Memories of 54 Squadron Air Training Corps

The 54 Squadron (Eastbourne) Air Training Corps on summer camp in the 1960s
The 54 Squadron (Eastbourne) Air Training Corps on summer camp in the 1960s

FORMER Willingdon resident John Gale now lives in Leicestershire but enjoys seeing photographs of friends and acquaintances in Looking Back on the Eastbourne Herald website.

His trips down Memory Lane have prompted Mr Gale, who grew up in Willingdon in the 1950s/1960s, to dig out an old photograph of his own – the 54 Squadron, (Eastbourne) Air Training Corps on Summer Camp at RAF Leuchars in Fife Scotland in the early 1960s.

Of the people Mr Gale remembers are back row, standing third from the left, Peter Baker, fourth from the left David Gearing, sixth from the left Warrant Officer Walters, eighth from the left Sergeant Lovegrove.

In the middle row he recalls Paul Jones, kneeling, and fifth from the left himself. And in the front row, sitting, from the left, second Chris Payne, and eighth Gordon Rawlinson.

Mr Gale writes, “I have been doing some research on the RAF Radar Stations at Wartling and Beachy Head and have found the premises used by 54 Squadron at that time in Rangemore Drive, was the old Officers Mess for personnel manning the Radar Station at Beachy Head.

“In the 1960s the associated RAF houses had been demolished and the Officers Mess was the only building remaining when we held ATC parades there.

“Also in the photograph, I believe one of the two officers standing on the left was Flt Lt Jim Crofts MBE, who was stationed at RAF Wartling between 1941 and 1946 working on Ground Controlled Interception Radar during World War II.”

Mr Gale writes, “I was drawn to the attention of the Looking Back column by friends still living in Eastbourne and was delighted to see photographs of friends and acquaintances, some of which I have now renewed contact with after many years.

“I would be pleased to hear from anyone who remembers me or can identify anyone in the photograph and they can contact me by email on”