LF0 Concorde G-AXDN Farnborough 9.74 (Meyrick Powell)

LFOa Peter Hamer was an ATCO cadet sent to Farnborough for the Air Show in 1976. He wonders of anyone can identify the guy above in the red cap (second left)

LF0b The recent pictures of Farnborough reminded me that we were sent there for the air show in August 1976 as cadets, and that I have a picture taken through the tower  during the display. The aircraft on the ground is a YC-15 if I remember correctly. No doubt Farnborough controllers will be able to identify the man in the distinctive red cap. I also enclose the view taken from the tower balcony during the show.

EGUF 1950s

LF0c from Barry Davidson  – if ever one photo says it all ?

LFOca dated 1966



EGLF c1950

LF0e also from Barry, Dunlop Aviation Division Dove G-ALVD

EGUF c1950s

LF0f Dragon Rapide G-AHXW

eguf dh-110 wg240 1952

LF0g DH-110 WG240 possibly 1952


LF0h Bristol Brigand TF.Mk.1, RH742. Test aircraft, Coastal Command

EGLF 1951

LF0g Vickers Supermarine type 508 dated 1951

EGUF 1 1966

LF0h from Barry,  “Mobile Radar Unit for the 1966 Farnborough Air Show. One of the latest developments in air surveillance radar. This mobile unit will be on display. Known as AR1, the unit is a development of a static version already in use in many parts of the world as the first high definition radar. The movable AR1 has been developed for the RAF for easy transportation. Hope the techies like it.”





blackbird 1 dw

LF0k SR1 Blackbird serial 17972 at Farnborough 1974

blackbird 2 dw


blackbird text
“During the 1970s and 1980s several of us from RAE Bedford were required to get and maintain validations at Farnborough, so as to increase the ATC staffing for over the Air Show period.
In September 1974  Robin Baker, Nigel Green and myself were rostered at Farnborough during the air show, when the SR-71  made it’s record breaking Trans-Atlantic run. 
 I managed to get a few photos of it ‘cooling down’ outside the ‘black sheds’  by the old ATC tower”.
Dave Waddington
Another Malcolm Hemming input

LFOm Airspeed AS.5A Courier K4047/K at the RAE dated 1935

farnborough LF1

lf ztLF2

ATC Archaeology – Farnborough N1 Building

controllers in LF1 above are Andy Hay, Mike Baggaley, Ted Winstone, Stan Chapman, (someone hidden), Vic Gibson, Ted Van-Dort, taken circa 1981 just before the new Cossor radar displays were bodge-tilted forward because they were too ‘laid back’, The PAR is out of shot on left (an SLA1).

Terry Clark added

“Cossor ‘Compass 9000’ consoles which ended up at Prestwick Centre when they were replaced by the Plessey Watchman consoles.  We retained the AR1 and S232 radars with the Cossor consoles as they were bought so we could have SSR displayed (Heathrow or Pease Pottage – we couldn’t select which one).  The three closest were for Farnborough and the far two were for Odiham.  

CCTV was for met obs, the Farnborough ob. being done by our own met office and the Odiham one had a vertically mounted CCTV camera at the far end of the room; every time we had heavy rain, water would pour from it! Andy Hay designed the workstations based on a visit to Dunsfold and got the ’tilt’ a bit wrong!
Farnborough nearly got the SLA3c PAR from Pershore but after sitting in the tower car park for a couple of weeks, it was re-allocated to Llanbedr.”
more pictures now from Tony Mannion
From when he did a couple of detachments therevfor the SBAC in 92 and 94.
Mark Davenport and ‘Isobel’
anon 17


Thanks to Andy Amor, Derek Pake, Tony Dann and Malcolm Hemming for sorting out the names on this group photo

This is taken outside RAE Farnborough N1 building (The old ATC tower). The photo was taken in September 1984. It’s a mixture of ATC staff brought in for the Airshow, the one where the De Havilland DHC-5 Buffalo crashed! Some are Farnborough staff, Nigel Green came down from Manchester I think, some are ATCO Cadets. I, as an ATCA was on a secondment from West Drayton, so that’s me, Tony Dann, back row, second from left, Nigel to my right. The chief ATCO was indeed Don Hickson and to his left is Jessie Price. Back row fourth from right is Ken Farthing I think. Tony Dann

Tall fellow in rear row in the middle is John Mayhew – Derek Pake

Back row Dennis Hill (EFSO), Tony Dann, Nigel Green, ?, ?, ?, Ken Farthing (Senior EFSO), Gordon Morehouse, Gerald Larmour (EFSO), ?

Front Row Malcolm Ferguson, Vic Gibson (D/SATCO), Jessica Price (EFSO), Don Hickson, ‘Auntie’ Hilda (Admin), The ‘Mike’ Land Rover driver was an EFSO, Wally Peake (?), Alan Foster (EFSO – Charts Office) – Malcolm Hemming

now from Simon Barry

eguf atc


Across top L-R
Gareth Parry, Stuart?, Sarah Lee, Dave?, Nicola Cooper, ??, Andy?, Linda Wood, Peter Pennie, Terry Clark
LHS top-bottom
Isobel?, Ian Harvard, Susie Court?, Alister Coffin
RHS top-bottom
Sally Reed, Harry Douglas, Dan Lewis, Dan Pryce
Bottom Row L-R
Colin Wyatt, Jim Scaife, Gerald Lamour, Simon Barry, Adrian Roberts, Neil?, Jonathan Bromley, Neil Turner, Graham Brett

and from Terry Clark trying to fill in some of the gaps in LF9
Top row L to R
Gareth Parry, Stuart Ellis, Sarah Lee, David Thomason, Nicky Cooper, Sarah?(Admin Officer), Andy Foyston, Linda Morrison (didn’t re-marry until after she left Farnborough), Pete Pennie, Terry Clark

