987 Flight of the Stockton ATC

t12127This photograph shows the 987 Flight of the Stockton Air Training Corps, based at Stockton Grammar School c1943. It was taken in the playground of the Grammar School at the junction of Norton Road and Garbutt Street.

Courtesy of Ken Sawyer.

28 thoughts on “987 Flight of the Stockton ATC

  1. Trawling through the photographs of Stockton certainly brings back memories. The photograph of 987 Squadron was taken the year before I joined the ATC, I remember the camp at RAF Millfield in Northumberland, the CO of RAF Millfield at that time was Group Captain “Johnny” Johnson the air ace. The airfield was used for converting pilots from Spitfires to Tempests. I enjoyed a flight round Holy Island and the Cheviots in a De Havilland Domine Bi-plane, the old Dragon Rapide.
    Later at RAF Leeming our CO Charlie Goulding scuppered the arrangement my friend Mike “Chip” Wood and myself had made with a Canadian Halifax pilot for a round trip to Castel Benito (now named Idris). near Tripoli. “It would not be fair on the others” he said. After leaving Stockton Grammar School in 1946 Mike and I joined the Town 266 Squadron ATC in Yarm Road. Strangely we both did our National Service in the Army, Mike in the Light Infantry as a weapons Instructor, (He also managed a stint with his Battalion guarding Buckingham Palace) and I as an Instructor in the Royal Army Educational Corps attached to the 1st Battalion the Loyals.

    Like

    • I was at SGS 39-44 & was an ATC Flight member with Charlie Goulding as OC and John W Tebble assisting. Camps were at RAF Leeming and also at Millfield. At Leeming had a flight with a Canadian pilot in an Anson. Normally he was flying bombers. At call up time the RAF did not need anyone for aircrew. So the Army it was, first training as an infantryman then to Alton Towers for the Army School of Education! Then to the RASC’s Depot Battalion centre near Thetford I/c Education Centre.

      Like

      • It was interesting to note Ken that you did your Army educational training at Alton Towers. By the time they managed to get hold of me it was for six weeks training at Wilton Park, Beaconsfield. I spent one of those weeks pretending to play Rugby as an extra in a film Beaconsfield Studios were making called “A Yank in ermine”. Unsurprisingly it was not nominated for any Oscars. It was however a welcome rest after enduring ten weeks infantry training with the Devonshire Regiment at Topsham Barracks, Exeter. Incidentally, did you have a younger brother Dennis at the Grammar School?

        Like

  2. I am trying to find a record of my father in service, the only thing I have is a group photograph of him in Airforce uniform, and no other information. I am guessing this is likely his 2 year service… any suggestions?

    Like

  3. I was a member of Stockton ATC from 1941 until 1943 when I joined the RAF. Although I don’t remember any of the boys in the photo I do recognise the RHS playground. I was in 266 squadron and one of the officers was John Smith who had been my form master when I attended RHS from 1937 to 1940. I also flew in an Avro anson about 1941 or 42 and that was from Thornaby aerodrome.

    Like

  4. I remember Charles Golding very well, as he was my auntie’s lodger in Thornaby. We often met him when we visited. He was a batchelor – a lovely, kind man. I believe he lived there till he died.

    Like

  5. Thanks Ken: I was most fascinated to learn that Charlie Goulding served as a RAF VRT officer. He never mentioned a word about it while I was taught by him, even though many of the boys were members of 266 and 1261 Squadrons. I liked CG a lot, he managed to get me through GCE Chemistry – which was quite frankly a considerable achievement on his part. He also drummed the school hymn into all the new boys during our first couple of weeks in the school. His failure to teach me Latin was no fault on his part; that was something beyond the best efforts of anyone.

    Like

  6. Totally agree with you Ken, a great site, and good input from you and many many others including Anon. I was fortunate to be a pupil at Trinity in the early 60s with your late brother taking us for football, great times.

    Like

  7. I, as an old Richard Hind pupil and a former West End footballer with all three teams, would offer the same sentiments as Anon. Keep up the good work Ken. This is a great site for great memories.

