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P Bellamy
15-11-2008, 17:41
RAF Croughton: Signals Square

I've just noticed in both Live Maps and Google Earth that not only does the signals square at Croughton still exist, but whoever is in charge of it either has a sense of humour or a sense of history.

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k227/ramc181/ctss1.jpg

The wind T is set, and the other markers indicate "Gliding is underway", very appropriate for the former home of No. 1 Glider Training School.
Someone really ought to repaint the "Do Not Land" marker in the corner of the square though...... just in case. :wink:

TTFN,
PB

Carnaby
23-07-2009, 16:32
When I was a lad....(yawn)...

I was interested in amateur radio (c.1960?). Somewhere on the shortwave band one could pick up a loud ghostly message at hourly? intervals which went on the lines of:

"All Moonshine Aircraft, all Moonshine Aircraft this is Croughton, this is Croughton. Do not answer, do not answer, Break - Alpha Delta Kilo Seven Niner Four Four.
I say again - All Moonshine Aircraft, all Moonshine Aircraft this is Croughton, this is Croughton. Do not answer, do not answer, Break - Alpha Delta Kilo Seven Niner Four Four. Croughton out."
Used to wonder who, or what Croughton was. Never did find out what it was all about - almost certainly something to do with SAC.

Something below on the subject from: http://www.merhabaturkey.com/1CAMMARATAAindex.html

There were two other missions we handled at airways. We made "fox" or one way voice broadcasts. SKY KING and MOONSHINE. SKY KING was a code name for the SAC B-52 airborne nuclear deterrent force. We never knew in advance when we would make a broadcast until the crypto man would alert us about an hour before the scheduled time and give us the coded phrase and exact transmit time. It went something like this: "SKY KING, SKY KING this is Incirlik this is Incirlik. Do not answer, do not answer break Romeo November Juliett break authentication is x-Ray Sierra." We repeated the message one more time followed by the phrase "Incirlik out." Other Airways stations also made random Sky King and Moonshine broadcasts. The Moonshine coded messages were similar except that we used the phrase "All Moonshine Aircraft". I never did find out what Moonshine missions were.

I too can't find out what Moonshine missions were - somebody out there must know ;-)

Graham

Richard Flagg
26-06-2010, 21:51
RAF Croughton gate guards - 25 June 2010

Republic F-105G Thundercheif (62-4428)
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb198/Flyer719/NORTHAMPTONSHIRE/Croughton/20100625Croughton9-1.jpg

North American F-100D Super Sabre (54-2212)
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb198/Flyer719/NORTHAMPTONSHIRE/Croughton/20100625Croughton15-1.jpg

EGDGZTCW
26-06-2010, 22:20
I guess with the F105 gone from Duxford, this must be the only example in the UK now?

PETERTHEEATER
14-11-2010, 04:11
These Fighter Pens are amongst the best preserved that I have seen:

http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=51.9926962035042&lon=-1.1754834651947021&gz=17&oz=7&gt=1

kebecker
06-01-2011, 00:06
from 1980's from the DOD image site
http://i336.photobucket.com/albums/n330/kebecker2/DF-ST-91-067371.jpg

Hairbear
02-01-2012, 20:43
I spent two years working in the building with the pitched roof to the left of the antenna. That was Croughton Airways (77 -79)

Richard Flagg
09-01-2012, 02:00
RAF Croughton Back Gate (1974) by Ray Pipitone / RAF UH fb group.

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb198/Flyer719/ALL%20OTHER%20PHOTOS/Ray%20Pipitone/378839_2276883536241_1673333525_1559265_1088069513 _n.jpg

Richard Flagg
01-05-2012, 11:08
Does anyone know where the bomb stores were located at Croiughton?

