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Report - Old Swinderby Pictures

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Slinky Badger, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. Slinky Badger


    I managed to dig out some old pictures of RAF Swinderby showing the old domestic site (e.g. Single Airmen’s barracks, NAAFI etc) that used to be situated opposite the technical side of the airfield as it was when I was doing my basic training there in May ‘80, I have included a computer generated aerial view so you can get an idea of the layout as it used to be when it was an operational airbase, I couldn’t find any old aerial photo’s of it before it was demolished and turned into a soulless posh housing estate.
    I expect these pictures will rekindle a lot of memories for Airmen and Ex-Airmen, I hope you enjoy them and hope that civilians can also enjoy them and get a feel of what the base was like when it was alive.
    I took some inspiration from some of the stories that have been posted from other people who have either served (mostly trained) there or had Fathers or Grandfathers that had been posted there, I know that there are a lot of other airfields that are probably just as important but I imagine this particular Airfield will hold a special place in any Airman’s heart as it was their first taste of Air Force life, I reckon about 85% of the current serving Air Force would have passed through those hallowed gates at Swinderby, up until 1993 it was the only Basic Training facility and all male recruits would have trained there.

    This is the aerial view of the airfield, you will see numbered arrows that relate to the position and direction of the photos taken, being a computer generated view it will not show every single building but it shows the main buildings and layout, also there is the A46 which is not shown but runs adjacent to the peritrack to the north.

    Pictures 1 & 2, show the type of barrack block used at Swinderby, these were an ‘H’ type block consisting of two floors, sleeping accommodation at both ends which were connect by the toilet and shower block and drying room (filled with multiple heating pipes for drying your laundry) in the middle.

    Picture 3, Another view of the blocks, looking on flash earth (the aerial footage looks a few years out of date) the accommodation blocks have not long been demolished but you can still see the lines of trees that are in this shot, and you can still make out some of the old service roads, click here for the exact spot that pictures 1,2 & 3 were taken http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=53.147974&lon=-0.668793&z=16.8&r=0&src=msl

    Picture 4, The Newcomers Club and NAAFI, many a night was spent in there by rookie airmen ogling the (rather tame by today’s standards) stripper, I’m pretty sure (though my memory isn’t what it used to be) the NCOs used to have there mess in there as well.

    Picture 5, Another shot of the Newcomers Club, note the staining on the brickwork left from the WW2 camouflage paint that was applied 40yrs before, click here for the exact location of the Club/NAAFI http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=53.149178&lon=-0.667323&z=17.3&r=0&src=msl

    Picture 6, one of the newer barrack blocks built (in the late 60’s) on the old parade ground, all the blocks had names, they were normally named after famous Airmen or aircraft, this particular one was called ‘Cheshire’ block, I can’t for the life of me remember what my own block was called though?, old age I guess.

    Picture 7, The large ‘X’ on the CGI image marks where the old rifle range was, the picture was taken looking west from the camp road that divided the Technical and Domestic sites into two halves, the range has since been demolished, whilst I was doing my rifle training another trainee who wasn’t very good had his SLR rifle shoved under his arm pit (because the re-coil was hurting his shoulder, bless him!) fired of a shot accidentally which ricocheted of the top edge of the wall and zinged off over towards Newark, he then panicked turned facing all of us with a loaded weapon! until a split second later when he was propelled (courtesy of our Corporal) violently headfirst (minus the rifle) out of the firing range door!, click here for the exact location of the rifle range, http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=53.150222&lon=-0.67197&z=16.8&r=0&src=msl you can still make out the outline left in the grass.

    Picture 8, Though not shown on the (CGI) aerial diagram this is the sign that EVERY serving male airman in the Royal Air Force would have seen (I wonder what happen to it?), this picture was taken on the verge of the A46 facing east, the airfield would have been on the right of the shot I believe that there is now a large roundabout where this sign used to stand, the sign was on the corner of the camp road where it joins the A46, in the photo we were just about to cross over the road and go into the Halfway House pub on the opposite side of the road for a drink, note the old Austin Allegro estate in the background, click here for location of sign http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=53.155619&lon=-0.672922&z=18.6&r=0&src=msl

    Picture 9, The main reason for showing this are the classrooms (and hanger) in the background which are now derelict, I found it quite moving looking at the inside of these derelict classrooms on Silverfoxx’s excellent Swinderby report, click here, http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=2278&highlight=swinderby
    it was strange to think that I sat in those very same classrooms exactly 27 years ago this month!, the old control tower and fire tender building are just to the right out of shot, this picture is me on my passing out parade 18th June 1980, I’m front row in the middle, there was no point in obscuring my ugly mug as I look nothing like that now, Swinderby used to have a “Passing out parade†every Wednesday, to mark the finishing of your training, parents would arrive from all over the country and sit opposite in a stand to watch their sons, brothers & husband on parade, there would be a fly past by an RAF jet, then afternoon tea and cakes with your relatives, then after a couple of hours you would be packed off onto coaches and despatched to your next posting, click here for photo location, http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=53.146905&lon=-0.675617&z=17.4&r=0&src=msl

    Picture 10, shows a (slightly) better view of the ‘H’ shaped accommodation blocks (pity about the blokes standing in the way) this block was called ‘Nettleton’ which was located opposite my block, note the green IRR *(Infra Red Reflective) paint on the windows, this was quite a common site on airfields, most metal objects were painted this way.
    *If “enemy forces†were using any night vision apparatus whilst observing any equipment or property painted with IRR paint, the only thing that they would see would be a blurry object, the outline of any object would be disrupted by a “glow†bounced back by the paint.
    I'm 2nd row, 4th from left (turned my head slightly 'cos my ears used to be so big, no need to bother now 'cos I have such a fat head! he he!)
    Our Corporal (Cpl Weeks) is seated front row 7th from the left, more about him later.

    As I said earlier I expect these pictures will rekindle a lot of memories, if they have it would be nice to hear other peoples memories, Swinderby may just be a shadow of its former self, just a skeleton now, but hearing peoples stories will put flesh back on those bones. Although I spent more time at other RAF bases, Swinderby will always have a special place in my heart, I myself, had a wonderful time at Swinderby, just those 6 weeks there shaped me into the person I am now, a lot of the values I carry with me today I learnt there, I walked in there just 16yrs of age, a mere boy, yet six weeks later I walked out a man, the time I spent there is one that I will never forget.


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