Original Vintage Postcard RAF HEDNESFORD STAFFORDSHIRE unused CIRCA 1950
IN THE MIDDLE BACKGROUND A SPITFIRE POKES ITS NOSE OUT GATE GUARDIAN TRAINING AID ?
One of a small hoard of 7 all listed today multiple purchases attract no extra post
The following background info from excellent online site
No 11 School of Recruit Training: RAF Hednesford. Staffordshire.
Station Crest: a single Fir Tree over Motto: **Upright and Strong**
In October 1950 (information regarding the camp prior to this date can be acquired from the book **Kitbag Hill** - ) the camp became the home of the RAF No: 11 School of Recruit Training, the unit taking in both Regular and National Service recruits and for many thousands of mostly retired men scattered throughout the UK and abroad this means just one thing: SQUAREBASHING.
About 81,500 men received their basic 8 week training at Hednesford, following the well known routine of medical inspections, inoculations, physical training, un memorable lectures, shouting NCOs, remote Officers, too frequent inspections, NAAFI tea and wads, drill and yet more drill, fears, hopes and longing for release, all the more traumatic for the many young men at that time, I being one, for whom it was the first time ever of leaving home, family etc.
The final passing out parade of 130 recruits was held on 3rd December 1956, the salute being taken by the Air Officer Commanding 22 Group, Air Vice Marshal J L F Fuller. The Station Commander at this time was Wing Commander R J E Bowlding.
A closing down party was formed on the 3rd December and disbanded on the 22nd December 1956 when the site was handed over to the Ministry of Works.
On 26th November 1957 the station was returned to the RAF from the Ministry of Works but was inactive and parented by RAF Cosford.
Its final role was when it became the home for dis possessed Hungarian Refugees following the uprising, RAF Cosford urgently supplied a detachment of Airmen of all ranks to act as the reception team and helped to settle the refugees., when the need to house refugees ended the site was disposed of by the Ministry of Works.
During the existence of No 11 School, many recruits were accepted for commissions, nearly 10,000 airmen gained their swimming certificates and 1,650 became marksmen. The voluntary band at the camp undertook 1100 outside engagements in addition to functions within the camp and was present at the 1953 Coronation. During the life of the unit some 6,000 airmen had at some time been members of the band.
The station had 3 churches and was the only RAF Recruit station to have a Synagogue and all RAF Jewish recruits were sent to Hednesford.
No 11 School of Recruit Training had been due to close in 1953 but the RAF fought to retain it. Its closure on 3.12 56 was brought about by a cut in Government spending.
If one accepts the figure of 81.500 recruits processed by No 11 School of Recruit Training in that period of about 6 years then it is easy to calculate that this would have been approx 13,000 plus recruits each year
1.0 plus recruits each month, which on average indicates about 250 each week.
Comment from ex DI Bill Buchanan was that there were 4 Wings
No:1 Wing was *A* Squadron which consisted of Nos: 1 - 2 - 3 - and 4 Flights plus *B* Squadron which consisted of Nos: 5 - 6 - 7 - and 8 Flights.
No: 2 Wing was *C* Squadron which consisted of Nos: 9 - 10 - 11 - and 12 Flights plus *D* Squadron which consisted of Nos; 13 - 14 - 15 - and 16 Flights
No: 3 Wing was *E* Squadron which consisted of Nos: 17 - 18 - 19 - and 20 Flights plus *F* Squadron which consisted of Nos: 21 - 22 - 23 - and 24 Flights..
No 4 Wing was *G* Squadron which consisted of Nos: 25 - 26 - 27 - and 28 Flights plus *H* Squadron which consisted of Nos: 29 - 30 - 31 - and 32 Flights.
Each Squadron was made up of 4 Flights and each Flight consisted of approx 100 recruits normally billeted in 5 huts of 20 each (some photographs indicate 22 airmen per hut !).
The Staffing for each Squadron was generally 1 Officer and 1 SGT plus 5 DI Cpls - but Bill Buchanan states that most of the time they only had 4 DIs per Squadron.
It is interesting to note that in a photograph of Officers taken in December 1953, (see Nos:110 and 111) the breakdown is: 1 Group Captain / 5 Wing Commanders / 19 Squadron Leaders - this included 1 WRAF and 2 Padres / 22 Flight Lieutenants / 13 Flying Officers - 1 being WRAF / 19 Pilot Officers - 1 being WRAF.
I have created a website specifically about RAF Hednesford in the period 1950 to 1956, containing a map, much text and feedback from ex Hednesford Recruits and Staff and over 140 photographs. The domain address is: www.rafhednesford.org PGH.