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Air 29/3582, 271 Signals Unit Operations Record Book
RAF Neatishead, December 1956-58

Dave Clarke & Paul Fuller

This file contains an inspection report by No 12 Group Fighter Command for Neatishead following a visit in December 1956. It reads as follows:

"RAF Neatishead is a G.C.I. [Ground Controlled Interception] station having a primary interception role and a secondary reporting role. It is equipped with AMES Type 7, a Type 14 Mark 8 and Type 14 Mark 9 search radars and five Type 13 height-finders. A FPS-3 [AMES Type 80] search radar is being installed. Operations staff include 30 officers, one warrant officer, ten SNCO's, 31 corporals and 168 aircrew."

By JUNE 1957 Neatishead had 5 radar systems: AMES Type 7, Type 14 Mark 8, Type 14 Mark 9, Type 5 Mark 13, FPS 3 [Type 80].

JANUARY 1957: Exercise Fabulous: "On 12 occasions unidentified responses were reported, but two of these faded before interception could be made. 7 others were identified after fighters were airborne and the remaining 3 were analysed as: 1 Canberra, I F-84F, 1 T-33."

MARCH 1957: "only once during the month was a scramble called for, and on this occasion the target response faded before an interception was achieved."

MAY 1957: During Exercise Vigilant there were 8 scrambles - all identified by aircraft under control (QRA duties undertaken by aircraft from Stradishall, Waterbeach and the 512th USAF Squadron at RAF Woodbridge).

JANUARY 1958: During Exercise Halyard aircraft were scrambled for 2 X-raids. The first turned out to be a Vulcan..."the second had an advantage in speed over both the Meteor and Javelin that attempted to intercept it."

APRIL 1958: Surveillance was kept over 4 special balloons released at RAF Cardington and these were successfully tracked up to heights of 100,000 feet. During Exercise Halyard two X-raids remained unidentified. There was a third scramble for an easterly target but fighters were "unable to intercept it."

JULY 1958: Tension increased due to Middle Eastern situation.

SEPTEMBER 1958: Eight scrambles. One X-raid not identified.

OCTOBER 1958: An ornithologist was engaged observing starling migrations from the continent.

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