EGBE 1950s
LF10 previously posted under Coventry, Barry Davidson’s photo has been relocated after Malcolm Hemming identified the  location about 1952 at the SBAC show – its an AW Apollo G-AIYN
LF10a an AW Apollo, fronted by a development Vampire FB5 VV454 fitted with reheat, possibly 1949.
LF10a via Barry
mystery fury pic
LF10b Terry Clark says this is Farnborough, SBAC Show c1948. The tower is the third one to be built at Farnborough and is in its Mk1 version; the VCR was re-modelled to its later ‘glasshouse’ Mk 2 form in about ’56 or ’57 and was demolished in 2003; we moved to the present tower (No 4) in late 2002.”
LF10bb a wide view from the tower (?) of the 1948 show
LF11 before ATC?   The Astra Torres Airship HMA3 at Farnborough in 1913 Barry Davidson’s photo collection
LF12 the RAE in about 1945-46? a visual circuit with this lot in the air would have been spectacular. From left to right are (I think) a Junkers 52, a Dornier 335 Pfeil, behind the Pfeil are two types I can’t make out and a V1. To the right a Heinkel 219 Uhu night fighter and two Focke Wulf 190s, one of them long nosed.
Our on call Luftwaffe guru, Malcolm V. Lowe, tell us that “Looks like the exhibition of captured German equipment at Farnborough, Oct/Nov 1945. The ‘long nose’ (FW190) is a Ta 152H-1, Werk Nummer 150168, AIR MIN 11. It was a genuine combat veteran from JG 301, and was flown twice by Eric (Winkle) Brown. The Dornier aircraft is a Do 335A-12, Werk Nummer 240112, AM 233. It crashed at Cove killing its pilot, Group Captain Alan Hards, who was CO experimental flying at the time.”
and our modelling guru tells that Frog brought out a kit of this very Dorner 335 in 1/72nd scale.
Barry Davidson has been in touch with Stephen Turner of Elvetham Publications. His company publishes a booklet entitled 1942 – Farnborough at War by a wartime French test pilot, Maurice Claisse. The booket is about to go out of print and Stephen has very kindly agreed that we can publish the booket on line. Imagine the work involved on Flying Control in supporting this activity
The book has also been on sale the Farnborough Air Sciences Museum.
If you haven’t visited the Museum its a great visit, why not pop in and help support the Trust that runs it. The Trust has vary kindly given us permission  to reproduce their Museum Guide which is a great introduction to the work of the Trust too. Have a look then go visit!
I’m told (2022) that FAST now has Spitfire, Harrier & Lightning (EE?) simulators. Min age to use is 8yrs.
They also have a vast array of donated items for sale.
LF13 from Barry Davidson 74 Squadron Lightnings

the above slide show photos from Dick Gilbert, taken in 2010

LF14 the first 21st century Farnborough tower

LF14a Bizjet city



LF17 Westland Wyvern naval turboprop fighter, probably at the airshow and rather improbably loaded with a torpedo and sixteen rockets

LF18 four Avro 707 research aircraft, presumably at the air show

EGLF 2 or mystery

LF 19 An earlier Farnborough tower
This version was a replacement for a wooden watch office near to ‘A’ Shed and was originally a single storey brick building built in ’42 or ’43, but the occupants quickly realised the south easterly view was inadequate so a second storey was added. details from Terry Clark, photo via Barry Davidson

LF20 Harrier ski jump at Farnborough. Terry Clarke tells us that this ski jump was built as a ‘one off’ at Farnborough and used by John Farley, another being built at RAE Bedford for the use of training naval pilots.

Naval (?) Harrier XZ450


LF21 BEA Airspeed Ambassador, Britain’s first post war airliner, early 1950s? Terry Clark tells us “this particular Ambassador was demonstrating as a turboprop version and being in BEA colours, was I believe the prototype Napier Eland version, other power plants used were the Proteus, Dart and Tyne.
If you look closely, you’ll find the aircraft shown at LF21 s doing a flying display entirely on one engine, the other being feathered throughout”.

LF22 export model Canberra B 102 for Argentina

LF23 a Tiger Moth honouring its own, or another’s, history, marked up as a Royal Navy wartime Tiger Moth T8191?

Terry Clark tell us the photo was taken at the ‘Moth Rally’ in 1982 whern he and Don Binks opened up the tower on a Sunday to enable 60 odd Moths of various types to arrive and depart, it being to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Geoffrey de Havillands birth.

EGPD Aberdeen (Dyce) ATC Control Tower

Graham Innes has sent me two early photos. The first is the very early flight office that would have contained a Watch office, the second the tower that pre-dated the Ziggurat.

Flight Offices 5740 37


Watch Office WA15 40 43


PD0c dated 1953 an early marking style BEA Rapide G-AFEZ

Now I was one of five  ATCO Cadets from 9 Course at Aberdeen in 1967, first at the Field Training Unit run by the impressive Harry McGrath and then as an aerodrome control U/T.  Neither of the above ATC facilities are familiar but three photos below do ring a bell. I remember a two story tower,  no wrap round VCR, tower and approach control on adjacent desks and the 180 degree-ish view of the airfield out of a wide multi section bay windowed room.  Ken Wood, a cadet on 16 course was there in about 1969 and also remembers the restricted view through an office like window.

Controllers I remember include  Eric Melvin, Doug Matthews  and George Curran. This was at the very beginning  of North Sea Oil exploitation and when we arrived there was just one rig, relatively close to the coast, and serviced by a single amphibious  Westland Whirlwind helicopter operated by Bristows. There was great excitement when a second rig came on station and the first BEA S-61 arrived and was based behind the tower.  Anyone else remember any of this?

