Bryan Burnikell's recollection of RNAS Culham.

"In 1959 Abingdon was very busy; it ran Para courses For Army, Navy, Marines, TA. and RAF Regiment, also Foreign Armies as well as training its own Instructors.

For this reason we could not be accommodated at the Airfield but were billeted a Royal Navy Air Station Culham (HMS Hornbill) Culham was a disused Royal Navy airfield We were billeted in Nissan huts.

The cooks were Army and the food as bad as any I received anywhere in the Forces. Bread with mould (Penicillin, won’t do you any harm) and tasteless food.

There were advantages and disadvantages to Culham. Apart from the food we were in the main away from the airfield and PCAU (No 1 Parachute Course Admin. Unit) who were responsible for the day to day running and discipline of the army personnel.

Wind speed is a big factor in parachuting. If the wind is too high you cannot jump. Early morning air tends to be still, therefore early morning parades were often. 

Culham being at least 30 minutes from Abingdon meant an even earlier reveille often around 0400.

To the rear of the airfield were some huts occupied by government scientist “boffins” carrying out some research and we were told to keep away from them. Imagine my surprise some years later on a nostalgic return to see the huts had grown into a huge Atomic Research Establishment."

Bryan Burnikell

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