1955 - left
Jan. 1956 - Halton. Along with the rest of you guys, I commenced training as an Aircraft Apprentice in the Engine Fitter trade; my first choice, so I was well chuffed.
with about 20 other lads I was allocated to No.1 Sqdn. 2 Wing and should appear
on Rob Dyson's group photo. Unfortunately, we had all been "jabbed up"
that week and I had succumbed to a mild vaccine fever and was confined to
my pit in the room just behind the rest of the chaps in the picture. So I never
actually did officially "Pass In". We were under the guidance of the
late and greatly missed (by me, anyway) Sqdn. Ldr. Ray Candy, an ex wartime
After a steady first year I was a bit stir crazy but found salvation in the Racing Car Club. We went to Silverstone nearly every weekend during the season and had a lot of fun.
I was amazed to be made a Snag for the autumn term of '57 and put in charge of Room 6 Block 8. Chiefy Lenz couldn't have been too pleased at this development as he promptly tried to get me busted. (Twice) It didn't come off, as he was further enraged when I was made C.A.A. of the middle landing in Block 7. Then I somehow got to be S.A.A. i/c Block 7. I was also now senior A.A. in the Racing Car Club. The Sqdn. had no option but to reluctantly put me up for F.S.A.A., everyone being flabbergasted when I got it. (Our Wingco must have been a bit soft upstairs) Cheify Lenz gave in with good grace and proceeded to train me to shout at people. He did a good job, I thought, considering his material. Is it true that I could be heard over in 3 Wing on a Saturday morning parade? Unfeasible as it sounds to me, that is what I was once told. One of the amusing(ish) things about 2 Wing was that the F.S.A.A. had custody of a small, silver tipped swagger stick. The 2 Wing S--t Stick. I got continual mutterings about where folks would like to place that stick about my anatomy, particularly when I was trying to get a Flight of lads returning from a hard day in Shops to smarten up to an acceptable standard. After my usual abject failure to understand anything about Calculus, (I still don't), The Air. Com., Tom Coslett, our first ever Ex A.A. Air Com. gave up on the idea of sending me to Cranwell. Just as well, I had a chip on each shoulder and would never have made a decent officer of any kind at that sort of age. Thankfully, we had George Wade to step into the breach; he made a much better fist of it than I would have.
Dec. '58 - Came 2nd in Engines to Brian Mott (a well known genius) mainly due to my test job. I won the Crebbin Robinson cup for it and came 1st in General Service Efficiency, whatever that was. About 12 of us passed out substantive Corporals and I was posted initially to Linton-on-Ouse on Vampire trainers. Talk about being thrown in the deep end. I soon realised I hadn't a clue about practical Engine Fitting. A steep learning curve ensued.
Honnington (V Bombers) and
had done the Theory exam for Snr Tech. in
I absolutely loved it and stayed a couple of years, earning an A2 grade after one year and a C-inC's Commendation after 2. The student pilot's average age was 22 and we got on like a house on fire. (I was still single, enjoying blasting around the Cambrigeshire lanes in my Mini Cooper like a lunatic. How I survived, I'll never know)
Eventually common sense prevailed and I went off on the Air Engineers course at the end of 1966 as I'd heard it paid more.
I joined 267 Sqdn Argosys at Benson and did the 6 year Airman Aircrew thing. (Amusingly, about half of 267 and 114's Co-pilots were ex students of mine.) I met Kath, who was separated and with 2 small lads in 1967 and we were married in 1970 after her divorce was finalised. I left the Service and 114 Sqdn, in Dec. 1971 after the Argosy was as long last replaced by the Herc. On my first Ardet detachment to Muharraq in 1968 (as a Flt. Sgt.) who turned out to be S.W.O.? Why, my old friend Chiefy Lenz, of course. Boy, did he give us the run-around?? We did most of the Station duties, later finding out that as a Lodger Unit, we shouldn't have done any.
Jan 1972 - commenced a Comet 4 course with Dan-Air. Did 6 years on them till converting to B727s in 1977. Quite a lot of old service buddies, some ex brats, in the Charter business so I was quite happy. Kath and I had our own son Phil in March 1972. Money was tight for a couple of years but I started to work on cars in my spare time as Charter work was then very seasonal. Kath told me that a period of 2 years once passed without me taking a day off. I was either flying or fixing a car.
made Senior Flight Engineer Officer (what a mouthful) in 1976 - and who had
joined the Comet Fleet in, I think '75 at
did a 3 month detachment to
I wasn't too well for a bit, then in early '92 Social Services, on hearing that I could walk a couple of hundred yards on the flat and about 25 uphill, declared that I was no longer an invalid and was merely out of work. Nice!!
No aviation jobs near Glossop, Derbyshire where we lived from 1973, but I had kept in teaching practice with our local A.T.C. Sqdn for 20 years, so I applied for a Training Dept. job at the then brand new Shannon Aerospace and joined as a Systems and Engines Instructor in Aug. 92. Just before the company officially opened on Sept 19th. I'm on the original company photo.
I was asked to take on Air Legislation and Company Procedures as a specialisation while teaching U/T Technicians in Aeronautical Fundamentals. A bit of everything Systems and Engines for 10 weeks. My "Air Leg." course was hawked around by the Marketing boys who, before Euros, charged IŁ 450 for my 3 day course and IŁ 850 (both plus VAT) for my full house, beginners 5 day course. My record in the early days was 6 different nationalities in the same 3 day class for qualified Licensed Engineers. It was a fundamentally boring subject for them and it took about a day and a half to "reel-'em-in". It had to be done before they were able to certify work.
I also set all the exams, it taking one Slovenian MD80 Engineer 3 attempts before he eventually scraped a pass. I was terrified he was going to kiss me when I told him the good news. On the side, as it were, I was also the Company lead Engine Type instructor, qualified on JT8D 100s & 200s, CFM56s, P&W 2000 & 4000 and G.E. CF6.
Eventually, in 1995, my arteries completely furred up and I underwent a triple by-pass in Dec. of that year. 12 hrs technically dead, with heart and lungs by-passed while they re-plumbed the works. Been fine since.
1998 - Joined
our Phil contracted Colon Cancer in 1992, eventually passing away at home on
Aug.14th (that date again) 2002. I couldn't stand the house after that and we
looked about for somewhere else. We thought Oakham, about half-way between our
surviving sons Mike and Richard would be good, but couldnt find a smallish
3-bed bungalow with the required double garage. No such animal we thought. We
searched near Market Deeping where our Mike and his family, (2 sons now) live