A Brief Overview of the Visit to GAF Jever
The group arrived a little early at the Main Gate so there was time for a quick look at the old school and MQs in the Schumacherstr. before going into the camp. Lt Col Linke drove in and gave us the OK to the guard. We parked inside the gate next to the Guard Room where introductions were made and we had a little chat; actually on the spot where in our time all had to parade and be inspected when they were on a 'charge'.
We then drove to the NCOs Club (our NAAFI) to park the cars, passing the 'Stores' and PSI Shop on the way. Coffee and tea were on hand in the NCOs Club and Col Linke gave us an excellent briefing on the units and their roles on the station. We were introduced to W/O Dirk Jacobs from GAF Jever. It was noticed that the new laws on smoking now apply even here. No smoking in any public building these days. 'Smokers' are always to be found outside the entrance door nowadays.
After the briefing and a group photograph, Col Linke announced that our 'small' bus had arrived and that we could now start our tour of the station. We drove past the Squadron Blocks, the old Sergeants' Mess, the Astra Cinema now a listed building, the Station Barbers, MT Section, Fire Section and then stopped for 10 minutes or so not far from the runway for a cigarette break. The tour then continued on past the old Swimming Pool (hardly recognisable now), the Tornado fuselage scrap dump, crossed Runway 10 passing the HASs on the SW corner and then stopping in front of Hanger 4 - F4 Phantom M.U. This was an interesting visit seeing the F4s in various stages of inspection. The tour then continued past the HASs in the SE, which I understand are used to store the Tornados awaiting dismantling, and then crossed Runway 28.
On one of the dispersals on the north side we were fortunate to be able to follow a demonstration of lifting an F4 that had made a wheels-up landing, so that the undercarriage could be locked down and the A/C recovered. I understood that this was being carried out by personnel from the Phantom M.U. and Wittmundhafen using bags filled with compressed air under the wings and fuselage.
The tour then passed the old ATC, Hanger 1, Station Flight, Hanger 5 and then made a visit to the Tornado Dismantling and Recovery Unit. We had an interesting brief on how the Tornado is dismantled and what parts are retained for further use. A demonstration on how the parts are hermetically sealed and packed for further transport to the central storage unit also followed.
After the coach tour, Col Linke invited all to an excellent 3 course lunch in the All Ranks Mess. I did notice that the build-up of the GAF Regiment was apparent as there were more 'customers' for lunch than when we visited last time.
A nostalgic visit to Block 40 for the 101 SU contingent in the party then followed. This step back in time will always I'm sure remain in their memories. Certainly the exterior looked exactly the same as it did fifty years ago apart from sporting new window frames. However, the efficient 'double glazing' window system of an outer and inner window with a wide space in between still remained. The internal layout of the building also looked extremely familiar, but the floor and wall coverings were different giving the impression that the corridors were a lot lighter and wider than they were 50 years ago. I can remember wandering around in the early hours of the morning in the same dark corridors armed with a torch trying to find a particular room so as to give someone an 'early call'. What a pleasant surprise to find the old terra cotta figures on each side of many of the doors that we have been looking for for ages. I was told that they were removed when they modernised the building some years ago, but obviously many have been retained. It just shows, does it not? I did not notice any in the entrance area though. Brian Walker managed to find his old room on the ground floor although disappointingly it is no longer lived in having been converted into a laundry store room.
The visit concluded, we gathered on the car park to finalise the signing of the presentation BBC book "COAST from the Air" to Lt Col Linke and the various thank you cards for our hosts and then agreed on the travel plan to Brockzetel for the next day. A visit to Jever town followed".
(Thanks to Maurice Parker).