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RAF Digby - RCAF Digby
A history : 1918 - 1978


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> RAF Bases

Interactive map
Full list of locations

Alma Park
Anwick
Bardney
Barkston Heath
Belton Park
Binbrook
Blankney Hall
Blyton
Boston Wyberton Fen
Bottesford
Bracebridge Heath
Braceby
Buckminster
Bucknall
Caistor
Cockthorne
Coleby Grange
Coningsby
Cranwell
Cuxwold
Digby
Donna Nook
Dunholme Lodge
East Halton
East Kirkby
Elsham Wolds
Faldingworth
Fiskerton
Folkingham
Freiston
Fulbeck
Gosberton
Goxhill
Grantham
Greenland Top
Grimsby
Grimsthorpe Park
Harlaxton
Hemswell
Hibaldstow
Holbeach
Humberston
Immingham
Ingham
Ingoldmels
Kelstern
Killingholme
Kirmington
Kirton in Lindsey
Langtoft
Leadenham
Lincoln West Common
Ludford Magna
Manby
Market Deeping
Market Stainton
Mere
Metheringham
Moorby
Morton Hall
New Holland
Nocton Hall
Normanby
North Coates
North Killingholme
North Witham
Norton Disney
Orby
Rauceby
Saltby
Sandtoft
Scampton
Skegness
Skellingthorpe
Skendleby
South Carlton
South Elkington
South Witham
Spilsby
Spitalgate
Stenigot
Strubby
Sturgate
Sutton Bridge
Swinderby
Swinstead
Theddlethorpe
Tydd St Mary
Waddington
Wainfleet
Waltham (Grimsby)
Wellingore
Wickenby
Wigsley
Winterton
Woodhall Spa

Updated: 2 Jan 08

CHAPTER 4 - AFTER THE WAR

d. A cadet remembers

The notes that follow were written by a flight cadet just before graduation and give an excellent idea of a cadet’s life in those days, and are a fitting way to close this important chapter in the Station’s life.

“‘As is inevitable with barrack room life we soon learned to live and work together and because none of us was keen on scrubbing floors at night or doing extra drill in our spare time we made fewer mistakes as the time wore on - at least, we were discovered less frequently. At the end of 2 terms in the Cadet Block most of us could lay out our kit for an inspection confident in the knowledge that there was nothing wrong with it

We played soccer, rugby and hockey, and went on cross country runs. We learned maths and elementary accounts and how to get up in the morning. Within 6 weeks we could imitate any of our instructors. In the evenings we would prepare our kit for the morning and spend fortunes in the NAAFI. After ‘Lights Out’ we would lie awake in our beds (dressed by the right) and talk for a little while in subdued voices, while from an airmen’s barrack block across the grass could be heard the sound of a radio. At roughly the same time every night the same tune would be played, and in the end we knew it backwards and couldn’t go to sleep till we heard it. It was called ‘Heartbreaker’. I remember also a certain night when Block 46 was surrounded by its pyjama—clad inmates trying to locate a noisy cricket which had been worrying us for some time.

The first 2 terms seemed to crawl by despite the crowded hours, We returned from Summer leave to find that the 18 month course had been lengthened to 2 years and 8 months. We were not unduly perturbed because the end seemed so far away anyway that 14 more months didn’t make any difference. We had learned in the Science Block that if 14 is added to Infinity the answer is still Infinity.

At the end of the second term, we managed to produce 2 one-act plays - the first sign of life from any Digby Section of the College Society. We made our own scenery and the effect was ghastly. Those of us who had anything to do with ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ or ‘The Man In The Bowler Hat’ still wince when we think about that night, of the producer who forgot his lines and the prompter who had gone to sleep.

Christmas leave came at last and with it the end of our days as Cadets. From henceforth we were Flight Cadets, resplendent in our white shoulder flashes and maroon lanyards. We celebrated the last night of that second term in the traditional manner, and we will long remember that walk back to camp, with the red light on the North Hangar in the distance which would NOT stop revolving.