P Bellamy
01-05-2012, 14:53
SW side of the airfield it would appear. Already fairly well cleared in the "1945" GE coverage:
http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=51.983604862322494&lon=-1.1889266967773438&gz=17&oz=8&gt=1

All the best,
PB

PETERTHEEATER
02-05-2012, 07:16
I have not been able to confirm a bomb store at Croughton. It was always a grass field and opening in 1941 would have had the early war layout bomb store. A number of fighter pens were grouped in the north and east perimeters indicating use of the airfield by fighter aircraft.

There is some road structure and (possibly) a Fuzing Point shed visible on GE '1945' view in the south, just west of a hangar but it's not convincing.

Available on-line post-war mapping doesn't show anything.

P Bellamy
02-05-2012, 14:27
Although Croughton had fighter pens and a Night Fighter Station control tower, it's first regular use (under the original name of RAF Brackley) was as a satellite of 16 OTU at Upper Heyford, operating Hampdens and Herefords between June 1940 and April 1942 and then Wellingtons until August 1942.

Peter Kirk
02-05-2012, 17:31
Would an early war OTU satellite be equipped with a bomb store intially? If this was the case then by 1942 it may have had a later pattern bomb store?
The road layout to the south on the "1945" GE view looks unfinished and serving no real purpose.
Croughton's ORB may throw some light on this - or not!

P Bellamy
02-05-2012, 19:13
Croughton's Operations Block (Bomber OTU Stations) 15586/40 with connected Station Headquarters, much modified and now with a pitched roof:
http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=51.99540227189858&lon=-1.1882548034191132&gz=20&oz=4&gt=1

I wonder how many others of this type are still in active use...

All the best,
PB

TommyUSA
02-05-2012, 21:31
What I want to know is how does one pronounce 'Croughton'? Cr-OU-ton (as in 'ouch')? Cruffton? Crow-ton? Crah-ton?
:-P
T

Chris Lowe
02-05-2012, 21:51
As far as I know it's Crow-ton but I stand to be corrected. :lol:

Carnaby
02-05-2012, 22:23
THE USAF radio broadcasts from the base, (actually Barford St John, the TX site), used to say Croughton with the 'ou' as in 'ouch'
Then I found this on Wiki:

There is no one predominant pronunciation of the village's name, with residents pronouncing it with its first syllable rhyming with "thou" or with the first syllable rhyming with "crow". The "thou" pronunciation was adopted by the Americans nearby at RAF Croughton when the airbase was in use by the USAF.

PETERTHEEATER
03-05-2012, 04:38
Although Croughton had fighter pens and a Night Fighter Station control tower, it's first regular use (under the original name of RAF Brackley) was as a satellite of 16 OTU at Upper Heyford, operating Hampdens and Herefords between June 1940 and April 1942 and then Wellingtons until August 1942.

Thanks Paul, that reinforces the likelihood that there was an early war type bomb store in the area discussed above.

PNK, if, at the outset, the airfield was planned to be a Bomber OCU it would have had a bomb store. Supplementary bomb stores to the 1942 standard were only added when airfields were upgraded to Class A standard. Since Croughton has never had hard runways it could not have supported heavier bomber types than Blenheim, Hampden etc and would not have supplementary bomb storage. What's needed for confirmation is a good aerial photograph.

superplum
03-05-2012, 11:37
Thanks Paul, that reinforces the likelihood that there was an early war type bomb store in the area discussed above.

PNK, if, at the outset, the airfield was planned to be a Bomber OCU it would have had a bomb store. Supplementary bomb stores to the 1942 standard were only added when airfields were upgraded to Class A standard. Since Croughton has never had hard runways it could not have supported heavier bomber types than Blenheim, Hampden etc and would not have supplementary bomb storage. What's needed for confirmation is a good aerial photograph.

There was never any evidence of a bomb store in any of the documents that I had. However, there was a 40mm Practice Grenade range in that area for a while. The farmer ignores the metal debris!

Sparky67
03-05-2012, 21:51
Mention of those HF transmissions from Croughton sent shivers down my spine ! There was also the mysterious Cemetery Net and the RAF's AT2J / MKL active on HF around then...

