HQ PTC RAF Innsworth
For the attention of Mr Andrew Wise, Editor

2005.10. 27

Dear Mr Wise,
I was dismayed to read your piece on the future of Bentley Priory but I hope that common sense prevails and the historic building will be saved to commemorate The Battle of Britain.

However, your piece omitted that the Observer Corps, Southern Area Command HQ was established at Bentley Priory in1935 followed in 1938 by the Observer Corps Headquarters. The Corps was granted its Royal Warrant in April 1941 as a recognition of the invaluable assistance given to the RAF during The Battle of Britain. Headquarters Royal Observer Corps closed in March 1996 following the stand-down of its NBC specialists and ending sixty years of continuous and highly valued contact with the RAF.

Apart from the historical connection there are within the building tangible reminders of the ROC's association with Bentley Priory. There is a full length portrait of Her Majesty the Queen, Commandant-in-Chief ROC, which was commissioned by the ROC. A stained glass window commemorating the Corps is situated in the foyer where once stood the ROC Aircraft Model Collection, which is now at RAF Neatishead, Air Defence Museum. The Dowding Room has a number of framed letters from VVIP's commending the Corps for its work during The Battle of Britain.

Former Royal Observer Corps members look forward to seeing the building developed as a memorial to The Battle of Britain.

Yours sincerely

Alan Price-Talbot
Observer Captain, ROC, Southern Area Commandant at stand-down in 1991.

Historical Note
The Royal Observer Corps was not disbanded, it was stood-down in May 1945 and stood-to in January1947 to meet the Soviet threat. Ten thousand Corps members comprising the nuclear monitoring force stood-down in September 1991, but its 120 NBC specialists continued until they too were stood-down on December 31st 1995. The Royal Observer Corps Association came into being in 1986; its organisation mirrors the Command and Control structure of the ROC and currently has 2500 members throughout the UK.

Alan Price-Talbot
10, Cwrt Draw Llyn, Woodland Rise, Caerphilly Glamorgan, CF83 1RZ
tel no 029 2088 3935: e-mail: alanpricetalbot@hotmail.com

The above article is taken from the readers page of RAF NEWS November (issue 1,136) an article by Alan Price Talbot (Obs Captain) from Caerphilly/Glamorgan with regards to the future of Bentley Priory. [Roy]

Edited comments from David Watson's email...


I would like to congratulate Alan for his excellent input and fair comments which were omitted from the original article October 14th Edit'...
...all but the ROC chapter was mentioned.

I agree with his comments and the comparison with other landmarks also mentioned by a former RAF pilot who commented on a "what If?" scenario where landmarks such as HMS Victory (with Trafalgar Commemoration just passing) could be put up for sale by the MoD. I'm sure this would cause an even bigger out-cry!

I hope others will agree that the ROC should not be forgotten and that every opportunity be given for the recognition of those who served proudly from the Corp's formation...

David Watson 24/35

[23oct05 00:40]