RAF Lindholme, JATCRU Northern Radar

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RAF Lindholme near Doncaster. Former Bloodhound command and  control station with a Type 82 radar. Converted to a military area radar unit and augmented with a civil section providing a high level radar service over northern England.

Tony Mannion  sent the photo below. taken at the Air Defence Museum http://www.radarmuseum.co.uk/ shows an ops room very representative of Northern, Eastern and Midland radars.

EASTERN RADARLIND2

Before Northern was at Lindholme it was based at Hack Green and after it closed the task moved to Watton.

Hack Green           Watton

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gee lindholme eastern

LIND 4   My thanks to Peter Wilde and Malcolm Hemming for confirming this is JATCRU Northern Radar at Lindholme, possibly in 1970, and that this is Ron Gee on the left. Ron was the senior civil atco at Northern. We’d still like to know the name and rank of the officer on the right, presumably the OC Northern radar. We will be adding this to the Northern posting shortly.

Mike Sargent has sent in a copy of the unit training instructions. I have split them in two.

Part 1 is a general document that includes the history and role of Northern Radar. The descriptions are in many aspects going to be true for all the JATCRUs.

Part 2 includes a description of how to use the edge lit board data displays used by controllers and maintained and updated by assistants. Many of those of us who used it found it superior to flight progress strips and on reflection its display techniques reflect the kind of data presentation now achieved through digital displays. There are pictures of  an edge lit board and a Type 82 Radar on the Eastern Radar post

lindholme part 1

lindholme part 2

Sent to us by Chris Stock but originating with Andy Rackham is this final day postal cover for Northern Radar.

Northern Radar cover

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Northern Radar logo designed, like the last day cover by Andy Power & Steve Hobbs

Northern Radar Mug and Ties from Pete Clark 

17 thoughts on “RAF Lindholme, JATCRU Northern Radar”

  1. In 1977 the blocks and messes here were re-opened to house the support party for the Royal Review at Finningley.

    In 79 the airfield re-opened for a few months as an RLG for the Jetstreams at Finningley. But the problem is that Lindholme sits under the extended centre line of Finningleys runway 20 so aircraft at Lindholme were limited to a max circuit height of 500ft.

    As I said in the Leeming article, why did they move the Jetstreams to Finningley?

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  2. Re the pic of Ron Gee and (presumably) the CO, was the latter Wg Cdr Noyce, or Voyce, or similar? Whether he kept very much to his office, or the fact I was on the shift rota I don’t know, but I very rarely saw him in the 4 years I was there!

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  3. My father (Enoch Mayer) was the civilian manager of this radar station for 11 years with Airwork Services from August 1962 to November 1973. He sadly passed away last year. I have some photos of him here with RAF staff that I would like to share. I am also interested in hearing from anybody that worked with him! Please do get in touch.(email: andy@yoomee.com)

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  4. Hi Malcolm, I too have the same photo somewhere. ‘Chirpy’ is one of a number of Nicknames I have had over the years. I did bump into Ron Handy in the 70’s when he was doing gas conversion work in the East Riding but I haven’t spoken to him in decades. Are you still in the North Notts area? We must meet up sometime. Sorry I haven’t responded sooner, I didn’t realise that you had replied. I will try to check more often.

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    1. Hi Steve, thank for for your reply, I moved to Hertfordshire in 1980, having left the RAF in 1975. As is the way of the services, although having Air Traffic as a trade, I never served in a tower, Muharraq being the closest I got. Northern & Midland Radars, then demobbed from HQ 1Gp Ops, Bawtry.

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      1. I am there from 24th to 26th May (checking out on 27th). I am meeting up with Philip Peppiatt on 25th, He is a former MCU crewman and Twyneham 255 resident also! We are meeting at 11:00 in the club.

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      2. I did 23 years as an AATC and spent 7 of those years in towers, believe me you didnt miss anything!

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  5. Very interesting articles. I was stationed at Northern Radar from July 1966 to August 1970, straight from trade training at RAF Shawbury, with the rank of LAC. I therefore spent many hours at both ‘Tracker’ and (the much more boring!) Height Finder consoles.

    Just one sort of correction, the reference in the “Lindholme part 1” to the ‘automatically updating’ of the Tote board when aircraft moved between flight levels. This may have been intended, but in practice, the FL was changed manually by an unfortunate airman sitting alongside the floor to ceiling Tote board, receiving instructions via a small loudspeaker from the master controller.

    Elsewhere online is a photograph of the Ops room, taken in 1968, which shows the Tote board operator at his table.

    Theoretically we were only allowed to man a console for about an hour, but at busier times, this was inevitably exceeded. On the other hand, on foggy February days, we were queuing up to get into the Ops room, as there were so few aircraft movements!

    Northern, unlike the sister unit Midland Radar (where I was stationed a couple of years later) operated 24 hours. Many long nights of watching an almost blank screen.

    It is very sad to see recent photos of the now abandoned Type 82 sites, I think I’d rather hang onto my memories of 50 plus years ago.

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    1. I was there from 64 – 66 following it`s change from air defence role to Air Traffic Control. In those days it seemed the screens were full of Jet Provest aircraft flying over the Vale Of York, also remember the speed of the Lightenings climbing out of RAF Binbrook on there way over the North Sea. I did a 3 month detachment to Midland Radar and Eastern Radar , prob 1965 and I think that`s when they were converting Northern for joint civilian use. Happy days !

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    2. Hi Malcolm,
      I too served at NR from Oct ’66 to Mar ’68 when I bugged out to Muharraq. It would be good to reminisce. I agree that the Tote Board was a real switch off job and it may have been there that I wrote out my app to serve overseas.

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      1. Hi Steve, I followed you to Muharraq a couple of years later!

        I have a photograph of you and me, along with Ron Handy, Colin Scott, and “Dave” from Lindholme Air Traffic, all suited and booted, and each nursing a pint. Do I recall that one of us was known as ‘Chirpy’?

        Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) I don’t know how to post a pic on here…..

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    3. When I joined up (78) we were told we couldnt be posted to an ATCRU as first posting. A few years down the line and I met people who joined up after me who got ATCRUs as first posting!

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      1. I’m confused Richard, we’re you at Northern in 1966 or 1978? If it’s the former I would have served with you. If it is the latter I couldn’t have.

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      2. I have got it now Richard. The comments were those of Malcolm Lindley but were not too clear in my addled mind.

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