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Chapter 4 - RAF Rudloe Manor

The CTU moved from "Woodlands" to No 10 Gp HQ at Rudloe Manor where it opened on 1 January 1946 and received the first of many name changes becoming The Fighter Command Control and Reporting School (FCC&RS). No courses started until 1 Apr 46 when the first officers Filter Course began. This was closely followed by No 2 Clerk SD(Plotters) course on 4 Apr and on 5 May No 3 Controllers course commenced. Interestingly, the Unit was also used as a prisoner of war camp. It would appear to have been a tough time for the prisoners as they were forced to listen to a lecture given by Dr E Leimmdoerfer entitled, "World Citizenship and National Democracy."

Although little is evident from the records for Rudloe Manor it does mention the provision of calibration runs for RAF Sopley and the fact that a Flt Lt Simpson was attached to "Simpsons" of Piccadilly to demonstrate GCI Controller duties at the "Wonders of Radar Exhibition". He was detached on 6 November 1946 but there is no mention of him returning.

During this era track production on the reporting side of the Branch was done by Radar supervisors, and control by intercept controllers, but to qualify these also had to demonstrate an adequate capability in filtering, as the demands of filtering were considered high. Airmen/airwomen fighter plotters and radar operators supported both specialisations.

There is also a note of a calibration run attempted on 12 December 1946......... " Attempted Cal run for new T14. Firework 14 airborne 1405 hrs, handed over 1507hrs. [sic (1407?)] Orbited Bath until 1438 hrs then flew to Gloucester and orbited until 1555hrs. Gear failed to work so scrubbed run." Not so much a Firework, more a damp squib!

On 1 Jan 47 Fighter Command changed the School's name to School of Control and Reporting but it was often still referred to as FCC&RS.

An unusual extract for 14 Feb 47, "Total GCI runs 476, Total Ops runs 90.5!", perhaps a controller got half of one right!

Another intriguing insight into the working of Rudloe Manor but not necessarily related to Air Defence... "28 February 1947, twenty two Chinese officers from RAF Yatesbury reported to Rudloe Manor today to be shown over Brown's Quarry."

There is also the odd throw away line relating to the School....9 December 1946. "Flt Lt Loveridge from HQ No 11 Group visited Rudloe Manor to look over the FCC & RS". Some interesting visits were also made by the courses including RAF Lyneham to see GCA, Bristol Radar Exhibition, Yeovil ROC, and ACC at Rudloe Manor. January 1947 appears memorable as, "The Station Commander and a number of Officers from Rudloe Manor visited the Odeon Cinema, Bristol, on the occasion of the showing of the film "School for Secrets." Other highlights include the fact that SHQ did well at soccer and the officers beat the others ranks 2-1 at Hockey.

In March 1947 a Naval Liaison Officer was posted in to the FCC&RS and gave lectures and showed films on Fighter Direction Ships. AA and Searchlight lectures were included in the syllabus and were given by two visiting Army majors.

As late as November 1947 there is little mention of the impending move to Middle Wallop. In January 1948 mention is at last made, a pencilled comment in the top left hand corner of the F540 states "Moved from Rudloe Manor to Middle Wallop Jan 48". On the summary of events column are several references to the move but the pertinence of the final comment impressed me most, 4 Jan 1948 "FCC&RS played soccer against Box Won 5-1". Well done lads!.

Continue to the next part of the history ......