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LarryH57

RAF Airfield Follow Me Vehicles in WW2 ?

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On 9/2/2018 at 12:03 PM, matchlesswdg3 said:

If you read personal accounts of RAF bomber crew members in WW2, there appears to have been a very well organised system of allotted parking up places for each plane, use of taxi ways and take-off and landing slots that did not need use of Follow-Me trucks.  Don't forget that most movements for RAF bombers would have been undertaken at dusk or in darkness and with the visibility from the lofty perch of a Lancaster or Halifax being limited for the pilot, you could imagine that ground vehicles running about would pose more risk than help.

Pretty much exactly this.

Before you took off you were made aware of which runway was in use, you would then wait for permission to head to the marshalling point. At the marshalling point would be an airman to ensure you didn't collide in the dark. You would wait at the marshalling point for permission to head on to the runway.

When landing it would be almost the same but in reverse.

No mention in the 1944 manual of using vehicles for marshalling.

Also, it would be good to remember that the RAF didn't operate at the same intensity as the USAAF. So, fewer aircraft per airfield and a penchant for flying as a loose stream and returning individually (as well in the dark) meant less of a need to rush aircraft off the runway.

Fun fact, the first thing you were supposed to do on landing was stop, look around and behind (turning the aircraft if need be) to make sure no-one else was landing or taxying nearby, and then proceed to the marshalling point in a slighty zig-zag fashion so you could keep an eye out behind you.

On 8/31/2018 at 9:59 PM, Richard Farrant said:

In the book, 'Wheels of the RAF', there is a photo of the RAF airfield at Khartoum, which it says was taken in late 40's, it is noted and clearly visible in the photo of a jeep with a large board on the rear stating 'STOP' and 'FOLLOW ME'. It is an Air Ministry photo, no. R1316.

OK, not wartime, but very close.

In the case of that particular photo, I have no reason to question the date, but Khartoum was an airfield which would have seen lots of passing visitors and few permanent residents.

That Jeep would have been sent out to greet strangers and show them the way to their hard standing.

 

On 9/2/2018 at 1:51 PM, Old Git said:

9BHM0pA.jpg

 

Found it, but now questioning the date. Maybe post-war?

 

On 9/2/2018 at 10:04 PM, LarryH57 said:

Personally, I think the yellow Morris AC was used as an armoured crash rescue vehicle or perhaps a suitably painted vehicle to tow the wheeled watchhut, and nothing to do with Follow Me!

I reckon that Ferg in his post above is spot on.

Considering the footage is mid-late 1944 (Rose turret shown on the Lancs), long after the RAF Regiment discarded the LRC, I would suggest it was possibly the tug for the caravan. Would make a useless crash cart. 

 

On 9/2/2018 at 10:24 PM, Old Git said:

 only Follow-me vehicles were Yellow, but then the RAF is not my area. I suppose somewhere in TNA there is a file with all the answers! 

Yellow was to be used on all vehicles operating on any part of the airfield aircraft would also be operating on.  

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On 9/2/2018 at 2:54 PM, Baz48 said:

The yellow blob certainly looks like a  Morris Mk I or Mk II the trailer possibly a 2-wheel 8-berth Personnel modified for use as a flying control van for a gliding school but I'm guessing. I remember Bedford MW's painted yellow at Martlesham Heath along with a trailer similar to the one shown besides one possibly two open top Standard Beveretts used for retrieving wayward Gliders and cable pulling duties early fifties as I watched my older brother gain his wings, sorry no photos.

Was searching about RAF runway caravans, and find this post. I never seen anything about a " 2-wheel 8-berth Personnel", please anyone as more information about this?

Many thanks,

G_Mendes

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I think the caravan started out as accomodation and got converted, so in a sense its not going to be on a list of official RAF caravans

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The RAF did eventually standardise on particular chassis for Airfield Control, mostly four wheelers as they were more stable. In this case it's hard to tell if it is a four or eight berth caravan. 

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1 hour ago, LarryH57 said:

I think the caravan started out as accomodation and got converted, so in a sense its not going to be on a list of official RAF caravans

 

12 hours ago, Goncalo Mendes said:

Was searching about RAF runway caravans, and find this post. I never seen anything about a " 2-wheel 8-berth Personnel", please anyone as more information about this?

Many thanks,

G_Mendes

Attached is a copy of Appendix "D" covering RAF Trailers from a Military Training Pamphlet No-74 Rafting and Bridging published April 1944 first item under 2-wheeled trailers = 8-berth personnel1204529368_page24-01copy.thumb.jpg.55ae213eea614c0e169201b68ef75dee.jpg

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43 minutes ago, LarryH57 said:

I think this is a post war shot but why have STOP on the Tilly roof? Are they policemen at Defford?Defford-tower-1950s-800x445.jpg.8f6ac885f81016aa65ff830ad06e1f12.jpg

This photo shows all the vehicles with civilian number plates and would be in the time when Defford was used as the flight base for experiments for TRE at Malvern. In other words, RADAR. It would have been run by the government as a research base. At a guess, the Tilly with STOP on it may have been used where a road crosses the airfiled and it controlled traffic when aircraft were landing, only a thought.

