October 28, 2021

Nik asks Where did the glider come from, how was it launched and where did it land?

Hello Anne,

 

Thanks for your reply, unfortunately I have no photos from that period. Only a couple of incomplete albums from my father’s RAF days.

I am certain he knew that something was being developed to try and locate enemy aircraft with radio waves, most local people knew something was going  on when the four big masts were built at Bawdsey to carry the aerial arrays. On the Bawdsey theme a friend I served with in the RAF told me a tale he had heard from a retired German submariner. Apparently the Germans knew before the war that something secret was going on a RAF Bawdsey but all attempts to infiltrate the camp failed and other attempts to gather intelligence were also unsuccessful.

So it was decided to send a submarine over to sit on the bottom during the day, surface at night and if it was dark enough to avoid detection send a dingy ashore carrying experts to glean whatever they could from the masts and anything else.

It seems the sub went to periscope depth and if it looked very dark  fully broke surface. Every time they did this there was a loud click from the shore and huge searchlights lit everything up and the sub had to crash dive.  After a few weeks supplies were running low and the sub was having problems, so they went home confused and none the wiser. The chap who told my friend the story was part of the crew and there is no way of actually checking whether or not it is true, but I like to think it is.

I have thought about the glider over the years. The fact it was a glider and had navigational timing, altitude and accuracy far in advance of anything then in use leads me to believe it was being developed for clandestine operations.

I don’t know if TRE Malvern had a runway or if there were any airfields nearby, it seems unlikely given how hilly the area is. Where did the glider come from, how was it launched and where did it land?  I doubt we’ll ever know.

Regards

Nik

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