Might this be that second tower matching the interior photo belowbay window tower


vampires in WA402


One of the Vampires (Vampire FB5  serial WA402) served with 612 R Aux A F (Aberdeen) squadron.  No 612 Squadron were at Dyce with Vampires in the period 1951-1957.

We think the tower behind the Vampires is the rear of the white bay windowed tower. They have the same aerial configuration and covered porch or walkway.  The photo two below reminds me of the 1967 tower and it matches some features of the white tower above.

Aberdeen Field Training Unit  photo from Merrill Elliott. Run by the impressive Harry McGrath (far right) and his assistant “Fergie” who is sat in the door. The students are members of No 10 course.EGPD FTU


Early Days at Aberdeen civil ATC (in the second Watchroom?)


PD0g Is that an Ekco radar that Bill Bain is operating?

ATC staff were housed at Kirkhill Dyce in old army huts on the edge of the runway. Bill Bain, Bill Walton and Vic Oldcorn were all housed here in early 1950s. All eventually moved to Redbrae.


PD0h HRH Princess Elizabeth arriving at Dyce 1951 with Bill Bain (photos above from Heather Bain, Bill’s daughter.

Aberdeen Tower training 1982 with Ken Wood


From Doug MacLean “Attached are 2 pictures from Aberdeen estimated to be taken in late 1982. I am the Tower trainee in the foreground and Ken Wood is my mentor. (Ken thinks it may be a little later 1984 early 85). Ken retired from ATC and established Insch airfield which is about 20 miles north west of Dyce. Ken is fully engaged in running Insch as an excellent grass airfield. We think the Tower ATSA behind Ken was Brian Imrie
The other picture (below) was the Aberdeen Tower DFTI. The pictures were almost certainly Polaroid instant print taken by ATCO Cyril Lofthouse
DFTI Aberdeen 1982


The new Tower the “Ziggurat”

“Built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square platform, the ziggurat was a pyramidal structure with a flat top”


PD0kThe Ziggurat with Puma G-PUMO

the 1984 Aberdeen ATC Brochure gives a snapshot of their task in the mid 80s

ATC at Aberdeen brochure 1984

A “flight” around the tower

EGPD Ziggurat (5)PD1

EGPD Ziggurat (4)PD2

EGPD Ziggurat (3)PD3

EGPD Ziggurat (2)PD4

EGPD Ziggurat (1)PD5

more zig tower (2)PD6

more zig tower (1)PD7

more zig tower (5)PD8

The chap in the waistcoat at dusk is John Reynolds, who later moved to EGCC and later EGPX. – Steve Balfour

more zig tower (7)PD9

more zig tower (6)PD10

The next four photos were dated from 1981

EGPD Tower august 1981 (2)PD11

EGPD Tower august 1981 (1)PD12

EGPD Tower august 1981 (4)PD13

EGPD Tower august 1981 (3)PD14

EGPD Radar (2)PD15

above and below, 264 radar at Perwinnes Hill.

EGPD Radar (1)PD16

three pictures of Perwinnies Hill radar site by Alan Dodson


PD16a  Bertil Ohlson possibly at Perwinnies Hill





approach radarPD17

A walk through the Approach Room

EGPD approach room (1)PD18

EGPD approach room (5)PD19

EGPD approach room (4)PD20

EGPD approach room (3)PD21

EGPD approach room (2)PD22

EGPD approach room (7)PD23

EGPD approach room (6)PD24

PD25 – A Dyce Christmas Card candidate

My beautiful picture


pictures above and below taken by Chris Stock in 1982

My beautiful picture




RAF Odiham (EGVO)

Odiham 4Bristol Belvedere HC Mk 1XG455 (or 488?)/B possibly with No 66 Squadron, in front of the old pre 1939 Fort type tower at RAF Odiham. When this was taken the tower had been replaced once , maybe twice.


Barry Davidson tells us that this photo has EGVO written on reverse. Looks like a T3 Javelin XH395 from 46 Sqdn which puts the picture date as 1956-58. The tower shown here is a 1939-45 wartime design, one of three towers at Odiham.

EGVO 1953

this photo is of the aircraft taking part in the 1953 Queens Review at Odiham. In the distance is the old Fort style control tower and to its right the later tower also seen above and now replaced in turn.

another photo of aircraft participating in the 1953 Queens Review at Odiham

EGLM White Waltham Tower including AIS and the 1990 World Vintage Air Rally

ATA White Waltham

White WalthamBD1017

G-AFJB  1938 Foster Wikner Wicko GM1

Barry Davidson tells us that

AIS was approached by Lang Kidby, Director of the above, enquiring what assistance NATS/AIS could render.

AIS was able to offer full route planning, clearances and in conjunction with Heathrow Flight Clearance full flight planning facilities. All approved by Mgr AIS (Ken Stevens) & GM Heathrow, who if I remember rightly was Gordon Doggett. A full route briefing was given, one evening, to all participants in the CTB with AIS Briefing Officers, Heathrow Flight Clearance and the Controller who would be working the aircraft. The briefing lasted 90 mins followed by a Q&A session. Afterwards the participants enjoyed a tour of the CTB.

I attach some photos that were sent in after the event. Not everybody finished due to a variety of reasons, mainly tech, but there were no fatalities.

Just a bit of NATS history!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

includes N8849, N5848, N140, N5035C, N66546

and an additional photo from Barry

White Waltham

Chipmunk WB697

Fairey Rotodyne XE521 at White Waltham


Luke Dougan thought some people may find this link interesting. It’s a news report from 1984 concerning the Radar site(s) at Mt.Gabriel, Co.Cork,Ireland.

