Letter from F.H.C.Wimbledon to Martin L. Shough,
25 Jan 1988

(Handwritten original)

Dear Martin,

Before you go into print, I am still very concerned that you appear to believe Perkins' statement that the venom pilot said, "I've got my guns locked on him". This is quite impossible for the following reasons:-

(a) The Venom did not possess that facility

(b) No RAF Pilot ingrained into correct R/T Combat proceedures would ever deviate from those proceedures.

(c) There would have been a code word to signify guns locked (later aircraft had this facility) if required, not plain language.

My theory is this and Thayer later came to the same conclusion (This is in one of his letters to me)

On hearing the word "Judy" from the Venom pilot, Perkins or one of his colleagues said, "Judy, what the hell is that?" After some head scratching one of them probably said, "Perhaps it means he's got is guns locked on the target." From that moment it would, as they say, be "set in concrete" and would be written into the log, the pilot said etc etc.

Again on page 225 you state the pilot was in contact with GCI twice. This is incorrect as a stream of instructions, almost non stop, would be coming from the GCI each of which would be acknowledged by the pilot, so that there would be no time to switch channels and talk to someone else.* (I am enclosing a sample of GCI "talk" during an interception)

Again I think somewhere you speak of me being remote from the Interception cabin. This is also incorrect as I had my own Radar Console and could switch in to listen to any one of the four Interception cabins so could monitor any interception going on.

* Moreover, during the period after "Judy" the Nav/Rad would be non stop reading off bearing, azimuth, distance from his AI to the pilot!


Sample of Interception. GCI code name "Boxer", Pilot's personal call sign "Red One".

a/c: Boxer , this is Red One, do you read?

GCI: Red One, Boxer, Fives.

a/c: Fives also.

GCI: Target North West, Range 110, Vector zero two zero.

a/c: Red One.

GCI: Target heading two eight zero, height twenty five.

a/c: Red One.

(Any changes in target heading or height plus relevant orders or Red One's vectors frequently passed as aircraft closes. As range gets down to around 15 to 20 miles instructions are given as follows:)

GCI: Target one thirty, range thirteen, crossing starboard to port, five hundred above.

a/c: Red One.

GCI: Target coming round to twelve thirty, range eight, five hundred above.

a/c: Red One.

GCI: Target coming up to twelve o'clock, range four, five hundred above.

a/c: Red One, Contact.

GCI: Continues to give information and vector changes, e.g. "port ten", as necessary.

a/c: Red One, Judy.

GCI: controller now shuts up but continues to watch interception carefully, ready to give more help if required.

Note: the old "overs" and "out" etc. are relics of WWII and not used.

The Interception Controller's job is the nearest thing to flying an aircraft and is naturally highly specialised. Strange as it may seem, some girls became extremely good.

Distanmce etc before "Contact" completely fictitious as dependent upon the type of AI in the aircraft and "Contact" could easily occur earlier.

I hope this gives you some idea of what goes on in an Interception and I think you will agree conversation would only be likely to occur with a third person before GCI contacvt and after GCI had given "Pigeons" i.e. bearing and distance to a/c's base after interception completed.