The site for RAF Madley Radio School was acquired at the end of 1940 in response to a need for training bases away from the threat of German bombers and that could provide the personnel needed to, at first, keep the RAF operational after the depredations caused by the Battle of Britain. Entering operation whilst still under construction, the 3.5 square mile site, one of the largest RAF bases in Britain, was soon providing training for both Ground and Air crew. The main courses were in Morse and Wireless operation, in flight practice being carried out in Dominie and Proctor aircraft. The base also developed a mountain rescue unit to retrieve crashed and downed crews in the Brecon Beacons and elsewhere. But training covered a multitude of other areas too, such as surviving ditching at sea, jungle warfare, street fighting, how to escape if captured and much more besides.
This book also tells of the sports and entertainments held on the base, its interaction with the local community and that of Hereford, of some of the personalities and pranks, of life at the base in general.
It also provides a brief history of the area before the construction of the site, and of what happened to it since it closed as an RAF Radio School in 1946. Likewise the brief passage of its most infamous visitor, Rudolf Hess, is included.
Fiona Macklin was manager of Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum. Fiona became involved in the RAF Madley book project through Madley Environmental Study Centre.
Paperback | 88 pages | 171 x 242 mm | 2006, repr 2019
49 b&w illustrations, mainly photographs