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Thread: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

  1. #11
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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    I thought that in the post-war period all or most airfields had the capability to charge its own oxygen cylinders. Hence the duty E&I guy and the persistent chugging of the charging apparatus.
    At Linton there were about 80 aeroplanes being flown around the clock, it is difficult to see all of the oxygen being imported.

  2. #12
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    Thanks Graham, as someone has managed modern LOX plants on airfields in the Middle East I know that once a production run starts to fill the storage tank the plant has to be kept running 24/7 until the tank is full. Filling a couple of hundred cylinders in one day is incredible. Either they were smaller than the modern equivalent (in size or volume or filled pressure) or there was more than one plant, even several, provided. In case of breakdown, LOX could be 'bought in' from commercial sources.

    I shall see what I can find out about Kentford plants.

    I should mention that, apart from Oxygen, Nitrogen cylinders were also filled. Nitrogen is a by-product of LOX production via cryogenic process and is referred to as LIN. A separate and smaller storage tank would be required.

    Presumably, other gases required for use at airfield level such as Acetylene, CO2 were requisitioned from industrial gas producers and not supplied by 42 Group.
    Last edited by PETERTHEEATER; 13-10-2009 at 09:45.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    Not all units required LOX in the 1960/70/80/ EARLY 90s as some aircraft type relied on gaseous only. in the 60/70/80s all Lox in UK was delivered to user units by BOC or other contracters at Leuchars in the early 90s it was Air Supply Ltd.
    All gaseous oxygen (except welding) in the UK and Germany in the period I have mentioned was delivered by road from 279 M U at Cardington.
    Cylinders were stored on wooden dunnage in secure compounds. Overseas a rudimentary cover was erected. Peter storage an steel rails etc has never been permitted.
    Peter you say 100 cylinders a day is incredible but I presume the MUs were running several plants together 24/7 ??

    The most familiar means of transporting oxygen around the airfield was/still is the 4 bottle trolley but on many units a Bedford OY later a Bedford S flatbed with a dozen cylinders would be a familiar siight.
    Peter you may recall these trucks. ?

    Peter How as a plumber, did you end up working in a LOX plant ??

    In both Goose bay and the Falklands we stored LIN we had produced as it was used at the local hospital and by the local veterinarians. From the Lin we also filled Nitrogen cylinders.

    In reply to ColinBA its only since about 1995 the flying stations became able to fill their own cylinders from LOX, but most import via a contracter, Most aircraft use only LOX now and even stations like Linton or Cranwell don't use a collossal amount; a lot of breathing oxygen can be obtained by the onboard gear from a relativaly small Lox pot. Colin you mention E & I guys thats a bygone term ??

    An interesting subject I will look for some vehicle piccies of Oxy trucks to post in the relevant area

    TEd

  4. #14
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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    What about hydrogen for the barrage balloons - or did they use helium?

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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    Hydrogen ; near the entrance to Cardington was a huge Gasometer for hydrogen. Whernever I went there I always thought to myself: had this been the 1940s in the event of an air raid which ARS is furthest from this lethal weapon. !!! I don't know if Cardington was the only WW2 producer of hydrogen for the balloons ???//

    TED

  6. #16
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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    Quote Originally Posted by WJT View Post
    What about hydrogen for the barrage balloons - or did they use helium?
    Just tried to compare H and He - and failed. Some sources say Hydrogen has four times the lifting power of He, others say a 8% difference.

    However I remember from my involvement with hot-air and gas balloons a decade or so ago, that hydrogen was almost always used for leisure balloons. Despite its flamability, IIRC it cost around 500 to fill a balloon. Helium was several grand. At the end of your flight the pilot vents the contents to atmosphere - no way of recovering it.

    I also read somewhere that there is a limited supply of He available. When it's gone, it's gone. Costs are rising.

    Graham

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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    Until this thread started, I hadn't thought much about the of evidence of Bomber Commands oxygen supply chain either in the archives or on the ground but it seems once you look, there doesn't appear to be a great deal. Are we missing something? It couldn't all have been supplied by BOC using their existing commercial depots could it? What was the demand for breathable oxygen in places like East Anglia in 1939?
    I don't have a great deal of info on bomb stores but I have checked my plans such as for Lords Bridge etc but only one site comes up with a definate something.
    A place dear to my heart as it happens, 93MU Swinderby, sited at Swinderby railway station midway between Newark & Lincoln then renamed Norton Disney, just to confuse people.



    Sidings were built between the level crossings that curved west then north to three bomb stores just out of the top of this picture. That scrubby area in the centre was the accom/office site. NDis also went on to hold chemical weapons and consumables such as window/chaff (foil strips)
    That reversed L to the right of the picture, adjacent the road, became an oxygen plant, presumably for all of 5 Group unless someone knows different.
    SK86835 64585 and 53.171331, -0.702395 according to Wheres the path. Image dated 1994 BTW.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    I bl##dy double posted! I'm going to watch the rest of the football! Bah!

  9. #19
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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    Quote Originally Posted by Ossington_2008 View Post
    I bl##dy double posted! I'm going to watch the rest of the football! Bah!
    You can edit, and delete your second post. Then I'll delete this one!

    Second thoughts - I'll add something useful. 92 MU Brafferton had its O2 plant at Cundall, to the north-west. I visited it c.1985 - it was just a concrete base a few metres off the main road.

    G.
    Last edited by Carnaby; 14-10-2009 at 21:00. Reason: More info added

  10. #20
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    Default Re: 42 Group RAF - Aviation Oxygen

    Yet more ORB snippets from my unpublished tome.
    Dec 1942 - HQ 42 Group agrees to supply oxygen requirements to 8th AF for first three months this being estimated at 9.5M cu feet.

    21.8.43 - Four oxygen plants received at 93 MU.

    ?.11.43 - Oxygen plant exploded at 94 MU Barnham.

    12.2.44 - No.36 MU Charlwood, record no - 110 off 16,000 litre oxygen bottles filled in one day.

    22.3.44 - No.92 MU oxygen plant commences to function at Cundall.

    13.5.44 - 1,900 oxygen cylinders serviced by 231 MU Hockering.

    Mid 44 - Kentford oxygen plants received at 94 MU Barnham.

    22.6.55 The first B.A.I.D Oxygen plant to be supplied to the RAF in the UK is delivered to 91 MU Acaster Malbis on three trucks. There are parts missing, it has not been lubricated.

    ?.2.56 The BAID oxygen plant at 91 MU is still very unreliable.

    3.1.57 No.91 MU Acaster Malbis is no longer required by 40 Group. The BAID oxygen plant is to go to Rufforth, which will become 93 MSU.

    Observation, 1990 - Much of 93 MU has disappeared during the last few years, the COs house is in use by the road, and just to the north the concrete base of the oxygen filling shed can be seen.
    Graham

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