2021 at 5:11 pm:
My mother in laws first husband, Sergeant John Charles William Hook 1271836 wrote in his diary of 1942 that he spent some time at Watton RAF camp. I am completing my family tree, do you have any information about him, please? He was killed on the 2nd January 1943 over Lough Foyle, Donegal, Northern Ireland when the plane they were flying hit a bad snow storm and the plane came down. I believe there were 5 others in the plane and I don’t know if he was piloting the plane at the time. Thank you in advance. Elaine Hook
Martin Goode from Fareham wrote on March 14, 2021 at 1:41 pm:
I also worked at HAWD Watton in the PBX section. This would have been circa 1977-1978 prior to a posting to Rheindahlen. I do remember Peter Jones also mentioned on this site. Great atmosphere a definite War Time vibe. I used to find wartime comms kit in the frame room etc. I remember a resident RAFP who had an uncanny Knack of finding you if you strayed onto the airfield/hangar area!
William Carruthers from Bishops Stortford wrote on February 15, 2021 at 8:26 am:
Married Quarters, airfields, Roger Byron Collins & Welbeck Estate Having lived in MQs at RAF Watton between 1958 and 1961 I was lucky enough to live a few doors down from M/Nav Arthur Collins, his wife Doreen and his two sons Robert and Roger in Dixon Close. Arthur was aircrew B29 Washington and our families became close. Sadly, l totally lost touch with the Collins family! That was until a most incredible situation happened 20 years later when I purchased two former RAF houses in Lincolnshire at RAF Hemswell and RAF Faldingworth.. It transpired that the companies that owned both the sites, Welbeck Estate Group were owned by none other than Roger Collins. After I finally made contact with him, he was delighted to meet up with his old pal again...and he gave me a decent discount! My goodness he had advanced himself so after reading various references on their website: www.twsg.co.uk I decided to look further into this amazing character's background both for his love of military housing but his benevolence in dealing with former military personnel. For the past 40 years Roger has specialised in the purchase of former MOD property -mainly married quarters but also all the MQs and entire tech site at RAF West Raynham plus a couple of ex RAF airfields at North Coates and Hemswell and the former Bomber/Strike Command HQ Bawtry Hall. It transpired that Roger and all his Welbeck colleagues have former RAF backgrounds. He is their driving force and his specialty has always been the preservation and retention of former MOD properties which has been his stated aim since he bought his first military site at in 1979. With former MOD housing after purchase the houses were modernised to a high standard and when were initially resold a large number of the buyers over the years have been serving or ex RAF personnel as Byron-Collins operated a discount and assistance scheme. When making further investigations I learnt that Roger's father Arthur, was long term RAF aircrew serving from 1939 to before retiring at RAF Northolt in 1979. His first home was an MQ at RAF Driffield in 1946 moving in 1950 to RAF Waddington where Arthur flew Avro Lincolns and B29 Washingtons. They lived in Married Quarters between 1946 and 1970 at RAF Driffield, Hemswell, Waddington, Marham, Waterbeach, Watton, Tangmere, Khormaksar Aden, Wildenrath Germany and Northolt. Whilst living in MQs at RAF Northolt he attended college training as a surveyor in London. After qualifying he went into the property business making a decision to specialise in the purchase, preservation of not only married quarters but technical domestic and airfield sites. Whilst living at RAF Northolt he made friends with a senior USAF military neighbour and as a result in 1979 he went to Arlington Virginia USA opening an office opposite The Pentagon. Within 6 months he purchased two apartment blocks of 480 apartments named The Cavendish and The Lancaster adjacent to the Pentagon and US Navy Annex and occupied