Here's a photo taken a few years ago inside one of what looks like original RAF buildings close to the base of the lighter-coloured tower in kebecker's photo on page 1...

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7098/6993854644_7a3c7830d2_c.jpg

This two-colour paint job seems to crop up everywhere. Was there a standard colour scheme for buildings ?


And as a contrast to REF's 1974 security staff photo...30-ish years on :-P

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7249/6993856400_c548132755_b.jpg

We pronounced Croughton at the time with the ou as in 'ouch', the gh as a 'w' and ton as 'tun'.

Carnaby
03-05-2012, 22:22
There was also the Cemetery Net and AT2J on HF around then...
Tell us more, please. Where were these transmissions? Around 6MHz (plus and minus a hell of a lot) perhaps?

kebecker
03-05-2012, 22:55
if any one has the time rigth now I noticed 2 additional images of Croughton taken at the same time as the one on the previous page, the page is quiet slow. I may get to this at the weekend.

http://www.defenseimagery.mil/imagery.html#a=search&s=croughton&chk=6cfe0&n=60

From the DoD site: change of command parade 2003

http://i336.photobucket.com/albums/n330/kebecker2/DF-SD-05-083751.jpg

and from 1989

http://i336.photobucket.com/albums/n330/kebecker2/DF-ST-90-101721.jpg

Richard Flagg
05-02-2013, 21:52
Some of my notes about Croughton;

RAF Croughton began life in 1940 as Brackley Landing Ground, it was renamed in July 1941. The first aircraft here were Whitleys of 78 Squadron on deployment from their home base at Linton-on-Ouse. From june 1940 until July 1942 the airfield was used by 16 OTU operating Hampden, Anson and later Wellington aircraft.

The airfield remained a training airfield and No.1 Glider Training School moved in from Thame in August 1942, they were equipped with Hector and Hotspur gliders. Tugs were based there in the form of Miles Masters. Tiger Moths and Oxfords were used for training at the same time. No.1 GTS remained here until March 1943.

From March 1943 until October 1944 the airfield was allocated to 20 Pilots Advanaced Flying Unit that were based at Kidlington. They were a twin-engined training school and used Airspeed Oxfords. At the units' peak they had around 200 aircraft and Croughton was a very busy place.

In November 1944 No.1 GTS reformed here and remained until June 1946. the next unit to use the airfield was 267 Maintenance Unit. After a period of Care & Maintenance in July 1948 the airfield was in use again, this time by No.3 MU who remained until July 1951.

Now used by the United States Air Forces' 422nd Air Base Group, the airfield is a large communications centre and one of the largest military switchboards in Europe.

The airfield is now covered in an array of aerials, radar and antenna but the same layout has remained, the grass surface can clearly be seen and there are a number of original WW2 structures still on the airfield including the Control Tower and some immaculatly preserved fighter pens.

Rerun57
07-02-2013, 10:09
Croughton airways was on (is on??) 6751kHz, if I remember rightly, in the 1970s. It also had many other freqs in the other usual HF air segments of the radio spectrum. The "67" freq was the one I used to hear most traffic on, especially in the day time. You also used to get Lajes, Incirlik, McDill, Loring and others which I now forget. I never heard a "Moonshine" call, but "Sky King" messages were very common and seemed to be broadcast at a given number if minutes past the hour, varying with station. MKL was on a similar freq in the 6 MHz band, as well as other HF freqs. This was (is) RAF and NATO maritime patrol net, sending ops status info and coded traffic by both speech, Morse and RTTY to and from Northwood(??). I used to hear the Cemetary net after dark, but rarely heard anything of interest-normally just radio checks, although once there was mention of an F-4 crash in Germany. My favourite HF net was that of the 10 TRW and 20 TRW, which was often busy with RF-4Cs and F-111Es carrying out sorties over UK and Western Europe. Sadly, when moving many years ago I binned all my notes from these nets. Stupid or what? Anyone else have other info about these?

tigger
07-02-2013, 10:33
My own memories of the Cemetery net are of an assortment of callsigns, usually numerical (eg CEMETERY 51 was Kleine Brogel, CEMETERY 83 was Sigonella), though sometimes they used others such as RINGSIDE (also Kleine Brogel). Messages were hourly, on the security status of all USArmy/USAF nuclear sites in Europe. Another callsign often heard was BOLD JUSTICE - some kind of airborne asset. I think the net was divided into subnets as the callsigns always seemed to transmit in the same smaller groupings of around ten stations.

