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The Royal Air Force as seen by John Cooper

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An Airmans Daily Diary


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For seven and a half years I kept a personal diary of the events that happened on and off shift whilst in the RAF from 01/01/1962 until my discharge from the RAF on 13/07/1969. Some events will be humorous, some even boring, perhaps a lot of it the MoD might not like (but that's tough!), a lot of it will show how an Engine Bod (erk) coped on the Squadron line or on 2nd line Servicing (yuck!). Not every day of the year is included and I must point out these are my views of the RAF and no other person. Dates prior to 1962 are taken from my flying log books, Air Training Corps (ATC) records, medical records and my service records.
 
Conduct and Trade Assessments:
1957 Exemplary  u/t  -  5  Halton/Weeton
1958 Exemplary   5   -  6  Seletar
1959 Very Good   5   -  5  Katunayake
1960 Very Good   5   -  5  St Mawgan
1961 Very Good   4   -  5  St Mawgan
1962 Very Good   6   -  4  St Mawgan/Weeton
1963  Good            5   -  5  St Mawgan/El Adem
1964 Exemplary   5   -  5  El Adem
1965 Exemplary   5   -  5  El Adem/Stradishall
1966 Exemplary   5   -  5  Stradishall
1967 Exemplary   6   -  6  Stradishall/Wattisham
1968 Exemplary   6   -  6  Wattisham
 
January 1st
1962 RAF St Mawgan Day off 
1963 RAF Weeton Fitters course, mates car wouldn't start, got into work just after 0900hrs just in time for tea break, no one noticed I wasn't there!
1964 RAF El Adem 12 hour shifts on Transit Aircraft Servicing Section nothing to do in the morning, PM a Libyan LA-19 Bird Dog and a Canberra from 58 Squadron came in.
1965 RAF El Adem, woken by Chiefy at 0630hrs, time for breakfast then knocked off at 0900hrs.
1966 RAF Stradishall    Day Off
1967 RAF Stradishall    Day Off
1968 RAF Wattisham    Day Off
1969 RAF Wattisham    QRA Quick Reaction Alert 29(f) Squadron, we sat at end of runway with two Lightning F3's for a whole week in the 'shed' ready for the 'big one'. Two engine runs only, relieved only for 4 meals in a 24 hour period.
 
January 2nd
1962 St Mawgan 201 Squadron Shackleton MR3 Engine Starter Fire (Priming) one Co2 bottle used to extinguish flames which had extended under the wing.
1964 El Adem Hastings TG530 51 Squadron 'Iceni' arrived (Top secret squadron this one at that time!)
1967 Stradishall. Medical chit to work in office for 7 days, no engine runs permitted (ear problems)
 
January 3rd
1962 St Mawgan put on a fizzer (252 Charge) by a Chief Technician for refusing to do a job after just finishing a job which resulted in me being soaked to the skin. C/T later withdrew the charge and gave me a rollicking.
1963 Weeton     Paid 5=10=0
1964 El Adem  Sudanese Jet Provost in on turn round only
1965 El Adem  Standby helicopter (Sycamore) and 70 Sqn Pembroke called out as the Air Attache to Cairo, a group captain, was involved in a car crash on the Libyan/Egyptian border. Car hit donkey in a sandstorm at 70mph, left the road, hit a boulder, car safety strap broke but had already lacerated G/C neck severely. Helicopter lost way in sandstorm  and strayed 5 miles over Egyptian border at Salum, aircraft impounded, pilot arrested and taken to Egyptian gaol for 3 hours. An ambulance was despatched from El A but broke down, helicopter eventually brought G/C to EL A SSQ and then transferred to Benghazi hospital for treatment.
1969 Wattisham Friday at cessation of QRA both aircraft 'A' and 'F' scrambled, 111 Squadron took up QRA. Home after 168 hours stuck in a hangar!  
 
January 4th
1962 St Mawgan  To SWO's office to sign on for Armoury Guard, Disciplinary Sergeant picked me up for a haircut!
 
January 5th
1964 El Adem:  I doubt whether you will find an account of this in the PRO at Kew!!!! "Comet C2 from 51 Squadron Wyton (Hastings in 2 days previous) arrived late at night unannounced, A whole load of 'snowdrops' (police) surrounded the aircraft. A/C was supposed to have hit an air pocket but rumour had it that it was Radar Jamming over Nassers Corner, Egypt when 2 Mig fighters 'bounced' the Comet, they had to 'open up the taps' and pull a tight 'G' to rapidly get out of the area. Comet had a suspected cracked main spar and all engines were dropped for further investigation. (It was later reported this a/c returned to the UK with undercarriage down!)
 
 
 
 

January 6th
1964 El Adem 2 x 6 Squadron Canberras in, nothing else to report
1967 Stradishall Chimney Fire in my AMQ at 65 Poplar Walk, reported to guard room the fire, had 3 fire picquet airmen, Corporal Policeman, Orderley Corporal, Orderley Sergeant, Orderley Officer, 2 man ambulance crew from Strad plus a 5 man fire tender from Wickhambrook attended. 3 days later I was summoned to the Station Adjutants office accused of not having the chimney swept, I told him to get his facts right and had the chimney swept two days before the back boiler fire occurred and walked out of his office, not waiting for his reply!
 
8th January
1969 Wattisham:  21 sorties by Lightnings on my day shift on 29 Squadron. just before I was due to leave off work I was put on immediate standby for MRD snow clearance, after just coming off QRA told them I wasn't going to do it and went home! Nothing said.
 
9th January
1964 El Adem: Had 13 Canberras in plus Pembroke,RAAF Hercules, IRIS III Hastings, 2 Indian Air Force Sea Hawks, 2 Comets, Jet Provost, Auster AOP, and a British Eagle Viscount. Also got two rollickings, one from my Flight Commander for touching a 'hot prop' on a Pembroke and one from a G/Captain for not standing in the correct position when seeing him off in his Canberra!
1967 Stradishall: Office work for 2 more weeks via UMO SSQ
 
10th January
1969 Wattisham: 2 x Lightnings from 92 Squadron Gutersloh came in, on the afterflight I snagged one in the F700 for a fuel leak from the port hinge bracket, this Chiefy went Apesh*t and an argument developed and I told him to get off my back!
 
11th January
1965 El Adem:  3 Jet Provosts of Iraqi Air Force in amongst others. So windy on the airfield that we had to tow a Hastings off the runway, pilot wouldn't taxi it to dispersal!
 
12th January
1966 Stradishall:  The Meteor Flight (NF14's) were disbanded. 
 
13th January
1960 Katunayake: Trip in a RNZAF Bristol Freighter (Vibrator as we called them) NZ5910 to Kandy and return 1 hour 10 mins.
1964 El Adem: Defence Minister Peter Thorneycroft came through on a Comet. White overall job! Went to SHQ to try and get out of the mob, only way was to Purchase Discharge.
 
14th January
1963 Weeton: Exactly half way through my 13 years in the RAF, only 78 months to do!!
 
15th January
1964 El Adem: Told to get my hair cut from Discip NCO. 
1968 Wattisham: Appeared in some BBC TV documentary of the filming of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the RAF on 29 sqn.
1969 Wattisham: MRD crew for a week, should have stayed on camp, fortunately weather was so mild for that week I took the chance and went home at 1700 hrs everyday and didn't bother to turn up at the weekend, despite the station being MDA.
 
16th January
1965 El Adem 3 Iraqi Hunters in on turn round.
1968 Wattisham: Armourer guys on 111 squadron wrote off a Firestreak Missile at 10800.  
 
      
 
 

17th January
1968 Wattisham  News in from previous evening 'Alpha' Lightning of 29 Squadron ended up in the arrester barrier after parachute brake failed to deploy and  normal brakes failed. .....and at RAF Coltishall someone crunched a T-5 Lightning on to the runway.
 
19th January
1965 El Adem 2 x B6 Canberras of 213 squadron did 4 bombing sorties over the escarpment bombing range. Had a Vickers Varsity of 115 squadron in and Rock 'n'Roll Star Wee Willie Harris arrived on a Viscount for a gig, a Beverley was delayed by strong headwinds!
 
20th January
1965 El Adem   A Ghibley (Sand Storm) blew in off the Sahara, all aircraft grounded and airfield closed.
 
21st January
1969 Wattisham:  Sent to CME Goodge Street, London to see Queens ENT specialist so a day out in the smoke, going up the GPO tower and a walk through Regents Park.
 
22nd January
1958 Innsworth: To 25/01/1958 #5 Personnel Dispatch Unit awaiting overseas posting. 
1964 El Adem Stuck down the intake of a Hunter of 43 Squadron doing an igniter plug change, (you had to be a thin chap to get down there and was pulled out by your feet by a colleague when finished the job)  
1965 El Adem Saw Wee Willie Harris and his group performing at Tobruk Garrison.
 
23rd January
1963 RAF Weeton: Took a day trip to nearby RAF Warton, the home of the English Electric Lightning, counted 35 mark 3,4 and 5's. Chief test pilot Dizzy de Villiers arrived in a gleaming red e-type Jaguar, parked alongside an F3, strapped in started up and did a splendid short display for us including the famous 'sitting it on its ar*e at low level, selecting full reheat and off into the blue yonder' (I saw this performed many times at Wattisham, spectacular!)
1968 Wattisham: 'Operation Slingshot' cancelled due to fog!
1965 El Adem: Hastings TG551 came back to base with #2 propellor feathered, loss of oil pressure, when I checked the oil tank NO OIL! Dropped the scavenge and pressure filter, no metal fragments. Put 29 gallons of oil in the tank, ran the engine for 20 minutes, all pressures and temperatures normal and no leaks.
 
January 24th
1967 Stradishall:  Started work in spark plug bay, not to work above ground level, cushy number!
 
January 25th:
1958 Blackbushe: RAF Contract flight in Civilian clothes with Airwork services first leg to Singapore: Blackbushe to Brindisi, italy in Handley Page Hermes G-ALDC (Written off in crash at Southend 1961) 6 hours.
1964 El Adem:  5 of 13 Britannias (on my shift) from Lyneham in, en route to trouble torn Kenya, transporting the first of 1000 commandos.
1968 Wattisham: (Mention of jet intake checks, for an engine bod you had to be thin to get down this cavernous intake, climbing above the radome and then corkscrewing your way down the reverse journey was just that!) 
     
 
 
    

26th January
1958 Brindisi, Italy to Ankara, Turkey: (Jonah Syndrome) strikes again, night time landing airfield is covered in snow G-ALDC Hermes makes a pass over airfield, runway is clear except for a slight dusting of snow, somehow a very heavy thud from starboard undercarriage. On inspection U/C leg is cracked and we have to wait for a replacement Oleo to be flown out (4 days delay). All expenses on BOAC (meaning the RAF). 4 hours 5 mins flight time.
1964 El Adem  Bomb Dump guard, brilliant this, situated 1.5 miles from the control tower in an Aluminium Tent (Al Tent), a landline ran from the control tower to the Al Tent, we were 'armed' with a whistle and a torch it would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic!
 
27th January
1965 El Adem  Propellor change on Hastings TG535. Today 3 Hunters, Viscount, 4 Hastings, 2 Canberras, 2 Shackletons, Vulcan, 2 Andovers of The Queens Flight and a support Argosy from RAF Benson, the latter two on their way to Sudan for the Queens visit next week. 
1967 Stradishall  Annual kit inspection carried out by a warrant officer, panic stations as several of us had to go and borrow kit off other erks to make up the shortfall! Also picked up for frayed collar and 'dirty' shoes!  
1969 Wattisham throughout the day and night 29 (f) Squadron acheived 35 sorties including 6 operational turn rounds (OTR that was not to take longer than 6 minutes to receive aircraft, refuel, avpin, new brake chute and rearm and to dispatch, that was teamwork!)  
 
January 28th
1965 El Adem  Ran engine of a 70 Squadron (RAF Nicosia) on and off throughout the night for the instrument bods who were curing a snag.
 
