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TOPIC: TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham

TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham 02 Apr 2013 12:45 #1

  • IanDDavidson
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It is possible this photo is RAF Melksham around 1950. Regrettably the photo has nothing on the back and both my parents are passed away so no chance of identifying this for sure.

I believe my Dad, an Instrument Technician did National Service at RAF Padgate, RAF West Kirby, RAF Melksham, RAF Stradishall, and what he called RAF Rendlesham Hall (Bentwaters).

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The building says PORTAL on the sign. I don't suppose anyone might have a clue which location this might be?

Ian

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TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham 02 Apr 2013 22:47 #2

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Too scruffy to be Padgate/West Kirby (Square Bashing camps). Melksham was mostly comprised of wooden huts and other temporary buildings and the building marked Portal looks substantial so probably Stradishall, now a Cat C prison.

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TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham 03 Apr 2013 14:14 #3

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PORTAL - A permanent brick accommodation block probably named after former RAF chief Charles Portal so I agree it is most likely a prewar station.

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TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham. 05 May 2016 20:31 #4

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Having lived in the vicinity of the old RAF Melksham 12 S of TT site for over 40 years it has amazed me how little information and photo's are available on the aircraft used for Ground Instruction here. I only have one photo' showing a friend of mine standing up in a Meteor cockpit circa early 1950. I can remember passing by in the late 50's and there were always two aircraft outside the two northerly hangars, a Javelin and a Valetta.
So far I have come across the following a/c known to be at Melksham:-
Javelin FAW.1 XA567/7551M XA634/7641M
Hunter F.2 WN907/7416M
Hunter F.3 WB188/7154M(Gate Gaurdian)
Hunter F.4 WV320/7685M
Swift F.3 WK250/7332M WK251/7333M WK252/7334M WK253/7328M
Swift F.4 WK279/7429M then 7445M WK308/7408M
Canberra B.2 WJ676/7796M
Valetta C.1 WD159/7858M This a/c was with the Colerne Museum and may have come from Melksham?
And from a much earlier era(1940) DH.80 Puss Moth G-AAXQ/2305M
Any additions would be greatfully received.

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Last Edit: by SKEETER. Reason: Update.

TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham 05 May 2016 20:41 #5

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I lived for a while on Semington Rd and was a regular visitor to the Astra Cinema. I do recall from Open Days that they had at least one German A/C. perhaps an Me163
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TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham 06 May 2016 11:20 #6

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It appears there were two German A/C at Melksham
robdebie.home.xs4all.nl/me163/melksham.htm
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TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham 06 May 2016 17:00 #7

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Thankyou very much Colin Ba for that link containing info' on the German a/c. Also mentioned are the "Lancaster, Halifax and Beaufighters" I will put them on my list! Great stuff.

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TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham 08 May 2016 10:05 #8

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After thinking long and hard I believe there was a museum or at least a storage hangar for interesting aircraft. I do not think that the exhibits were maintenance frames for trainees.
I do have some difficulty with the concept of Lancaster's etc being located there because of access problems but it is widely recorded that Neville Duke's bright red Hunter was stored there for a number of years, some of which were in the open air
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TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham 08 May 2016 12:58 #9

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ColinBa wrote: After thinking long and hard I believe there was a museum or at least a storage hangar for interesting aircraft. I do not think that the exhibits were maintenance frames for trainees.
I do have some difficulty with the concept of Lancaster's etc being located there because of access problems but it is widely recorded that Neville Duke's bright red Hunter was stored there for a number of years, some of which were in the open air


All those a/c I have listed were used for Ground Instruction use except of course Neville Dukes Hunter which was on the main gate(which I saw many times when passing) They were no doubt all brought in by "Queen Mary. " Further to "Chez Watt's Memories" on the Me163 website you kindley pointed out, that is borne out by looking on Google Earth and then sliding the 'timeline' back to 1945. There appears to be two large a/c parked outside the pair of northern hangars and two(slightly smaller a/c?) parked between those hangars and the next ones. Not clear enough to identify them though.
One thing I haven't done as yet is to contact the local history society so that's got to be on my list in the near future. I will have to find that Meteor + small boy photograph and I will upload it here.

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TRAINING SCHOOL - Melksham (12 SoTT) 18 Sep 2016 18:51 #10

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Melksham Historical Society held a talk with a 'slide' show on RAF Melksham last week. They have various items in their charge, namely a nice plan of the camp plus a couple of 1950's BoB open day programs. Unfortunately no photo's of the training a/c. Although one of the members recalls seeing a Lancaster, Lincoln, Mosquito and Lysander circa 1947/8
I have found that photo' of my friend standing in the cockpit of a Meteor circa 1953.

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