Hangar Fire 1978

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  • I was a cadet at 450 at the time and one of a team of cadets who were in the hangar sorting out the newspaper the week before the fire. We collected newspaper those’ll for an income for the squadron’s minibus we wanted to purchase.
    I was interviewed, felt more like an interrogation, by the RAF after the fire. They turned up at my home with no appointment. A bit daunting for a 14 year old.
    The paper stored there was sodden, as the roof leaked. I seem to remember that after the fire the pile of newspaper was still there, singed but not burnt. I was under the impression that the blame for the fire was the shoddy electrics and nothing to do with the newspaper or the heaters in the room they were stored. Especially as there was no heating in that room. Sounds a bit like a RAF passing the buck, if that was the official verdict.
    I later joined the RAF, so it obviously did not affect my application. I was an aircraft technician as they obviously decided I would not be suitable as a fireman (maybe my lack of volleyball skills had something to do with that as well)

    By Gary Greenwood (28/11/2023)
  • The newspapers were being collected by the local Air Cadet Squadron, 450, and stored in one of the side-rooms of the unused half of the hangar. It was generally thought, as it turned out, wrongly, that the electrical power on that side was switched off at the mains. Over a period of time the papers heated up and spontaneously combusted. The saddest part of the story is that WB940 was the first glider I ever flew in as a cadet and, later as an instructor, the first glider I looped in.

    By Tom Coomber (24/10/2021)

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