 January 29th
1964 El Adem  Airfield closed again due to Ghibley (Sandstorm)
 
January 30th
Negombo 1960: Admitted to Station Hospital for operation on left toe, 10 days in hospital. Second time toe-nail removed.  
El Adem 1964 Booster pump change on Canberra B15 throughout the night, a swine of a job.
Stradishall 1967  #1 hangar chiefy took me out of plugbay and attempted to force me to work on a Primary* servicing a Varsity, I refused to do so and told him to get in touch with the SMO which he did. The MO said I wasn't to work above ground level, so he (the chiefy) thought he would get one over on him here and ordered me to work on #2 engine. He hadn't taken into account that the aircraft had to be jacked up, this raised the engines 7' off the ground, red faced he sent me back to the plug bay!
1968 Wattisham  Full kit inspection.
 
January 31st
1963 Weeton  Station Commanders Section inspection
1966 Stradishall  CME visit to London to see Queens ENT specialist
1969 Wattisham  Called out from home 0630hrs QRA alert on.   
 

1st February
1960 Katunayake: Name change from RAF Negombo to RAF Katunayake Closing Down Party. (I must have missed this party one of the few then!)
1962 St Mawgan  Worked on 206 Squadron for the day, short of bods.
1965 El Adem   Shackleton of 38 Squadron in.
 
2nd February
1958 Ankara, Turkey to Basra, Iraq: RAF Charter flight Hermes G-ALDC 4 hours flight time , breakfast in the lounge overlooking the Euphrates River, refuelling stop. Take - off to Karachi, West Pakistan, flight time 5 hours 45 minutes, over the thousands of oil tanks over Abadan and Persia. When we landed a couple of Pakistanis came on to the kite and sprayed us all with some DTD spray/powder from one of those cycle pump canisters, could we Brits really be bringing in diseases to Pakistan? Overnight stop.
   
 
3rd February
1958 Karachi, West Pakistan to New Delhi, India. RAF Charter Flight 2 hours 55 mins. Pandit Nehru inspecting a guard of honour with Mig-15/17 fighter jets lined up as we taxied to dispersal. Saw the Red Fort, Taj Mahal and the snow capped mountains of the Himalayas on this flight. Ahhh New Delhi to Calcutta good time for a kip 3 hours 25 mins. Still the same day Calcutta to Krung Thep, Bangkok, Thailand. 4 hours 25 mins, the humidity hit us during a tropical rainstorm, welcome to the Far East.
1964 El Adem Helped Movements lads remove LandRovers from a Hastings. Did an engine run on a Valetta.
 
4th February
1958 Bangkok to Paya Lebar, Singapore: Arrived destination after 4 hrs 30 mins early morning 0630 hrs. Coach journey to RAF Seletar. Posted to 205/209 Squadron  MB.
1964 El Adem  Failed to salute a Flying Officer and a Squadron Leader whilst crossing the dispersal area, my mate and myself were pulled up for not saluting the two Zobbits, I said I couldn't salute because my hat was in my epaulette, he corrected me by saying that I should have been wearing my beret but I corrected him by saying that Unit Routine Orders stated that we were not to wear any hats on the 'pan' as foreign objects may get sucked/blown into jet intakes. He told me to report to his office at 1400 hrs prompt. I did so wearing a hat and saluting him, he bollocked me for my previous action and then asked me if I would like to go in for my Corporal Technicians board. I told him the RAF owed me no favours therefore I owed them none, with that he dismissed me. Perhaps that is why my assessments for that year were 5 - 5! 
 
5th February
1963 Weeton:  Promoted to Junior Technician, I only did this 6 month course to further my own aims when I came out of the RAF, a fitters pay and qualifications were always better than a mechanics. The previous entry coincidentally explains part of this.
1968 Wattisham: Selected for trials to wear ear defenders, the RAF were just a wee bit late as they had made me partially deaf 4 years earlier! 
 
6th February
1962 St Mawgan  Engine change on WR986 on 201 Squadron line, no room in the hangar.
1964 El Adem  I was on VIP steps, ie white overalls for the day for visiting VIP's. The first in was the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Defence Staff Lord (and Lady) Mountbatten of Burma who came through on a Britannia. Followed, going in the opposite direction Air Chief Marshal Sir Kenneth Cross.
1965 El Adem: Different year but the C-in-C's aircraft for the Near East
Hastings WD500 visited the station. 
 
7th February
1962 St Mawgan: Removed powerplant from A MR3 Shackleton (see previous day) none in stock, see below nothing changes in three years! 
1965 El Adem went to stores to get a new Best Blue, none to fit me, waiting list 6 months! Same day, I went to the SWO's to get a Gen App form about redundancies within the RAF, before he told me to get out of his office, he told me to get a haircut, I had only had it cut the week before!
 
9th February
1962 St Mawgan: Still waiting for new powerplant to come to station, so I lost myself over in 42 Squadron crewroom for the day.
 
10th February
1963 St Mawgan:  Back from my Fitters Course at RAF Weeton, usual scive spending the day getting signatures for the 'blue chitty'
 
11th February
1966 Stradishall: Had a barney with the chiefy he wanted me to go to the #2 hangar on Saturday Night/Sunday morning and Sunday night to turn paraffin stoves on and off. Didn't do it, luckily the weather was mild!
1969 Wattisham: Off to RAF Valley to do some live missile firing
 
12th February
1959 Negombo: 5th Digit right hand, finger nail had to be removed in SSQ due to accident with wrench whilst working on a Bristol Hercules engine, local anaesthetic performed.
1963 St Mawgan: Returned to 201 Squadron and immediately I got to the Squadron Office I got a bollicking by the Chiefy, as I should have reported for duty yesterday!
1965 El Adem: Hastings in, it was full of paramedics following the Queen around Sudan and Ethiopia, an Argosy returning to Benson had an armed guard on board protecting the Queens gifts from Emperor Haile Selassie, some of these gifts like African Spears and Shields could be seen, the rest were crated!.
1969 Wattisham at RAF Valley successfully fired a Red Top Air to Air Missile and hit its target pulled by a Jindivik drone.  
 
13th February 
1965 El Adem  Saturday night shift, 4 Hastings turned up, one had an 80RPM mag drop, did a plug change ran the engine 100 RPM mag drop! We had to work on that throughout the night to sort it out.
1967 Stradishall  Fire picquet 
1969 Wattisham detachment to RAF Valley:  Two Firestreak missiles fired successfully.
 
14th February 
1963 St Mawgan: Another Engine Change on the line it was so cold on the line that you couldn't feel your fingers, working blind (by feel only)two split pins took over an hour to insert into a bolt!
 
15th February
1962 St Mawgan: Ran out of Brasso to clean buttons for a best blue inspection, had to get some Simoniz Chrome Cleaner from the car to clean buttons!  
1966 Stradishall  to Ely hospital to see G/Capt ENT specialist and Pathological labororatory.
1968 Wattisham: Turn round of a Hunter T-7 in from Boscombe Down.
 
16th February
1966 Stradishall:  MRD (Machine, Runway De-icer!) had to get in this machine which had a cab situated between two Derwent Jet Engines attached to a fuel bowser to remove snow and ice, great on soft snow but on packed ice you had to lower the jet nozzles and angle them, the 2 throttles were just like in a cockpit of a jet fighter, the more you opened up the taps the more packed ice you could shift, thought it a bit odd that the ice wasn't budging so gave it full throttle and full angle unfortunately this was melting the tarmac and the stone chippings plastered the hangar doors!!!
1968 Wattisham: 10 aircraft serviceable on 29 sqn line at the same time!
 
17th February
1965 El Adem: The Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) of the RAF AVM Sir Augustus Walker made an inspection of the station arriving on VIP Hastings WD500.
 
18th February
1964 El Adem: (Unconnected with above) we erks had to sweep the sand level around the section HQ at TASS in readiness for an inspection.  
                 
 

19th February
1969 Wattisham (RAF Valley detachment) Trip to RAF Llanbedr to see the Meteors and Jindivik drone aircraft remote controlled by Radio, 21 Jindiviks in all, these were used to tow a drogue so that fighters could either fire their cannon or missiles at a target or even photograph the event.  
 
20th February
1964 El Adem Twelve Argosies arrived to evacuate families from Trouble torn Cyprus.
1965 El Adem BBC TV personality Fyffe Robertson arrived  in a Pembroke to do some interviews for the folks back home in the UK.
Same night shift one Shackleton of 204 Squadron and 2 of 210 Squadron arrived.
 
21st February
1963 St Mawgan  First sign of any ear problem.
1966 Stradishall: Ely hospital again ENT specialist
1968 Wattisham: Duty crew for a week.
 
23rd February
1967 Stradishall: CME Goodge Street London ENT Specialist
 
24th February
1959 Negombo: Slippery surface on port mainplane of Comet C2, fell off trailing edge of wing landing on wrist and elbow, breaking right hand, arm in plaster for 6 weeks, light duties.  
1967 Stradishall: Severe dizziness (vertigo) had to go to SSQ for emergency treatment.
 
25th February
1963 St Mawgan: Squadron CO 'invited' me into his office for a chat, he suggested that I ought to submit an application in for my Corporal Technicians board, I told him I wasn't interested!
1964 El Adem  Went to see the Padre for another 'interview' saying 'I wanted out of the RAF', usual reply 'Purchase your own Discharge'.
 
26th February
1963 St Mawgan  Vulcan in with a Blue Steel Stand off bomb on board
1964 El Adem   To SHQ wanting 'Out of the RAF' as yesterday same reply!
1969 Wattisham detachment to Valley. Armourers dropped a live Red Top missile on the deck, not written off though!
 
27th February
1967 Stradishall   Medically downgraded to A4G2Z4
 
28th February
1966 Stradishall:  To Ely hospital ENT specialist again.
1967 Stradishall: Station Commanders Inspection, what bullsh*t!
1968 Wattisham: 42 blokes got charged by some disciplinary NCO for  walking across the grass by the Airmens Mess (Don't normally mention names, but good on you Sgt McKay!!)
1969 Wattisham: Finished RAF Valley detachment.
 
29th March
1960 Katunayake: Those that were going home tomorrow had some BOAT PARTY, absolutely sloshed all of us, somehow a coconut tree was felled and someone let off an orange dye Shackleton flare in the station swimming pool! 
 
1st March 
1954 Lyneham: ATC Handley Page Hastings flight WD477 to RAF Colerne and then continuation flying. 4 hours.
1960 Katunayake:  (Jonah syndrome) Take off for first leg of my tour-ex to UK in Hastings TG579 3 hours 40 minutes, crashed into the sea off RAF Gan, all survived (Read story on home page) 
1962 St Mawgan: Picketed all Shackletons down as high winds forecast.
 
2nd March
1960 Gan: Return to UK on Britannia XL638 Sirius to Karachi, Pakistan 5 hours 40 minutes. Overnight Stop.
1962 St Mawgan:  WR985 arrived from RAF Ballykelly for a Primary * servicing , on arrival there were 148 snags listed!
 
3rd March
1960 Karachi: (Jonah syndrome) Took off in Britannia XL638, couldn't get nosewheel up, jettisoned fuel, emergency landing 1 hour 10 mins Terrifying experience after flight 2 days previous. Eventually took off again to RAF Nicosia 7 hours 45 mins. Ovenight stop Nicosia in tents! This flight has been dubbed 'The White Knuckle Ride' (See home page)
1965 El Adem: Wing Commander ENT Specialist flew into El Adem to interview me to discuss an ear operation (vein graft), the possibility of being sent home to the UK early looks on (Never did happen though)
 
4th March
1960 St Mawgan: Odd this my service records says that I was posted to RAF St Mawgan on this date, here I was en route from the Far East to the UK and I wasn't told where I was being posted to until a travel warrant arrived at the end of April to say I was posted to St Mawgan, here I was on survival leave.
1960 Nicosia: Last leg of trip to UK RAF Lyneham on Britannia XL638 7 hours 45 mins flying time. This was where we traded our emergency issue KD from RAF Gan for blue uniform, we looked like a RAG BAG outfit, there were two sailors, one with a beard, wearing RAF Uniform, I came out with trousers about 3" above my ankles, no collars were worn as we didn't have any money to buy these from the NAAFI, so we were permitted to continue wearing our KD shirts with Blue Uniform with a white towel around our necks.....and we had a Chitty to allow this! When we went into the mess for breakfast the whole place fell silent it was as if the whole world were looking at us!    
1965 El Adem: Queen Fatima of Libya arrived on a USAF C-54
 
6th March
1963 St Mawgan: Ground Combat Training Course for 3 days
1964 El Adem: Group Captain Douglas Bader and his wife,  flew in on his own Beechcraft aircraft from Benghazi, he refuelled his own aircraft!
1967 Stradishall: Ear plugs being issued at SSQ, when I arrived there SSQ had run out of plugs!
 
