I found Halton to be one of the most formative and interesting periods of my life despite, when sitting with the admin Corporal and preparing to sign the dotted line, I asked “Can I give it a go for 6 months and see how it works out”? ‘Cor, not really lad, just sign here and you will enjoy it all’ was his response and, I duly did as I was asked!
I was billeted in 2Wing 3 Squadron, opposite the NAAFI girls accommodation and 2 Wing ‘Tank’. I had really fancied being a ‘Sootie’ having just learned all about the 4-stroke engine and how it worked. However, on the workshop tour, before we chose out trade group, we were shown a Hercules engine with sleeve valves. I thought that would be far too complicated for me to understand and, going onto the new Airframe Shop, we were shown these big shiny Meteor jets. I asked who looked after them and was informed that the Airframe Fitters did so.
Well, I was impressed and decided a ‘Rigger’ I would be.
Much to my surprise I made CAA, passed out 6th in my trade and represented 2 Wing in the 440 yards in the BK Trophy and also played Wing soccer. My one ‘black’ was being stopped at Wendover, with no train ticket from Baker Street. This was as a result of buying a 350cc Douglas horizontally opposed bike from a ‘Kiwi’ who. After the exchange of money, told me it was parked outside the UJ Club near Waterloo station. Well, I couldn’t make it start and had to push it to Waterloo and pay for it to be transported to Aylesbury and that left me penniless. To cut a long story short, I eventually appeared at Aylesbury Magistrates Court, accompanied by my Officer, who told The Court I had a bright future etc., etc., just as I had to do for some of my subordinates in later years. The real embarrassment was that on the bench was Mr Freddie Mayne, my Airframe Civilian Instructor. ‘A £1 fine and a Guinea costs’ was the verdict and the title lived with me for quite some time to come.
Jan 59 – Mar 59 : Piston Provosts at RAF Cranwell.
Apr 59 – Aug 61 : Thorney
Island on Varsity and Valetta aircraft.
Sep 61 – Feb 64 : RAF Tengah, 20 Squadron, Mk 7 Hunters. Accompanied by Ian Newton and Keith Varney. Detachments to Butterworth and Chieng Mei (Thailand)
May 64 – Aug 69 : RAF Marham on Valiants and Victors. Again, with Ian Newton.
Sep 69 – Dec 69 : RAF Henlow : Commissioned into Engineering Branch.
Jan 70 – Jun 72 : 71 MU RAF Bicester : ‘Crash and Smash’/Exhibition Flight. Fg Officer.
Promoted Flt Lieutenant Dec ’71.
Jul 72 – Feb 73: RAF Cranwell : Advanced Mechanical Engineering Course.
Mar 73 – Sep 75 : RAF Honington : Buccaneer aircraft. OC Aircraft Servicing Flight.
Sep 75 – Feb 78 : RAF Swanton Morley(CSDE) : OC Airframe B Flight.
Mar 78 : Retired from Royal Air Force, age 39.
I worked with Colonial Mutual Life, for 12 months, as an insurance consultant, before joining Permaswage s.a., a French aerospace company, on 1 April 1979, as the UK Product Support Manager, covering the UK, Ireland and Norwegian territories. This involved everyday contact with the aerospace industry, the Mod and the RAF and I met many old comrades and friends, including Ian Newton again (I couldn’t shake him off!). I really enjoyed my time with Permaswage and was very sad to retire, in October 2005, after 26+ years.
I now fill my days with a little consultancy work, golf, gardening, angling, ‘wheeling & dealing’, grandchildren and motivating the 82nd Entry Association.
14 August 2006