RAF-Lincolnshire.info - the home of Royal Air Force and airfield history in Lincolnshire, including allied and other air services.

  RAF Normanby

Home
RAF Stations & Bases
Full list of locations
Squadrons and Units
A brief history
Aircraft types
Forum
Photographs
Memorials
Crashes
Sqn & Stn Associations
Museums
Maps
Oral History
Books
Search site
Links
Sitemap
Abbreviations
People Finder
Family history & research
About the site
FAQs
Contact us
Copyright
Updates

> 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: 12 Feb 12

Opened: 1 Jun 1940

1967 Parenting transfered to RAF Scampton as Hemswell closes.

Closed: Apr 1985 ?

Returned to land owner: 1994/6

World War II

RAF Normanby opened on 1 Jun 1940 as a Wireless Telegraphy Transmitting Station, or DF transmitter site. It was administered by RAF Hemswell and served Hemswell, Scampton and Kirton in Lindsey as ??? with parenting by RAF Scampton.

Post-War Role

From the early 1950s into the 1960s the unit located at Normanby was officially ?? Signals Unit, subordinate to HQ No 1 Group at Bawtry Hall, and part of the Bomber Command network.

In the mid-1950s Normanby was home to around a dozen airmen who were all wireless or aerial technicians. At this time the mail, rations and any technical stores requrired by the high-power transmitters were transported every few days from RAF Hemswell.

The site was commonly referred to in the area as 'Normanby Transmitters'. The high-powered transmitters were 'Swabs' short wave broadcasters. SWB transmitters were maintained at permanent readiness, ready to transmit and relay instantly any message required by a morse operator at Bomber Command HQ when he pressed his Morse key.

Throughout all the days of the V-Force the air signallers, and later AEOs, were required to send a position report to Bomber Command by Morse every hour, wherever in the world they were flying.

At 30 minute intervals the Bomber Controller’s radio operator at High Wycombe would broadcast a message which included a codeword which all airborne V Bombers were required to log. For alerts or the transmission of war codes, 'go' messages would have been transmitted simultaneously on every available transmitter in the Bomber Command network.

Ray Ballard was a Corporal i/c at Normanby for 3 months in late 1955 or early 1956.

"The transmitters when I was there were DS10's, the SWAB8's having been retired. There were usually 4 or 5 living on site at the time, each taking it in turn to cook. To get into Lincoln for leave it meant a mile walk to the main road and then hitch hike as there was only 1 bus a week into Lincoln. Rations were delivered most days from Hemswell.
It has been interesting reading the article about Normanby and it brings back memories of climbing the 90 and 70 foot wooden masts to erect new aerials. It was rumoured that when the masts were originally erected the foreman did a headstand on the 2 foot square platform on top of each mast. There was a wonderful view of Lincoln Cathedral from the top of them."

Tony Cunnane spent a few weeks at Normanby in 1956:

Sent to Normanby to cover for a chap who was being sent off on an advanced training course, I found that I was in sole charge of ten high-powered short wave transmitters and a group of a dozen airmen, including three or four RAF policemen, a storeman and a cook. We all lived together in a barrack hut. This was yet another occasion when I was sent to do a job for which I had no qualifications. It’s just as well the half dozen wireless mechanics who were already there knew what they were doing.

At some point before Hemswell's closure in 1967, probably before 1961, parenting and maintenance of the transmitters and their generators was transfered to RAF Scampton where a small team of ground electrical engineers commanded by a SNCO was dedicated to supporting the Normanby site. Regular fuel checks continued until at least 1980. Some single story brick buildings remained until the 1990s at the site and the transmitters' diesel generators were still in place in 1996 when the fuel tanks were finally emptied. The aerials have been dismantled.

Dave Thompson served at Normanby in 1961-1962. At that time Hemswell was not in the picture as far as the transmitter site was concerned and all support was from Scampton. His posting was to Scampton but he lived and worked at Normanby.

At that time, the old wartime equipment had been replaced with modern high power transmitters supplied by STC, Standard Telephones and Cables. The antennae which you have described as Christmas Tree type were in fact called Biconical Monopoles and were broadband aerials each covering a segment of the Short Wave band. I think there were 3 different sizes covering different segments of the the band. The transmitters were on 24 hours a day because the V squadrons were flying 24 hours a day at that time. The operators were based at RAF Bawtry, Bomber Command 1 Group HQ and mostly the traffic was in morse code but the transmitters were occasionally used for voice messages. There was one lattice mast carrying a VHF antenna and this was connected to a 1.5Kw VHF transmitter and this had to be tested daily with either Bomber Command HQ at High Wycombe or with 3 Group transmitter site at RAF Warboys near Huntingdon. There was also a standyby airfield HF 300 watt transmitter, a WWII T1509. I do not remember this ever being used but it was kept in working order of course. The final piece of equipment that was in constant use was another WWII transmitter a T1154 as fitted to such aircraft as the Lancaster. This was on a frequency of 354Khz and keyed in morse SCA automatically every minute. This was an outer marker beacon for D/F puposes but was not part of an SBA system none of which was installed on the site. This transmitter used an inverted L long wire antenna supported by two 3 section Mast Type 23, commonly know as a cigar mast because of its shape.

The site crew was a Sergeant in charge with 2 Corporals one of which I became after a short time there, and about 9 airmen fitters or mechanics most of whom were National Servicemen. Unmarried personnel lived on site in the single accomodation block opposite the main transmitter building. This included leisure facilites, a TV room and a Snooker room. Our meals were cooked by Mrs Lily Fox who biked up from the village everyday. I understand she was also the cook during the war. There was also a site maintenance man, Gordon Rush, who came up from the village.

The site is now owned by Normanby Youth Club.

Most of the buildings were knocked down in 1998/99 after they had been apparently used by BT, following RAF use.

The is some confusion over the simultaneous operation of site for the SWB Transmitters and as the outer marker for approach to Runway 23 at RAF Scampton. The site certainly served Canberra and Vulcan aircraft operating into Scampton as beacon, initially in the Standard Beam Approach system and then as the outer marker. The presence - documented by photograph - around 1989 of two lattice aerial mastsand three modern christmas-tree type aerials may confirm the site's dual purpose.

Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire
(Tourism)

Follow RAF Lincolnshire:
Visit RAF-Lincolnshire.info's facebook page. Like our page and stay up to date with our posts on facebook! Follow us on twitter and stay up to date with our frequent news items

Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com

 

Google+

powered by blueconsultancy