The first of a four part series by Ed Wiggins

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four

AN EARLY HISTORY AND SOME EVENTS of
THE USAFSS AT CHICKSANDS 1950 - 1953

    During early 1950the U.S. Air Force Security Service recognized the need to reduce the work load on the 2ndRadio Squadron Mobile (RSM) located near Darmstadt West Germany. This resulted in the origination of the 1OthRSM at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas during the late spring or early summer of 1950. It was scheduled to deploy to someplace in England. With daytime temperature about 100F, cooling to about 75F each night, thirty assigned personnel worked through the summer in a large airplane hangar collecting and marking boxes of equipment for shipment. Movement Order 4062 A, dated 12 September 1950, initiated the movement. Lt. Robert Craig and Lt. Edsel Wiggins were ordered to NewYork City as an advance party to coordinate the unit movement via an Army transport ship. About 30 days later the unit arrived in New York for transport to Southampton Port, England on the U.S. Army ship, The General Rose. Lt. James Parsley, supply officer; Lt. Wiggins, technical services officer; Sgt. Hyman, mess sergeant and Sg1.Confer, supply, were then given orders to proceed to RAF Chicksands by military aircraft. A USAF C-54 aircraft departed Westover AFB, Mass. the following day to Burtonwood
    Air Base, located near Liverpool, England. they traveled by train to South Ruislip a suburb of London - then by car to Chicksands. Lt. Wiggins reported to Chicksands Station Commander, RAF Flight Lieutenant Lou Barry, about the second week of October 1950.
     
    The Americans had two initial shocks: the unexpected cordial, warm greeting and helpful attitude of RAF personnel, and the very cold, wet, foggy miserable weather that penetrated everything. Our mission, in a matter of three to four weeks, was to prepare livablequarters, to set up the mess hall, the shower house and to organize routes and procedures to draw rations and supplies.
     
    The ship arrived at Southampton harbor and the 1OthRSM personnel arrived Chicksands the first, week of November 1950. Lead personnel arriving were Major Robinson, commander; Captain Tommy Grundy, adjutant; Major Wm. Bowers, operations; Captain Russell Verploegh, assistant operations; Lt. Craig, communications, and Sgt. Adams, FirstSergeant. The officers were assigned quarters with the RAFin a building that had served as a medical clinic during WW II. The airmen were quartered in WW II Nissen Huts. The mess hall also had been used by the RAF during WW II. A separate building served asa shower house.

    As a courtesy, the officers were assigned anRAF "batman" , in the British military, a soldier assigned to an officer as a servant who took care of the officer's domestic needs. Each moming, before the officer awoke, his clothes were brushed and laid out, shoes were shined and a steaming cup of hot tea was in place on the night stand, but the batman was never around. It became the officer's goal to catch the batman in the room. Never did.

    The officers moved to the Priory. It was a magnificent place. The RAF supplied stories about Priory history, about ghosts and the people involved. Some stories may have been true, some not. Thewindmadean eeriesound. One night about 3:00 AM Captain Grundy heard a horrible sound coming from the fireplace chimney in his room. He finally discovered that it was a large bird flutteringdown inside the chimney. No more sleep that night.

    One cold, rainy, very foggy evening an RAF military policeman reported to the Commander that something white was moving on the Priory lawn. Lou Barry invited Wiggins to accompany him to the Priory in his car. Nothing was evident at the front of the building. There was talk of many possibilities, including ghosts. Several minutes elapsed. Wiggins suggested taking a flash light (torch) and walking around the building to the south lawn. Not a good idea. Then Wiggins suggested that Barry reposition his car so that the headlights would illuminate the area. Good idea. Several white faced cows were startled by the lights.

    The end of installment one. Look for the next episode on 1 February, 2003

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