Ribble Valley at war

Air Defence System

The creditable Air Defence System was attributed to Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding who was aged fifty four at that time. Robert Watson -Watts developed the actual vital radio direction finder (RDF). These were first developed to cover the London and Thames area. Then a system of twenty stations were built. Each station had a 250ft high mast. By 1940 a complete system had been put in place along the whole of the south and east coasts of Britain.These were connected to Fighter Command HQ at Bentley Priory. From here messages were sent out to each respective fighter squadrons to 'scramble' and take on the German planes.

A wonderful system and operated to the maximum.

Volunteer Observer Corps

In addition to the Radar System Air Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding had in place a 30,000 strong Volunteer Observer Corps which manned 1,000 posts. Their vital jobs were to track and plot enemy planes or in certain cases enemy naval vessels or paratroopers. Information from these posts were sent back to Fighter command and linked Group Operations Services. These posts were even more important when certain Radar Stations were attacked and destroyed.

We do know of an Observation Corps underground control room in the village of Dunsop in the Forest of Bowland.

All praise again must be given to these volunteers.

Thomas James Crabtree

Sergeant Thomas James Crabtree - Photographs


These photograph were sent by a relative (Ms Lucy Driver) of the late Sergeant Thomas James Crabtree -Navigator, Bomb Aimer and Gunner who is listed on our RVREMEMBRANCE.info website who was killed 12th August 1944 and buried in Germany. 635 Squadron. Service Number 1676417. Aged 24.

Photo 1 Late Thomas James Crabtree.   centre top row

Photo 2 Home Address in Navigation Record Book   centre lower row

Photo 3 A Flight, 1 Squadron, 2 ITW, Cambridge. Taken steps of the New Library, behind New Clare College. Cambridge.   left top row

Photo 4. ATC Camp at Blackpool. July 1942. Clitheroe and Windermere Squadrons.   right top row

Photo 5. Thomas Crabtree bottom right and flight crew. His Mother and Father top photo.   right lower row

Photo 6. Thomas Crabtree in two more photo's with crews.   left lower row

With thanks to Ms Lucy Driver.




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