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Thread: Caistor

  1. #11
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    Default raf caistor old thor missile base

    Just looking around mapping site and came across this old thor base, just woundering if anyone has visited it, if so do you have photographs or more info.
    http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=...cl=1&encType=1

  2. #12
    Senior Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Default Re: raf caistor old thor missile base

    I have spoken to the owner and MD of the site, due to the usage access was denied, initially, however not ruled out. I had to email him with my details in order for him to put his mind at rest, mainly because the scrap metal thiefs and animal rights folks have been visiting.

    I havent called Mr B........ due to the time of year, but will after Christmas, he sounds a decent chap, knowing the history of the area and did'nt seem to mind me asking questions.

    In my years of being a salesman i've learn't theres a fine line between being persistant and being a pain in the 4rse, i'll keep you all posted.

    Jerry

  3. #13
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    Default Re: raf caistor old thor missile base

    Here are some shots I took earlier - October 1971 to be precise:


















  4. #14

    Default Re: Caistor

    Paid the Thor site a visit on Monday. Couldn't see any sign of life so I figured the simple plan was to act dumb and forge ahead regardless, seen as there was no signposting specifically prohibiting access. Managed to drive up and take a look at two of the launch pads and they're still in good condition complete with erection rails in the concrete, etc. The Thor site entrance is abandoned and most of the buildings have been accessed by vandals and/or tramps by the looks of it piles of rubbish (manuals, etc, in one building but not RAF documents sadly!). Can't see any evidence that any of the site is currently used for farming of any sort - all the activity seems to be in the adjacent fields.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Caistor

    Very interested to come across these pages - as a Corporal Specialist Driver based at Hemswell 1959/60 I was one of a team of four that used to ferry the missiles to and from the sub sites and visited Caistor on a number of occasions.

  6. #16
    OTBC Paul Francis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caistor

    Amazing to see the Thor personnel shower still in situ in 1971, if that is what it is? Very crude to others I have seen at rocket test sites.

  7. #17
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    Talking Re: Caistor

    Thanks for the welcome! However as drivers we did not 'work' on the missiles. Once on their special trailers they were sheeted up and then with an army of escorts we would take them to their launch sites, back it into position, unhook the 'prime mover' and depart - that was our work done!

    The special vehicle had four drivers, one driving the prime mover, two at the back (one each side) on little 'dicky' seats steering the rear wheels and the fourth guy was on the roof of the cab as 'captain' we were all linked up with headphones and microphones. We all took turns at each position.

    Moving the actual missile was a very serious event BUT the training days were great fun when we took empty trailers to each of the sub-site to 'validate' routes - one such day was almost an embarrassment when the route assigned for the day took us over a hump backed bridge, the prime mover went over but before the rear wheels could get to the bridge the belly of the trailer 'grounded' and the rear wheels were left dangling several inches off the ground. No serious damage done and the trailer was inched to the other side - needless to say that route was struck off the list of alternatives. Good job the trailer was empty

  8. #18
    Senior Member YellowPinkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caistor

    Quote Originally Posted by TedNewman View Post
    Thanks for the welcome! However as drivers we did not 'work' on the missiles.
    Hi Ted, it's the normal day to day stuff that captures the imagination - the things that aren't very well documented that we all want to get into. You'll see on this thread (Post #20 onwards), we have tried to guess at the routes taken to get missiles around the North Luffenham wing - not your patch I know. We'd love to hear about the routes you used around the Hemswell wing. Do you know anything of junctions being modified (either permanent or temporarily) to suit the long load?

  9. #19
    Senior Member YellowPinkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caistor

    Well, yes, if we are being sensible for a moment, any sites that had active runways had them shut down to prevent either an accident causing damage, or any easy route in for sabateurs (not that a .22 shot from a nearby hedgerow wouldn't have been enough...). There were a couple of instances of light aircraft landing at Thor sites on the decomissioned runways much to the dismay of the security staff.

  10. #20
    Senior Member YellowPinkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caistor

    Quote Originally Posted by canberra View Post
    So why didnt the Globemaster fly them in then????? Sorry if I sounding like a stuck record on this but to me it sounds sensible to fly them, but then again whenever has sense had anything to do with the military?
    Well, for security reasons, all Thor sites that had an active runway had it closed, and to prevent an accident on the runway causing a possible threat to the missiles. Many Thor installations (Harrington, Melton, Polebrook are good examples) were built right on the runway to save on road building.

    Lastly, the Thor was quite a fragile animal and needed constant connection to power and air con on it's flight over from the US. They were flown into the airhead and then road transported to each Wing HQ to the RIM (Receipt, Inspection and Maintenance) building to be checked out and prepared for service. From there they were road shipped to the dispersed sites. A RIM would be a pricey thing to build at each dispersed site.

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