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Unit History: RAF Handorf

RAF Handorf
As 469 S.U.,the unit served as a Ground Control Interceptor (GCI). Its task was to plot aircraft movements in that part of West Germany, but primarily to control fighter groups by day and by night.
 
The station was situated a few miles N.E. of the city of Munster,close to the village of Handorf.
It was sited on a former important Luftwaffe base which had been heavily bombed at the end of WWII.
Since the former barracks and admin buildings had been made uninhabitable,a purpose built camp had been erected on the southern perimeter to house about 200 people.
 
A mobile radar station was in the centre of the old Flugplatz within walking distance of the campsite.
At that time it was Vampires, Venoms, and F84 Sabre Ds that were controlled during the day from such bases as Celle, Wunstorf & Wildenrath.It was NF11s & NF14s from Ahlhorn that got our attention at night.


Added on 02/12/2009

As a National Serviceman I was stationed at Handorf from January 1954 to August 1955, serving as a Radar Operator.
As 469 S.U.,the unit served as a Ground Control Interceptor (GCI). Its task was to plot aircraft movements in that part of West Germany, but primarily to control fighter groups by day and by night.
The station was situated a few miles N.E. of the city of Munster,close to the village of Handorf.
It was sited on a former important Luftwaffe base which had been heavily bombed at the end of WWII.
Since the former barracks and admin buildings had been made uninhabitable,a purpose built camp had been erected on the southern perimeter to house about 200 people.
A mobile radar station was in the centre of the old Flugplatz within walking distance of the campsite.
At that time it was Vampires, Venoms, and F84 Sabre Ds that were controlled during the day from such bases as Celle, Wunstorf & Wildenrath.It was NF11s & NF14s from Ahlhorn that got our attention at night.
Shortly before I left, the old mobile unit was replaced by a hard standing version.
I was given to understand that the base was later transferred to the Dutch military for the use of a missile unit.
Following recent research I made using Google Earth, it appears that some of the camp buildings are still standing,whilst the Flugplatz has become a public park. Th former bomb craters have become ornamental ponds!


Added on 11/04/2011

RAF Handorf was a former Luftwaffe airfield some 10 Km South East of Munster in the West German State of Westphalia.  It was a defensive surveillance radar site initially equipped with mobile CMS 10cm radar in a convoy.  From 1954 the station had a two level underground operations room designated as a ROTOR R3. The R3 was never intended to survive a direct hit from a nuclear weapon but was designed to withstand a near miss from Russian pattern bombing with 2,200lb armour-piercing high explosive bombs (BRAB) dropped from 35,000 feet.
 
I went there on detachment from REU RAF Henlow in 1955 to dis-assemble the mobile equipment.
 
Roy S. Perry
(formerly JT Perry 2713933)

Memories of RAF Handorf

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

RAF Handorf in Germany in 1957

Written by peter maggs

I had the pleasure during my time in the RAF to get a posting to the above well being a small camp and compact, if some was going home on demob every body knew about it so we would all go to the main gate, well this day belong to a CPL Taylor from the RAF Police section well as one said we gathered round to say our good byes outside the guardroom and the next movement Cpl Taylor on the cry of three cheers from all of us threw his Peak Cap in the air, the only thing from this movement it never came down from the result of landing on top of the flagpole yes right facing the Guardroom

RAF Handorf, in 1955

Written by alan burridge

Excellent Soccer Team played with success against the large Bases. Team mates-Terry Drewery-Grimsby and Keith Drury-Doncaster
Represented 2nd TAF at Cricket-regular trips to Miunchen Gladbach to play against RAF, Navy etc. David Sayer- former Kent Fast Bowler in the Team.
Camp eventually moved to Jever in North Germany before D Mob

