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STORES HELD AT RAF WOODCOTE, 70MU.

The type of stores held at 70MU, whilst varying in predominance during war and peace time, covered the full range of everyday needs of the RAF and were allocated a reference number, as described later on.

The Monthly Operations Record book does not detail the stores held but makes passing reference to them by the store number only when goods were received inwards or dispatched. However to the workers at 70MU the store numbers meant nothing and despite handling the stores they did not necessarily know what they were or what they did.

Mollie White who was there for most of the war years and in peace time recalls 'that some stores were stacked in the woods such as wheels without the tyres. The tyres were stacked in the sheds. After the war we stored office and kitchen furniture. Site 1 and 2 had a lot of inflammable items stored there such as paint, soap etc. On Site 3 it was vehicle parts. There were sheds full of bicycles and parts; sheds full of tyres; vehicle engines; parts of lorries and cars'.

Bill Deacon recalls 'when they had loads of antifreeze which came in drums we used to go and take them and empty the drums into underground tanks that held 25,000 gallons'. Bill Fidler recollects collecting a consignment from Pangbourne railway station of drums each containing 40 gallons of pure glycerine (presumably a de-icing fluid)

Tony Merrill recalls the Mustang and Spitfire aircraft movements already detailed. Iris Novell remembers her dad bringing home some of the silver canvas used to patch the aircraft (Avro Ansons) and making kites for her from it.

Taffy Williams who was at 70MU during the war years recalls 'that there was lots to pinch. Each of the 38 sheds held something different, but a lot contained items small enough to take. Site 3 had dental equipment, medical stores, scalpels, operating equipment. All had to be dipped for anti corrosion before dispatch. Another had clothing and RAF belts and RAF knives'. Aircraft equipment; ground equipment; aircraft wings and fuselages were also stored there. The Dope store held the dope for the repair of canvas and plywood aircraft. 'After the war 70MU stored office furniture; filing cabinets and heavy metal dustbins'.

Another who was at 70MU for most of the time was Vera Robbins. She started in Shed 9 and recalls 'that they held aircraft bits and pieces needed to keep them flying; and emery paper, sand paper, French chalk, Perspex, celluloid sheeting etc. Shed 14 initially held acid in glass carboys in straw lagged wire containers. Paints were store in Shed 1; linen and cotton, leather in Shed 5; string and rope in Shed 6.' She recalls the storage of 'Glycol' (antifreeze); carbon tetra chloride in containers; fluorescent blocks which were used as markers when aircraft or pilots were ditched in the sea. When dropped into the water the immediate surrounding area turned a fluorescent green thus identifying the area of search and rescue. All these items were stored in Shed 9 together with 'small tins, similar in size to paint tins, which kept popping off their lids on their own accord. These were dumped and buried at the back of Shed 9'.

Ray Davies when on National Service in the 1950s recalls delivering to 70MU a consignment of married quarters furniture from a USAAF base, and on one occasion loosing a wooden bed head which was wrapped in a cocoa nut fibre gym mat to prevent it from scratching.

The Air Ministry Police prosecuted civilians for the theft of objects from tailors scissors, tins of floor polish and metal polish, torch batteries and tyres to whole lorry loads of stolen goods.

The RAF gave a unique reference number to each item of stores held at Maintenance Units. Equipment was allocated an Equipment Section number which broadly described the category of store (for example Section 21 referred to Barrack Equipment). Sections were further broken down into sub sections by the addition of suffix letters (for example 21A = Crockery; 21B = Woodware; 21C = Metalware; 21D = Gymnastic; 21E = Textiles). Finally the item was allocated a 1 - 7 digit reference number, which when combined with the sub section number, gave a unique identification number for the item. Therefore a single Airman's wardrobe would be Section 21B, followed by a number.

1 Hand Tools
3 Machine Tools
3a Machine Tools and Spares
3b Machine Tools Accessories
13 Drawing Instruments and Drawing Office Equipment
16 Mechanical Transport and Equipment - included V8 engines and wheels and tyres
16B  
16E  
16G  
16H  
17 Winch Equipment
18 Marine Engines
21 Barrack Equipment
21b Barrack stores - woodware (chairs,tables, desks, beds,wardrobes)
21c Barrack stores - metalware (cutlery)
21d Gymnastic equipment
29 General Hardware
30 Metals, Timber, Materials, Paints, Chemicals and Oils
32  
32a Cordage
32b Adhesive Tapes, Textiles, packaging materials and miscellaneous soft goods
33 Painting and finishing - Held in drums and included sulphuric acid, dope
33a General paints and painter's materials
33c  
33d Laundry supplies, barrack and hospital cleaning materials
33e Lighting and heating materials except coal and coke
33f Disinfectants and insecticides
41 Marine Craft spares
53 Body shell spare parts
53BF Avro Anson ?
53BK Handley Page ?

The above list is by no means a complete list of RAF stores but is an accurate summary of 70MU stores. The Sections adequately describe the stores held and in the case of 18 (Marine engines) and 41 (Marine Craft spares); these refer to the RAF high-speed rescue launches needed to save pilots who ditched into the sea.