I then spent a period as O.C.Unit, at Flying Training Command H.Q. where the C. turned out to be the A.O.C. of 4 Group who had put me back on flying after my P.O.W. days. After this, at the age of 40, I completed a Jet Conversion Course at C.F.S. and was posted to Weston Zoyland on Meteors. Soon after this I was promoted to Wing Commander and posted to Merryfield as O.C. Flying, on Vampires.

Prior to my arrival, Ralph Swift was one of the first at Merryfield to train on Vampires. This was before the T11 was in service, so training was even more of a challenge at this time. Click on the following links to read about these early days at Merryfield.

Jet Training at Merryfield

e-mail from Mac Hawkins.

Merryfield then and now.

Robin Gilbert's memories of Merrryfield.

Trevor Danks memories of the last year as an RAF base.

Further info from Trevor Danks.

A charcoal sketch of me (alias "Wizz" Porter) in the Merryfield Bar, drawn by Pat Rooney (1953)

The Vampire T11 became the first jet aircraft that RAF pilots were able to qualify on for their wings. The prototype T11 made its first flight on 15 November 1950. Total production reached over 800 of which some 530 went to the RAF. A typical Vampire T11 flying syllabus included, dual instruction, aerobatics, navigation exercises, instrument flying, night flying and formation drill over some 110 hours.

Vampire T-11s over Devon
Aerobatic Team
With the Aerobatic Team from 208 Advanced Flying School, RAF Merryfield
F/O Baumerman. F/L Buselton, F/L Butten, F/O Edwards, F/O Wilkinson
More of the pilots at Merryfield.
Roy Skinner, Tim Greenfield, Eddie Edwards, Coswell, Ron Butten
Team AerobaticsTeam AerobaticsTeam Aerobatics
Some shots of the Vampire Aerobatic Team in action.

A Flush of Wing Co'sA Flush of WingCo's attending a Refresher Course at Merryfield
L to R: Wng/Cdr Crews, Warner, Jeffs, Sharp.

Wing Commander Jerry Warner D.F.C., A.F.C., was a pupil of mine at Merryfield for conversion to jets. (I was one of his Squadron Commanders on Dakotas in 1946).

Helicopter trainingMore Helicopter trainingSome more Helicopter
Merryfield was finally taken over by the Fleet Air Arm and became a base for training Navy Helicopter pilots and for Harrier pilot VTOL training. These pictures were taken during a visit to my old base in 1990.

[CPOAC Colin M Handy, RNAS Merryfield wrote the following e-mail requesting any photos or info relating to the History of Merryfield.
Please check out the e-mail by clicking on its link and send him anything that you might have.]

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