Friday, 26 November 2010

Rebuild of the Airmen’s’ Accommodation 1981 to 1994

During the years 1981 to 1994 there was a phased rebuild of practically the whole of the Domestic Site with the Guardroom, Power House and “Ice Cap area” being the only major parts being left intact. The old mid-50’s buildings had done well but were very far past their sell-by dates. The standard of accommodation had long been surpassed on other Units.

The “new-build” led to a far more comfortable way of life for most servicemen. There were even new quarters at Nordabrake and Taftens, plus an all weather soccer pitch. One of the sensible ideas was a centralised catering/kitchen area with the messes radiating off a central hub. The earlier phases were to include the single accommodation for other ranks and new Mess’s for the Officers & SNCOs. It is difficult to reconstruct the chronology of the reconstruction without access to official documents so I have had to give the subject a fairly broad-brush treatment.

Some pictures of the demolition of the old buildings and the erection of new ones appeared in an earlier section of the blog:-

In this section there will be pictures of the new build as it affected the normal serviceman. I hope to do a further section or sections on the other parts of the site -  Nordabrake, Taftens , Officers’ and Sergeants‘ Messes, Sick Quarters etc later. (Left click on picture to enlarge).

Whilst a great deal of effort went into the exterior of the buildings, the interiors were not forgotten. Those who had been used to the old billet blocks noticed a vast improvement.

The first phase of the development was completed by the summer of 1983 and was officially opened by AVM Ken Hayr, AOC 11 Gp. An article about the event from the Press & Journal newspaper is below:

The attempt at planting a second "Unst Forest" mentioned in the Article was a dismal failure. A picture of some of the saplings in 1983 is below, followed by a photo of the same area taken in 2010.