FFF Mt Gabriel Radar

putting the present before the history for once

Completion of UK radar network replacement project

On the left below is Clee Hill, identified by Steve Balfour. Some help please from radar spotters, where is the right hand radar?

….and secondly you will find some new photos below of other remote radar heads

Below are some early maps and a list of early radar sites in 1945 and the mid to late 1950s. Most were military but some were to become military and civil air traffic control units or to act as remote radars to military and civil air traffic control units.


home-chain-south   both via Dave Smith

gci-radar-station-sites-in-the-uk   from John Freeman

and a link to a site describing the British wartime radar development programme from the Marconi perspective


The Type 84 (?) aerial at RAF Neatishead, now the site of the RAF Air Defence Museum

here is the  brochure issued in 1988 entitled “Great Dun Fell – completing the chain of new radar stations”

Great Dun Fell brochure

Photos of some of the remote long range area radar stations.

Great Dun Fell


great dun fell 1


great dun fell 2



Scan_20150826 (2)RR2



Clee Hill

Clee Hill 1980s (1)RR3

Clee Hill 1980s (2)RR4

Clee Hill 1980s (3)RR5

Clee Hill 1980s (4)RR6

mobile receiver van checking signals and inteference

Clee Hill 1980s (5)RR7

Clee Hill 1980s (6)RR8

Clee Hill8a

Clee Hill 1980s (7)RR9

more Clee HillRR10

small PICT1139

RR10a this and the next three Clee Hill photos by Alan Dodson. The next three taken on the occasion of Clee Hill becoming fully operational

small PICT1083

RR10B  Ian Macey  and Dave Richards

small PICT1084

RR10c  Ingvar and Ian Macey


RR10d  Eddy Dapre and Ingvar Uvsgood (Alan’s spelling)


Cossor SSR on HSA Debden (1)RR11

Cossor SSR on HSA Debden (2)RR12

Cossor SSR on HSA Debden (3)RR13

Fitting a Cossor SSR aerial to the HSA primary radar head

debden RADAR 1982



Cromer (1)RR14

Cromer (2)RR15

Cromer (3)RR16

Gailes (Area Radar unit for ScATCC Rebrae)

gailes radar site

RR16a photo Ray Draper

Gailes 1966 (1)RR17

Gailes 1966 (2)RR18

Gailes 1966 (3)RR19

Gailes 1966 (4)RR20

Gailes 1966 (5)RR21

Gailes 1966 (6)RR22

Ventnor Radar, St Boniface Down, Isle of Wight

Ventnor (1)RR23

Ventnor (2)RR24



Ventnor (3)RR25

Ventnor (4)RR26

Ventnor (6)RR27

alt Ventnor (5)RR28

alt Ventnor (7)RR29

alt Ventnor (8)RR30

Ventnor (9)RR31

RRR RAF Ventnor Chain Radar

RR31a part of the wartime Chain Home radar system at Ventnor

Burrington Radar

Burrington (1)RR32

Burrington (2)RR33

Burrington (3)RR34

Two of the four aerial installations at the Burrington Radar site with the Cossor 700 series interrogator in the foreground and the Plessey AR5 primary radar in the background.

Burrington (4)RR35

Burrington (5)RR36

Burrington (6)RR37

Burrington Equipment Room

Part of the Burrington Radar site equipment room with the duplicated Plot Extractor (PPSX100) and monitor console in the background

Burrington (7)RR38

Cossor twin SSR 700 advanced secondary surveillance system


RR38a Burrington was located at Hartland Point, home to RAF Hartland Point

Lowther Hill

Lowther HillRR39

RR39a a selection of photos by Alan Dodson



Lowther h 2


lowther h


St Annes

Ops room


St.Annes Marconi 264A


st annes 1

RR41a this recent photo and the next from Pete Clarke who says that “It is still turning away across the road to the east of Blackpool Airport. The old moss road to the radar site is being upgraded to a link road to the M55 so a lot of re-routing of cables has had to be done before the major work could commence.”

st annes 2



RR41c from Alan Dobson

I only have this one picture, which is of a bearing change on the 264 radar. Not over exciting in it’s self, but I installed the MK2 Stansaab plot extractor here in the 1980’s, and it was the only one of the plot extracted radar sites in the country that I programmed in the Plot filter.  CAA HQ had been told that it took the Swedes a year to programme their extractor, but HQ didn’t read the programming instructions correctly, it took me about 4 weeks.
So St Annes was unique . I found out that when St Annes closed, the plot extractors
went to the “Secret Nuclear Bunker” at Nantwich, and in order to get some more
photos of the installation, I paid a visit. The Nuclear Bunker is a joke, one medium sized HE bomb would have wiped it all out, however, the St Annes extractors were definitively there.
Whilst asking the curator of the site if I could get to the extractors and pull out some
boards for photographs (which I did), I asked (politely) how much he paid to aquire
the equipment, he said nothing, but that was the word he said, he paid nothing.
Hardly believing my ears, I echoed him and said “you paid nothing for the plot
extractors” he said no, “I paid nothing for the whole radar station”. It seems the only cost to him was about 40 workmen for 3 months and transport.

and not quite so remote Pease Pottage/TEE Gatwick

TEE Gatwick HSA radar




Radar Dome, Isle of Tiree. Atop the highest “mountain” on Tiree, Carnan Mor, all of 141m


RRE Malvern

RR45 T82 Yeoman Radar at Malvern

Equipment, Communications and Navaids


AAA NATS Mystery Radio Mast

This just came no location specified. Believed to be a NATS station. Use the comments tab above to let us know where it is please.