7th March   
1969 Wattisham: Due to go to RAF Luqa, Malta on 29 Squadron detachment, not for me though with continuing ear problem.
       
 
 

8th March
1962 St Mawgan: Had the first of the Gnome engined Whirlwinds arrive at 22 Squadron Search and Rescue.
 
9th March
1962 St Mawgan: 3 of us picked up by the Engineering CO for being scruffy, he told me I was the scruffiest, he charged all 3 of us and also for being late at our place of work, bus arriving from Newquay was late, no excuse 'always an earlier bus'! This stupid Zob then threatened to stop us 'living out', what a crud! Same day we had a kite in from 37 squadron WL865 for a P* 
 
11th March
1962 St Mawgan: From previous entry, got 4 days Jankers for being scruffy (Wearing sea-boot socks) and for being late! Had to report to the guardroom at 0700hrs daily, but married families report at 0745hrs! The first night I did fatigues in and around the Guardroom, the other 3 nights after the Orderley Officers inspection for us naughty boys Cpl Jim Bell, who I knew well let me off at 1830 hrs, nice one Jim, thanks!
1965 El Adem: King Hassan II of Morocco arrived at El Adem on Al Italia Caravelle for a State Visit to King Idris 1 of Libya.
1968 Wattisham: The C-in-C Fighter Command accompanied the Chief of the Israeli Air Force to 29 Squadron line, the latter was taken up in the T-Bird by the Squadron CO.
1969 Wattisham: Only 3 Lightning F3's Serviceable on the line!
 
12th March
1958 Seletar: Awarded the General Service Medal with clasp "Malaya", I sold this for 2=10=0 to a jeweller the day after discharge. 
1964 El Adem: 4 Javelins, 6 Valiants, 1 Victor and 7 Canberras in as President Abdul Nasser of Egypt was rattling sabres!
1965 El Adem: White overalls job to see the Prime Minister of Libya off on a Caravelle to Tripoli.
 
13th March
1965 El Adem: One of many jobs here was to uplift 45000lb of fuel to a Britannia of 99/511 Squadron, using drop sticks from the underwings and a glass checking the Specific Gravity of the fuel, and seeing how much water the fuel contained on a % basis.
 
16th March
1962 St Mawgan: Aircraft job sheets F2988 were not completed by 1700 hrs so we had to stay behind until all work was finished, so we entered every minor snag that we could find on the 2988's they got the hint by 2000hrs and knocked us off work, this action was never repeated!
 
17th March
1966 Stradishall: To RAF Ely Hospital to see 2 x ENT specialists the person in front of me, waiting to see the specialists was AVM Sir Kenneth Cross.
1969 Wattisham: Went to SHQ to see about my discharge in July and a pre-release course.
 
18th March
1969 Wattisham: Exercise Ricochet underway when I arrived on the squadron at 0800hrs, weather had clamped in so instead of getting airborne, all available aircraft were scrambled and taxied around the perimeter track!
 
20th March
1954 Lyneham: ATC Flight Avro Anson of Station Flight 30 minutes.
1967 Stradishall: Summoned to RAF Ely for a medical board at 1130hrs  and had to be on the coach for 1300hrs, no time to press my blue or polish the buttons, so I went up in Civvies. All hell was let loose when I got to Ely, eventually some WingCo had me in his office, gave me one hell of a bollicking and sent me back to Stradishall without an examination. Things must have moved pretty quickly because by next day there was a notice on SRO's stating anyone attending a full medical board must be properly dressed in #1 uniform...oh well it was half day off!
1968 Wattisham: Whilst on evening shift at 2205hrs Grey Alert Siren went off, only had 5 serviceable aircraft on the line, got another ready before the red scramble siren went off at 2345hrs on instructions from RAF Bawdsey. 29 Squadron got 6 kites airborne whilst 111 Squadron got 2 airborne! Stood down at 0430hrs Friday morning for the weekend.
 
21st March
1962 St Mawgan: Put on Preliminary Warning Roll (PWR for overseas), so submitted a Gen App form for a Fitters Course which later had my name removed from PWR.
 
23rd March
1964 El Adem: Warned about my attitude by Chiefy. No reason stated!
 
24th March
1954 Lyneham: ATC Hastings flight TG512 Cloud Flying and GCA's 2 hours 15 mins. 
 
25th March
1968 Wattisham: 29 Squadron had T-Bird on loan from RAF Coltishall. On this day T-Bird coming into land port oleo leg collapsed on landing, aircraft ran off the runway into soft ground and took half a mile to stop.
 
26th March
1956 St Eval: ATC Flight  in Anson VM334 from RAF St Eval to Haverford West and return to St Eval,  2 hours flying time flew in the co-pilots seat and had the controls for 10 minutes, seemed quite easy to fly. 
1968 Wattisham: Saw 2 x 56 Squadron Lightnings off to Akrotiri who had been guests of 29 Squadron.
 
27th March
1956 St Eval: ATC flight Anson VV260  1 hour 45 mins as Navigator, brilliant trip as I learned the three R's on how to Navigate by Road, Rail and River, 
 
28th March
1968 Wattisham: Appeared on BBCTV documentary as part of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the RAF, this was filmed at Wattisham just a few weeks ago.
 
29th March
1968 Wattisham: 29 Squadron  acheived 300 flying hours (Approx 400 sorties) in for the month of March and we received a day off making a long weekend.
 
1st April
1958 Seletar: Slipped on oily hangar floor, falling on to engine cowling, SSQ then to RAF Hospital Changi for an X-Ray on right patella.
1964 El Adem: Worked through two shifts (26 hours stopping for meal breaks only!) over the Easter period on Comet XR396, I seem to recall that someone in Singapore was speared by a Harpoon Gun ricochetting off a rock and the barb entering the chest. the Comet landed on 3 engines but as it was a Casevac aircraft and another one wasn't available, we had to await the arrival of an Avon engine being flown out from Lyneham. The engine was removed by a team, when the new one arrived (there was a delay) and then everyone pulled out the stops to get this kite airborne. The resultant air test was conducted en route to Lyneham, we then received a pat on the back given 4 days off and was told that the patient survived the emergency operation at RAF Wroughton Hospital. 
1965 El Adem: My prescence was required by the Senior Education Officer to discuss promotion examinations, again I told them I wasn't interested!
 
3rd April
1967 Stradishall: To RAF Hospital Ely for medical review, upgraded to A4G2Z1
1969 Wattisham: Resettlement Course approved by RAF Strike Command HQ, effectively discharged from the RAF 3 months early.
 
4th April
1955 Lyneham: ATC Hastings flight WJ343 map reading, 2 hours. 
1962 St Mawgan: Station Duty Crew for a week at MDA.
1963 St Mawgan: Pay day 7=14=0
1968 Wattisham: Fly past over Ipswich (50th anniversary??) 12 Lightnings of 29 Squadron,  6 from 111 Squadron and 2 from TFF
 
6th April
1955 Lyneham: ATC flight Hastings TG531 Jeep dropping over Watchfield underslung fuselage, 1 hour 15 mins. 
 
7th April
1969 Wattisham: On QRA over Easter period 2 aircraft scrambled today Easter Monday.
 
9th April
1964 El Adem: Allocated a flat at The Palace Hotel Tobruk (then the only hotel for 300 miles!), now Pauline (my wife) can enjoy the sights of Libya!
 
10th April
1959 Negombo: Excused shaving for 6 days from SSQ, facial rash.
1962 St Mawgan: (Duty Crew) A MR 2 Shackleton of 204 Squadron RAF Ballykelly came in to refuel in order to resume search of two crews of two Royal Navy aircraft that had collided over the English Channel.
1963 St Mawgan: 20 of us 201 Squadron lads got into a hell of a punch up in the NAAFI mixing it with Rock Apes, I ended up with a black eye. 7 snoops called in to quell the fighting!
 
11th April
1969 Wattisham: Effectively finished with the RAF 3 months early, a mate of mine wangled me a 4 week resettlement course (carpet salesman on paper!), a months terminal leave plus a months leave I had saved up. At long last the Bullsh*t had ended, I shall miss the friendship and the frontline but NOTHING ELSE! 
 
12th April
1963 St Mawgan: Due to fly to the Azores but the kite I was due to go on developed engine trouble on start up and as I was flying out on it (This day was Good Friday!) I had to drop the scavenge filter and found enough foreign debris to change the engine, took until 0400 hrs the next morning before we finished.
 
13th April
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight in DH Chipmunk of Station Flight WB660 aerobatics, including loops, falling leaf and stall turns. 40 minutes. 
1963 St Mawgan: Flew to Santa Maria in the Azores in MR 3 Shackleton WR981  8 hours 30 minutes flight time, I slept all the way shattered!
 
14th April
1955 Lyneham: ATC flight Hastings TG531 Cross Country to Devon. 1 hour 30 mins.
1955 Lyneham: ATC flight Hastings TG616, night flying to Bristol. 2 hours 5 minutes, two trips on same day.
 
 
15th April
1958 Seletar: To get to this rank of Leading Aircraftsman I had to degrease an oily chain in a paraffin bath, still it was worth another 2/6d a week! 
1963 St Mawgan: (Jonah syndrome) Flew from Santa Maria to USN base Brunswick Maine USA. Panic stations we were on finals into Brunswick when a fuel pump in the wing tank packed up, the US Coastguard, USN Navy were alerted to a possible ditching as we were short on fuel against Westerly headwinds and a 14 hour 40 minute flight. We did not have enough fuel for an overshoot, we landed with 220 gallons of usable fuel, with a Navy Band playing God Save The Queen and The Stars and Stripes! I tell you I had to change my pants on that one too!!       
 
 
      
   
 

16th April
1964 St Mawgan: Received a pay rise of 10/= (50p) per week!
 
17th April
1967 Stradishall: To RAF Hospital Ely for vertigo balance test, this involved putting your arms out straight, closing your eyes and standing on one leg! Couldn't achieve this on either leg.
 
18th April
1965 El Adem: Not an aircraft in day or night a rarity, but it was Easter Sunday!
 
20th April
1963 St Mawgan exchange visit to US Navy base Brunswick, should have flown down to Floyd Bennett Field New York for a day out in the Big Apple, first kite got in but fog grounded the one I was due to fly on!
 
21st April
1965 El Adem: On my night shift had 5 Canberras, a Tunis Air Caravelle, a Hastings and a Blackburn Beverley, on the latter it was my turn to go in the 'dog kennel' a hatch through from the upper deck into the starboard wing, conditions were so cramped in this wing section, there was only room to crouch through the spar sections, the oil was pumped up to a reserve tank and from here the oil was transferred to each engine by cocks. This had to be pumped by hand, it was like being in a sweatbox, in the desert, no ventilation and the perspiration running off you! No wonder I always hated the sight of these kites!
 
22nd April
1966 Stradishall: Back on to aircraft servicing after my medical board.
1967 Stradishall: 4 Jet Provosts of the Red Pelicans display team arrived (Saturday) for a display, saw them in, refuelled them, took off, did the display and back to their own base.
1968 Wattisham: A huge number of fighter aircraft arrived at RAF Wattisham for a Flypast over RAF Bentley Priory on Thursday, the cessation of RAF Fighter Command to be replaced by Strike Command.
24 F-6 Lightnings arrived from various bases, 3 Meteors, 4 Hunters, 1 Canberra and all of 29 Squadron, 111 Squadron and TFF Mk 1 & 3 English Electric Lightnings.
 
23rd April
1957 St Mawgan: RAF Apprentice flight in a Westland Whirlwind Helicopter of 22 Squadron dry winching and coastal recce 35 mins.
1965 El Adem: I had a visit at home in Tobruk from the area manager of NAAFI (Cyrenaica, Libya), I had made a complaint to NAAFI HQ in Kennington London that the Queen of Libya and her entourage were able to purchase Ladies Clothing in Tobruk NAAFI on a preview sale before our wives could see them! This was taken to the Air Ministry in Whitehall where it appeared many civil servants "did an air test" (hit the roof!), this rebounded all the way back (I still have this letter). I was to be summoned before the Station Commander at RAF El Adem in due course. 
 
