Memories of Graveley

Peter Leeves, who served with the squadron 1944 / 1945 recalls:

“You’ll understand I’m sure that the residents were rather transient and many did not stay long. It was very sad to see the adjutant emptying the lockers of those who would never return.

The huts at Graveley were “heated” by a stove (red-hot in the middle and freezing in the corners), with each hut holding about 16 or so aircrew. When I first arrived I was assigned a bed in one of the arctic corners (as was the usual routine). As the losses mounted one graduated to beds nearer the centre, until in the end I had a bed with my feet towards the stove (very cosy). So warm indeed that when I tried to dry the ink of my log book it became badly singed which got me into trouble with the CO who had to sign it every month”

Bernard Humphreys, who served with the squadron in 1945, recalls

There was a pub in the rather isolated, small group of houses of Graveley, which was known as the 35 Squadron night-club and I remember there being a shabbily dressed, elderly lady there the few evenings I went there who wore a man’s cloth cap and, I think, a pinafore under her coat, who hammered out her repertoire of tunes on a piano.  She would only stop when she went to the bar to buy a half pint of beer and people used to throw pennies and half-pennies onto a stone slab floor which might, but might not, have been sprinkled with sawdust – I’m afraid I can’t remember – knowing that when she thought there was more than about sixpence there she would stop, pick up the coppers, and head for the bar.