Plessey Ad

RAF Wahn

RAF ATC radio trucks RAF Wahn.

MoCA 1950s ILS presentation slides

above is a document that contains  a set of Ministry of Civil Aviation black and white slides about the Instrument Landing System in its early days. Also from the MoCA is another set describing the navaids and communications needed to support airways operations.

UK Airways infrastructure MoCA


ECN0 from Dave Smith who says “I’ve just found this 1944 Ballykelly BABS assisted approach procedure chart amongst my stuff. The original was in a photo sent to me in the 1980s by a former Liberator pilot who flew from there.”

beam approach beacon system (BABS)

BABS Mk1C Still Air

Blind landing May 1947     This remarkable article in Flight describes efforts in 1947 to develop a better visual instrument to assist pilots in interpreting the output from a beacon approach system which in 1947 would have presumably been Rebecca/Eureka or BABS (see above). Within the technological limitations of 1947 the author is developing proposals that verge on the use of virtual reality and head up displays. The Air Ministry had already trialled a system for projecting a night fighter’s air interception radar display onto the pilots windscreen.

Malcolm Hemming has sent me a document entitled ” Telecommunications equipment and its maintenance” which seem to serve as an introduction to this section. Tels Mx [789444]



a rather grand but no longer anonymous microwave tower thanks to Danny Glover who says    “ECN1 is the Post Office/BT site at Harraby, Carlisle – see this link. This mainly carried television and telephony but there is an ATC link – in the literal sense. The Linesman radar at Bishops Court used a microwave link via the Post Office site at Ballygomartin, then over the existing route to Carlisle. From there it’s not known whether it continued via Manchester and Birmingham or went across to join those from the east coast sites on their way to West Drayton.  Most of the details of the Linesman (Post Office) and Mediator (CAA) microwave links have been pieced together – I’ll share more information when I get it properly organised.”

Scan_20150827 (2)ECN2

this might be something called the MCVFT at Croydon (or it might not).

what look like a comms relays on Tiree, a receiver and a transmitter array dated  March 1985.

Tiree (1)ECN3

Tiree (2)ECN4

anonymous mast removal (1)ECN5

anonymous mast removal (2)ECN6

Anonymous mast demolition

Galdenoch VHF Radio CentreECN7

Galdenoch VHF Radio Centre

Grantham Mk III and Mk VECN8

Grantham Mk III and Mk V

Hillingdon mast demolition Jan 1964 (1)ECN9

Hillingdon mast demolition Jan 1964 (2)ECN10

Hillingdon mast demolition Jan 1964



mast RAF Aldergrove 1948 maybe on Divis or Black Mountain (2)ECN12

mast RAF Aldergrove 1948 maybe on Divis or Black Mountain (1)ECN13

RAF Aldergrove mast perhaps on Black Mountain or Divis 1948

mast RAF Aldergrove 1948 maybe on Divis or Black Mountain (3)ECN14

The next seven photos are of Pailton radio monitoring station.








Rhu StafneshECN22

Rhu Stafnesh – was this associated with the flying boat station at Rhu near Helensborough?

Rhu Staffnish (I think that is how you spell it). It is on the Mull of Kintyre, near Campbeltown, nothing to do with the Rhu seaplane experimental station which is on the Clyde near Helensburgh. Dave Lacey

AAA NATS Green Trough Receiver

ECN22a NATS Green Trough Receiver

Rothwell radio stationECN23

Rothwell radio station



My beautiful pictureECN24


warlingham (1)ECN25

warlingham (3)ECN26

warlingham (2)ECN27



four photos of Warlingham

Winstone radio station closure

closure winstone birdlip radio station (1)ECN28

The last CAA HF service being switched off at Winstone radio station by Jack Jewitt the longest serving member of the staff at the station. Jack, a rigger, went to Birdlip/Winstone in 1946 and said he’d give the job a try for a week to see how it went

closure winstone birdlip radio station (2)ECN30

The last service message being composed and sent to Portugal from the control room at Winstone.

Left to right Godfrey Elmer – Officer I/C Winstone, Bob Morris ATE II at Winstone, Reg Baker – later at LATCC but who sent the first message on the circuit many years ago.


an anonymous Outer Marker



Dover DVOR



Dover possibly VORTACECN33


MAYFieLD dvor dme 1980

ECN33a Mayfield DVOR and DME 1980

BIGGIN dvor DME 1980

ECN33b Biggin DVOR and DME 1980 with the Tower in the distance


ECN33c Pole Hill


ECN33d Daventry

RRR Midhurst DVOR

ECN33e Midhurst


ILS Glidepath

ILS localiserECN35

ILS Localiser


Goodwood DVORECN36

Goodwood DVOR


Barrel Lt KKECN37

barrel lt SSECN38

Trails of replacement Barrel lights (the cream units) at Gatwick and Stansted


CAA Wickham Railcar Snae FellECN39

CAA Wickham railcar, Snae Fell, Isle of Man

Light unit from precision approach path indicator PAPIECN40

PAPI Light unit

below: the ubiquitous ministry workdesk

These desks in a variety of designs were built to equip state ATS units in the 40s, 50s and 60s, Many examples will be seen in photographs of towers, ops rooms and equipment rooms throughout this site. They were of a modular design, standard heights, widths, slopes and depths were introduced as were standard equipment stowage bays, usually 6 inches high and multiples of 3 inches wide. Horizontal work surfaces were removable and replaceable with, for example flight progress strip bays. Some “necessary” design features seem so dated now, with built in recesses holding cast metal cigarette ash trays. Remarkably by modern (2015) standards the desks were made of solid oak, light coloured and attractive and if they got scruffy they could be sanded down and re-varnished. Moreover the modular design meant that when a unit closed they could be refurbished and reused. I remember seeing a control desk in the NATS stores at Hurn that had a label showing it was formerly used at Preston ATCC at Barton Hall.