mainly by the US military. Roger commuted every two weeks between Heathrow and Washington Dulles airports by Concorde as the UK business was flourishing as well. In 1979 Mrs Thatcher's Conservative government announced there were a surplus of MQ sites and disused airfields which were to be sold. Roger purchased his first military site which comprised 127 former NCO quarters at RAF Faldingworth, north of Lincoln. From his experience gained with his US military housing purchase andhe applied an American concept to these houses by the installation of a swimming pool and club house which he donated to all the buyers. The married quarters were renamed The Virginia Estate after his recently opened office in Arlington Virginia and the roads renamed after areas around Washington such as Washington Drive, Prince William Road, Fairfax Road. At only 33 years of age this proved very successful for him and he went on to acquire a further ex MOD 35 sites over the following 35 years including the following: 570 USAF MQs RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk. (Lords Walk Estate) Let to the USAF 300 RAF/USAF MQs RAF Bicester, Oxon 266 MOD Hirings Tricomm Portfolio let to MOD located in Bristol & Bath 172 Married Quarters RAF West Raynham 185 acre airfield site, tech site, 4 hangars 127 Married Quarters RAF Faldingworth, Lincs (renamed Virginia Estate) 133 Married Quarters RAF Middleton St George Durham (renamed Virginia Estate) 80 Married Quarters RAF Colerne, Chippenham, Wilts (Thickwood Estate) 30 Married Quarters RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset (Hermes Place) 20 Married Quarters RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset (Lyster Close) 110 Married Quarters RN Chatham, Kent (Walderslade MQ’s) 20 Married Quarters Army Quarters, Barlow, Yorks 55 Married Quarters RAF Halton, Bucks 66 RAF & Army MQs RAF Ballykelly/Shackleton Barracks, Northern Ireland 80 Married Quarters RNAS Eglinton, Londonderry (City Airport) Northern Ireland 92 Married Quarters RN Rosyth, Edinburgh, Scotland 321 Officers NCO MQ RAF Kinloss, Forres. Scotland 144 USAF & RAF MQs RAF Edzell, Brechin, Scotland 60 Married Quarters RAF Brize Norton, Oxon 30 Married Quarters RNAS Portland, Dorset (Southwell) 30 Married Quarters RNAS Portland, Dorset (Easton) Airfield & Tech. Site RAF Hemswell, Lincs 70 Married Quarters RAF Manby, Lincs (Siskin Crescent MQs) 42 Married Quarters RAF Brawdy, Dyfed (St Davids Estate Haverfordwest) Bomber Command HQ RAF Bawtry, S.Yorks 22 Married Quarters RAF Hemswell, Lincs 70 Married Quarters RAF North Coates, Lincs. Airfield & 260,000 sq ft Tech.Site. 42 Married Quarters RAF Shotley Gate (HMS Ganges) 90 Army MQs Tidworth Garrison Wilts. (Perham Down MQs) 110 Married Quarters RAF Scampton, Lincs 101 Married Quarters RAF Harwell, Oxon (UKAEA housing) 93 Married Quarters RAF Finningley, Doncaster 80 Married Quarters RAF Upwood, Cambs 50 Married Quarters RAF Linton on Ouse, Yorks 30 Married Quarters RAF Cranwell, Huntingdon 210 USAF MQs RAF Sculthorpe, Norfolk and 235 Acre Tech. Site In 1996 the Conservative government decided to privatise the entire 55,000 Married Quarter Estate in England and Wales occupied by serving UK personnel. In partnership with Bankers Trust, Hodge Bank, Europa Capital and a few UK pension funds Roger raised £1.66 billion for the Ministry of Defence's 55,000 married quarter houses estate. Out of an original list of 100 approved bidders Roger's Group and the Japanese bank Nomura were the final two approved buyers. Despite severe criticism by former and serving military personnel at that time Michael Portillo, the then Defence Minister awarded the sale to Nomura and Roger's all British Consortium fully funded offer lost out by less than 0.2% of the sale's price. Nomura quickly decided to create an English sounding company to manage the estate and Annington Homes was formed that remains in place as the Married Quarter owners. As well as Roger's MOD property interests, he had also started an airline! See link: www.saadonline.uk/archives/190 