Mechanical Transport, RAF Handorf 469 Signals Unit in 1955

Written by Geoffrey Arnold Lloyd

In 1955 I left RAF Weeton as a qualified MT Driver and duly arrived at RAF Handorf during the summer. Cpl. MT Mechanic BOB HOGG collected me in a Volkswagen car from Munster hauptbahnof railway station and intimated how welcome was my arrival; MT drivers were in very short supply. It is to be noted that MT corporals were recognised as supervisory, and did NOT drive. Further, the RAF Driving School - RAF - Weeton - were, at this time only accepting RAF recruits with a FULL British driving licence. RAF Handorf was situate some six miles north of Munster (Westfalia) and contained some 200 personnel, and was dependent for coal-and-coke, mail and food on one-or-more British Army barracks in Munster. RAF Handorf was commanded by Squadron Leader Lacy, and thus ALL other officer-ranks were of lower ranking. It is worth mentioning some of these officers by name, as not all WWII officers chose to leave the Service at the cessation of hostilities. I recall Flt. Lt. Keen, decorated pilot; Flt. Lt. Doyle; Flt. Lt. ’’Big’’ Jim Sutherland, sports officer; Flt. Lt. Don Parrott, ex-navigator Pathfinder Squadron and now MT Officer; Flt. Lt. Tessier - a member of the Goldfish Bowl and mentioned in the book: Down in the Drink. Tessier owned a 1950s Standard Ten Saloon. Flying Officer Hinchliffe (the spelling is correct) was Entertainment Officer and as such, saw to it that my dance band was never short of a drink whilst performing at the Officer’s Mess with me at the piano. Our band alternated from Saturday-to-Saturday between both the Sergeants and Officers Mess; and such was our flying fame that we ventured further into the British army in Munster. Rapidly achieving SAC status, my MT driver-mates included LAC ’’Kit’’ Carson; LAC Wooliscroft; SAC Dave Ansell (deceased) SAC ’’Taff’’ Lewis MT; SAC Dave Mell who died whilst driving a Volkswagen Saloon in collision with a train on the Warendorfer Strasse at night. He was driving to RAF Sundern to collect a priority signal. He was given a military funeral and I have details of his last whereabouts. I must also mention MT driver Bill John. Other serving members deserve mention and so we have the camp warrant officer in the shape of Charlie Butt; Sgt. Shenton SNCO i/c Airmans Mess; MT Sgt. Burney replaced by Londoner Flt. Sgt. Tom Phillis who was to receive the BEM decoration. He arrived from RAF Bridgnorth where I had done my ’’square-bashing’’. Phillis was ’time-served’’ and knew his MT trade from back-to-front-and-upside-down. Especially, he demonstrated an impatience with the National Service pilot officer. Flt. Sgt. Phillis was of middle age, portly-in-stature and always wore his RAF best-blue uniform with cap cocked at a rakish angle on the back of his head. Yes, he was fiercesome and took no prisoners. The Air Publication that governs RAF MT is numbered AP 3090 and is our ’bible’. As indicated Chiefy Phillis knew it inside-out, and I well-remember hearing him receive a call for transport from a National Service pilot officer. Very soon, Tom Phillis would lose patience and before slamming down the ’phone would shout: ’’Because AP 3090 states by very virtue of of the -unting fact...’’ The whole point of RAF Handorf was that it was designated as a MOBILE unit. In point of fact it was literally ’set in concrete’ but the moving-blow was to fall. The camp disintegrated and I was posted to RAF Jever, but not before we drivers moved all vechicles to Antwerp docks via several convoys entailing an overnight stay in Holland. At the border of Germany/Holland we had to have our convoy paperwork validated. Whilst this was in progress we took refuge in the bar. We sniggered at the oak statue of a boy in piddling-mode, and when the bar tender pressed a hidden trigger and the statue shot water far-and-wide, our joy was complete! Look-up: ’Little Pis’. I hope my diatribe has triggered Forces Reunited RAF memories to good effect and look forward to replies. Best regards, GEOFF, 4168502 SAC Lloyd G.A.
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