SKYKING messages were always very short and other transmissions were often interupted so they could be passed. I don't recall them being at a specific time, nor are they now.

Trawling my brain for MOONSHINE but don't remember the format....I was only about five or six years old but fascinated by HF listening (the shipping forecast is poetry even now!).

I thought all my notebooks (I used the scrapbooks that most kids probably put cuttings etc in then swapped to using my school exercise books later) were at my mums house but with a few moves between then and now she says not.

Probably better in a different thread but if anyone else has memories of these nets from the 60s and 70's I'd also love to hear them.

juddy
07-02-2013, 10:59
Do they have a helicopter pad here?

tigger
07-02-2013, 11:22
Do they have a helicopter pad here?

Not seen one....they could use the running track if it was necessary to land a helicopter?

Rerun57
07-02-2013, 16:04
I have started posting on the HF Comms Nets here:

http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?10101-HF-Military-Aviation-Nets-c1970&p=120255&viewfull=1#post120255

All very welcome to join in!

Terenceskipp
16-04-2013, 18:29
In my planespotting days of the late 1950's 60's we used to listen in on the short wave band of my parents, with transmissions fading in & out. Callsigns Skyking & " all viaduct aircraft" come to mind, with lots of numbers after

Richard Flagg
07-07-2014, 22:44
Email from Kenneth W Taber


Hello all and thanks,

Not too much to add as info wise.

I think we had a bit of bad luck tho. Our old control tower here at RAF Croughton was torn down last fall. The old cinema the spring before. All the commanders call's I'd sat thru in that place...

The building (tower) was apparently being a bit of a nuisance to maintain. There were a lot of external mods that probably caused the wet problems I'd heard rumoured, but it was demolished, and I never got to see inside it. The old tower at Finmere is in worse shape but it's still standing. If I'd known about it, I would have enquired about it 'is it necessary" and the like. More history gone......

The old launderette went too, that was the old Security Police office when I was first stationed at Croughton in '72.

Plus now, only one original building up at Barford-St.John, the power house. All else is gone. Progress I guess......

Well, it's certainly a wet day today. I may get on my amateur radio set later on and listen to the RSARS and see who's about. Can't talk, but just listen up.

All the best, thanks again.

Regards,

Kenneth

P Bellamy
07-07-2014, 23:11
Seems the control tower at Croughton came down at about the same time as the one at Alconbury.
A worrying development if connected...

Harboda77
08-07-2014, 07:08
I have not been able to confirm a bomb store at Croughton. It was always a grass field and opening in 1941 would have had the early war layout bomb store. A number of fighter pens were grouped in the north and east perimeters indicating use of the airfield by fighter aircraft.

There is some road structure and (possibly) a Fuzing Point shed visible on GE '1945' view in the south, just west of a hangar but it's not convincing.

My understanding is that RAF Brackley did not have a bomb store or machine gun alignment butts from my relatives that had lived in the area during this time.

I heard that they had to go to Upper Heyford or the staff from UH would have to drive over to Brackley if Bomb Bays or Guns needed repair work as it had been a satellite to the UH OTU at the time and that it had been renamed Croughton during the summer of 1941.

It had also been designated as an emergency landing field so it had to keep its landing flares burning and this resulted in aircraft getting attacked as they came into land at night.

In the following years it took over as a Glider Training School from Thame and that it also became a night flying training base.

I also believe that they had to requisition local houses at the beginning of the war as they had not built any airfield housing quarters.

The Americans must have taken the base over for their communication centre around Christmas time of 1951.