Whilst living with his parents at RAF Northolt at 17 he decided to obtain a PPL and started on a course at nearby Denham! He realised that it was only for professionals as he nearly had a nasty accident on landing. However, he continued his aviation interest and purchased his first ex RAF Devon at 25 from Lulsgate Aviation Services of Bristol airport. Shortly afterwards he was approached by Harry Chang, a pilot of the then recently collapsed 'troop carrier' airline, Lloyds International who had available two contracts with Conoco and The Ford Motor Company. The first was to move offshore oil rig workers around North Sea ports and the second to convey spare parts for the recently introduced Ford Capri between Dagenham and Dusseldorf. With these contracts he formed Macedonian Aviation and immediately established a base at Southend airport. In 1972 he went before the Civil Aviation Committee to obtain an AOC and the CAA chairman at the time was Lord Boyd-Carpenter. When the AOC was granted, he passed comment that "Mr Byron-Collins at only 26 years of age must be one of the youngest persons in British aviation history to be awarded with an AOC". Roger's earliest contracts were in the late autumn of 1972 when he ferried Michael Jackson, Jackson Five on their UK tour and Donny Osmond and the Osmonds.
Kerry Wilmot from Shipmeadow wrote on February 3, 2021 at 10:48 am:
Hi, I wonder whether anyone can help please. I am searching for reports, details or photographs taken of salvages that took place, namely by Lt Ayers from 3rd Strategic Air Division who cleared a B24 4295024 'Gypsy Queen' on 6th Nov 1944. Any details would be very gratefully received x
Maurice R Heard from Bristol wrote on January 29, 2021 at 5:01 pm:
Maurice R Heard -stationed RAF Watton 1970 / 1972 Eastern Radar. Bit of a culture shock after being on ATC duties at RAF Chivenor for 4years. Never ending walk down that roman road to the camp. Still when off-duty a nice cup coffee was had in the cafe opposite the camp main gates.
Alistair Gilbert from Kettering wrote on January 10, 2021 at 11:04 pm:
Hello, I left HMS Eagle in 1968 and was given a posting to somewhere mysterious called RAF Watton?? No one in the Navy knew anything about it so I arrived Sunday evening to report at 0800 the next day. I spent a night in the guardroom where the lads looked after me and gave me an idea where to report next morning. Of course I was on 360 sqdn. Once settled in I was delighted to find I was treated as a Cpl Engine Fitter. In the Navy we did the combined trade of Airframes/Engines. This allowed me to run the Canberra engines which we weren't allowed to do in the Navy as that was a senior rates job. We weren't there long as the sqdn moved to Cottesmore app 6 mths later. I left in 1970. Fun times seeing the other side of military aircraft and the Brylcream boys lol
Ivan David Styles from Shrewsbury wrote on November 24, 2020 at 2:32 pm:
Served at Eastern Radar 1973-75 and 1976-77.
Derek Rainey from Bristol wrote on October 5, 2020 at 7:39 am:
My memories of RAF Watton were when I (as a lad of 16yo) and a group of other Air Training Corp cadets (1860 Sqn) spent a week at the station. We arrived by train and got off at Dereham railway station (I think) and were then taken to the base. I remember seeing the Bristol Bloodhound Missiles as we neared the camp. A weeks stay, full board and lodging for just 7/6 (37.5p). Whilst there we flew in a Vickers Varsity, did a very interesting night exercise, diving in hedgerows trying to dodge capture and various other adventures whilst there. I remember the NAAFI and we all had a fantastic time there. The interesting experiences were when the camp squaddies would climb in our dormitory windows after obviously spending an illicit late night in the local, trying to evade being spotted by whoever was there to stop them getting in. As well as the Vickers Varsity, I am fairly sure that there was a Lancaster and a couple of Gloster Meteors on base. It was a fantastic time in my life and a real adventure.
