Cadets and staff recently took part in filming for a new DVD to be produced by The Charley Heritage Group.
For the last couple of years the cadets from 1188 (Coalville) Squadron Air Training Corps have been attending re-enactment weekend events with The Charley Heritage Group. So it was only natural the group would approach the cadets to help with their most recent project.
Filming In Progress
During the Second World War there was a top secret RAF unit based in the parish of Charley, near to Mount St Bernard’s Abbey on the outskirts of Coalville. The significant of the site has only recently been revealed, as people who were based there break their silence. There were three different types of radio transmitters based in St Joseph’s Field. They were called Aspirin, Bromide and Benjamin.
The site was part of RAF 80 Wing (signals). The site was chosen to help protect the factory areas of Derby and the West Midlands from bombing raids. The Germans were using narrow radio beams to navigate to their targets. They used one transmitter to emit dashes another to transmit dots. Where were two beams intersected there was a constant tone and the pilot knew he was over his target. The signals wing mission was to interfere with the radio beams throwing the bombers off target. They became known as the bend benders.
The cadets and staff filmed a scene from the historic debriefing meeting held after exploratory flights on the night of 21/22 June 1940.
Flight Lieutenant Hal Bufton and his wireless operator Corporal Dennis Mackie reported to the air ministry they had discovered two beams with dash and dot characteristics, they were coming from Kleve and Bredstedt from Germany. The two beams crossed right above the Rolls Royce Merlin aero engine factories in Derby. This information led to the rapid formation of RAF 80 Wing. The countermeasure jamming transmitters were located on 44 outstations as a result of this meeting.
The part of Flight Lieutenant Hal Bufton was played by Adult Sgt Simon Webster and the part of Corporal Dennis Mackie was played by Cadet Warrant Officer Joe Clark. Air ministry staff were played by Cpl Bradley Graham, Cpl Charlie Sheldon and Cdt Ewan Setchell. The officer was played by Civilian Instructor Martin Smith.
Flying Officer Rebekah Harrison RAF VR (T) said,” It is really good for the cadets to be involved like projects like this, keeping history alive. It is also interesting to find out about the vital role the RAF played locally during World War Two.”
Fg Off R Harrison RAFVR (T)