HOLDING THE LINE

GEORGE AIRD’S TIME FLYING VAMPIRES AND VENOMS CLOSE TO THE IRON CURTAIN IS RECOUNTED TO TOM SPENCER

Increasing tensions with the Soviet Union in the early 1950s led to a rapid expansion of the RAF, particularly its 2nd Tactical Air Force based in West Germany. Just 20 miles (32km) from the East German border was Fassberg, a base that would be expected to hold the line if the Cold War was to erupt into open conflict.

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George Aird in de Havilland Vampire FB.5 WA390 ‘G-for-George’, June 1952. He had his full initials, ‘GPA’, painted in a small star on the nose.
ALL COURTESY G P AIRD UNLESS NOTED
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North American Harvard T.2B KF496 of 7 Flying Training School, Cottesmore.

Station Commander at Fassberg was Gp Capt E M ‘Teddy’ Donaldson CBE DSO AFC. His airfield was the home of 121 Wing which comprised 14, 98, 112 and 118 Squadrons. Leading the Fassberg Wing was legendary World War Two fighter ace Wg Cdr (later AVM) J E ‘Johnnie’ Johnson DSO DFC.

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