The first time I had been escorted through the gate must have been in the mid 1970's and if I've remembered it correctly they were not permitted to land any of their helicopters on the base and they had to go into UH.

PETERTHEEATER
09-07-2014, 08:21
Thanks, Subsequent to my query, I saw a fuzzy copy of AM Drawing 2984/44 and it does not show a bomb store or Shooting-in Butt. Nor did it have a 25 yard range.

Mike W
09-07-2014, 16:36
Seems the tower at Croughton came down at about the same time as the one at Alconbury.
A worrying development if connected...

Towers near Middleton Cheney and Daventry which were in the USAF chain have also gone.

Daventry site has been sold. MC site still has other towers (Not military?) still in use

MC linked to Croughton as part of the chain to Alconbury via Chelveston.

Carnaby
09-07-2014, 18:05
Re bomb store:

SD310 (1942) states 'Bomb Storage, tons: (20)'

Other bomber station examples of the period were typically 200 - 250 tons. Penrhos (4.5) may refer to its unique (?) store on the eastern boundary.

However there are some gems: Bardney (nil), Barrow (unlimited!), Breighton (129.5), Bourn (470.7).

There are many 'nils' and looking at these figures it is clear that the difference between 'intended maximum' and 'actual' was not understood (as were several other parameters in this survey)!

P Bellamy
09-07-2014, 18:41
Towers near Middleton Cheney and Daventry which were in the USAF chain have also gone.

Daventry site has been sold. MC site still has other towers (Not military?) still in use

MC linked to Croughton as part of the chain to Alconbury via Chelveston.

Sorry Mike, I meant the old control tower.

Previous post now edited for clarity. :)

Harboda77
09-07-2014, 19:36
Thanks, Subsequent to my query, I saw a fuzzy copy of AM Drawing 2984/44 and it does not show a bomb store or Shooting-in Butt. Nor did it have a 25 yard range.

In the early stages of the bombing campaign I understood that they used bombers from the OTU to make up the numbers and also provide real combat training for the recruits.( I don't believe that these counted towards their tour total ? )

It's possible that they used what I heard described as the Special Equipment Entry Point on the south west side of the airfield off of the Croughton Portway lane that ran down the west side of the airfield.

The airfield was about 400 feet above Newlyn and the SEEP area had been about 50 feet lower and may have been used to store any bombs if the OTU did provide any operational aircraft and any support staff sent over from UH would have used the south west airfield entry point and not the eastern side used for access from Juniper Hill and Cottisford.

If you use the GE1945 images you will see a very prominent entry point on the south west side but you have to zoom into to see the SEEP as it was well hidden in the undergrowth.

The prominent one is 51.59.03-76" and the SEEP that also gave access to the field area just west on the hanger on the south side is 51.58.58-41" & 1.11.37-98"

I will attach an image showing the SEEP entry point from the Portway Lane.( Image upload not working will try later )

Harboda77
09-07-2014, 19:49
Image of SEEP entrance.

17325

Once In Turn Left

17326

View from Top of the Rise through fence.

17327

Once in look Right.

17328

Walk down the hill then look left towards the hanger.

17331

Harboda77
09-07-2014, 20:07
The original lower level entry point to the storage area is behind the thick undergrowth and there is another gate hidden there as well.

When I took these images there were marks in the field to the west of the hanger that I was unable to investigate.

17332

The entry point is ten to twelve feet lower that the surrounding area and would have entered the field nearer to the current fence.

One of the later security fences can be seen in the second image as a green post and now terminates as located.

Harboda77
10-07-2014, 08:41
During my visit to Croughton in the mid 1970's we listened in on a short introduction to the history of the airfield and its association with Bicester and Hinton in the Hedges airfields that are located in the area.

I will try to use terminology that I don't understand so please correct where I'm inaccurate.

The talk related to night time flying training and our Standard Beam Approach system verses their Instrument Landing System.

Apparently there had been a signals design or development unit based at Bicester that had relocated to Hinton in the Hedges and our system had been used at Croughton during the 1940's.