24th April
1968 Wattisham: 38 aircraft practicing formation flying over airfield.
 
25th April
1965 El Adem: 3 x TT RN Meteors, a Canberra T-4, USAF C-54 and a Hunter requiring an engine change. On this day (Sunday) the Defence Minister Lord Shackleton did an inspection of the station, accompanied by the AOC-in-C NEAF I later saw these off in the VIP Hastings WD500.
1968 Wattisham: Wattisham was used as the base to fly dozens of fighters in formation over RAF Bentley Priory HQ Fighter Command, this Command now ceased to exist and was superseded by Strike Command. The take off by the Lightning F6's were particularly spectacular!
 
27th April
1963 St Mawgan: USA Detachment, left US Navy base Brunswick at 0200hrs in WR988, 9 hrs and 50 minutes flight to USAF base Lajes in the Azores, good time made as we had tail winds!
1968 Wattisham: Still on the theme of Flypast etc and cessation of Fighter Command, 29 Squadron put 4 a/c up with some 111 Squadron kites in 2 x diamond formation. One of our jockeys (29) who shall remain nameless, got out of formation and very nearly collided with the other three kites, for those of us watching it was a very close call and that could well have been an embarrassing end/start to Fighter/Strike Command! This was not a good day for the squadron as one of the guys had all of his skin burned off the back of his hand on an Operational Turn Round starter fire, a 111 Squadron pilot on his first practice OTR in our  29 Squadron (Zulu) T-Bird hit the starter twice in error and the Avpin exhaust caught fire, someone else picked up the asbestos glove and put out the fire. I recall getting a face full of this gas on a  QRA scramble without it catching fire thankfully, it knocked me back and senseless for a few minutes. 
 
27thApril
1962 St Mawgan: HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was on a tour of Cornwall, and both helicopters of the Queens Flight were on station at St Mawgan.
1963 St Mawgan: (Jonah syndrome) Took off in WR988 from USAF Lajes to St Mawgan (9 hours and 50 minutes) but another close encounter with God was about to occur. I had a head set on and heard the conversation between the pilot and GCA Controller (Sea mist <clag> had descended on St Mawgan) and our a/c was the first one on approach with the squadron commander at the controls, conversation from GCA was " 20' above glide/tow path, on path, 10 feet below , get on glide path, on glide path runway in sight", suddenly there was a surge in power as all 4 Griffon Engines were opened up, loads of expletives from pilot to GCA operator as the latter was only guiding us down on the old Treblezue runway adjacent to St Mawgan. We then had to get diverted to the nearest MDA which was RAF Manston in Kent, where we stayed for 4 days. I scarpered off for those 4 days and went back by train at my own expense, 'bugger that for a game of soldiers' and people can't understand why I don't fly anymore!!
1965 El Adem: Operation Spherical in operation-4 Vulcans arrived between 0600-0800hrs plus a whole host of other aircraft.
 
29th April
1965 El Adem: Operation Spherical still ongoing with 17 aircraft plus a back up Britannia of Caledonian airways. Also summoned to SWO's office where I was immediately taken into see the Station Commander re the NAAFI rep and the Queen of Libya using the Tobruk NAAFI before Servicemens wives could view and purchase the latest fashions. This interview lasted 30 minutes and it was made plain to me that we mustn't upset relations with our hosts in Libya and that we were the guests of King Idris (and presumably Queen Fatima) and that previews would be held in the Queens Palace in the future rather than the NAAFI! Obviously someone in high places had got involved, the CO suggested an immediate posting for me to go to RAF Akrotiri (out of the way), I only had 3.5 months left at El Adem, with a pregnant wife and had to be back in the UK by August 20th (otherwise my second daughter would have been born a Libyan!). The Station Adjutant was called into the office to try and sort out the problem, the only way round this impasse was for me not to mention this subject again, I asked to be returned to the UK, this request was denied and informed about the Conduct Prejudiced Queens Regulations (meaning the 'riot act' was being read to me !)
 
30th April
1968 Wattisham: Still on the theme of Akrotiri I was due to go on a Detachment with 29 Squadron to this Sovereign Base, somehow I got out of this but my diary doesn't state the reason.       
 

1st May
1955 Old Sarum: ATC DH Dragon Rapide Royal Navy A/C X7397 5 mins trip around Salisbury.
1957 Halton: Posted to # 8 S of TT RAF Weeton as an AC2 U/T Eng Mech, I had been hospitalised for weeks, lost a lot of traing and education, failed some exams, wanted to back entry me to the 85th, didn't want this nor to stay at Halton so went on a Mechs Course, knowing too that I had to spend more time in hospital, there was the possibility of a medical discharge due to problems with my feet.
1962 St Mawgan: Several mentions of doing an Amal Valve change (Think it was a booster for the CSU drive but I can't really recall its main function now), this component was a nightmare of a job for a fitter as you could only do this job by feel and had to be a contortionist, an angled dentists mirror was no help either, often one bod would start the job only to pass it over to someone else and so on.
 
3rd May
1965 El Adem: Ghibley (Sandstorm) blew up but that didn't stop 5 Britannias, a PR9 Canberra, 2 Hastings, a DH Dove, DC3, C54 and an Argosy come in for turn round servicing. Often minor snags were not reported by the crew as they didn't want overnight stops here, strange that we had to put up with it for two years!
 
4th May
1962 St Mawgan: Both the Squadron and Flight Commander had me in their offices to tell me that my Fitters Course had been approved and to remind me of my attitude.
 
6th May
1962 St Mawgan: Atomic Alert Exercise (Exercise Vigilence) lasting 3 days started on this a Sunday and we were all called in. The only activity we saw was that the whole of 15 Squadron Victors from RAF Cottesmore arrived as part of the exercise.
 
7th May
1956 Halton: This is the day I signed on for 12 years unstinting service to HM Queen Elizabeth II at RAF Halton as an under training Aircraft Apprentice, engines of # 8T3 Entry  # 3 Wing.
1959 Katunayake: Hastings TG520 7 hours 50 Mins trip to RAF Changi to represent RAF Ceylon in the FEAF Tennis Championships.
1962 St Mawgan: Had to go and get the Crash Equipment from 404 Hangar as XF708 Oscar (Now an exhibit at IWM Duxford) was having difficulty in landing <I think this must have been the incident with F/L McBurney, where the nosewheel was on the skew, there were several passes over the control tower and the word spread and there was quite a crowd turn up to see this event, the pilot did some three or four touch downs loweringthe nosewheel gently on the runway until he got the nose wheel straight, a brilliant piece of flying>
1965 El Adem: Had to attend an Inquiry with The Senior Technical Officer (STO) and the Shell Superintendent as there was a discrepancy of 545 gallons of  AVGAS. I never did find out what all of this was about.
 
8th May
1955 Lyneham: ATC flight Avro Anson PH704 Station Flight 15 mins.
 
9th May
1962 St Mawgan: Started work on a Primary* on MR2 WG553 en route to 205 Squadron RAF Changi, my old squadron. 
 
10th May
1968 Wattisham: On one of two teams to do an OTR scramble for the C-in-C Venezuelan Air Force a Colonel Bumera. 
 
12th May
1969 Wattisham: Ordered back to 29 Squadron as I wasn't entitled to take all this time off in readiness to leave the RAF, I had found a job in 'civvy street' and was due to start it this day, I spent most of the day in SHQ and they were very helpful in trying to sort out the problem, lots of looking through QR's, there was a way out an early discharge, this would mean losing my terminal leave and my 205 gratuity!
 
13th May
1969 Wattisham: The lads from 29 Squadron arrived back from their detachment at RAF Luqa in a Hercules.
 
14th May
1959 Changi: Return toRAF Katunayake on Hastings WJ336 7 hours 40 mins after FEAF Tennis Championships.
1964 El Adem: Couldn't get out of the camp gate at 1035 hrs as the AOC-in-C was doing his annual inspection, at the guardroom, and all traffic in and out of the camp was stopped (What bloody Bullsh*t!).
 
15th May
1969 Wattisham: 29 Squadron aircraft returned from RAF Luqa detachment.
 
16th May
1965 El Adem: Only kite in was a PR9 Canberra from Cyprus taking photos of the oil wells that had been sabotaged down Giarabub way.
 
17th May
1960 St Mawgan: MR3 Shackleton XF710 on Atomic Alert Exercise airborne for 7 hours 35 mins with 3 torpedoes, 9 Sonar buoys and 9 Depth Charges on board. We were on board in case of landing away from base. 
1962 St Mawgan: Saw in a Luftwaffe Fouga Magister on a liaision visit to the Squadron, we parked this up in 403 Hangar.
 
18th May
1967 Stradishall: Put on Emergency Draft for Overseas Service.
1968 Wattisham: Had to see 2 Hunters and an Argosy in, no one else had worked an Argosy on the squadron before, so I was tasked with the engine turnround having worked many at El Adem.
 
19th May
1965 El Adem: A Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer arrived in a hell of a state, leaking oil from every orifice!
1967 Stradishall: AOC's parade, excused marching though!
 
21st May
1959 Katunayake: To RAF Gan for SASF detachment in Hastings TG525 4 hours 5 mins, island one mile square.
1962 St Mawgan: At request of Flight Commander had a lengthy conversation, started off by asking me some questions on the contra-rotating props finishing on my attitude to the RAF, he asked, I told him!
 
22nd May
1960 St Mawgan: Reported to SSQ for deafness, 2 days later ears were syringed, thought to be associated in being plunged into a sea of fuel and oil on 01/03/1960 when Hastings TG579 I was travelling in crashed into the sea. 
1969 Wattisham: Called into Wing Commanders office with some F/L from Admin SHQ saying I could be released from the RAF on Friday 30th May not losing any pay, leave or gratuity, I guess at the end of the day they wanted me out, pity they didn't see it that way 9 years ago!!!!!
 
24th May
1965 El Adem: 26 jobs done on day shift of 12 hours
1968 Wattisham; 4 kites went up on a 3.5 hour refuelling trip
 
25th May
1967 Stradishall: Standby Overseas Detachment confirmed, went to SSQ saw the SMO he declared I was fit for overseas duty but was not to work above ground level nor to do any parades! He said I would eventually be offered a medical discharge (this never was offered although I did ask on several occasions for this to happen!)
 
26th May
1967 Stradishall: To Ely hospital for overseas jabs after yesterdays medical.
 
27th May
1965 El Adem: Duty marshaller for the day on T A S S  only 7 aircraft in and 7 out.
 
28th May
1962 St Mawgan: No room in 404 hangar for other Shackleton aircraft so a bunch of us had to go over to 42 Squadron for two days doing plugs and tappets on WR955.
 
29th May
1964 El Adem: Temperature today 108F in the shade! Try finding shade, best under a Comet or Brit wing that had just come down from 30000' the cool drips of condensation on to a sweaty body was bliss!
1969 Wattisham: THE LAST DAY OF RAF SERVICE, handed all my uniform, greatcoat raincoat and webbing in, went out of the gate in civvies 6 weeks early!
 
30th May
1965 El Adem: SMO kicked me out of his office after I reported Special Sick with a gashed stomach, he told me my TABT jab was out of date. On my way home I went into SSQ at Tobruk Garrison told a Corporal Medic what had happened and he gave me a TABT jab, no problem. That SMO hated me, like I did him, I put a redress of grievance in against him over my ear problems, that is still to be talked about at a Court appearance in London on January 10th 2003!!
 
31st May
1965 El Adem: Couldn't put up with this shite anymore after yesterday so I put an application in to purchase my discharge, 3 Applications, the first two were rejected by the Flight Commander for not being worded correctly, so I told him to fill it in for me, he called the chiefy in to the office and I was read the QR's Conduct Prejudice crap again. He accepted my 3rd application which I wanted out as soon as I arrived at Lyneham on August 20th 1965. (Not as easy as that!) 
1969 Wattisham: Had to go to camp to get my final pay sorted out, leave passes signed and to the NAAFI for one last binge with all the lads. 1430 hrs I left the station and didn't look back!
 