Duncan Bogle from Harrogate wrote on September 28, 2020 at 7:05 pm:
This is so important to many people.. I was there from 74 to 76.
David Fossey from Norwich wrote on July 27, 2020 at 8:50 am:
Cpl Tech David Fossey CSE Watton September 1954 - September 1957Wishing to contact or have news of: Stewart Ramsey, Bill Youden (of Ash, Kent) Bernard Dunkley and others of same period.
john Hanson from Birmingham wrote on May 19, 2020 at 7:22 am:
John Hanson from Birmingham wrote on May 15, 2020 at 5:24 pm: Im a retired Police officer half in CID and currently working with USAF Colonel Charles Halt about the incident that happened just outside RAF Woodbridge in 1980. I'm hoping that some of the guys and ladies that worked at Watton can let me have their views on what I regard as a load of rubbish which has been published about an incident at Watton in late December 1980....You see I wasn't there ,I have no idea about the structure of how the base was operated ....AS you can see from the report which follows, I cant believe that a 'flap' at the base following ,object tracked on radar would have initiated two Police dog handlers to investigate....none of what they say seems to be the appropriate response of an RAF base during what a period of cold war...anyway let me know please .He claims that following radar tracking a large object moving just before midnight the 27th of December 1980, two RAF police dog handlers were instructed to investigate a report of strange lights heading in from the north near the airfield fence to the west of RAF Watton. This incursion caused the station officer to get into a terrible flap. Two airmen arrived at the fence to find several figures shining what appeared to be green and blue lights into the sky. This is what he had to say, “They were about 100-150 yards away from us and when we turned on our searchlights on them, they ran off very quickly, we only saw the figures for a little while in the searchlight, and these didn’t always work. We got the impression that their clothes were silvery and bulky and appeared to suck in –or not reflect the light after a few seconds .They wore visors which looked like they were split into two halves like big eyes. We had to use infrared light because we couldn’t see them in the normal searchlight .The dogs started going crazy and wouldn’t obey the code words which was trifle to bite and custard to stop. We made out report and were told to continue out patrol. The next morning a high ranking British officer questioned Thompson and his colleague .The men were advised to forget what they had seen because it was only poachers, and it was now a matter for the local police. Thompson says that their note books, duty log and occurrence book went missing! Well I have to say that I regard this as nonsense or even disinformation. The reason is that if an incursion had take place, one would think that the base would have been placed on high alert......30 years in the police makes one not to much skeptical but wary of accepting reports which have very little substance. I hope some one can help....corroborate my misgivings....thanks . Also thanks to Julian for assisting me in this matter . Once as a young officer I would have thought some body was off their trolley if they had told me about a UFO sighting (ambiguous as that terminology is) not now. At the end of the day unlike others that proliferate the UFO organisations -who I keep away from I cant give an answers,. The ones that do well !
john Hanson from birmingham wrote on May 15, 2020 at 5:24 pm:
Im a retired Police officer half in CID and currently working with USAF Colonel Charles Halt about the incident that happened just outside RAF Woodbridge in 1980. I'm hoping that some of the guys and ladies that worked at Watton can let me have their views on what I regard as a load of rubbish which has been published about an incident at Watton in late December 1980....You see I wasn't there ,I have no idea about the structure of how the base was operated ....AS you can see from the report which follows, I cant believe that a 'flap' at the base following ,object tracked on radar would have initiated two Police dog handlers to investigate....none of what they say seems to be the appropriate response of an RAF base during what a period of cold war...anyway let me know please .He claims that following radar tracking a large object moving just before midnight the 27th of December 1980, two RAF police dog handlers were instructed to investigate a report of strange lights heading in from the north near the airfield fence to the west of RAF Watton. This incursion caused the station officer to get into a terrible flap. Two airmen arrived at the fence to find several figures shining what appeared to be green and blue lights into the sky. This is what he had to say, “They were about 100-150yards away from us and when we turned on our searchlights on them, they ran off very quickly, we only saw the figures for a little while in the searchlight, and these didn’t always work. We got the impression that their clothes were silvery and bulky and appeared to suck in –or not reflect the light after a few seconds .They wore visors which looked like they were split into two halves like big eyes. We had to use infrared light because we couldn’t see them in the normal searchlight .The dogs started going crazy and wouldn’t obey the code words which was trifle to bite and custard to stop. We made out report and were told to continue out patrol. The next morning a high ranking British officer questioned Thompson and his colleague .The men were advised to forget what they had seen because it was only poachers, and it was now a matter for the local police. Thompson says that their note books, duty log and occurrence book went missing! Well I have to say that I regard this as nonsense or even disinformation. The reason is that if an incursion had take place, one would think that the base would have been placed on high alert......30 years in the police makes one not to much skeptical but wary of accepting reports which have very little substance. I hope some one can help....corroborate my misgivings....thanks .
