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Thread: 4 ITW Bexhill, 1939

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    Default 4 ITW Bexhill, 1939

    I have a man who attended 4 ITW at Bexhill late October-early December 1939, and have two queries in relation to this.

    1. Does anyone have the 4 ITW ORB that might be able to share with the me the entry/ies concerning the arrival of the course commencing 30 October 1939, and as the school only opened in Sep 1939, perhaps some information from the opening of the ORB on its formation concerning OC, instructors, etc., etc., please? Scans of these pages would be appreciated.

    2. Does anyone have a description of 4 ITW, e.g. hotel/s the airmen were billeted in, where they undertook their training, drill, etc., and a general description of facilities, please?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Steve, Hi,

    Sturtivant says it formed at Bexhill 27 Sep 1939. Moved to Paignton 1 Jul 1940. So not many intakes at Bexhill ! Doing your Square Bashing in a hotel at the sea-side beats Hednesford in the winter any day!!! If nobody comes up with the answer(s) then you might have to go to Bexhill Museum(http://bexhillmuseum.co.uk/)/ History Soc/Council Archives ! Past experience has shown that most of these are Average. Some are Appalling ! But some are Brilliant ! These latter, if the person is interested in your research, can be an absolute gold-mine !! Good luck!

    HTH

    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 20th June 2015 at 12:59.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thanks Peter

    I appreciate your input. Good idea re the Bexhill Museum. I have dropped them a line and hope they may be able to help.

    Cheers
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Hello Steve,
    I am a volunteer researcher at Bexhill Museum - so your inquiry will no doubt end up with me.
    There is precious little we can offer. The main billet was the Metropole Hotel next door to the De La Warr Pavilion. 4 ITW's main trace on local posterity was that on 22 May 1940 a fire broke out on the 6th floor. The building was demolished in post war years.
    4 ITW used the adjoining De La Warr Pavilion car park and also the 1st floor and roof area for training and in nearby Egerton Park, the park pavilion was pressed into service. Some hundreds of yards to the east of The Metropole was the Sackville Hotel. I think this was also a billet, but I cannot scare up my notes on this.
    We have no ITW photos. The relevant local history society is my group, working out of the museum. As I'm sure you know the ORB is Air 29/633 at Kew. I did read this but found nothing of 'local history' interest.

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    Did they use the Cooden Park Hotel? I understand some air units were in and out of there as an overflow facility.
    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Sorry Bruce, nothing to offer regarding the Cooden Beach Hotel. The nearby golf course was mined and the area had various AA gun sites throughout the war.
    The only other RAF prescience locally - I say locally loosely - was RAF Wartling.

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    The reason I suggested it was a chance meeting at the Cooden Park Hotel a few years ago: while attending a Coastal Forces Association meeting at the hotel, a family having lunch there approached a group of veterens and struck up a conversation. The senior lady of the family volunteered that her father had been billeted at the hotel several times in the war while 'attending' (her word) something nearby. He was an RAF officer, rank not specified, not clear if he was conducting traning or being trained.
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
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    Hi Flakdodger, hi Bruce

    Thank you for this information, which was exactly the type of thing I was after, and is greatly appreciated. I note you said you have no photos of the ITW, but does a photo of the hotel itself exist from around that period? Are you also able to tell me what sort of local entertainment may have been available to the men? I gather the beach was mined and wired off, but was there a cinema, dance hall, and the likes? I gather from the Pavilion's own website that it was closed for a while owing to blackout conditions.

    In regard to the ORB, did you happen to copy any of the pages, particularly the first page, in relation to the unit's formation in Sep 1939?

    Kind regards
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Hmmm, that's interesting Bruce. I've nothing to offer regarding the WW2 use of the Cooden Beach Hotel. I've just perused Peter Longstaff-Tyrrell's A Sussex Sunset which has a very good round up of personal experience at RAF Pevensey and RAF Wartling, but Eastbourne seems to have been the locus of billeting and entertainment. If there is an ITW involvement then that officer was quite a long way out from Bexhill town centre, where the ITW was. A mystery!

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    Hello Steve, yes there are plenty of images of the Metropole [though not ITW]. I will send you a PM to establish contact to be able to transmit images. There were cinemas and weekly dances at the Pavilion. Of the oral history recordings of locals that I have done [and memory is often sketchy] I have no recorded memories of the RAF at all. No, I did not copy any of the ORB pages. I recall that the Bexhill involvement was a mere handful of pages.
    Dave

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