1st June
1962 St Mawgan: Station Commanders Parade (Group Captain O'Doire) On # 2 Wing # 3 Flight and got picked up for dirty shoes and buttons, can you imagine turning up for a parade like that, those RUPERTS were something else, crass stupidity! 
 
2nd June
1964 El Adem: No aircraft in the morning so we all had to make a concrete path!
 
4th June
1959 Gan: Return to SASF RAF Katunayake after SASF detachment to RAF Gan on Hastings TG536 2 hours 55 mins flight.
1965 El Adem: Purchase of Discharge from the RAF accepted at Station level. 3 Gannets from 831 Squadron RNAS arrived and stayed for 3 days.
 
5th June
1965 El Adem: Temperature recorded at El Adem 111F and at Tobruk 113F.
 
6th June
1968 Wattisham: Detachment to Akrotiri cancelled, overflying rights over France caused cancellation.
 
7th June
1963 St Mawgan: Flew to RAF Aldergrove in XF705 1 hour 45 minutes, should be at RAF Ballykelly but as Princess Margaret was about to present a new standard to a squadron, we had to stay at Aldergrove for 4 days, did not matter really as there was nothing to do!
 
9th June 
1964 El Adem: HastingsWJ337 came through from 48 Squadron Changi plus the BE Viscount, another Hastings a Canberra and 2 Army Austers AOP.
1966 Stradishall: Chief of the Air Staff Sir Charles Elworthy visited # 2 hangar, imagine the bullshine beforehand !
1968 Wattisham: Sunday and duty crew, two Hercules dropped in, along with the TTF we had to get these aircraft ready with Paras seats, one going to Speke, Liverpool with 80 Paras on board and the other going to RAF Leeming with 92 on board.
 
10th June
1958 Seletar: Admitted  for 4 days in SSQ for having the 'screaming ab-dabs'
1967 Stradishall (Saturday), Excused parades but I still had to turn out in best blue for the flypast!
 
11th June
1963 St Mawgan: Detachment to JASS RAF Ballykelly, I opted to go by coach from Aldergrove to BK whilst others flew in.
 
12th June
1967 Stradishall: A Warrant Officer questioned why I didn't turn up on parade on Saturday, I told him I did attend in # 1 Dress, he then told me to get a chit, I told him it was a permanent thing and for him to ring the MO at SSQ. The WO just walked off muttering to himself!
 
13th June
1963 El Adem:  7 Canberras in within 30 minutes, plus a Valetta, Comet 2 and 3 Army Beavers from Cyprus.
1968 Wattisham: 29 Squadron broke the Flying Hours record in any 24 hours, CO tapped a barrel of beer then stood us down.
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
  
 
  

14th June
1962 St Mawgan: An 'ice-box' blew across the pan on 201 Squadron tracking straight into a running propellor, smashing the box into a million pieces and causing the propellor considerable damage.
 
15th June
1966 Stradishall: Placed on Overseas Standby Draft, so produced my medical chit and removed from the list.
 
16th June
1965 El Adem: Upon return to the UK my next posting will be Number 1 Air Navigation School RAF Stradishall, Suffolk.
 
17th June
1958 Seletar: Sprained ankle after jumping off an engine platform.
 
18th June
1957 Weeton: Could hardly walk from chiropody treatment at RAF Halton was admitted to hospital for 29 days. 
 
19th June
1967 Stradishall: An Andover arrived unannounced and I was on Duty Crew and was at home, no one called me out though.
 
21st June
1962 St Mawgan: Threatened to be locked up in the guardroom for arguing over an engine related 'snag' where I found a sheared bolt on the Vee Block resulting in a Powerplant change from a sergeant, I asked if we should walk down there or go in my car and if he did would he get to notify my wife in Newquay of my whereabouts. Somehow this never happened, thankfully!
1963 St Mawgan: Flew back to St Mawgan in WR977 from RAF Ballykelly,  1 hour 50 minutes.
1967 Stradishall: Due to the hundreds of Trainee Zobbit Navigators at Strad the easiest way not to continually salute them was to push a bicycle around (I know there wasn't a lot wrong with me!), one lunchtime on my way home, some Zob thought he would be smart in front of his colleague, pulled me up for not saluting him. I took one pace back from the bike stood to attention and saluted the Ruperts uniform with that the bike fell on to his trouser leg depositing oil from the chain on to his uniform, I obviously had to apologise profusely with tongue firmly in cheek!
 
22nd June
1959 Katunayake: Aircrew asked who had been working on Vickers Valetta WJ499, those that had went up on the subsequent air test for Elevator trim test. 1 hour 10 mins. Obviously all worked well as we are here to tell the tale!
1961 St Mawgan: Shackleton XF707 10 hours 20 minutes to RAF North Front, Gibraltar with a Navex on the way plus ship recce.   
1964 El Adem: An Argosy arrived with very little Water Methanol in one of the tanks, had to hand pump 89 gallons, that took an age!
 
23rd June
1966 Stradishall: Actually went on an AOC's rehearsal parade to keep my hand in! 3 Dominies and 3 Varsities in a practice flypast.
 
24th June
1960 St Mawgan: Shackleton XF708 (now at Duxford) flew to RAF North Front, Gibraltar, Ship recce at 80' above the waves and I was prone in the nose turret, scary! Charged for being drunk with a mate, aircraft was operationally delayed, charged when we got back to St Mawgan, but got off this as we had been fined already.
1966 Stradishall: AOC's Parade, I was really disappointed in not going on this one, just as I was getting the hang of it all again! I had to go to RAF Hospital Ely for a Specialist appointment.
 
25th June
1962 St Mawgan: Missed parade. A sergeant from TWHQ came over to the hangar to take my name for being absent.
1963 St Mawgan: As I had been placed on the PWR register, I had to go for a medical, the same Flight Looey WRAF MO who has been treating me for a problem with my ear passes me fit!
 
26th June
1955 Lyneham: ATC Glider flight T31 Slingsby Familiarisation Flight
1955 Lyneham: Ditto above 5 mins both trips by winch.
1961 North Front: (Jonah 6) Return to St Mawgan from Gibraltar on Shackleton XF707 6 hours 40 minutes, should have been the normal 10-12 hour trip but #3 Engine Reduction Gear Failed so the prop was feathered and back to SM on 3 Engines.
1964 El Adem: Did an alternator change on a Britannia XM491. No jacks or cradle to support this 1.5 cwt monster and as my mate helping me was 5' 6" tall and I was 6' 2" with this alternator on our shoulders for support we were unable to take the strain in offering up the generator to the engine/prop gears, the alternator fell to the ground causing serious damage and was written off. Had to make a written report for the Flight Commander, within three months a special trolley platform was sent from Lyneham to ease the operation!
 
27th June
1960 North Front: RAF North Front to St Mawgan on XF708 12hours flying time, Navex and Ship Recce.
1963 St Mawgan: Redruth Hospital for Chest X-Ray for PWR.
1968 Wattisham: 29 Squadron achieved 403 flying hours for the month (some sort of record). Another barrel of beer was bought out of squadron funds and presumably another feather in someones hat.
 
28th June
1965 El Adem: (This is typical of RAF administration) Purchase of discharge accepted by RAF Innsworth and I was to be posted here. I had to have available 130=17=0  (8/12ths of the normal 200 fee) plus my air fare for my wife and I to fly from Benghazi to Heathrow. My discharge date was to be August 28th BUT the RAF was flying us back at the end of my tour on August 20th!! Had to go to see some S/L in SHQ to try and sort it all out, explaining the situation to him he said the best thing I could do was to withdraw my application and apply for discharge when I got back to the UK, this I did but was 'advised' about time wasting.
 
1962 St Mawgan: AOC's rehearsal parade, I went to SSQ, the place was packed!
1964 El Adem: Royal Aircraft Establishment Comet C2 in, a rarity.
1967 Stradishall: Had a phone call from a guy at Wattisham wanting to know if I wanted to exchange postings, I jumped at the opportunity as this would get me off this emergency standby posting and my two years was up at Stradishall.
 
30th June
1965 El Adem: USA Ambassador to Libya arrived on one of two Jet Star aircraft to see King Idris, in fact all aircraft arriving on this day were none RAF, 2 Cessnas, Viscount, Aero Commander and a Beechcraft.
 
1st July
1964 El Adem: The beginning of my ear troubles at El Adem.
 
2nd July
1962 St Mawgan: AOC's rehearsal parade, didn't do it and no roll call.
1963 St Mawgan: AOC's rehearsal parade, actually did this one!
1965 El Adem: 2 x Royal Jordanian Hunters in, both took off after refuelling, both returned, one couldn't get the undercarriage up, reason the undercarriage locks with red pennants were still engaged!
 
3rd July
1963 St Mawgan: Must be that time of the year another AOC's rehearsal parade and I must have ran out of excused marching chits as I went on this one!
1964 El Adem: Hastings TG606 arrived, on after flight inspection 3 of the 4 propellor spinner backplates were cracked, this resulted in removing the props and replacing back plates.
1968 Wattisham: On a team to do an OTR for the Chief of Air Staff  of the Ethiopian Air Force, that was 5 minutes flat rearmed, refuelled and off! A 111 Squadron F3 came in over the hangar at about 150' pulled the stick back at 350 knots hit the reheat buttons and up into the big blue yonder, this was one of the most impressive shows a Lightning could do!
 
4th July:
1962 St Mawgan: I got a 252 (charge form) from a Warrant Officer for not going on the AOC's parade, I later had to see the Flight Commander, he let me off with a bollicking and again warned me of my future conduct!
 
5th July
1962 St Mawgan: AOC's parade, he arrived by helicopter covering the whole place in dust! We were not permitted to leave camp until his departure at 1900hrs, what a load of Cods!
1968 Wattisham: 2 Vulcans and a diamond 9 formation of Lightnings from 29/110 Squadrons Wattisham flew over RAF Hendon, one of our jockeys just missed the Hendon gasometer by 20'.
 
6th July
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings TG531 10 minute flight, hydraulic failure, my first emergency.
1965 El Adem: 11 Hunters of 54 Squadron among others came through on an exercise.
1967 Stradishall: Had to go to see the Queens ENT specialist at CME Goodge Street, London, he is recommending I be seen by a Harley Street Specialist, this was never done though.
 
8th July
1963 St Mawgan: I had been away for the weekend, when I arrived at the gate a snoop asked me where I worked, I replied 201 Squadron, he told me to report with my kit to 206 Squadron immediately. The whole squadron had been shipped up to RAF Kinloss over the weekend as the Russian Atlantic Fleet had moved out of Murmansk en masse and we were being shipped up to the Arctic Circle to the RNAF base at Bodo. I had no sleep the night before (overnight train from London), we stragglers were flown by 206 Squadron MR3 to Kinloss in  WR980 a 3 hour trip, when we arrived there we had to work throughout the night servicing all the kites. One was an engine change, but thankfully that was not my kite.
 
10th July
1968 Wattisham: Exercise King Pin underway, all pilots strapped into their cockpits on the ASP, we then went into a 'battle scramble' position and had to move all aircraft to 06 Runway ORP in readiness for immediate take off. This did happen some time later.
 
11th July
1955 Lyneham: ATC flight Hastings TG616 Cross Country exercise had the controls for 20 minutes in the Captains seat, I found this incredibly difficult to control especially on the rudder controls, thank God there was a very capable co-pilot sitting beside me. 2 hours 35 mins.
1962 St Mawgan: Acceptance check on MR2 WR953 en route to 205 Squadron RAF Changi.
1964 El Adem: I made some flippant remark to a Sergeant Rigger in the crewroom and was immediately bollocked in front of the bods for not wearing KD slacks after 1800 hrs on a Saturday night! Pathetic.
1967 Stradishall: RAF Hospital Ely all day, Path Lab tests, specialist etc.
 
12th July
1962 St Mawgan: AOC-in-C Sir Edward Chilton came to 404 hangar to say cheerio to us all, we had been waiting in Best Blue for an hour, the thing was I didn't even know him!
 
13th July
1962 St Mawgan: AOC left St Mawgan on a torpedo strapped to a bomb trolley and taken around the station on his farewell visit, whilst we all cheered from the crewroom others were forced to line the route to say their farewell, sad really!
 
