Royal Air Force Uetersen - The Story of an Unusual Station, by Peter Jackson
Published privately by the author in 2005, 515 pages. Large A4 size paperback (N5548)
This privately produced book provides an immensley detailed history of Royal Air Force Uetersen, and charts the history of the station from before the Second World War up until modern times.
From the introduction: RAF Uetersen was a station with a difference. It was not well known even amongst other airmen who served with the RAF in Germany, and almost totally unknown to the Air Force outside the British Air Forces of Occupation or 2nd Tactical Air Force. It did not have the glamour or the fame attached to front-line flying stations, and particularly those which were in the forefront of the Berlin Airlift, but its function, although more mundane was equally important function in providing essential support in many varied ways to all the other RAF stations in Germany and Austria. Without Uetersen, at least until 1953, these bases could not have operated as effectively as they. The station provided services for the RAF throughout the British Zone, and the roads from Schleswig-Holstein going north, south, east and west constantly rumbled to the sound of Uetersen vehicles delivering materials and personnel to every station in the Zone. Moreover in 1950 it became the first RAF base in Germany to house a fully operational signals intelligence unit, and as its role in supporting the occupation forces declined, it began to play a unique part in this aspect of NATO's defensive operations.
From 1935 to 1945 it was a Luftwaffe station and it became one again early in 1956, remaining so to this day. During the war it trained pilots and paratroops, and housed at varying times a great variety of aircraft which have become legendary, including, for just three weeks in February 1945, the new Messerschmitt 262 jet aircraft. It is now a flourishing NCO Training School with a thousand personnel stationed there as students and permanent staff and the prospect of an assured and prosperous future.
One of the odder aspects of the station was the difficulty the British had in deciding how to spell its name. It appears in eight different versions in the official records and sometimes in more than one in the same document. It was variously Utterson, Uterson, Utersen, Utesen, Ueterson, Uetesen, Utersen, and finally, after much effort, Uetersen, although they did in fact get it right as early as July 1945 when the correct spelling appears on the signboard at the Main Gate!
The station's time as an RAF base covered a dramatic decade which began with Europe reduced to an unprecedented level of destruction, poverty and human misery. Millions of people were on the move as allied and German prisoners of war, and concentration . and forced labour camp inmates were released, and refugees fled westwards to escape the advancing Russians. In addition many others had to leave their homes following the transfer of the eastern provinces of Germany to Poland. The area around Uetersen did not escape the effects of all this. Chapters include:
The first decade: the Luftwaffe at Uetersen, 1935 -1945
Setting the scene, May 1945
The RAF Regiment, May 1945 - February 1952
No. 5352 Airfield Construction Wing, June 1945 - November 1955
No.3 Forward Repair Unit, 1945-1946
The Missing Research and Enquiry Unit, September 1947 - September 1948
No. 8401 Air Disarmament Wing, May 1945 - August 1946
The Royal Canadian Air Force, July 1945 - March 1946
Air Formation Signal Regiment, 1945 - 1952
No. 431 Equipment Depot, Altona, & Nos. 401 and 402 Air Stores Parks, Altona, April 1946 - Dec' 1955
Communication Flight, September 1947 - August 1954
Headquarters No. 85 Group and No. 85 Wing, September 1947- June 1950
Command Training School for Clerks (G.D.), September 1947 - September 1948
RAF Station Uetersen, October 1947 - November 1955
No.3 Base Repair Unit and No.1 Base Repair and Salvage Unit, December 1946 - September 1947
No. 317 Supply and Transport Column, April 1948 -June 1954
German Language School, April 1948 - April 1950
No.9 Mobile Parachute Servicing Unit, April 1948 - January 1949
No.1 Mobile Repair and Salvage Unit,July 1949 - March 1950
No. 365 and 755 Signals Units, HQ No.5 Signals Wing, September 1950 -July 1955
Motor Transport Repair Unit (germany) February 1951-February 1952
The smaller units at Uetersen
The return of the Luftwaffe, November 1955 to the present
The condition of the book is generally good. The cover has some minor scuffs, and light creasing and wear along the edges, 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) - but this in no-way detracts from the fascinating contents!