    Like

  8. Anon, I value everything on this site. People from Stockton long ago but now in Australasia, Canada, USA and countless other parts of the world make their contributions as we trawl through our memories. Except for being at college training to be a teacher and some 2 years on His Majesty’s Service the first 30 years of my life were spent in my hometown. A small curiosity of my army years was that 3 months were spent at Alton Towers! At that time it was the Army School of Education where those of us who had trained as infantrymen or whatever were switched to be Education Instructors. From the Robson Maternity Home to living on the higher outskirts of Halifax at an altitude almost exactly the same as Roseberry Topping. 83+ years in all but I value my memories of Stockton as home. The 3 schools I attended, church, cricket at the Grangefield Ground, football for school and Hartburn Minors/West End FC and – heretically – rugby with Stockton RFC at Norton. Actually first of all at the Ropner Fields at Fairfield as Sid Dumble & other stalwarts were trying to re-establish rugby which had ceased in the wartime years. I find contributions from people who were at school with me but also from former pupils at Richard Hind. So this SGS ATC photo is just a small part of the collection. How many photos in all are there I sometimes wonder. The service rendered by this site is absolutely marvellous. I wonder how many other towns/cities have something similar?

    Like

  9. Anon and others. I’m not upset – except by my own failure of mind. I really should have known better as those houses were familiar to me from 8 years of playground duty! As several regulars on this forum know well I was on the staff at RHS from 1949 to 1957. I very much enjoyed my years at the school only moving on from there as further experience at a very new, well equipped school in Warwickshire offered an opportunity unlikely to arise in Stockton at that time.

    Like

  10. I don’t want to upset anybody, but I attended Richard Hind School from 1971 to 1977, and although this picture pre dates this by thirty years this image is still strong in my memory as that from the play ground area looking over the wall to Brignall Rd.

    Like

  11. ‘….so presumably the squad are all SGS boys’. Well Eric that’s what I said. No mystery about it. I have boobed about location unfortunately. The problems of ageing. John Willie Tebble left SGS staff and moved to West Yorkshire. He became Head of Grange School, a large comprehensive in Bradford. We met a couple of times in the early 70’s at meetings of headteachers. My secondary school in Halifax was considerably smaller than the 1,000+ at Grange! Interesting for teacher & pupil to meet again some 30 years later than the photo. I believe there may have been a health reason for JWT to be teaching still as he was certainly young enough for call up. 3 of the staff at SGS when I became a pupil in September 1939 went off to the services. The school year started late as blast walls at external doorways as areas of the school were reinforced as air raid precautions before the school was allowed to start again.

    Like

  12. The teacher is certainly Mr Goulding who I remember from my days at SGS so presumably the squad are all SGS boys. It doesn’t look like Garbutt Street surroundings to me either, it was an area of Victorian terraces – I know, my great grandparents lived there. The nearest ‘semi’ was miles away… in location and ambition!

    Like

  13. I apologise for upsetting you by saying your picture is controversial, Ken. As you say, it is your photo and you are on it. However, as you may now realise, there is some puzzlement over where it was taken. The houses visible on the other side of the wall are 1920s style houses built on a curved road. The houses in the Garbutt Street area were all very old Victorian two-up, two-down terraces lined up in straight rows. So you and your fellow members of 987 Flight ATC must have been having your photo taken while engaged in a training session somewhere else. A Flight is a sub-section or detachment of a Squadron, so is it possible that you were attending a course at the 266 Squadron premises on Yarm Road? Twenty years after your photo was taken, Charlie Goulding had put on a bit of weight and had grown a fine set of ‘Dennis Healey’ eyebrows. He taught Latin to the first and second years in addition to Chemistry while I was at the school. (The other teacher who beat Latin into us was the Reverend Evans, curate at Stockton Parish Church and later, I believe, Vicar of St Mary’s on Norton Green)

    Like

  14. Bob, I hope you enjoyed your research. Perhaps we should leave it at this point. That it is a photo of 997 Flight ATC, Stockton Grammar School is definite. It has been amongst my documents & albums for nearly 70 years. It may well be that I have mis-remembered where the photo was taken. Perhaps it was on some special wider ATC occasion. I can certainly remember doing basic navigation on some of the evenings at the school. When we were at RAF Leeming in August 1944 the station was active non-stop as the Allies were trying to push the Germans further back and bombing raids went on day by day. We did have one excursion flight in an Avro Anson up to Teesside and back, piloted by a very happy Canadian!