Alison Caunce from Bolton wrote on November 10, 2019 at 10:37 pm:
Thank you for writing such a fascinating book. I am Colin Buchanan's Great Niece and it is lovely to be able to read the recollections of his, and his fellow crew members, mischief and misdemeanors prior to their very sad deaths when their Baltimore came down over Sicily on 25th July 1943. A colourful crew who obviously enjoyed their short lives together. I have visited the grave in Catania, a fitting location directly under the flight path into Catania airport. Should any readers know anything of the crew I would love to hear from you.
Rod Madocks from Nottingham wrote on October 13, 2019 at 3:25 pm:
Thank you so much for remembering Squadron Leader Dennis Graham-Hogg. I met him after the war in the 60s and 70s as I was friends with his son Christopher. A remarkable man, he was a steely, impressive character, still picking out bits of Blenheim perspex from his face, a crack shot and polo player also very generous and convivial. . He worked for Shell after the war and travelled the world. He wrote a book on pigeon shooting and retired to Cyprus. He died in 1997 and his dear wife, Gillian, the following year.. Tragically, his son, my best friend, was killed in an accident in 1975.
Admin Reply by: Julian Horn
Hello Rod, I was delighted to receive your information regarding Rotterdam hero, Sqn Ldr Denis Graham-Hogg. Thanks to Julian Horn’s excellent website, my book Mast High Over Rotterdam has been readily accessible to a huge number of people – much more so than a book in standard published form. Here are my observations on your update. In my biography of Denis, I naturally assumed that he had retired to his birthplace, Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri-Lanka) and wondered if I had missed a golden opportunity of meeting him during my many RAF Rangers to Cyprus in the 1960s and 1970s. However, as I did not start my research into the Rotterdam raid until 1981, this was never on the cards! On a poignant note, my interview with Denis’s WOp/AG, Jim Marsden, enabled me to recount to his widow the final moments of his observer, David Wyatt, when they crashed into the sea on 18th July 1941. She was eternally grateful for this, and we exchanged Christmas cards until she died just a few years ago. Just in case I made a simple error, can you please confirm that the photo of Denis, which is in his biography, is in fact correct? So sorry to read that his son, and your best friend, Christopher, was killed in an accident. This clearly came as a shock to you. Thank you again for your most interesting update on Sqn Ldr Denis Graham-Hogg. With kind regards, Rusty Russell
Georgina Etheridge ( was Wickson ) from Watton wrote on September 21, 2019 at 11:44 pm:
I have posted on here before awhile ago. I lived at RAF Watton as a wife from 71-74 My ex hubby ( Alan Wickson ) was stationed at Honington at the time. I am now remarried and have recently moved back to the retired married qtrs at Watton to Boscombe Road ( near the Flying Fish Pub. ) I lived in Cranwell road from 71-72 and then Hendon Ave 72-74. Its strange being back as the station is no more but there are still remnants of it... The Airmans mess is still standing ( now a carpet shop ) and still quite a few blocks still standing and in use. I took my dog for a walk today and walked from where i live all the way down to Newell Ave where the qtrs end and back up. It brought a lot of memories back. If anyone thinks they may know me from when i lived here as a RAF wife i was known as Ann Wickson pls get in touch . Its good to be back 🙂
Charles de Vries from TREUNGEN wrote on February 13, 2019 at 9:48 am:
