It was a Picket Post
Hey all. I took a friend for a walk around the base yesterday and it looks as though one of the Quonset huts that made up the HQ site and the small brick building that would have been at the entrance to the approach road to the HQ site are now falling down by themselves. Also the area around the Parachute Store and the Floodlight Tractor and Trailer Shed has now been exstensively cleared so i'm guessing demolition of these buildings is imminent
Does anyone know what the building at the entrance to the HQ site was? It seems too small to be a guard room so was it possibly the checkpost for the HQ site?
It was a Picket Post
Bruce Stait's book on the history of Rivenhall has recently been republished. It contains a good selection of photographs. Available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rivenhall-Hi.../dp/1445604035).
Went over and had a look at the weekend. The Eastern T2 is now in an advanced state of demolition. I'm guessing the floodlight trailer/tractor shed and the building next to it have either gone or are not long for this world. As for the flight offices I don't know. But if they have also gone I hope someone saved the doors. A sad end for such an historic airfield.
This is as close as I could get.. 'elf n' safety!
I was speaking to one of the farm guys a few weeks ago, the flight offices are still there, but fate unknown as yet. He also said if you want to get onto the site, Sundays are best as the demolition crews are not there, nor quarrying bods.
Not had a chance to go there again as yet.
Does anyone have the construction period/opening dates for Rivenhall handy? Thanks in advance...
This post appeared on the Air Britain forum earlier today ;
"A friend of mine is an airfield archaeologist and visited Rivenhall last year to document what remains.
A number of building had names on the doors one being Sq. Ldr HE Watson DFC.
The RAF only occupied Rivenhall form the end of 1944 to the end of 1945. I searched the base ORBs and found no reference to this man. I then searched DFCs and found nothing.
An assistant took pity on me at the National Archives and we found a Flt Sgt. HE Watson with a DFM. He was a wireless operator with 78 sq. I believe he was Gazetted in late 1943 but my lack of computer skills meant I could not find him. Is this the same man? His service number was 178697 although this would change when commissioned.
On the assumption that Watson was serving at Rivenhall when it closed my question is how did he get there, what was his role and what did he get his DFM for. I realise it wasn't for gallantry but probably service.
78sq. transferred to transport command in 1945 so there is a link to Rivenhall. I know I could request his service career from the RAF but that would cost me so is the last resort."
And a reply ;
"I too can't find an H E Watson with the DFC.
Regarding the H E Watson with the DFM, he actually had three forenames, Harold Edward Montague.
1332634 Sgt H E M Watson was injured on the night of 29-30 September 1943 when 78Sqn Halifax LW263, returning from Bochum, crashed into woods near Scunthorpe. His DFM was gazetted on 10 December 1943. He was commissioned as a Plt Off on 5 June 1944, changing his service number to 178697. He was promoted to a temporary one-year Flight Lieutenant on 1 December 1948, and a short service Flight Lieutenant on 13 May 1949.
These dates and the rank (after the RAF left Rivenhall and below Sqn Ldr) would seem to rule him out.
A history of Rivenhall ("Rivenhall - The History of an Essex Airfield") was published privately by B A Stait in 1984. Unfortunately it doesn't have an index. I can't spot any reference to Watson.
Google doesn't produce references to Harold Edward Montague Watson other than those in the London Gazette.
Just one thought. After the RAF pulled out off of Rivenhall, a lot of buildings were occupied by Poles, some of them former PoWs, who did not want to go back to Poland. I believe that in the years after the war, some RAF personnel were assigned to helping these chaps find accommodation and jobs. If this happened at Rivenhall, they would have been the last RAF occupants.
But I am still left wondering whether the sign on the door was accurate in the first place, and whether your friend noted it correctly."
Last edited by David Thompson; 07-02-2013 at 19:57. Reason: Reply added
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