    Like

  15. I have been looking at photos of groups from the Stockton Grammar School through Phil de Chaumont-Rambert’ SGS website. In it I can’t see any resemblances of the brickwork in this photo.

    Like

  16. May I respectfully point out that this photograph is of the ATC unit – called a Flight – at STOCKTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL and whose membership was of SGS boys and none other, quite independent of the 266 Squadron of the ATC based in Yarm Road.
    I was there and was one of the ‘volunteers’ who took out chairs and benches (for standing on.)
    Someone, somewhere in the Stockton area may have photos of 266 squadron. Must look through some of my books about Stockton. Some photos show various Services, full time and volunteer.
    All the services had cadet groups.

    Like

  17. Looking at this photo I would say that it was taken in the Richard Hind Boys playground. Looking at the house rooves it could be the estate which was immediately behind the school. Sadberge Road comes into mind. With the AF Cadets HQ only round the corner from the school and in which they had no room for a group photo there, this would be the automatic place for it.

    Like

  18. Thanks Picture Stockton for correction of error. A pity I did not write names on the back of the photo. The 2 NCO’s were 6th Formers, Ron Boyce and ? Abel. Quite a lot of the others were at Trinity School with me and appear elsewhere on this site in class photos.
    They include Peter Cussons, Cliff Green, Tommy Jobling. ‘Midge’ White, Bryan Jones, Peter Smithson, Robin Miller.

    Like

  19. Whatever is controversial about this photograph? ‘Can anyone put a proper date and location to this picture’… I rather think that I should know! It is my photo from my albums of those years. I am on the photo. I am now struggling in my mid-8o’s.
    Please note Frank Bowron that the top caption says c1943. There was an error below the photo as it stated c1973, 30 years of error… the PictureStockton team have now altered this for me. Try to picture Charlie Goulding 15 years younger than when you were taught by him. Interesting that he taught Latin. Mick O’Donnell was the very fine Latin teacher who did a lot in organising the school’s sport.
    The photo was taken in the playground on one of our parade days. This is the uniform we wore in wartime processions in Stockton High Street.

    Like

  20. A very interesting (and controversial) photograph. SGS had long since moved to Fairfield in 1973 and the uniforms worn by the cadets is the pre-battledress uniform. Also, that’s a very much younger Charlie Goulding than the Chemistry and Latin teacher that I remember from 1958 to 1963. There was no ATC at SGS when I was there: I was a member of 1261 Sqn at the former RAuxAF Station at Thornaby from 1961 until 1963, when I joined the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Apprentice. In addition, from the the houses in the background of the picture, the photo was certainly not taken in the playground at the corner of Norton Road and Garbutt Street. The only houses anywhere near Garbutt Street during the time the school was located there were the rows of two-up, two-down Victorian Terraces, later demolished to make way for the flats that now occupy the area. Can anyone put a proper date and location to this picture?

    Like

  21. I left Stockton Grammar School at the end of summer term 1944, after which I began teacher training. I am on the photo, second from left on front row.

    Like

  22. Ken, This is an interesting photograph! I have collected SGS pictures and memorabilia for the last 10 years from many old boys for diplay on the SGS Website but have not heard of the ATC connection before. (and I speak as an 266 squadron lad and an ex-SGS lad). I remember Mr Golding well, are you able to confirm the year – it obviously Garbutt St so is prior to the move to Fairfield Road site – but c1943? Any chance of a copy and some words for the old boys website please?

    Like

  23. The two officers were members of the school staff – Charles Goulding who taught Science and JW Tebble who taught French in his elegant manner. Flight meetings were held at the school and there were annual camps at various RAF stations including Leeming, Millfield in Northumberland, in addition to some training at RAF Thornaby. There was also a Stockton unit 266 Squadron which met in Yarm Road opposite to Richard Hind Junior School.

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.