Scan_20150829 (2)ECN41

Scan_20150829 (3)ECN42


equipment testing and calibration

Scan_20150830 (2)ECN44

Scan_20150830 (3)ECN45


standby battery power

Scan_20150830 (16)ECN47

flight progress trip holder loader

Scan_20150830 (23)ECN48





ECN53 Berryhead VOR

LATCC engineering, SADO, 9020 and many other activities


photos from Les Tranter 


TTT0  System Control was the focal point for overall technical control and monitoring of Mediator Complex, LATCC, West Drayton photo dated 9th Feb 1971.

Nearest is Jock Kirkbride (system controller), furthest is Eddie Dapré

Scan_20160501 (2)


Scan_20160501 (3)



Scan_20150916 TTT1

A very new new system control in1982

Scan_20150916 (3)  TTT2 1982

Scan_20150916 (2)  TTT3 1985

IBM 9020D room LATCC

9020_1 TTT4

Scan_20150916 (2) TTT5 1980

Scan_20150916 (3) TTT6

9020_1 TTT7


Scan_20150911 (2) TTT8

9020 room TTT9

Scan_20150916 (4) TTT10

IBM 9020 goodbye

TTT10A  IBM 9020 goodbye







SADO (1) TTT15

SADO (2) TTT16

SADO (3) TTT17

LATCC External Comms

Scan_20150916 (6) TTT18 1985

Scan_20150916 (4) TTT19 1985

Scan_20150916 (8) TTT20 1983

Scan_20150916 (7) TTT21 1983

Scan_20150916 (4) TTT22 1983


TTT22a  RI VAN 1



Radar Control and Monitoring System LATCC 1985




NATS SIRS system

Support Information Retrieval System – an improved information access and display system.

NATS SIRS system (1) TTT26

above and below David Carlill, project manager (standing) discusses the SIRS system with project officer Peter Matthews.

NATS SIRS system (3) TTT27

NATS SIRS system (2) TTT28

an air traffic control console on which the SIRS system is undergoing trials.

latcc sirs


Photos date from June 1985

Routine Air Traffic Engineering activity

essential monitoring, testing and maintaining

Scan_20150913 TTT29

Scan_20150913 (3) TTT30

Scan_20150913 (2) TTT31

New TELS workshop and stores at LATCC

Scan_20150913 (4) TTT32

Ergonomic testing of a new chair design May 1983

Scan_20150913 (5) TTT33

The old London Volmet studio at LATCC

Scan_20150913 (6) TTT34

Scan_20150913 (7) TTT35


TTT35a Volmet recorder before commissioning

Scan_20150913 (8) TTT36

In the same envelope as the Volmet photo was the equipment bay photo above. Helpfully the legend just says old LATCC equipment !!!!!! and isn’t dated. It shows two three bay units. Each unit contains 16 tape decks and the far unit is labelled studio one. Maybe is it related to the Volmet picture, can you help? If so please use the comments link at the top of the post.

R/T (or Radar) recorder

Scan_20150913 (9) TTT37

TTT37a Racal Thermionics recorder cabinets


TTT38  LATCC cable void

Marconi Myriad FPPS System – photos from Les Tranter

Myriad FPPS (1)

TTT39 LATCC FPPS System Control being installed (28 Oct 1970)

Myriad FPPS (2)

TTT40 LATCC FPPS installation 26 September 1969

Myriad FPPS (3)

TTT41 FPPS: Marconi Myriad computer system being commissioned. Only ever used by the RAF MAS Controllers. 26th August 1970

Myriad FPPS (4)

TTT42 FPPS System Control LATCC  26 August 1970

Myriad FPPS (5)

TTT43 LATCC FPPS final Log entry in 1991

Myriad FPPS (6)

TTT44 LATCC FPPS final shutdown in 1991 (Frank Spriggs in background).


TTT45 LATCC Power management simulator  LATCC POWER SIM

Birdlip and CACC

I’m grateful to Colin McKeeman from the Republic of Ireland for the first three photos. Colin is an enthusiastic researcher into aeronautical HF radio operations. Colin clarified for me that “Birdlip was the receiving station, whereas Winstone was its associated transmitter site, both operating concurrently. Ballygirreen took over Birdlip’s role on the North Atlantic on the 13th January 1966 and so the HF R/T NARTEL station at Birdlip was closed.”

thanks Colin

I’ve also had a comment from Jonathan Williams (thanks Jonathan) about the CACC that says

“The original Communications Centre was at Croydon (no date but 1945 photo is available) with a new CACC (Civil Aviation Communications Centre) opening there on 19.2.53. The CACC transferred to Heathrow Airport on 16.8.75 and on 7.6.08 to Swanwick Centre.  Therefore the photos which are not of Birdlip will be of Croydon in the 60s.”

Birdlip Radio Stn 1960sBC1


This photo is annotated as being the radio room at Birdlip and has the names of those present. It gives some clues to the interior appearance of Birdlip with the open framed inverted V roof.

Winstone 1946BC3

BC3 is the aerial farm at Winstone.