14th July
1959 Negombo: Admitted to hospital for 8 days to have my left toenail removed.
1966 Stradishall: Atomic Alert exercise, stuck in Air Raid shelters for hours with emergency rations!
 
15th July
1963 St Mawgan: Flew from Bodo, Norway to Kinloss in WR988 9 hours 50 minutes, NAVEX on way.
1964 El Adem: AVM 'Johnnie' Johnson in on an Argosy, he didn't stand for bullshite, I was one of two in White overalls by the VIP steps, he exited the kite by the nose hatch!
1966 Stradishall: On crash crew.
 
16th July
1963 St Mawgan: Flew from Kinloss to St Mawgan in WR988 2 hours 40 minutes
1968 Wattisham: AOC's parade, it was so windy that the squadron standard bearer couldn't hold the standard, this brought hoots of laughter all round, the CO was not amused! Afterwards 14 aircraft flew in formation in one direction and the display Lightning pilot from 111 Squadron arrived from the other direction on a low level pass, hit the reheat for again a spectacular display.
 
17th July
1962 St Mawgan: It appears that all the Primary Star servicing for Shackletons in the RAF were done by us guys on ASF/201 Sqn as we had another in from 38 Squadron.
1963 St Mawgan: Flew from SM to RAF Honington in WR977 1 hour 15 minutes.
 
18th July
1955 Lyneham: ATC flight Hastings TG616 Circuits and Bumps 2 hours 15 mins.
1962 St Mawgan: Went as a team on the tractor to collect WL758 of 42 Squadron from the Washing Plant, when I got back the Flight Commander gave me a bollicking for not being in the hangar when wanted, ah! such is life!
 
20th July
1962 St Mawgan: Cleared the camp with a Blue Chit duly signed by about a million people, those that couldn't/wouldn't sign it you just signed on their behalf! Off to RAF Weeton for my Fitters Course, no one saw me off on a Torpedo strapped to a Bomb Trolley!
1964 El Adem: Big do in Tobruk Harbour HMS Surprise a frigate visited, 21 gun salute for King Idris, Queen Fatima and The crown Prince.
 
21st July
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings TG524 Cross Country flying 2 hours 20 mins.
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight (same day) DH Chipmunk of Station Flight WB685 Aerobatics and Dual Flying. 1 hour 10 minutes.
1966 Stradishall: To Ely Hospital and yet another visit to the ENT Specialist.
 
24th July
1953 Lyneham: ATC flew in Handley Page Hastings TG530 on a Cross Country exercise 2hours flying time.
1962 Weeton: Arrived for the start of my Engine Fitters course.
 
25th July
1963 St Mawgan: Had a DH Dove in G-AMYO of Morton Air Services from Gatwick, spoke to the Captain who said he was going back empty later in the day. Got permission to have a long weekend off, checked with ATC, got my weekend kit and flew up to Gatwick.
 
26th July
1966 Stradishall: Worked on a 1913 French Caudron GIII aircraft in the hangar, some private project that if nothing else doing on Varsity or Dominie aircraft you could volunteer to work on this, so I did.
 
27th July
1953 Lyneham: ATC Hastings flight WJ343 Circuits and Bumps and Cross Country. 4 hours flyimg.
1964 El Adem: A Varsity went u/s at a desert airstrip at Wadi Halfa on the Egypt/Sudan border, I was to go down on the generator change via the Station Flight Percival Pembroke but a mate volunteered instead.
 
28th July
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings TG529 X-country and Circuits and bumps 3 hours 40 mins.
 
29th July
1953 Lyneham: ATC Hastings flight TG530, map reading 2 hours flying time.
 
30th July
1962 Weeton: Now how many of you engine bods remember the old faithful T-Piece, getting a piece of mild steel, cutting it in half and then making a male part to fit into a female part with a tolerance of about +/- 3/1000ths of an inch?
 
31st July
1964 El Adem: ECU change on a Valiant, then a Hastings returned after take off with fuel contamination, that took most of the night, draining tanks and flushing out the fuel system.
 
2nd August
1965 El Adem: Received a new working uniform (No 2 Dress) in readiness for my return to the UK.
 
4th August
1964 El Adem: Flight Commander had me in his office discussing my request for discharge from the RAF.
 
6th August
1953 Lyneham: ATC Hastings flight WJ334 Local Flying, 4 hours 50 minutes. 
 
7th August
1953 Lyneham: ATC Hastings Flight TG607, Continuation Flying 1 hour 30 mins flight time. 
1965 El Adem: Inhibited all 4 engines on Hastings WD485 of 24 (?) Squadron, we had been running these engines off and on for a month as all RAF Hastings were grounded after the crash at RAF Abingdon that killed all 41 on board TG577 on 5th July 1965 through elevator failure.
 
8th August
1953 Lyneham: ATC Hastings flight TG607 Ship Recce Bristol Channel flight time 4 hours.
1965 El Adem: On guard duty at the bomb dump, 6 guys 2 on shift 4 off shift, I should have been woken for the 0200 hrs shift but wasn't and the Security Patrol was charged.
1966 Stradishall: RAF Hospital Ely ENT Group Captain Specialist appointment.
1968 Wattisham: 29 Squadron back from an Italian Detachment, I saw the kites in and then helped turn round a C119 Fairchild Packet of 46 Squadron Italian Air Force.
 
9th August
1956 St Mawgan: RAF Apprentice Flight Coastal Command St Mawgan, Avro Lancaster RF322 6 hours 5 minutes doing Homing, BABS, GCA, Photo Recce and Bombing Runs.
1964 El Adem: Had to replace a linear actuator on a Comet C2 of 216 Squadron , damned awkward job.
1966 Stradishall: Started a Primary Servicing on a Varsity from No. 1 Air Radio School, Locking, makes me wonder where all their fitters are!
 
10th August
1953 Lyneham: ATC Hastings flight TG528 Lyneham to Hawarden (Chester) to Aston Down (Gloucs) return Lyneham, 2 hours flight. 
1962 Weeton: Circuit training with British Heavyweight Champion Brian London in the Gymnasium, how I used to detest this!
1965 El Adem: Deep sea boxes picked up by Movements section to be shipped out from Tobruk Harbour in readiness for repatriation to the UK.
 
11th August
1959 Katunayake: Had been working on the Station Flight Twin Pioneer and asked if I could go up for a 'flip' so off we went to Puttalam and return in XL970, 40 minutes flying time. The take off in these things was spectacular just a few yards along a strip and you were airborne.
1953 Lyneham: ATC Hastings flight WJ330 Local Flying 4 hours.
1964 El Adem. Day off, friends of ours hired the PSI bus and went to El Marissas beach and got stuck in a dune that had closed the road, some Cydaf policeman with a .303 and ammo appeared from nowhere and helped get us out, we ended up on Long Beach, Tobruk, instead.
1965 El Adem: Got clobbered for escort duty for a mate who refused to obey a direct order, we were marched into some Flight Looey's office, marched out and then into the Station Commanders Office where the accused got 7 days 'inside'. next bit was funny when the SWO said Prisoner and escort 'Right Turn', my mate turned the wrong way and faced me, it was so hard to keep a straight face. Left right, left right left, double march to the guardroom where we handed the 'prisoner' over to the Snoops. 'Sad' really when you look back on those times....
 
12th August
1962 Weeton: On guard duty with a truncheon, whistle and torch at 0200hrs, walked around Education Section and through AMQ, thought boll*cks to this for a game of soldiers so we went into a drying room in 'W' Lines until we heard footsteps, run..... you couldn't catch us for dust! When we got back to guardroom we were noticed to be absent from our post so at 0400hrs had to sweep and polish the guardroom.
1965 El Adem: Had to guard a Vulcan from 2130-2330 hrs with either a SkyBolt or Blue Steel Bomb on board, normally a Snoops job.
1963 St Mawgan: My overseas draft came through EL ADEM!
 
14th August
1962 Weeton: Received 53 disturbance allowance and 4=10=0 on a F1771 Travel Claim for moving from St Mawgan, that to me was a small fortune especially as it cost less than a tenner to move to Blackpool
1964 El Adem: Uploaded 50000lbs fuel to a Britannia in 45 minutes.
 
15th August
1955 Little Rissington: ATC Summer Camp Avro Anson PH 810 Map Reading 40mins., and same day 20 mins in Chipmunk WK634 Aerobatics and dual flying.
1968 Wattisham: Night shift 4 Before Flight Inspections, 5 Turn Rounds and two Starter Crews, plus 4 After Flights, aircraft in hangar by 0030 hrs.
 
16th August
1965 El Adem: The magic BLUE CHIT to clear from El Adem, got 16 signatures!
1968 Wattisham: Signal Defect 182/562 from command came through, all Lightnings had to be immediately inspected and I found an oil leak on #2 engine on one of the kites, this immediately grounded (AOG) all 29 Squadron Lightnings until all were OK'd this included only one aircraft on QRA to be on station.
 
17th August
1955 Little Rissington: ATC Summer Camp Avro Anson PH784 35 mins, low flying, I sat in the right hand seat, this was hedge hopping at its lowest, my God I shall never forget this one, exhilarating.
1964 El Adem: My wedding ring got caught on an aluminium spur and I was suspended from a Blackburn Beverley ladder in agony, camp ambulance carted me off to SSQ, they were going to cut the ring off and call the fire section out to perform such a job, however all was resolved with some special soap.
1965 Stradishall: Blue Chit from RAF Stradishall, handed over my Married Quarter and off to RAF Wattisham.
 
18th August:
1955 Little Rissington: ATC Summer Camp My first Jet trip in Meteor T7 WL373 Aerobatics at 19000' and low flying WOW! Same day PH810 Avro Anson Cross-country for 40 minutes.  
1962 Weeton: Saturday morning Astra Cinema, Padres hour.
1965 El Adem: Last day in my hiring at Tobruk.
 
19th August
1955 Little Rissington: ATC Summer Camp Avro Anson TX232 35 mins continuation flying. Same day in a Percival Piston Provost WG539 , 20 mins side by side dual trainer, did two loops and other aerobatics.
1957 Weeton: Admitted to hospital for 33 days, same problem, difficulty in walking.   
1965 El Adem: Left El Adem on Comet XK716 to Benina, 20 minutes and then to RAF Lyneham, 5 hours TOUR EXPIRED, Yipppppeeee! 
1966 Stradishall: Loose article check on Varsity, no one could leave work until the item was found.
 
20th August
1956 North Luffenham: RAF Apprentice flight in Meteor NF12 WS504 trip over the North Sea up to Newcastle following the coast and then up to 20000' doing high speed passes 1 hour 5 mins.
 
21st August
1953 St Mawgan: ATC Summer Camp Avro Lancaster flight SW284 Coastal Recce and Low Flying 30 minutes. 
1964 El Adem: To Benina on BE Viscount G-AOCC 55 minutes then to Tripoli 1 hour 40 mins then a one hour trip to RAF Luqa.
1967 Wattisham: Reported to new unit 29 Squadron after exchange posting. Ejection seat lecture.
 
22nd August
 
1953 St Mawgan: ATC Summer Camp Lancaster Flight RE154 Coastal Command, flying around South Wales coastline, 2 hours.
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings TG536 Map reading 1 hour. 
1962 Weeton: Duty server in mess at lunch times for a week, one lump or two?
 
23rd August
1962 Weeton: Argon Arc Welding in Blacksmiths Shop.
 
24th August
1966 Stradishall: A mate got 14 days 'inside' on a Technical Charge maybe something to do with the incident on 19th August.
 
25th August
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings TG513 X-Country 2 hours.
1962 Weeton: Parade, very windy, chinstraps on, my button on my peaked cap came off and I had to go off parade!
 
26th Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings TG521 2 hours Local Flying. 
 
29th August
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings TG553 2 hours Continuation Training'
 
30th August
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings WJ337  2 hours Local Flying.
 
31st August
1959 Negombo: Clerical work for 4 weeks, dermatitis to both hands.
1964 El Adem: ( Jonah syndrome) Return to El Adem from RAF Luqa in Blackburn Beverley XB287 of 47 Squadron 3 hours 5 mins sat up in the tail boom section, my God that was a hairy ride, took off in a thunderstorm, so much buffeting reminding me of my prang on March 1st 1960, couldn't wait to get off the kite! 
 
