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The Service Life  of  : --    681626 Robson JR  

A life in the RAF seemed much better than going down the coal mines, and so in January 1956 I presented myself at RAF Halton,   for induction into the great unknown. I had just passed 5 GCE s (  The  necessary requisites for admittance ) and so went for an aptitude test.  The selection process was strange, as I had said that I wanted to be  an  Electrician ; I was asked if I had any experience ; on answering that I had repaired our electric kettle. I was immediately put onto a Ground   Electricians   course,  This  was to be the start of something BIG. I was put into 2 Wing 2 Squadron, and settled down to life in  the  RAF .  Unfortunately I was mad on sports, so  at  the  earliest  opportunity , I had enrolled into the boxing and athletics programs , which took up quite a bit of my time, to  the  detriment of my studies. The worst was to happen,   in the middle of the course,  I  was re - coursed 2 entries. This had a sobering effect .I got down to some serious work.   I was married in Dec 1958 ( the same month the 82 nd passed out ) I eventually  passed out in July 1959, in the top 20% of the entry ( 84 th) With  an Ordinary National Certificate in Electrical Engineering,

  • My first posting in 1959 was 232  OCU  RAF Gaydon,   Valiants and Victor Bombers, I worked in the MT Section , workshops and the battery charging room, but most of my time was spent in the main Aircrew Training Building where I had to maintain all the training equipment, ie escape trainers for both aircraft, 12 x24 way bomb installations and the flight simulators,  ,this was to be my introduction to these beasts for the rest of my service.  Another  strange  piece of equipment I had to maintain was a decompression chamber, luckily there was  a good operator who took me under his wing and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.   ( Our first child Hazel was born whilst on duty here )  I left for Cyprus in 1961.
  • RAF Nicosia :--  This was a dream posting, to spend 2 years on the Med at the Governments expense, We made the most of it, visiting all of the island : and thoroughly enjoying ourselves .I met up with Tim Hine who had been posted in before me, A regular visitor was Bryn Spatley .After one year I was posted again but this time just to the South of the Island to RAF Akrotiri
  • RAF Akrotiri :--  Was promoted to Cpl Tech, and after the usual , MT , Workshops, battery charging routine,       I was attached to 280 Signals Unit on Cape Gata, where  along with another couple of guys had the job of care and maintenance on a mobile search unit, Whilst here;  our second  child Tina was born; so I had a weeks leave; on my return to the unit I found it ha been shipped to Kuwait. So back to main camp Akrotiri.. . ( to this day Tina  has a birthmark on her arm,, the same shape as Cyprus ) It was 1963 when I was posted to :--
  • RAF Oakington :-- No 5 FTS nothing exciting here. This was my  return  to Flying  aids, this time The  D4 Jet Trainer. Under  the  “ Wing “ of Master Pilot “Mickey” Finn. I became very efficient in flying this machine. So much  so : that a graph of one of my flights was kept to show incoming Aircrew, How to do it.             Third child Jim was born in RAF Hospital Ely.
  •  RAF Khormaksar :-It was now  1965  I was initially posted on a 12 months  unaccompanied tour. I am still trying to understand why I did, what I did next . I actually changed it into a two year accompanied tour, and subjected my wife and kids  to  life  in  Aden  during  the worst years of the troubles, Before they came out I was detached to RAF Muharraq for a couple of weeks. However we  were all none the worst for our adventures when , we arrived back to the UK. I do have quite a lot of recollections of Aden,  We had a lot of grenades exploding in the Maala straight, , a few just outside our flat. I was the chief warden for our block of flats and had to delegate those who lived in it. To go on guard every 2 hours outside of it, not an enviable task. In Jan 1967 During  these troubles the Federal Regular Army ( who had barracks on the other side of the airfield ) mutinied: and we had stray bullets pinging into our Unit :-  VASF.   I was filling up the radiator on a Houchin when a bullet lodged itself into the radiator. During this brief period we had to sit in the aircraft that were on the pans in case of a strike. I had been promoted to Snr Tech during this tour, but then had to turn the stripes the wrong way round,  (SGT)

                                    

                                       Yours Truly      Sept 1967 . doing  gate guard as a SNCO

 I had met up with Cyril Dale, and since we were both SNCOs we shared a married quarter ,( Ann and the children were repatriated 3 months before I was ) after the families had gone of course. He went to RAF Brize Norton and myself (In September 1967) to :--

  •  RAF Little Rissington :- Central Flying School , Where I was awarded the General Service Medal for South Arabia. I could not get away from them, more flying training aids. This time, luckily the main simulator was at RAF Kemble. I applied to “ sign on” here but was told that the RAF needed more Indians and less Chiefs, so I was demobbed in Feb 1969. I still look back with nostalgia at the wonderful time that I spent in the Royal Air Force.