A project by LINCAIR and the Lightning Association to preserve the history of

Royal Air Force Station Binbrook for future generations

[Members of the Lincolnshire Integrated Aviation Heritage Group]

( Motto - Nothing ventured, nothing gained )

National service at RAF Binbrook 1951 - 1952.

I was posted to Binbrook from Waddington early in 1951 and was demobbed from there in October 1952.

I hadn't been at Binbrook very long before our Avro Lincoln's were replaced by English Electric Canberra's.

It was an exiting day as these beautiful sleek aircraft flew in and it seemed like the beginning of a new age.

I was an RT/DF operator (rank LAC) working in conjunction with the airfield's GCA unit.

We gave aircraft their initial bearing for the airfield and then they were picked up by GCA for their final approach.

[RT/DF van_1]

The bearing we gave was based on a transmission from the pilot.

As he spoke we turned the van's H aerials to get a course for the aircraft to steer.

We found the Lincoln's much easier to give accurate bearings for than the Canberra's.

The latter were obviously flying faster and for some reason seemed to give shorter transmissions. Well that's how it seemed anyway.

[RT/DF van_2]

Sometimes it was difficult to get a true bearing as the equipment was rudimentary by today's standards but I only recall making one mistake.

This was when I gave a Canberra what we called a reciprocal bearing (i.e. 180 degrees out).

Fortunately the pilot noticed that he was flying out over the North Sea instead of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

I corrected the bearing and he landed safely, sparing me a disciplinary hearing or worse.

The RT/DF van in the photographs was on the extreme edge of the airfield and on one of the photos you can see the airfield boundary fence in the background.

This suited us fine as we were well away from interfering officers and NCO's.


In fine weather, if there was no aircraft movement, we would relax in the sunshine or go picking mushrooms which we either boiled in milk or had on toast as we had a hotplate in the van.


When off duty, we would stroll down the hill to Eskimo Nell's or Smokey Joe's eateries.

We usually patronised the one nearer the camp entrance which I think was Eskimo Nell's.

They were on the right hand side of the main road going down to Binbrook village and were very popular with RAF personnel and served up lots of beans on toast.


Alan Dowling - May 2008

If anyone has any photographs or stories relating to Smokey Joe's or Eskimo Nell's, please e-mail me - Ray.

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All rights reserved. Last updated 2 March 2011 by Ray Whiteley.