    
 
  
 
 
 
 

1st September
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings WJ337 (Same aircraft within 3 days) Cross Country and Local Flying 2 hours 5 mins.
 
4th September
1968 Wattisham: On TFF Duty Crew only thing in a Varsity from RAF Watton.
 
5th September
1967 Wattisham: Strewth the Squadron Commander hit the roof as there were only 6 bods on shift over lunch to see 4 Lightnings off, he went to sign the Form 700 and his kite hadn't been refuelled, the air was blue! When we eventually got him airborne he came back to base with a double generator failure and when he touched down his chute failed to deploy! Not his day!
 
7th September
1964 El Adem: SMO in SSQ the basta*d made me deaf from prodding in my ear. He was trained in Gynaecology so he didn't know too much about other holes like EARS!
 
8th September
1955 Lyneham: ATC Flight Hastings TG616 Cross Country and Cloud Flying 2 hours.
1967 Wattisham: Did 2 Operational Turn Rounds
1968 Wattisham:Sunday Duty Crew had 7 Army Sioux Choppers in, one forced landed.
 
9th September
1964 El Adem: 30 Aircraft in, absolute chaos on the pan, some of the visiting aircraft had their own crews but TASF bods were the only ones permitted to marshall them in and out. 6 Brits with Army bods en route to Singapore, 5 Canberras,, Comet 4, 4 Vulcans, 2 Shacks, 3 Argosies, 4 Hastings and two Beverleys!
1968 Wattisham: More Sioux Army choppers in on duty crew.
 
10th September
1968 Wattisham: Duty Crew had to see in and out a Short Belfast that brought 111 Squadrons gear back from RAF Luqa detachment.
 
11th September
1964  El Adem: Brit XL639 fuel load up to 47000lb and 11 piper Pawnee Crop Dusters in en route to Khartoum.
 
12th September
1960 St Mawgan: (Jonah 5) BOAC were flying in a Boeing 707 for crew familiarisation and conversion from SM, this was G-APFG, a mate of mine and myself went for a trip in this 2 hours 25 minutes, there were only two seats in the passenger compartment the cabin looked like a huge dance floor. We didn't know what was going to happen, thank God, but we were flying at 35000' over the Irish Sea when they simulated an engine flame out, what went wrong we don't know but the 707 reached Mach 0.9 and pulled the aircraft out at 2500 feet, the fall rate was terrifying, I never volunteered again!  
1967 Wattisham: Another film being made by some Swiss Film Unit for the 50th Anniversary of the RAF. 29 Squadron were being selected to represent Fighter Command. We had to simulate that we were in Cyprus and the fire section had to water spray the trees to make it look as if rain was falling. Along with a mate, I did 11 takes on checking the jet pipe and then talking to the pilot, whilst my mate was checking the tyres. 7 hours of filming for a 7 second shot!
 
13th September
1962 Weeton: We received a forerunner to the Lightning, the P 1b into # 8 hangar for instructional purposes.
1967 Wattisham: TFF lost a Lightning 1 over the North Sea it had been at RAF Coltishall for the day. The pilot ejected safely and was picked up by helicopter.
 
15th September
1962 Weeton: Choice of  going on parade or clean up a classroom, I chose the latter option, less bullshite.
 
16th September
1962 Weeton: Church parade for 22nd anniversary of Battle of Britain.
1964 El Adem: Found I had got a perforated eardrum, emergency sick in Tobruk Garrison SSQ.
 
17th September
1963 St Mawgan: Nipped over to 206 Squadron, the MR3 Shackleton was flying so low over the sea with RADAR search scanner in fully extended position, that the lower parts had been ripped off, that was a very very close shave!
1964 El Adem: Saw the UMO in SSQ to confirm I had a perforated ear drum, he said I would be sent back to the UK, I never was, I complained about the treatment I had a few days earlier, I was advised NOT to take the matter further!
1967 Wattisham: Church parade for 27th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the odd thing about this is that we were forced to attend this parade (like most others) but you weren't forced into church, on falling out most opted not to go into church, which on reflection is very sad.
 
18th September
1962 Weeton: Started the RAE Injector phase on my fitters course, any engine bods out there do not recall Mrs Shillings orifice?
1968 Wattisham: Aircraft up, down, up down, operational turn rounds finished the night shift with 38 hours 15 minutes flying in a 24 hour period, I wonder who got the gong for that one?
 
19th September
1963 St Mawgan: Took a powerplant out and got a new one into a Mark 3 Shack in 1 hour 45 minutes, one of those where everything went right.
1968 Wattisham: I was put on immediate QRA Standby, a Russian Tupolev Type 40 'Bear' had penetrated Scottish air space, our 29 Squadron kite was scrambled but a 5 Squadron Binbrook Lightning got there first and escorted it away.
 
20th September
1963 St Mawgan: To Carnanton Gate for traffic duties, was there no end to our wide ranging duties? Same day went to see my Squadron Commander about getting out of the mob, but as usual my request fell on deaf ears, the squadron discip NCO was called in to the office where again QR's Conduct Prejudice rules were read to me.
1964 El Adem: The Air Administration Officer for the RAF arrived on VIP Hastings WD500, you can image the bullshite before he arrived.
 
21st September
1964 El Adem:This time the SMO in SSQ stated I would return to the UK as my Perforated ear drum would need to be operated on and it wouldn't be done in a hot country, I feared this bloke, everytime I saw him he inflicted more pain than I was already enduring, I would go as far as saying (allegedly) that he was negligent in carrying out his duties, my court case in London in January 2003 may go some way in determining whether this was the case.
 
22nd September
1964 El Adem: Not one aircraft on the pan or on the Air Movements Board all day and night and this was a Wednesday. 
 
23rd September
1963 St Mawgan: Duty Crew all week, the only thing in was a Tyne-Tees DC-3 and a Mark 1 Shackleton.
1968 Wattisham: 4 Aircraft returned from a French Air Show (Paris?)
 
24th September
1963 St Mawgan: Saw the Station Flight Anson off to RAF Bovingdon at 0745 hrs as I was on Duty Crew.
 
25th September
1967 Wattisham: Scramble take-offs and Op Turn Rounds all day.
1968 Wattisham: OTR's for The Chief of the Air Staff, the C-in-C of the Italian Air Force and the AOC of Fighter Command, plus the press were invited to see how good our squadron were in doing Op Turn Rounds.
 
26th September
1967 Wattisham: 2 Scrambles and Op Turn Rounds one failed to start!
 
27th September
1954 Old Sarum: ATC flight Avro Anson Salisbury Recce 5 mins only.
1962 Weeton: Pay Parade 5=12=0
1964 El Adem: I arrived home from night shift, there were armed police (Cydef State Troopers) with fixed bayonets all over Tobruk, it was rumoured that three people (Arabs) had been killed in rioting (later found untrue). Situation was tense, I went out to get some bread from the local bakery and a RAF Policeman told me to go home and stay home.
 
28th September
1964 El Adem: 3 Europeans were stoned in Tobruk, one very badly, needing hospital treatment, Cydef troopers on the Street with bayonets fixed. 3 of us went from our hotel to get some bread, there was much blood around Church Square, thought that this was Qadaffi's first attempt at a coupe de tat
1965 Stradishall: Arrived at my new unit #1 Air Navigation School Stradishall Suffolk. Reported to #2 hangar where I would be servicing NF14 Meteors.
1968 Wattisham: Saturday Alert, called in, 3 aircraft up.
 
29th September
1964 El Adem: Had to go to El Adem, the situation in Tobruk was still tense but by evening had calmed down.
1967 Wattisham: Some aircraft off to Norway on exercise.
 
30th September
1968 Wattisham: 6 x 29 Squadron off to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. The Alert siren went off again,we had no serviceable aircraft!
 
1st October
1957 Weeton: Admitted to hospital again for 3 weeks, this time to have a sizeable portion of my great right toe removed resulting in the mistreatment at Halton by a chiropodist, in last 6 months have spent over 3 months in hospital, this more or less got me off parades for the next 11 years, sometimes I had a chit sometimes not, and excusing me various duties. I had to learn to walk again after this op as it upset my balances. 
1965 Stradishall: My first job in #2 hangar was to remove an engine from a NF14 Meteor.
 
2nd October
1962 Weeton: In the Education Section, I was asked if I was bored by some Pilot Officer as it appeared I wasn't paying attention, 100 lines I must be more attentive!!
1968 Wattisham: 4 aircraft of 56 squadron arrived from Cyprus + 2 the next day, they were off to RAF Valley. 29 Squadron had replaced their kites.
 
3rd October
1963 St Mawgan: As often happened a gale blew in and the aircraft all had to be turned nose into wind.
1965 Stradishall: Sunday Open Day for families, worked in the hangar in the morning, watched the flying display in the afternoon for The Royal Observer Corps, among others a Spitfire, Hurricane and Mosquito did their bit.
1967 Wattisham: Telebriefs and Scrambles all day, OTR's at the end of the day we 'killed' 3 Canberras, 4 Lightnings (2 of them our own!!), 4 Airliners including a Russian Tupolev and a Luftwaffe F104G Starfighter.
1968 Wattisham: Saw 56 Squadron kites off to RAF Valley.
 
6th October
1967 Wattisham: 111 Squadron put a Lightning F3 on the grass, somehow slew off the runway.
 
7th October
1964 El Adem: Was on Ground Defence Training but wasn't allowed to fire the .303 or Browning Machine Gun due to ear problems, it didn't stop me working with jet and turbo noise around me though!
 
8th October
1963 St Mawgan: Put in an application to buy myself out of the RAF, I still didn't have the money for this though! A signal was sent from SM to RAF Innsworth for advice as I was due to go to El Adem in one week.
1964 El Adem: Two of us put on a Technical Charge as #3 tank on a Britannia was showing empty on fuel guage after being refuelled, Flight Engineer notified Captain and all passengers were taken back by two coaches to the Air Movements section. Flight Commander, Chiefy i/c shift, Corporal Fitter and myself went down to the kite and did a drop stick check, the tank was showing full, checked all the other tanks same thing all showing full.  Instrument bods called in to check guage, this was faulty, so the guage had to be changed, my mate and I had the charge dropped. What a load of bollo*ks!
1968 Wattisham: I was the only engine bod on the squadron on night shift, fortunately it wasn't busy and we weren't going to war tonight!
1963 St Mawgan: Some Tech Sergeant told me I was working 'til midnight, I told him I wasn't, straight to his breast pocket, pen and 252 form at the ready. I only had to say 'cleared from the Squadron Sarge, showing him my blue clearance chit' and walked off. 
 
10th October
1963 St Mawgan: I was in SHQ Clearing when I asked if my Purchase of Discharge had been approved, saw some Warrant Officer over this and he said that I couldn't 'buy myself out' until I got to El Adem. I told him how stupid that was and within 15 minutes was marched into a Squadron Leaders Office, complete with Warrant Officer and a Flight Sergeant with a set of Queens Regulations, at the side of the S/L, the F/S then read me the Riot Act Conduct Prejudice to Good Law and Order rubbish, I was then informed if I wasn't at RAF Lyneham by 1715 hrs on October 16th 1963 I would face a possible Courts Martial for being Absent Without Leave (AWOL). I was marched out of the office, cleared the camp and went home for a long weekend. I realised that two years in El Adem was marginally better than 6 months hard labour at Shepton Mallet.
1965 Stradishall: Some Wing Commander picked me up for not saluting him, well I couldn't really if I was looking the other way, I still think it would have been a good idea if the RAF had discharged me on March 5th 1960!
 
11th October
1961 St Mawgan: Shackleton XF710 up for 12 hours 30 mins on an Atomic Alert exercise, once airborne we had to fly over the sea at night and eventually got diverted to RAF Valley in North Wales, refuelled and serviced the kite, slept on board in the bunks, then took off again down to The Bay of Biscay for another 10 hour 25 minute trip arriving back at SM on the 12th October.     
       
 
   
  
 

12th October
1965 Stradishall: What sort of station had I come to, I wasn't used to making blanket packs, I gave that up 9 years previously, but some Discip NCO thought that was how it was going to be and also told me to get my haircut for good measure. With that I handed my bedding in and drove the 35 miles home every night, put an application in to 'live out' and claimed mileage allowance for the first twenty miles! Soon found someone that we could share a car and expenses!
 
