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Waterbeach Cambridge UK

 Waterbeach 1973 - 1976
52 Field Squadron RE (Airfields) 39 Engineer Regiment (Airfields) RE


My main duties while at waterbeach was the maintenance and inspection of all the small plant held by the squadron I also had responsibility for maintenance of the stored RHAG (rotary hydraulic arrester gear which is fitted at the end of a runways for emergency stopping of aircraft) held by the unit.
Following a course of instruction on "Nuclear, Biological & Chemical De-contamination" held at RAF Valley in S Wales I became Member of 39 Eng Regt NBC De-contamination response team. I later went on to become an Instructor in "NBC" following a course at Porton Down.

During my tour with 52 Sqn I was sent on several detachments including: Six months at Chatham July-Dec 1973, Two months in Cyprus July-Aug 1974, Six months in Oman Oct - Mar 1974/5, Three months in Gibraltar, July-Sept 1975 and Seven months with the Royal Engineers Mobile Display Team Feb-Aug 1976 based at Long Marston. so as you can see a large amount of my time with 52 Sqn was away from Waterbeach.

It was during my time with the RE Mobile display team I received notification of my promotion to Sgt and subsequent posting to the Training regiment at Cove I returned to Waterbeach to collect all my kit etc' and left for No1 Training regiment RE.

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In 1966 the role and responsibilities of the RAF Airfield Construction Branch were transferred to the Royal Engineers and a number of RAF officers and airmen joined the Corps. Initially the responsibilities were mainly works oriented in support of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works in peace with an airfield construction role in war. To carry out these tasks three new field squadrons were formed with a regimental headquarters, all based at the old RAF Station at Waterbeach.
As a result of the handover, from the RAF to The Royal Engineers’ responsibilities of Airfield Construction work were redefined as follows:
In War.
Construction or extension of airfields in operational theatres. Repair and maintenance of existing airfields. Maintenance and operation of installations on airfields. Erection of temporary buildings and installations.
In Peace.
Execution of work in areas where the use of contractors was impracticable or difficult because of such factors as geographical remoteness, emergency conditions and labour unrest. Assistance in maintaining essential services in the Near, Middle and Far East in the event of withdrawal of local labour or when there was a need to supplement it by reinforcement from the United Kingdom. Execution of urgent works services on behalf of the RAF. Execution of specific works services at home and abroad on behalf of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works.
Additional Special Tasks.
Maintenance of large scale air conditioning and refrigeration plant installed at certain radar and similar stations. Provision of standby personnel and equipment to help in the speedy recovery of crashed aircraft. Provision of standby personnel and equipment in case of nuclear contamination as a result of an aircraft crash or similar accident.
After some discussion it was agreed that the RAF airfield at Waterbeach, which had been the depot of the Airfields consruction Branch RAF, should be the Headquarters of the new Army Airfield Construction Regiment and it was formally handed over on 1 July 1966. The Royal Engineer squadrons to take over from the RAF were to be formed and numbered as follows:
10 Field Squadron to take over from 5004 Airfield Construction Squadron.
51 Field Squadron to take over from 5001 Airfield Construction Squadron.
52 Field Squadron to take over from 5002 Airfield Construction Squadron.
53 Field Squadron to take over from 5003 Airfield Construction Squadron.

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