Letter from F.H.C.Wimbledon
to Martin L. Shough,
12 Oct 1986
Sorry to be so tardy in answering your letter of the 21st September but plead pressure on my time.
I will try to answer your queries but certain details such as prf etc have long been erased from my mind.
Answers to your questions:- [note by MLS: FW's answers survive but the original question sheet is missing, so in the following they are reconstructed from memory]
Q1. Was the target on the radar scopes watched by you personally throughout?
A1. Yes, after initial phone call from Lakenheath to say there was something "buzzing" the airfield.
Q2. Did the blip on the scope fade or fluctuate or was it consistent in strength?
A2. Consistent in strength.
Q3. How did the scope presentation of the target compare with that of the Venom?
Q4. Would you describe the nature of the 'interception cabins' at the GCI facility at Neatishead where you worked? Were these permanent structures or ground-transportable?
A4. Permanent building built underground with aerials obviously above ground. Completely self-contained with toilets, male and female, restrooms. lecture rooms, catering facilities in case of nuclear attack, air filtering, independent power supplies and of course maintenance facilities for all the radar and radio equipment. (See also A7 below)
Q5. You say that a second Interception Cabin was manned to back up the first. Can you confirm that same target behaviour was observed by both teams?
Q6. You've said that three radars independently observed this target. Were you talking about Neatishead radars or including both Lakenheath radars?
A6. I did include the Lakenheath CPS-5 and CPN-4. What I meant was firstly my own radar which of course was the same as that in the interception cabins, secondly the airborne radar on the Venom, and thirdly the Lakenheath radar.
Q7. Where was your work station in relation to the radar 'cabins' used by your interception controllers?
A7. Diagram of layout:
Chief controller looked down onto plotting board showing picture of area. (Now obsolete of course with automatic electronic display board)
Q8. What were the types and specifications of the radars used at Neatishead?
A8. My radar and therefore the Interception Controllers' radar was AMES Type 7, scan rate 6 RPM. Other details I cannot remember after all this time. Height finder was Marconi Type 13 (nodding aerial).
Q9. Can you confirm that the fighters were scrambled from RAF Waterbeach?
A9. Yes, Waterbeach was the "on duty" airfield that night with aircraft on "standby" throughout, i.e. in cockpits ready to push starter buttons.
Q10. Can you explain why the target had not been observed by Neatishead until you were asked to look for it?
A10. Because our role was "defence of the UK" we tended to look out beyond the shores and not inland. Naturally the sweep of the aerial covered inland but concentration would be on seaward.
Q11. Were any other unusual radar blips observed at Neatishead in addition to the one that was intercepted?
A11. I do not think so, concentration would be on the selected "target".
Q12. How would you describe the movement of the target when the Venom tried to intercept it?
A12. As I have already said the target behaved as any other fighter aircraft but the performance was at least 30-40 years ahead.