BC3a  front entrance to Winstone after TX wing removed



BC3b  Birdlip before the new building was added

Now two photos from Alan Dodson, a couple of new photos of Birdlip staff


BC3c  l to r Brian Rees, Andrew Andrews , Pete Johnson, Eric Svensen, Paul Luck, Dennis????, Tony Laers

wainlodes 2


BC3d l to r Brian Rees, Tony Lavers, Eric Svensen, Dennis????, Pete Johnson and Paul Lucvk

All are Specialist Teleprinter Operators


The following photos were all taken on 14th July 1964. There are 23 photos out of a series of 36 (or more). Half the pictures were wrapped in a sheet of tissue paper with Birdlip written on it in pencil. The remainder were also wrapped in a sheet of tissue paper with CACC written on it but unfortunately the CACC was hidden by a crumpled fold and by the time we saw it we had lost the distinction between the two.

Once (with you, the viewers help) we make some progress on which are CACC photos we’ll separate the two sets of photos and issue a new post on either Birdlip or the CACC. We’ve added a b? or c? next to the photo numbers below where the location is unclear as a first guess as to whether its Birdlip or the CACC. Please puzzle away with us or, if you know, let us know too.

Two of our readers, Ron Edwards (a former STPO) and Colin McKeeman have been working to sort out the photos we have of Birdlip and the CACC. Ron has provided us with some interim guidance notes that hopefully will inform you the viewers/readers as to which photo is which building.

Ron has been able to identify many of the photos taken at Croydon CACC. Inside the CACC there was a RTTY (Radio Teletype) Section adjoining the Teleprinter Section at Croydon Airport. (RTTY is the grandfather of texting and datalink – atchistory). They were working in the same room with only a screen separating them and Ron is confident that a few of the photos are of that section.

Radio Teletype

A study of the building’s structure shows that Croydon had an open ceiling (or no ceiling at all just the roof of the building) so any unknown/unidentified photos with an open ceiling are probably of the RTTY Section. Ron says they were quite glad of the open ceiling giving extra height, because it got quite warm particularly on a summer evening and night, when they were dealing with 20,000 to 25,000 or more messages a day. He seems to remember (but don’t hold Ron to it) Christmas Day dropped to only 8,000 to 10,000!

Ron says that the photos with a proper ceiling cannot have been taken at Croydon, but he noticed that the identified Birdlip photos did have a reasonable ceiling.

Ron also reminds us of the Greetings cards compiled, sent and printed out using RTTY. Every Tower and Briefing office had a few on the wall at Christmas. So texting a graphic is not so new after all.


The character above is a British cartoon character called Andy Capp. If you’ve never read the Daily Mirror newspaper, or are not from these “Sceptred Isles”, here is more about Andy Capp


BirdlipCACC (1)BC4

BirdlipCACC (24)BC5

BirdlipCACC (2)BC6 b?

BirdlipCACC (3)BC7 is at Winstone Radio

BirdlipCACC (4)BC8 c?

BirdlipCACC (5)BC9 c?

BirdlipCACC (6)BX10 c?

Colin McKeeman  studied the content of the picture above and managed to read most of the punched tape that is visible on the automatic transmission unit. Working from left to right:-

The first circuit, on machine #7, is to Uxbridge, on the ZTB channel, and the tape confirms this as “…353 (5 spaces) ZCZC(space) ZTB354…”

The second circuit (machine #8) is to Frankfurt AFTN Centre, on channel GDA and the tape reads  “…225 (5 spaces) ZCZC (space) GDA226 (5 spaces) ZCZC (space) GDA227…”

The final circuit (machine #9) is possibly to Prestwick, on the YPA channel, as the tape reads “…YPA003 (5 spaces) ZCZCYPA004…”

These all appear to be transmission sequence number checks, to verify that the circuit is working, without any actual traffic being passed.

BirdlipCACC (7)BC11 c?

BirdlipCACC (8)BC12 c?

BirdlipCACC (9)BC13 c?

BirdlipCACC (10)BC14 c?

BirdlipCACC (11)BC15 c?

BirdlipCACC (12)BC16 c?

BirdlipCACC (13)BC17 c?

BirdlipCACC (14)BC18 c?

BirdlipCACC (15)BC19 c?

Colin McKeeman also had a look at the picture above. The display board shows all the circuit ID’s and their associate ICAO location codes, which is confirmed in the lower section of this blackboard, showing that on the 9th July 1963, any traffic for Birdlip (EGGB) on circuits ‘A’, ‘N’, ‘OA’, ‘OP’, ‘R’, ‘V’ and ‘W’ are to be relayed via Gander (CYQX). Also at the time this photograph was taken, 298 service messages had been sent from this station that day. These SVC’s seek information or verification concerning other messages which appear to have been transmitted incorrectly over the ATFN, confirming channel-number’s, etc. I assume the 30,012 refers to the total number of messages handled so far on that date.

BirdlipCACC (16)BC20 b?

BirdlipCACC (17)BC21

Winstone transmitter station

BirdlipCACC (18)BC22 b?

BirdlipCACC (19)BC23 c?

BirdlipCACC (20)BC24 b?

BirdlipCACC (21)BC25

Image BC25 is at Birdlip – it’s a bank of HR91 receiver’s, the RHS set covering the Kano circuit in Bay 10, with a ‘Standby’ set beside it in Bay 11, Lisbon in Bay 12 and the Karachi circuit in Bay 13. Colin McKeeman

BirdlipCACC (22)BC26

Winstone, the Birdlip transmitter station.

BirdlipCACC (23)BC27 b?

NEW we’ve received a photo archive of Birdlip from Rob Staley.

John & Nancy Ash at Birdlip.

John had started his working life aged 14 as a plumber’s mate and living in a tent by the Gloucester docks.  He then volunteered for the Army when he was only 16 and just left the tent where it was! Nancy’s first job before joining the WAAF was a chambermaid. So quite impressive careers from modest beginnings. These photos and documents are from a collection left by Nancy Ash (nee Allen) who worked at Birdlip immediately post war. Nancy had volunteered for the WAAF in October ’41 and was trained as a teletype operator. It is unclear if she was posted to Birdlip while still in the WAAF or whether she moved there after she was demobbed. While she was at Birdlip she met and married John Ash. John had been in signals during the war and moved to Birdlip after he was demobbed from India in 1947.