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11 hours ago, LarryH57 said:

I think this is a post war shot but why have STOP on the Tilly roof? Are they policemen at Defford?Defford-tower-1950s-800x445.jpg.8f6ac885f81016aa65ff830ad06e1f12.jpg

I think they're firemen - double-breasted jackets and large, leather belts.  All the vehicles have headlamps except the Bedford which still has a single lamp with shade, so is it late war - winter 44- spring 45, perhaps, or early post-war - same seasons 45-46?

10 68

Edited by 10FM68

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I believe the photo actually dates from 1950, and I guess the Bedford OY is also a Fire Engine / Crash Tender.

Surely using a vehicle to stop the traffic was a bit of a waste, unless it was only in the road long enough to allow the other vehicles to cross then caught up with them afterwards. But on the other hand most drivers would have stopped it a fire engine was exiting the airfield.

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I posted this as the second one in this thread. The fact that the Spitfire is canon armed with humps in the wing and has very late to early post-war roundels on the wings, says post-war.

Also the 'crash tender?' is red as per post-war instructions and that's its clearly a Jeep used as Follow Me it's not from 1940  

Edited by LarryH57

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The Flight Safety poster from ebay is just a cheap copy someone is bashing out ! an original would normally have a  AD  No ( top right corner)  and possibly a printers name and a date code in a bottom corner, I reckon post 45 but pre 1950 as the red lorry has an RAF 1234 type number plate. turning to the Defford shot , I saw it first on a local history site its 1949/50, the guys will be Ministry of Supply firemen,  The Hillman van  appears to have a very light roof  which I expect is yellow;  its possible aircraft from numerous other research stations and RAF Signal command would need guiding on arrival;   I think follow me vehicles on RAF airfields were an exception rather than a rule- Lyneham had a red/white /RAF blue grey series 1 swb Landie.   Ted

Edited by ted angus

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Oh dear. Should’ve used spec savers. Dunno how I missed the original ‘poster’ post! I knew it couldn’t have been from 1940 due to the cannon fairings and exhaust ports on the Spitfire. 

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On 10/4/2018 at 2:15 PM, Baz48 said:

 

Attached is a copy of Appendix "D" covering RAF Trailers from a Military Training Pamphlet No-74 Rafting and Bridging published April 1944 first item under 2-wheeled trailers = 8-berth personnel1204529368_page24-01copy.thumb.jpg.55ae213eea614c0e169201b68ef75dee.jpg

Thanks Baz48!

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Just to add support to what has already been said, the Defford men are certainly not RAF.

As for the Keep a Good Look Out poster, it was issued by the Directorate of Accident Prevention, Air Ministry, in 1946. 

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If you read  BRITAIN'S MILITARY AIRFIELDS  1939-45 ,  by David J. Smith ,supplement book & all his /other similar books .  The stated book above is national and covers well the development of main field to hard strips + dispersals etc.  Then you will see there was just no requirement for  "Follow me",  the procedure was just never considered..

Edited by ruxy
spelin

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Thanks Fulltilt,

Well thats the end of this thread then, as far as I'm concerned.

If owners have an RAF Follow Me Jeep I suggest you repaint it as a USAAF version

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Most if not all operational airfields in my time had a VASF ( visiting aircraft servicing flight) and with the large number and grouping of airfields during the war many aircraft diverted for a multitude of reasons. I see good reason to have a facility and possibly a dedicated team to quickly guide visiting aircraft unfamiliar with the base.

Just a thought!

Iain

 

 

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For RAF Pilots in WW2 that had to divert to a strange airfield in the dark,  they followed standard instructions to land, turn left at the end of the runway, open side window, look out for nasty obstructions (with the help of other crewmembers if necessary) and also look out for any 'RAF Station persons' sent to meet them, usually on a bicycle and equipped with a pathetic excuse for a torch. If not met and given the VIP treatment, the pilot taxied to the nearest 'pan' within walking distance of 'civilisation' such as the hangars, Officers Mess or the 'Rose & Crown' so as not to have to walk with their kit from what seemed like miles all way round the perimeter track in pitch darkness.

Edited by LarryH57

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I'm sure in good old fashioned british military way of doing things not covered in then King's regulations improvisation came to the fore and a way of dealing with uninvited visiting aircraft came in-to play 

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Visiting aircraft - there would be standard procedures.  Not for a  SLG (esp. if used for storage)  many RAF pilots overflew them and were unaware of their existence.  Forgetting the two huge  ELG (intended for bombers).   A diversion to a operating or ELG ,  Darky (or is it Darkie)  or no Darky ,  any aircraft (inc. Luftwaffe or even Italian) obviously in distress.  The searchlight teams had their instructions , all  ALL  lower their lights and aim at the nearest operational or ELG.  The nearest light would using a few million candles make gooseneck or fido obsolete ,  all that mattered was to get down - what happend after - I don't know..

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I am aware that the local station to me, RAF Grimsby, had a vehicle that was termed 'Yellow Peril'.

It was a Standard Tilly painted yellow and carried a light box over the cab that lit up 'STOP' on the rear was the 'Follow Me' sign that could be lit at night in low light but enough for diverted aircraft crews to see.

First hand account from the 'Flying Control' Section gives accounts of such and I have a group photo showing the top of this vehicle along with the WOT crash tender.

I cannot believe that GY was the only such RAF station to have such a vehicle.

The example seen in the Night Bomber video is merely a defunct cut-down Morris used to tow out the caravan and as was very late in the war, 1945, it was painted yellow so as to be seen . . . not a 'Follow Me' vehicle

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