Hinton in the Hedges airfield was only a couple of miles north of the Croughton airfield.

I believe our system consisted of two signals with one of dash's and the other of dot's to confirm that the aircraft was on the correct heading for the runway and the American system confirmed that the aircraft was on the correct glide path.

My recollection is that the USAAF were not to impressed with our system and they convinced the Air Ministry to evaluate their system and this had been conducted at Hinton in the Hedges.

Looking at the GE 1945 image that presentation triggered some not quite dead memory cells and I wondered if the more visible entrance onto the airfield from the Groughton Portway with the chevron off of the entry road had been the SBA system ?

Looking at the GE 1945 image it also appears as if there is another one located on the north of the airfield ?

Carnaby
10-07-2014, 10:31
Croughton did indeed have the infamous SBA, and was No.1538 BATF for a period. (See Post 4 (http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?1030-ASVBA)).

Looking at GE1945 there is a white blob in a field just to the west of the main runway which would probably be the SBA Main Beacon. Its Inner Marker was much smaller and I couldn't see anything off the extended centre line to the east.

The British radar approach system (BABS Mk.1 and Mk.2) had largely replaced SBA towards the end of hostilities. It coped well with numbers of aircraft all wanting to land around the same time.

The improved American system SCS-51 was similar to SBA but didn't really get going until 1945. It did feature glide-path (as did SBA which didn't really work at all).

They also introduced their Alvarez Talk-Down System (later called Ground Controlled Landing, then GC Approach) which was the forerunner of PAR. Tested at Ludford and St Eval, it was good but not really suitable for getting large numbers of aircraft down on return from a mission.

Hinton-in-the-Hedges performed various beam approach development functions under a number of names (BADU, SDU, GCA Flt) during WWII.

PETERTHEEATER
10-07-2014, 14:16
On airfields that had to support bomber ops but which had figter pens, as with Croughton, it was usual to use a fighter pen for bomb storage since it already had traverses. Of course, the location was selected taking into account intended capacity versus safety distances.

Harboda77
11-07-2014, 07:37
On the 1880's OS Map of the area it shows two entrances off of the Portway lane to properties that were probably part of the Tusmore House estate.

The northern entrance had been to ' Two Trees ' that were situated close to the Portway with the track road crossing what is now the southern part of the airfield to the Tusmore House Race Course that had been located on the other side main A34 Brackley to Weston on the Green road on what is now the eastern side of the airfield.

The southern entrance that I identified and photographed as the ' SEEP ' had been to a property called the ' White House ' that had been located on the ridge line for a junction of two other lanes that joined the Two Trees lane going east to the Race Course and the other going south to Pimlico.

The entrance to RAF Croughton appears as the entrance to Glebe Farm with another farm entrance to Astwick Farm leaving the Finmere to Croughton road on the ' S ' bends then continuing south to the Race Track.

Thanks for the information on the Fighter Pen storage ~ Do we know if they have been constructed in 1942 to coincide with the 20T bomb storage record ?

superplum
19-07-2014, 09:38
RAF Croughton - FOI request. If you need a little light relief, have a look here at the last item on the list:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foi-responses-released-by-mod-week-commencing-14-july-2014

PETERTHEEATER
19-07-2014, 09:41
In a way, I'm glad the likes of this person are covering the niches that other members of the public do not know about or are too busy to query.

Peter Kirk
19-07-2014, 10:42
Just submitted another FOI request. "How much has FOI cost since it started?" I haven't really but it makes you wonder how many people are involved and how many extra staff over and above the normal press/liaison teams.

IanDDavidson
20-07-2014, 10:10
RAF Croughton - FOI request. If you need a little light relief, have a look here at the last item on the list:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foi-responses-released-by-mod-week-commencing-14-july-2014


Is this proof some people watch too much television?

Harboda77
21-07-2014, 00:36
Colonel Caldwells Biography from the 501st CSW

http://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?bioID=17014