We started our first term as Flight Cadets in a blaze of glory. The eyes of all were upon us as we marched back and forth on the square at lunch time. The owners those eyes were thanking whatever gods they owned that THEY did not return late from leave.

Life in the Flight Cadets Mess was more conducive to work than the barrack block surroundings. Occasionally we did some in our spare time. By now there were 4 entries at Digby and it seemed that the future of the Wing was at last assured. In the terms that followed, as the E & S Wing grew in size and importance, we were all aware of some indefinable change going on around us, something vaguely significant. As our numbers increased we began to win our sports fixtures and avenge earlier defeats. We became eager for more and ready to accept any challenge. Flight Cadets were representing the College at sports and our wing teams were wresting trophies from the other Cranwell squadrons.

At the same time the Instructional Staff was slowly growing and the lecture rooms filled out. Each term the number of faces at dinner increased and by the sixth term the days when there were only 33 people in the mess seemed far enough away never to have existed.

While all this progress and growth was going on, something was happening to each us individually. A ‘Wing Spirit’ was being born. While our sportsmen were pitting themselves against other squadrons in the stadium at Cranwell, the E & S Wing supporters were definitely outshouting the other squadrons in the stands. This spirit was not confined to the sports field. It was reflected in the extra-mural activities, on the parade ground, and in the classroom. Digby was no longer just ‘a course’, but Digby was — well –Digby!

Previous to that summer and autumn of 1949, the F & S Wing seemed a part of the College in name only. To those members of the Wing, and to most of those outside it, Digby was a little institution on its own, but now, by its own efforts it had become in reality part of the RAF College and a force to be reckoned with. We didn’t realise what was happening at the time, but we all agree that those were ‘great days’, and we regard it as a privilege to have been there while it was happening.

What I personally will remember most vividly about that summer at Digby are those lazy Sunday afternoons spent watching cricket matches down on the sports field. I was not fond of cricket, but it seemed that sitting out there in the hot sun or the cooler evenings, watching the white—clad figures playing out their game, listening to the steady sound of bat striking ball was a GOOD thing to be doing. Although Digby was not all play and no work, the work never seemed to oppress us. In most cases the work was done without much effort, and in all cases it was done somehow, sometime. We learnt the theoretical side of our professional jobs, and subjects for that all-important background. We descended into the bowels of the earth and had our photographs taken in miners helmets. We visited the Player’s factory and came away with a free packet of cigarettes each. We learnt as much from 3-day visits to Service establishments as we did from a week of lectures. In our sixth term we watched the First Entry graduate. That was a great day for Digby. It was our Coming of Age. The passing of No 1 Entry made us the Senior Entry . Some of us were made up to Flight Cadet NCOs and the rest of the entry got away with it. We could now sit at the top table in the dining hall and use the front door of the mess, and we took a part in the general administration of the Wing. We knew we were envied by all the junior entries because we ourselves had envied No 1 Entry.

The Summer holidays came and went, and we arrived back at Digby for the last time. Of course, there were still the Final Examinations to be overcome, but 10 weeks seemed plenty of time to worry about them. Nine weeks later we decided it was time to get down to some work, and the fact that we passed gave us all a fresh burst of confidence.”

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location of RAF Digbyin relation to Lincolnshire - click here for full-size map showing all station locations

Digby Squadrons

Blankney

Ashby de la Launde

Scopwick War Graves

Sector Ops Room Museum

Digby crashes

Digby Oral Histories:


Digby - A History
" A history 1917 - 1978"
Foreword
Introduction
1917
1918
Inter-War Years
1919
1920
1922-23
1924
1925
1926

1927-1929
1930-1932
1933
1934-1936
1937
1938
World War II

1939
1939-1940
1941
Jan - Aug 1942
Sep 1942 - 1944
1945
Return to Training
1945 - Jan 1948
Feb - Mar 1948
Mar 1948 - 1953
A cadet remembers
The Signals Era
Jan 1955 - Dec 1961
Dec 1963 - 1978
Curent Day

1955 - the Signals Era


Digby Ops Room Museum
A brief history on Airops website

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