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Thread: Thetford

  1. #1

    Default Thetford

    The fuel depot located here;

    http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=52.42....5&r=0&src=msl

    Does anyone know who owns it and what is its current use?

  2. #2
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thetford

    I think this is the one run by the Government Pipelines and Storage System (GPSS). There is a cluster managed by Serco Gulf that includes Thetford, Barton Mills and Ingham.
    This is all new to me so I could be wrong.

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    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thetford


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    Default Re: Thetford

    My Dad was based here during the war. He serviced many of the 3rd Air division airfields of the U.S.A.A.F. with fuel tankers by road, including the then RAF based airfields of Mildenhall and Lakenheath. After D-Day he spent a few weeks with the 9th at Chipping Ongar replacing drivers who were sent accross the channel until the pluto lines went in. He returned to Thetford after that. I took him back in September 1990, and while we were having a drink in the pub outside the railway station he pointed out his 'digs' and the remains of the depot to me.
    Despite its location he never mentioned East Wretham as one of his stops. Thorpe Abbotts nearly every day along with Eye, Honnington, Horham, Lavenham, Framlingham, Bury (Rougham), Sudbury and Knettishall. In and amongst all that was Rattlesden, I took him there too but it couldn't recall that one, he was 80 at the time! He mentioned other Drivers who serviced the 2nd Air Division also, he told of a common saying ' from Beccles to Bungay' as one of the routes taken by these other Drivers although he never did that one. From listening to him over many years it was obvious that they kept the same routes throughout the duration, apart from after D-Day when things must have been stretched.
    I have a life long interest in the 8th as a result of all these stories, finding out things such as the Russian shuttle missions as a young child, many years before I read them in a book. I think its all very fascinating and love my visits still.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Thetford

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for an interesting first post!

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    Senior Member Richard Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thetford

    Dear Robert I am pleased your father told you his war stories, so many didn't and also you managed to take him to his old haunts. We managed to get my mother back to Italy and show her where she served as a veteran although she insisted she was not a veteran.

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    Default Re: Thetford

    Many thanks for the welcome Denis and Richard.
    Dad's tanker..jpg
    Here is a pic of Dad with the tanker he drove. I presume this was taken at Thetford while waiting to fill up although it could be anywhere in Suffolk. The drivers drove in pairs, his colleague was a guy called Bob Green from Oldham and they met while getting off the Train at Thetford. They were paired up with each other for the 'duration' and were refered to as 'Gray and Green', which I believe was a well known removals firm around that time!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Thetford

    Lovely picture, Robert. Without doubt he would have delivered to Knettishall Station 136 388BG. When you think about the fuel consumed on a 20 plane mission from each bomber base and the number of bases served by Thetford alone for example, the figures for delivery tanker movements are quite staggering. I wonder how many tankers ran out of Thetford and whether it was a 24hr operation?

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    Default Re: Thetford

    Hi , yes deff' a 24 hour operation as he mentioned shift work around the clock. 72,000 gallons in each of the two dumps at each airbase which had to be topped up daily. On top of this, Dad visited the fighter bases at Metfield and Honnington, where a different fuel, 'Pep', was supplied to that of the bomber bases. While on nights he and his colleague planned to raid a couple of Apple trees in the dark after delivering to Thorpe Abbotts. Having planned the 'mission' over a couple of weeks they turned up only to find the trees had been harvested during the day! He said that driving through the night brought other dangers as the negro personnel driving the 'whites' ( american truck I believe) were to quote 'absolute nutters' and had all on to keep out of their way on the narrow country roads. Having to keep a look out for German fighters, particularly in the early days of 1942/43. It does make you wonder how many of these tankers were in operation, I don't think any proper in depth research has been done. I also know that to takesome of the pressure away some bases had direct fuel lines from the shipping terminals in the Thames straight to the airfield, Bassingbourne was an example of this having been the first one to be connected in April 1944.

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    Default Re: Thetford

    Very interesting historic operational info, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Gray View Post
    fighter bases at Metfield and Honnington, where a different fuel, 'Pep', was supplied to that of the bomber bases.
    I'm guessing the fighter fuel was higher octane, more TEL or other additives?
    Last edited by Engineer; 07-09-2011 at 17:24. Reason: addition

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