Ex-Bomber Commander returns to Heathrow

Published on : Tuesday, October 15, 2013

displaymedia1-186x300Wally’s aviation career began in 1945 when, on his twenty-second birthday, he taxied out on his first Lancaster bombing operation from North Killingholm. As a ‘bomber aimer’, Walter beat the odds to serve for 30 day and night operations.


Once the war was over, Walter returned to the world of aviation as an air traffic assistant at Heathrow. The airport was barely more than an RAF airstrip on his arrival in 1956. He spent eleven years at the airport accumulating a wealth of anecdotes, a private pilot’s license and more than 9,000 flying hours.


Walter witnessed the formation of BAA and although the airport has altered dramatically over the years, Wally noticed a few similarities on his visit and put the airside team’s historical knowledge to the test.


The most remarkable change for Wally was the sheer volume of traffic managed by the tower. “When I was last here in 1967 we were using manual paper strips, saw a maximum 800 flights a day and had no more than five controllers. Now, everything’s been digitised, they see 1,300 flights a day and almost a dozen staff.’


Wally also noted some more subtle changes. The ex-Bomber Commander remarked that mushroom picking seems to have disappeared as a daily pastime on the airfield, recalling the looks he would get from his family when he came home with some suspect mushrooms.


Source:- Heathrow


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