Royal Air Force Uetersen - A Photographic Record 1945-1955, by Peter Jackson

Royal Air Force Uetersen - A Photographic Record 1945-1955, by Peter Jackson
Published privately by the author in 2007, 398 pages. Large A4 size paperback (N5549).

Please note: The book was privately published - and all photographs are photo-copy quality

This privately produced book provides an immensley detailed pictorial history of Royal Air Force Uetersen between 1945 and 1955 (during which time it was an RAF base), and is packed full with black and white photographs - up to several on each page.

From the introduction: This is a collection of photographs contributed mainly by those who served with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force at RAF Uetersen between May 1945 and November 1955, supplemented by some form the National Archives and the RAF Museum at Hendon. It also includes a selection from German sources covering the first decade of the station from 1935 to 1945 when it was occupied by units of the Luftwaffe. Most of the contributors are members of the Old Uetonians Association which was founded in 1960 by ex-RAF Police Sergeant Paul Jeacock to bring together veterans of those times. It is intended to show the daily life of the station, of its personnel at work and at leisure and to preserve an impression of service life in Germany from a time long gone and from a period of which military history has taken relatively little notice.

Many of the airmen shown were doing their National Service and for them their time in Germany was their first experience of life in a foreign country. Others who served at Uetersen arrived at the very end of the Second World War when Germany itself, the city of Hamburg was in ruins and the population defeated, demoralised and starving. When the RAF left the station ten years later the situation had been transformed and the Wirtschaftswunder (Economic Miracle) of the Federal Republic of Germany was well under way.

The decade of British and Canadian occupation saw the collapse of Germany, the slow and remorseless shattering of hopes for peace and the drift towards the Cold War, including the Allied defiance of the Berlin blockade through the Air Lift. Its end coincided with the creation of NATO, the rearming of the Federal Republic and the official end of the occupation. Its closure or rather its reversion to the new re-formed Luftwaffe, was part of the general reduction in the strength of the RAF in Germany, and for the most part the other stations which closed in the mid 1950s were also in the eastern part of the British Zone: CelIe, Fassberg, Luneburg, Schleswigland, Hambuhren and Handorf, to name but a few, although the RAF did not finally leave Germany until 2000.

Uetersen experienced an up and down existence, housing a varied group of units, no fewer than thirty -six at one time or another and operating mainly as a support base for the rest of the RAF in Germany. Its strength waxed and waned, from around 3000 at its peak in the late 1940s to as few as 300 in 1953-55, when No. 755 Signals Unit was the only unit left in this very spacious station. Clearly it was uneconomic to maintain and operational and security needs dictated the unit's departure. The Luftwaffe took the station back in March 1956, a few months after the RAF left, and it now flourishes as a Training School for Non-Commissioned Officers with a strength of more than 1000.

RAF Uetersen was a reckoned by many to be a superb posting: a comfortable, well-appointed station with unrivalled facilities, located close to the exciting city of Hamburg with what can only be described as its very varied, and to the young people stationed near, novel attractions. Several veterans have recorded their amazement at arriving there, having left the basic, even harsh, conditions of RAF camps in the UK. Double glazing and central heating were just two of the wonders which they found there, both virtually unknown at home.

The quality of the photographs in this collection is variable, just as were the originals, but almost everything which was submitted has been included, with the kind permission of those who provided them. Those omitted were either too indistinct for copying or duplicated others. The captions are taken from information supplied, although there are some with no descriptions or with no names to identify the people in them. If they are incorrect, this is my responsibility and not that of the original contributors.

The condition of the book is generally good. The cover has some minor scuffs, and light creasing and wear along the edges anc corners, but the spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.

Please note this book was produced privately, and so lacks the 'finish' of a more professional publication (i.e. all the photographs are of photocopy quality, and there is slight undulations to the inside pages throughout from the binding process) - but this in no-way detracts from the fascinating contents!
Condition New