Following your tip-off Ossington I drove up there this afternoon listening to BBC Radio Nottingham who say that an investigation is underway into the arson attack. When I arrived I must admit that I was expecting a smoking, charred patch of grass and a pile of bricks; but fortunately the majority of the building is still standing and looks the same externally as in the photos by Stevie and Hawkeye.
The main fire damage is to the right (South East) wing where about two thirds of the roof of the wing has collapsed, no rafters left and looks a right old mess (pardon the expression!). Its all taped off with official stripey investigation tape so I guess its the interior that has recieved the most damage. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me this afternoon, so I hope the above description paints the scene for you?
At last, the Highways Agency have returned my telephone call and email made 5 weeks ago!
In short they have confirmed that they have no intention to demolish the Officer's Mess, but....they are going to bulldoze the squash courts which are only a few yards away at the back! Plus Glebe Cottages over on the airfield side.
So in the short term the building is safe for now.......well until the next arson attack!
It looks very sad. The first time I managed to a-hem "gain entry" there was still evidence of it having been a working Mess. There were four or five Officers SD hats on pegs in the lobby. All of them were fashionably "Old Sweat" and care worn shaped but the mildew rendered them useless! In addition there were several Greatcoat / mackintosh over coats and a copy of the Sun newspaper, when it was still a Broadsheet, on the bar. I wish I'd had the foresight to take photos but sadly not. One amusing part was that on the frosted-glass door of the telephone cubicle in the lobby someone had taken to amending (in Chinagraph) the placard "Speech on this telephone is not secure" to "Speech on this telephone is not possible". Opening the door revealed a tangled mass of wires and pinged jumper cables!
I did manage to rescue a whitewashed clay planter from outside the main door which I still have to this day. On the base there is engraved the legend CVI with IX-XLIII below which I think could be 106 (sqn) September (19) 43. It could be a red herring or a later hoax but I like to think that it saw a bit of history
Ossington_2008;29131 wrote: What is that hump in the background?
It's the Shooting-In Butts - It was across the taxiway from Syerston's only Spectacle type hard standing. I always assumed that the Lancs could be towed round it so both the Front and Rear guns could be tested. There was a more conventional brick-built structure to the rear of the 25 yard range (almost visible in this picture). These butts lasted until around 2004 when for whatever reason it was flattened!
Thank You Praesta! I have always wondered why Syerston had 30 odd frying pans and just the one spectacle.
I had initially thought it might have been a replacement for a frying pan destroyed when that Lanc blew up at dispersal in Dec 42. That said, Gibsons account in "Enemy Coast Ahead" says the duty runway had to be crossed to get to it, (he and "Gus" Walker were at the tower at the time) which puts it on the northish side of the airfield. Does anyone know? I know it was common practice to number dispersals, so it might be recorded somewhere.
If you take a look at Google Earth view of SJ on the northern taxiway. It is, I have been told, the one that protrudes furthest into the airfield. I.E. the second one anti-clockwise from the Northern 16 threshold. Certainly that one is considerably higher than the other pans on the airfield.