Desmond King-Hele: on making decisions on the four minute warning
Desmond King-Hele remembers guiding RAF Fylingdales Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station.
Say more, a funny attitude, what do you mean?
Well [laughs] I knew in a sense that it [laughs] I might have the power to decide one way or the other what should happen. And I always decided I was just going to say it wasn’t anything.
So when they phoned up, what did they say that they’d seen or heard or?
Well they might have seen – they’d see something coming towards them, or a missile that they don’t know what it is. And sometimes [laughs] once I believe it was the moon, no it wasn’t I think, that wasn’t me actually, someone else had that one. But anyway, there was once when the moon rose, they thought that was it [laughs]. That was early days, I think. It had to be moving towards them. But it could be – well they could’ve been Russian aircraft of course, just coming over on reconnaissance that they happened to pick up. But they usually weren’t fast enough to be missiles and I was able to assure them, usually, that it was all right. It didn’t happen very often, this, but I knew it was there, waiting to happen. I always remember one day when I – they had a new, they’ve got it there still, the new sports centre, and I decided to go and do some weightlifting or something, you know, there. And suddenly my wife came in and said that Fylingdales were on the phone [laughs]. I thought oh my goodness [laughs]. But by the time I got through to them it was all over anyway [laughs]. So that was quite funny.
- Interviewee: Desmond King-Hele
- Duration: 00:02:19
- Copyright: British Library Board
- Interviewer: Paul Merchant
- Date of interview: 7/5/2010
- Shelfmark: C1379/13
Related Audio Clips
The following clips are short extracts from an in-depth interview.
To listen to the full interview visit http://sounds.bl.uk