I accidentally came across your website whilst researching RAF Watton and I must compliment the proprietors on such an excellent and comprehensive presentation on this renowned RAF facility. Scrolling down the Guests letters I was delighted to read an entry from one of my former chums Roger Collins when we both lived in the NCO MQs in Dixon Road from 1958 for a couple of years. My father, like Roger's father Arthur whom if I remember correctly was a Master Navigator were both flying the B29 Washingtons at RAF Watton. I was amazed to read of his involvement in former MQs and airfields including Watton, RAF Sculthorpe and RAF West Raynham. I remember even when we were only 12 he loved cycling with me to nearby wartime airfields at Deopham Green, Shipdham, Bodney and East Wretham. A few of us RAF kids often sneaked into the Stanford Training area and were intrigued with all the empty houses, churches and we never got caught - happy days. I looked at Roger's company website at www.twsg.co.uk and was amazed to read he had bought 36 ex MOD estates and he started his own airline when he was only 25. After spending two years of my life with him on the camp and at Hammonds Grammar school in Swaffham. I was totally amazed. To me it is a great shame to see what has happened to Watton airfield with the development of the housing on the airfield as I was interested to note Roger has been revitalising airfields.
Paul Jones (PJ) from Redditch wrote on December 5, 2018 at 9:49 pm:
Hi - great to see the 1988 video. I was based at RAF Watton as part of the Honington Admin Wing Detatchment (HAWD) from Nov 1987 to Jun 1990. I was the last airman based at RAF Watton and worked as the PA to the CO to start with before going on to run the Guardroom towards the end of my tour. I have loads of memories of the unit and things that went on in those final years (I very well remember 'Slick' Watson's flying suit escapades - poor old Tim Hannis was the recipient - never did a night duty on his own after that 🙂 . I remember the setting up of the museum by Julian & Paul, and we even had the old BSA500 fired up, which I rode up the main drag from SHQ to the Car Club & back on virtually flat tyres. Great work on the web site guys - really brought back good memories.
Igor Abarnikov from London wrote on August 19, 2018 at 1:59 pm:
I was so interested to read Roger Collins' email from July 2017 mentioning he lived with his parents in married quarters in Dickson Close at RAF Watton from 1957. I remember him well as we travelled by train during term time by train from Watton to Swaffham where we both attended Hammonds Grammar School where I was in a class below him. Interestingly I read a lot about him over the past few years as he was connected with the property company that bought the entire post war married quarter site on the south of the Norwich Road at RAF Watton. Also nearby in Norfolk he bought the entire RAF Sculthorpe tech site and married quarters - likewise at RAF West Raynham in 2006. I carried out some research on him and discovered he has over a 40 year period acquired 35 former RAF married quarter and airfield sites which included Bomber Command HQ Bawtry Hall, RAF Hemswell and RAF North Coates. Also at only 25 years old was awarded an AOC and formed an airline called Macedonian Aviation based at Southend operating 2 ex RAF Devons and 5 Dakotas. I find this most interesting for a fellow RAF kid like me and if you are interested his company has a website at twsg.co.uk and it lists all the RAF facilities they have bought and a mention of the airline he started. A world apart from our time together at RAF Watton in the late 1950s!
Neil Yorston from La Prenessaye wrote on July 24, 2018 at 4:50 pm:
I made 2 mistakes in my letter, Chiefy’s name was Peart and Alan’s friend was Boss. I’m getting old.

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