My home from the air

Present day ATC recruits are no doubt very keen but in the 1930s there was a tenseness and urgency that would be difficult to appreciate now. There was a very real threat of invasion and we all felt a strong need to do our bit for the war effort.

In North Somercotes, on the Lincolnshire coast, we got together with the help of Mr Mallet, our highly respected schoolmaster, to form a section of Louth Squadron ATC. The local lads were eager and soon we had well attended meetings for the study of aircraft recognition, morse and navigation.

Aircraft recognition tests were quite popular. In the main we did well when pitted against the regular RAF personnel; we could differentiate between a Junkers 88 and a Blenheim, or a Messerschmitt 109 and a Spitfire.

One big spur to recruitment was the chance to go on flights from local airfields. Manby (near Louth) was an important training centre. I treasure memories of sitting alongside the pilot of a Wellington bomber while he flew over our village to the target on the shore off RAF Donna Nook.

The whole village -including my own home -lay at our feet.

Stan West, Bolton, Lancs.