RAF WATTISHAM
This section about Wattishams Lightnings wouldn't be complete without a mention of the brilliant Lightning pilot "Bugs Bendell".  
BUGS BENDALL
Those of us who served at Wattisham in the early 1960's will surely  recall this incident?  On the day it happened I and other members of Station Flight were watching his solo Lightning display for a visiting dignitary. Having done a high speed pass over the airfield he returned at very low level and obviously "pouring on the coal's" streaked towards the control tower. As he flew away from us there was the atmospheric compression effect plainly visible in his airflow and as far as I recall two large bursts of vapour. Although I don't remember hearing the sonic boom we all guessed that he had gone through the sound barrier!
Soon reports filtered down that he had indeed exceeded the speed of sound when the local air pressure and temperature changed! Windows in the control tower were broken and visitors were showered with glass, doors were broken and the roofs of adjacent Secco huts were lifted by several inches! Bugs was interviewed by OC Ops and had to apologise to the station Met Officer. He relates in hilarious detail the interview in his book NEVER IN ANGER.
Later Group Captain Simmonds interviewed Bugs and he was told he was being posted. He apparently asked the Group Captain if that was his punishment? But was told no it wasn't, it was an exchange posting to the USAF at Nellis AFB in the States! Bugs served in the RAF for 34 years and sadly had to retire when he was diagnosed with MS. He now resides in a "Star and Garter " home.
Note:
In December 1960 I did a Lightning course but much to my relief I was never called to upon to work on them. As a fighting machine it was a brilliant design but maintainability left a lot to be desired!
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