Maurice Duffill 211 AFS 28 Course 1953-54

After surfing items of interest on my laptop, I was surprised to discover your page relating to Worksop. As I am now living in Australia it is good to have contact with one’s past.
I converted from Harvards to Meteors on 28 course at 211 AFS Worksop during the winter 1953/54, memories of which are locked in my head for ever. I had one or two hairy moments during the course; one notable incident I relate below.
Because there was significant snow during the January, an interesting procedure was adopted. Ploughs were used to clear the snow from only the left-hand-side of the runway so that aircraft could take-off without suffering additional drag due to the snow. The right-hand-side was left uncleared so as to aid deceleration on landing. Because we student pilots were inexperienced only dual flying was permitted.
I was detailed to carry out instrument flying on, I think, 17 January with Flt. Lt. Nelson as instructor. We carried out our appointed task but just as we were returning to base, an intense snow-storm blanketed the area – nothing could be seen outside of the aircraft. There being no radar to assist us in clearing the high tension grid line which cut across the approach we had a real problem. However, some bright-spark in the tower came up with a great – life saving, idea.
To the south, and a little east, of Worksop was the satellite airfield of Gamston which was manned by a control van equipped with a manual direction finder. Very quickly, the Gamston crew were instructed to change their frequency to Worksop approach frequency so that they could hear our transmissions. The procedure then was for us to transmit a little longer than normal to give them a chance to confirm our bearing, this was than communicated and plotted on a chart in Worksop control. This bearing intersected that derived from the CRDF giving our position. We maintained a constant 1,000 feet until we were advised that we had passed the power-line before – with fingers crossed, we commenced our final decent. The white-out was so bad that we never saw any landing lights but - suddenly, control called out “round out now”. Which we did and, with great relief. The conditions were so bad that we had to be guided back to dispersal by a road vehicle. Quite an experience.
Sorry to learn of the death of ex Wing Commander Coward – it was he who signed my end-of-course assessment. He must have had a good spell on this planet, I’m 82 and he was certainly older than I.
I hope you find this of interest and look forward to more news from Worksop in due course.
Regards Maurice Duffill (ex Flying Officer)