Martlesham Heath Posting (1959)

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Story kindly contributed by David Theaker

In February 1959 following trade training at RAF Compton Basset I was posted to Martlesham Heath.

I was an R/T D/F [direction finding] operator and worked in the D/F hut in the middle of a cornfield to the east of the camp, to the left of the road between Woodbridge and Felixstowe, which in those days ran through the centre of the camp. I believe the ruins of the building are still there.

Although we were a D/F facility for Martlesham our main task was as an added facility for RAF Stradishall, pinpointing where the aircraft were on approach to landing at Stradishall. This was in the early days of GCA [ground control approach] and ILS [instrument landing system].

I also remember the Spitfires and Hurricanes [from Battle of Britain Flight], having once told a pilot he was overhead Martlesham when he was in fact overhead Felixstowe!

After Martlesham I was posted to Gutersloh as a D/F Op. After two and a half years the trade was discontinued, so I took a language course and spent the rest of my service life in Germany, mostly in Berlin.

My wife and I did attend an MHAS Open Day a few years back and are considering coming to the 100th celebration. I remember getting a round of applause when the tour bus stopped at the old parade square and I said that I had once paraded there, in the old days of Saturday morning working. We now live in Gloucester.