|I was posted to Upper Heyford in early 1951
from No 3 Radio School Compton Basset via Marham. As a teleprinter operator
I worked in the station H.Q. Signals Section with several other operators
and telephonist. Our task was to familiarise the USAF personnel with RAF
telecommunications procedures. The Seventy-five Oh Ninth Field Depot Squadron
United States Air Force Engineers were turning a grass track airfield
into a modern facility. I made many friends and only got confused when
the Americans were in best uniforms, because half were in the new blue
uniform, and the other half in their old Army Air force uniforms.
They worked with incredible speed developing the base, and one morning they asked to put a drinking fountain in the foyer of the Astra (cinema) and the senior British Officer said he would ask permission! I used it that evening. The original control tower was in the way of the development, so they arranged for a special show one evening. We trooped up to watch the fun. All the pyrotechnics from the old tower were set off in a very entertaining show. As a finale, they blew up the tower.
American cigarettes at a dollar for 200 were a special attraction, and "erks" when asking their friends for a cigarette "until payday" instead of getting one Woodbine, were given sixty Lucky Strike or Pall Mall. I saw my first white bread for 11 years, also my first ice-cream. Chicken were flown over from Ireland, and half a chicken on our trays were a regular occurrence. Our food was still rationed, and I had dishes I had forgotten or never tasted. It was bliss. I regretted the day it was time to go back to Marham.
L.A.C. Street-Williams M.S. Now of course I have a first name which is Michael