John said that his job at Birdlip was to use Morse code to make initial contact with aircraft as they crossed the Atlantic.

The first 4 photos seem to be official and are marked on the back “Crown copyright” & “Copyright Cheltenham News Company”.

John said this chap was a friend of his. A close study of the rack behind reveals that the 2nd unit from the top is a power unit type 234A. Below it are two receivers, type R1392D. Presumably this equipment was used to optimise the signal from distant aircraft to assist Johns communication?

John is seated to the right and rear of the photo.

Nancy is on the right.

Group photo, date unknown. John is middle row, 2nd from the right. Nancy is not in the photo.

Thought to be the winter of’47. Snow had blocked the road so Nancy and colleagues had to walk to work across the fields. There is another nice picture somewhere of them pushing a lorry up the hill, but it has gone AWOL!

John with his wartime signals unit.

During her time with the WAAF Nancy kept an impressive journal recording technical information and procedures that must have continued to be relevant at Birdlip. The images show a page from her journal plus various documents that were folded into the journal.

Nancy left Birdlip in the early fifties to have their first child.

John stayed at Birdlip longer, then moved to Gatwick, working nightshifts as an air traffic controller. After a serious crash occurred during the shift before his, he decided to move into equipment engineering and maintenance at Gatwick and Heathrow. He then moved to Bletchley Park, teaching equipment technicians.  He retired in the mid-eighties.

TEE Gatwick

TEE Gatwick (2) TEE1

TEE Gatwick (3) TEE2

TEE Gatwick (4)TEE3

TEE Gatwick (1)TEE4

Below, a large and comprehensive collection of photos showing TEE activities, sadly not dated.

Scan_20150904 (2)TEE5

Scan_20150904 (3)TEE6

Scan_20150904 (4)TEE7

Scan_20150904 (5)TEE8

John Baker point out that this is the “carcass” of a Mediator suite

Scan_20150904 (6)TEE9

Scan_20150904 (7)TEE10

Scan_20150904 (8)TEE11

Scan_20150904 (9)TEE12

Scan_20150904 (10)TEE13

Scan_20150904 (11)TEE14

Scan_20150904 (12)TEE15

Scan_20150904 (13)TEE16

Scan_20150904 (14)TEE17

Scan_20150904 (15)TEE18

Scan_20150904 (16)TEE19

Scan_20150904 (17)TEE20

Scan_20150904 (18)TEE21

Scan_20150904 (19)TEE22

Scan_20150904 (20)TEE23

Scan_20150904 (21)TEE24

Scan_20150904 (22)TEE25

Scan_20150904 (23)TEE26

Scan_20150904 (24)TEE27


TEE Drawing Office

Scan_20150904 (25)TEE29

Scan_20150904 (26)TEE30

Scan_20150904 (27)TEE31

Scan_20150904 (28)TEE32

Scan_20150904 (29)TEE33

TEE Workshops

Scan_20150904 (30)TEE34

Scan_20150904 (31)TEE35

Scan_20150904 (32)TEE36

Scan_20150904 (33)TEE37

Scan_20150904 (34)TEE38

visit to TEE by CAA chairman Christopher Tugenhat, 27th April 1987

Scan_20150904 (35)TEE39

Scan_20150904 (36)TEE40

Scan_20150904 (37)TEE41

TEE Family fun days 1985,87

Scan_20150904 (38)TEE42

Scan_20150904 (39)TEE43

Scan_20150904 (40)TEE44

Scan_20150904 (41)TEE45

Scan_20150904 (42)TEE46

EGJJ Jersey control tower, Channel Islands

Tom Singfield sent in this link

Approach/Zone ? interior photo 1950s

Thanks to Barry Davidson for more from his collection. If we have some Jersey ATCOs or ex ATCOs reading this, how about some interior shots please?

In the beginning 1930s, life on the beach


from Barry Davidson three photos dated 1937, the year the airport opened

EGJJ 1937bd


EGJJ 1937 1


EGJJ 1937 2





JJ1a (from Barry Davidson)

ZZZ EGJJ 1950s



EGJJ 2 1969

JJ2 1969


JJ2a Keith Cockayne says this previously unidentified picture is  Jersey Airport looking towards the 09 threshold (out of picture to the left). The building is a met station. Air UK G-APWG

EGJJ 3 1937

JJ3  1937 G-ACZR



EGJJ 1_1




EGJJ 2_2


EGJJ 3 1956 V_3

JJ7 1956 Dakota/Pioneer G-ALYF


JJ7a       GAHCV    C-47A, GAJHZ, Douglas C-47A-10-DK Skytrain at Jersey


JJ8 Viscount G-APEX

mystery tower bma g-axll

JJ8a British Midland BAC 1-11 G-AXLL early 1970s


JJ9 Jersey Landing chart from 1976 via Colin McKeeman




JJ12 G-AHMD Airspeed AS65 Consul Lancashire Aircraft Corporation at rear C-47 of Air Transport Charter

JJ13 four postcards. The Derby Aviation aircraft is a Miles/HPR Marathon airliner

(for our overseas readers: the Channel Islands are a group of islands that hold allegiance to the British Crown. They are off the north coast of France. Jersey is one of these, a Crown Dependency and a self-governing parliamentary democracy. There are three airports in these islands, Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney)

An archive of 20th century air traffic control photographs and other media sponsored by the Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers