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Carrier Radiosonde 2017 and 1964

PO George Clevett and L/A Rick Parkinson about to launch an H50 from HMS Victorious 1964. The large triangular object is a radar reflector which sat between the balloon and sonde.

Below are a few pictures of the Met staff (Able Seamen Hydrography Meteorology) launching a Radiosonde from HMS Ocean en route to the West Indies.
The pictures and text (via the link) show us the Balloon plus Sonde being prepared for release and the data being processed by computer. In the days of the Met branch and the old fixed wing carriers Radiosondes were launched from the fixed wing carriers using balloons filled with large quantities of Hydrogen (yes the explosive stuff) required to lift the radiosondes into the atmosphere. The Sondes were made by a company called Graw,, the H50 in use in the 1960-70's was replaced by the M60 which was made of polystyrene. The Indian navy used a sonde made entirely of cardboard, a specimen was kept in the Met School at Culdrose. The modern Sonde on Ocean is obviously a lot lighter as the balloon, filled with Helium is a lot smaller than the Hydrogen monsters of yore.
When it comes to receiving the data and subsequent plotting and analysis then the computer is now the tool. The H50 and M60 transmitted Met Morse which was received by radio and hand plotted prior to analysis to create a plotted tephigram ascent and a coded message to send back to other recipients. The smaller commando carriers didn't have sufficient staff for Radiosonde operation but could usually manage a Pilot Balloon (wind only), was it 300 or 500 gram Hydrogen filled balloon? This could be tracked by radar or using Gunnery Binoculars.
Cloudobservers have an M60 in the artefacts and also some Mo2810a charts (Tephigram).
For the HMS Ocean article click on the link 

Navy Wings Christmas Cards

Here is a preview of the 2017 Christmas Cards available from the Navy Wings website.

All profits go towards keeping the magnificent heritage aircraft airborne.  As many of you will be aware, the Sea Fury is back flying again, which is a magnificent achievement. Click on the picture to purchase the cards.


Portsmouth Pocedure Alpha

Remembrance Sunday 2017

No doubt the Association of Wrens will have a healthy attendance at this years parade in London and many members of Cloudobservers will turn out to support their local event. If you fancy joining Cloudobservers in London, who march as a platoon within the Fleet Air Arm Division then you will need to contact the Secretary in the next few days as entrance is now by personal ticket.

In 2016 the Tattershall Castle, our floating watering hole on the Thames was closed for refirbishment so we were forced to repair to the Silver Cross, paying homage to Admiraly Forecast Section days.

8th September 2017

WRNS 100

The Events organised by WRNS100 are for all ex-wrens and those still serving, it doesn’t matter when you served or what as. It doesn’t matter which if any association you belong to, if you spent time in a blue suit then these events are for you and 2017 is our year!

This is the message broadcast loud and clear on a new website specifically set up for the WRNS 100. This is the site to visit if you want to see what is going on and where this year. Click on the banner below to visit the WRNS100 Website.

Below you will find a few the downloads including the Commemorative Stone Appeal and part one and two of our own tribute.



File Type

WRNS100 Leaflet (247) Pdf
WRNS100 Commemoration Stone Appeal (200) Pdf
WRNS100 part 1 (238) Pdf
WRNS100 part 1 (209) powerpoint
WRNS100 Part 2 (252) Pdf
WRNS100 Part 2 (218) powerpoint

Wings over Glasgow

Douglas Rough, a Fleet Air Arm Historian is writing a book called 'Wings over Glasgow' that includes the history of RNAS Abbotsinch/HMS Sanderling, can you help please? Douglas is looking for information and images relating to aircraft, gliders, buildings and people that were there from WW2 until the base closed in 1963? Does anyone recall the crash of a glider that killed Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Charles Winstanley in 1948? The 54 Sqn Tempest II crash in 1946?

If you hserved ther or have memorabilie then please contact the secretary so we can put you in touch with Douglas..

RNAS Anthorn, HMS Nuthatch - Proposal for a Memorial

The Anthorn Community Association proposes to set up a memorial to personnel and families who served at the Royal Naval Air Station Anthorn, HMS Nuthatch, on the grassed triangle in front of the original main airfield gate, using a local “Erratic” stone (murrain boulder) with an illustrated plaque.

December this year, 60 years since the last official flight from the airfield, is our first target date for an unveiling, with a secondary of March 2018, 60 years since closure and decommissioning of HMS Nuthatch.
With support from the Royal Naval Association and local authorities, memorial unveiling is planned with a parade including Veterans, Sea Cadet Corps and Air Training Corps.

Solway House Airfield betwixt Anthorn and Cardurnock was initiated by the Royal Naval Air Service in early 1918 but lapsed after WW1 and the amalgamation of the RNAS and RFC to become the RAF. At the start of WW2 the RAF restarted the grass airfield site as a satellite to RAF Silloth. Back under Admiralty control in 1939, the Fleet Air Arm commenced lodging here in 1940 and fully took over the site in 1942. Subsequent to completion of the 3 hardened runways, RNAS Anthorn was commissioned as HMS Nuthatch in 1944. It was primarily the base for No.1 Aircraft Receipt and Despatch Unit, taking aircraft from manufacturers and preparing them for service by fitting role equipment, radios, guns etc. Various Naval Air Squadrons operated from here as well as one of the first helicopter Search and Rescue units.
Most of the houses which make up main residential part of the village of (new) Anthorn were were constructed in 1952 as Married Quarters for personnel of the Air Station.
The Air Station shut down in late 1957, decommissioned and put to “Care and Maintenance” in early 1958, subsequently the MOD/NATO VLF Radio installation commenced in 1961 becoming operational in 1964.
Since 2007 the National Physical Laboratory (MSF) Radio time pips have been transmitted from here.

Contributions of stories, photo’s and/or memorabilia would be appreciated, especially from those who were based or worked at the Air Station (or their descendants). Contact given below.
Fundraising events will start soon.

Mini Reunion

Midland  METOCS  met up on Mon. 23rd Jan. for a pub lunch/reunion, at The Royal Oak in Car Colston, east of Nottingham. Weather was Anticyclonic with Freezing Fog but that didnt stop ths bunch of low flyers from arriving in time and having an excellent day. Big thanks to Ash for the idea and organisation.

Gil, Jean, Budgie, Brian, Den, Collin, Charlie, Ash.

Brian featured in another photograph recently. Here he is as Standard Bearer back in November 2016. Interesting to note that for such a small branch we have two Standard Bearers active, Brian (Sleepy ) Gleeson and John (Bungy) Williams. Wonder if there are any more out there?

Once again the 2Xisles team have conjoured up a couple of Quiz's to keep our brains functioning over the festive season.Happy New Year with answers for all those tortured brains however, that might have been due to the drink!

Shipping Areas Quiz's

Downloads Link

Title (Download Total)

File Type

Shipping Forecast Quiz (792) Pdf
Shipping Forecast Answers (417) Pdf

New Facebook Group

Ashley Price has set up a Facebook Group for all Midlands Metocs. Looking to add a few more members. Click on the picture to visit the page.

NMA Memorial News

The Fleet Air Arm Memorial at the NRM is an Aircraft Carrier sourrounded by individual Squadron,Ship and Association plaques. Due to the popularity of these plaques the Fly Navy Federation took the decision to commission an extra ring of plaques. This should ensure that there are enough plaques available to last for a good many years. I am pleased to report that Cloudobservers was fully involved in this process and this has been acknowledged on one of the new plaques.


The Carrier was given a steam clean as part of the inprovements. Big thanks to Alan Breward for overseeing the work on site over the past few weeks on behalf of the Federation. The next two images show the new layout and spruce up.



Navy Wings

Navy Wings was launched by the FNHT (Fly Navy Heritage Trust)at Yeovilton Air Day, with the assistance of the author Frederick Forsyth.Navy Wings is an exciting development, which brings together the aircraft of the RNHF (Royal Naval Historic Flight) with civilian owned historic naval aircraft, ranging from biplanes to helicopters and the iconic Sea Vixen.

A brand new website has been launched, and all are requested to add a link to this on their own web pages or a like on Facebook, mention on Twitter etc would help. The FNHT website now only redirects to the Navy Wings site.
Good support for Navy Wings is essential for keeping the histori flight aircraft airborne as MOD funding reduces. Please encourage everyone to look at the site and to sign up as supporters if they are not already.

Navy Wings logo FC




Combined Reunions Update

Both the SE (RNSESA) and Phot (RNPA) Associations have agreed to go ahead with Joint Reunions. The First combined reunion will be in 2020 in Bristol hosted by the RNSESA.

Wrens Reunion May 2016 Helston

wrens group May 2016
The picture shows two thirds of the June 1976 Wrens met course.They signed on at Dauntless on 11th May 1976 prior to joining the school.
L to R Caroline Bennett(nee Roberts) Denise Gleeson (nee Bucknall) Pamela Jamieson (nee Betts)Alison Wilde (nee Rowe)
A most enjoyable time with non stop remembrances of their time in the WRNS. They were also joined by Sheila Ashby and Caroline Reps(nee Hill)so a superb time with very special company

June1976 Met Course

HMS Curlew St Merryn 1950's

Does anyone remember a Wren Molly Atkin in the Met office1953 to April 1954? We were originally told that Molly served at Culdrose but her service records show as St Merryn.

Her Grandson is researching family history so would welcome any memories that you may have. If you know anything about Molly or even the workings of St Merryn (HMS Vulture 1940-1953) in the 1950's then please contact the webmaster.

Molly Atkin2

Ratings Courses Revisited

Yet another Eagle Eyed member spotted a name error in Ratings Course photographs. Two instances were found and now rectified. No prizes on offer but can you spot the two changes? Those of you with a previous copy of the download have a distinct advantage!


Ratings Courses Revisited

Title (Download Total)

File Type

Ratings Courses 10 (1987 - 1996) (3498) ***May 2016*** powerpoint

Forum mortuus est


Back in April 2016 the company that operated the Forum on our and many others behalf was sold. Shortly afterwards it totally disappeared, taking all its records with it. This is not unique in internet history but still hurts those that suffer the loss. Fortunately for Cloudobservers, our use of the Forum had all but dried up and the Secretary had made paper copies of the good stuff!



Steve blog

Yes folks Steve Howard is off on his travels again. As part of his preparation he has rebuilt his Travel Blog. For those of you who are not up to speed with Blogs, why should you be? A Blog is a techy term for a website that has pages as paragraphs but also contains pictures, links and videos. In other words its an electronic book or story thats been americanised!

Anyway just click on the banner above to visit Steve's Blog (website) where you can read about his trips to the US of A and Turkey. There are lots of photographs and videos taken by Steve and Rosina to keep you entertained and informed.

You will also be able to follow the intrepid pair on their current travels.

Bon Voyage!

Navy Books

The latest catalogue from Navy Books contains a good selection of FAA/Aircraft Carrier books, some at bargain prices. HMS Hermes 1923 & 1959 a snip at £7.99, the younger brigade will be tempted by Harrier Carriers: HMS Invincible at a mere £4.99 and for the older reader there is The Colossus Class Aircraft Carriers 1944 -1972 only £7.99.

Their website can be found at

Navy Books May 2016

Halfar and Kete memories

Brian Collins was a Killick Met in 1958, he was drafted to Halfar 1958-1960. Brian tells us that G A Bell, Bryn Telfer, John Randel, Pete Rossington, Dereck Marshall were some of the ratings that were also there during that time. The American base was down the road going towards Birzebuggia and they used to get all their flight briefings from us.

Brian trained at Kete in 1956. Pete Rossington was the kellick there at that time. The male ratings were outnumbered by Wrns, something like 2 to 1. You didn't have to wear your hat unless there was a reason to do so Divisions on a Friday was to the accompaniment of a record playing. The roofs of buildings were held down by ropes tied to metal spikes either side of the building.

On completion Brian joined the cruiser HMS Superb at Chatham, that went to the East Indies and was involved in the Suez Crisis The MET officer on board was LT Cdr Adams. Brian returned to Kete again at the end of 1957, that was when they were wanting ratings to change from other branches to MET.

All this history came about because the Halfar page contained errors which just goes to show how important it is to record facts before they are lost. If you have an anecdote about the branch then please get in touch. We do not guarantee it will be published, indeed some of the best material is from someone called anon. When we ask questions about the Met Branch the usual reply is...We were going to ask you!

Other Peoples Work

Title (Download Total)

File Type

The Power of Nature (552) powerpoint

A Christmas Chart

Here is a blast from the past in more ways than one. Members who worked East of Suez, afloat or in COMFEF will be reminded of times past by this one. Here we have a Double sided Met Chart, B148 India to New Guinea. The chart is blank on one side but plotted and drawn up on the other.

The chart is valid for 0001Z (0730 Local time) on 24th December 1964. It was plotted on board HMS Victorious when alongside the Singapore Naval Base for the Captains briefing. The neat plotting was probably the work of Tim Preston, the Christmas artwork by yours truly.  By the spread of the synops it looks like a COMFEF Fleet Broadcast was used.






FAA Watch Offer

BREMONT FLEET AIR ARM SPECIAL EDITION WATCH. This is a unique opportunity to purchase an exclusive high-end timepiece, celebrating the Royal Navy’s finest fighting arm. In support of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust, Bremont have developed a version of their U2 Watch which has a blue strap and face, with the FAA Wings and a subtle FAA Zig-Zag engraved into the face. There is also a choice between a blue or a green (for the Junglies amongst you) barrel. This watch is only available to Serving FAA members and FAA alumni. To maintain this exclusivity, proof of service will be required before the order is confirmed and the purchaser’s official number of up to 8 characters will be engraved on the back. Orders are direct to . More details are attached and available at

watch picture

Download Watch Details Here


File Type

Bremont Order Form (1287) Word Document
Bremont Watch Details (1537) Pdf

Dockyard Dandy

Here is a link to the online versions of Navy News for september, October, November and December 2016.

Download Membership Forms Here


File Type

Cloud Observers Application Form (3621) pdf document
Cloud Observers Application Form (2181) picture

Downloads are also on the following pages

Downloads Link quizwrns