Aeroplane Level Crossings


Aircraft Depot Middle East at Abu Quir in Egypt (or as it was known during the last war, No. 103 Maintenance Unit) had two aerodromes, the landward and the seaward. Between them ran the road and the railway to the village. During 1943 it became necessary to convert this system to one long runway and, including lowering the railway embankment by about five feet this was done without interrupting anything. One early type hangar was dismantled and re-erected out of the line of the runway and the Air Traffic Tower was put in its place. Here we had not only road crossing control systems but an override on the railway signals so that the trains could be halted as necessary. This was surely the most sophisticated aeroplane level crossing? You have mentioned Nos 1 and 2 Armoured Car Companies and the fact that their Great War Rolls-Royces were still in use on the Western Desert during World War Two; during the above mentioned period I remember dismantling one which had been converted to a Hucks starter which must surely be the ultimate end for one of those grand old ladies. You will of course know that a Hucks starter was normally built on a Ford Model-T chassis!

Ripon, Yorks R. KAY, S/LDR RAF (Retd.)