13th October
1964 El Adem: SSQ SMO told me I needed an operation on my ear drum and again said I will not complete my tour, did SFA about it though!
 
14th October
1964 El Adem: Got to work from Tobruk only to find that the Maltese Field Regiment had taken over the airfield and were firing dummy shells at passing aircraft, sandbags and dugouts all for real seemingly.
 
15th October
1963 RAF Lyneham: Yep I chickened out I arrived at Lyneham at 1730 hrs (15 minutes late), I thought that two years sweeping the desert was better than painting coals white at Shepton Mallet or Colchester at the double under a strict regime of Red Cap bully boys.
 
16th October
1963 Lyneham: Flew to El Adem in Britannia XM517 (Avior) 5 hours and 30 minutes, it was dark when I arrived, so found a pit in Learoyd Block and went over to the NAAFI, found three guys in there that I knew so drank Slopps for 3 hours and looking at the state of my writing for that night I must have been 'cut'!
 
17th October
1963 El Adem: Got my arrival chitty, Brilliant start at this hell hole of a camp, went to the Guard Room to sign in some Flight Sergeant of a Snoop went apesh*t telling me where the Barbers shop was and to report back to him with a short back and sides, what K-rap, obviously a nice man to get on with!
1967 Wattisham: Blowing a gale, so had to double chock the Lightnings, those that were airborne were on Tanker exercise with the Yanks from RAF/USAF Mildenhall.
 
18th October
1963 El Adem: What a rathole this place was, the meals were disgusting, I eventually made my way over to Transit Aircraft Servicing Section (TASS), had to go and see the Flight Commander obviously my reputation hadn't been sent to him in advance as he seemed quite human for a Zobbit!
 
19th October
1967 Wattisham: Somehow it took the Home Office at Petty France in London seven and a half years to understand how the RAF lost my passport on March 1st 1960. They wouldn't issue me with a replacement that expired until I gave them a good enough reason, well as I didn't particularly want to go overseas, it was the RAF that wanted me to do these detachments, so I put the ball in their court to let them sort it out, somehow I received another one free of charge.
 
20th October
1966 Stradishall: Overseas Standby Draft downgraded to Western European bases only for me.
1967 Wattisham: QRA, two aircraft scrambled, the one I had the starter caught fire, I used the Asbestos Fire Glove to smother the flames, the guy who was i/c starter crew told the pilot NOT to start #2 engine but he pressed the tit again and I got a face full of AVPIN (IsoPropylNitrate), when the Jockey came down I said that I had recorded this event in the Accident Book and would he sign it, this was the only time in my 13 years in the RAF that an Officer apologised to me!
 
21st October
1956 Halton: Whilst on leave was admitted for 4 days to RAF St Eval SSQ with a viral infection.
1964 El Adem: 35th time to SSQ with ear problems in 14 weeks!
 
22nd October
1968 Wattisham: I was off sick with the flu, I had called my own doctor out at home and he gave me 10 days off, when this was reported to my Squadron they said I should have reported to SSQ on camp for them to decide. Caring bunch of Bar Stewards eh?  
 
23rd October
1958 Seletar: Ongoing foot problems had to go to RAF Changi hospital for X-Rays.
1964 El Adem: Despatched the Pembroke on a Search and Rescue as two Army bods were unaccounted for on a Desert exercise, a Beverley returning from Kufra Oasis was diverted to look for them as well, eventually they were found by their own troop.
 
24th October
1964 El Adem: Another brilliant piece of discipline and planning. A date has to be decided when everyone has to change from Summertime KD to Working Blue, this was the date decided folks, you guessed it 95 degrees shade temperature!!
1966 Stradishall: SMO at SSQ downgraded my medical status to UK only for 3 months, this got me off Emergency Standby Draft.
 
25th October
1963 El Adem: The Defence Minister Peter Thorneycroft came through on a VIP Comet 4c from Singapore, coincidentally 3 Javelins with live Firestreak missiles on board also arrived.
 
26th October
1961 St Mawgan: Flew to RAF Honington on Shackleton XF711 1 hour 25 minute.
 
27th October
1962 Weeton: March past the Commanding Officer in review order on a Saturday morning, if the lines looked perfect you could then knock off, it looked good enough! I suppose this anarchic way of discipline has been replaced with something a little more sophisticated in todays RAF, or has it?
1964 El Adem: Had to borrow a webbing belt for a bomb dump guard, still if the torch with the dim light bulb didn't put the saboteurs off, perhaps the whistle would have deafened them, I see or you could beat them off with your webbing belt. Today you couldn't write a script for a film as good as this, it is embarrassingly laughable if not downright pathetic!
 
28th October
1964 El Adem: Went sick for the umpteenth time, the UMO in SSQ must have lost the plot here as I received nose drops for a perforated ear!
1966 Stradishall: In # 2 hangar we made up a toilet seat with a drawing of the person we voted "The Bum of the Month," this was placed up on the crewroom wall when the chiefy, who this was awarded to, found out that he was the winner he went apesh*t!
 
30th October
1968 Wattisham: All 29 Squadron kites back from Akrotiri.
 
31st October
1963 El Adem: Bullnight in a Ghibley (Sandstorm) brilliant!
1966 Sradishall: This one must have been some sort of 'wind up'as I had to attend a lecture in the Education Centre with others where a Wing Commander was trying to get us to SIGN ON!!
1967 Wattisham: One Operational Turn Round for CIGS (Chief of the General Staff)
1968 Wattisham: Squadron gear arrived on a Belfast aircraft from Akrotiri, as it was pelting down this took 30 minutes to offload!  
   
 
        

1st November
1958 Seletar: 205/209 Squadron title changed to 205 Squadron MB Seletar.
1962 Weeton: On guard, caught having a cup of tea in the mess, when it was our off duty period had to sweep and bumper the guardroom floor as some form of punishment.
1963 El Adem: Went to Tobruk for the first time to have a look around the great metropolis, my impressions, Zift!
1964 El Adem: Someone set light to the bonfire at 0100 hrs 4 days early.
1966 Stradishall: Starboard engine of a Varsity caught fire, whilst I extinquished the flames with a Co2 bottle, another look out ran in the opposite direction!
 
2nd November
1963 El Adem: Saw a Vulcan of 83 Squadron RAF Scampton off complete with Blue Steel bomb, what a fantastic take-off the pilot did, very impressive.
Had Hastings WJ329 in among many others.
1966 Stradishall: Told to sweep all the leaves up around the hangar and to put them into dustbins, the whole section rebelled, two of us went to the Chiefies office to complain, with everyone else waiting outside, they got some civvies in to do it. The next morning we lined up by the Varsity at 0800hrs with bass brooms, shovels and dustbins, we weren't asked again!
 
3rd November
1962 Weeton: Saturday morning Astra Cinema, Padres Hour, had the Lytham St Anne's Angelical Choir perform, actually it sounded good.
 
4th November
1963 El Adem: 2 x Javelins of 226 OCU in plus a helicopter from HMS Albion.
1964 El Adem: Chaplain-in-Chief the Venerable Cocks arrived.
1968 Wattisham: 2 brake Chutes failed to deploy from the Lightnings.
 
5th November
1963 El Adem: In to see the Flight Commander about getting out of the RAF, no chance he said without your Purchase of Discharge and Air Fare back home to be paid by myself. I was steaming! 3 Shackletons of 224 Squadron from Gibraltar passed through, so too did Air Commandant Bird-Wilson (WRAF Commandant) on a VIP Comet.
 
7th November
1966 Stradishall: To RAF Halton to have my ear operation, when I arrived there I had lots of tests then sent home the next day as I had developed a cold and they wouldn't operate.
 
8th November
1963 El Adem: Tobruk Rifle Range for GDT training, fired off several rounds out to sea of the .303 rifle and the Browning GPMG.
1964 El Adem: (Sunday) 4 Canberras, 2 Hunters, a Javelin to see off. 3 Before Flights on Sycamores and turn rounds on a PR9 Canberra and a Britannia.
1968 Wattisham: One of our jockeys landed at RAF Horsham St Faith  mistaking this for RAF Coltishall, ooooooppppssss!
 
9th November
1963 El Adem: Charged with a mate for being drunk.
1967 Wattisham: Moving a tail trestle, block and tackle swung road, knocked me out and gashed my forehead above my eye. Taken to SSQ and was dazed, had to have an hour off work.
 
10th November
1967 Wattisham: Took 8 Aircraft (4 x 29 and 4 x 111 Squadron) to APC on end of runway. All did scramble take offs.
 
11th November
1962 Weeton: Paraded through Kirkham to the War Memorial for Remembrance Sunday parade.
 
12th November
1961 St Mawgan: To RAF Ballykelly, Northern Ireland for JASS exercise on Shackleton XF709 2 hours 35 mins
1963 El Adem: Awarded 14 days Jankers and fined 10/=  for being drunk by a Flight Lieutenant we were later summoned back into his office thinking he was going to extend this but it tanspired he only had the authority to award us 7 days Jankers and we were both warned of our future conduct.
1964 El Adem: 23 aircraft in, including 13 Canberras, we didn't have time to go to the mess so hot meals were brought up to the section at TASS.
 
13th November
1962 Weeton: First engine run of a Piston Provost.
1963 El Adem: 1800hrs Jankers parade, Orderley Officer inspected us, couldn't find anything wrong with me but he tried hard!
1968 Wattisham: Flew to RAF Binbrook in Hastings TG536 of Strike Command for operation Mickey Finn, flight took 40 minutes.  I saw these three Hastings land at WTM and I feared flying in one of these things again, I even went to see the Flight Commander to ask if I could go by road, NO CHANCE! The landing at Binbrook was awful, I was just waiting for the CRUNCH!
 
14th November
1963 El Adem: Was on the mat in front of my Flight Commander ref: being drunk and I was warned about my future conduct, these people jarred me off, no compassion, no asking for reasons, no nothing!
1964 El Adem: Signal from RAF Records Innsworth, I was to return to the UK to hospital at Halton for an ear operation. I was summoned to SSQ where the SMO inflicted great pain on my ear, the BASTARD! This was because I asked for a second opinion, he said he was sending me to RAF Hospital Akrotiri first.
1968 Wattisham: On detachment to Binbrook, used 85 Squadrons crew room facilities but most of the time we were down by the ORP Caravan at the end of the runway, eventually all 8 aircraft were scrambled back to Wattisham. We then took a coach over to Coningsby to board three Hastings and I flew back to WTM in TG 505 40 minutes, this was the very last flight in an aircraft! Thankfully uneventful.
 
15th November
1963 El Adem: 0600hrs report to guardroom for inspection,  fatigues from 0800hrs -1000hrs. Then was on Bomb Dump Guard, return to Guardroom at 1800hrs for #1 Blue inspection by Orderley Officer, back to Bomb Dump Guard  2000-2200hrs.
1968 Wattisham: All 29 Squadron aircraft sent to RAF Leuchars whilst a Vickers Varsity performed calibration tests of Wattisham Station Navigational Systems, the Lightnings returned after dark.
 
16th November
1963 El Adem: Only had 4 hours kip in the past 40 hours through Jankers/Guard/Night Shift.
1964 El Adem: 6 Hastings arrived bringing through the Personnel of # 1 Squadron RAF.
 
17th November
1963 El Adem: Had a double dose of fatigues, as I was stood down yesterday, this involved painting the Guardroom desk and a perimeter wall, light blue. There is no end to what an airman can turn his hand to! Whilst doing this I found a tortoise and took it back to the billet, put it in a cardboard box and brought some food for it back from the mess, the tortoise wouldn't eat it, that's how bad the grub is at El Adem!
 
18th November
1963 El Adem: Towed away a PE Starter set in an emergency situation  from a British Eagle Viscount as it was smoking and about to catch fire. Someone else grabbed the fire extinguisher from the wheel arch of the tractor to extinguish the fire.
1968 Wattisham: When I arrived on camp, a RED state of alert was in force (no one had called me out on the chain of contact) but the alert was abandoned due to fog so 'no war' was fought!
 
19th November
1962 Weeton: Read the headlines in the newspaper where an ex mate (and others) from 205/209 Squadron Seletar had died in the Snowdonia National Park due to severe weather conditions whilst on an adventure trip.
1964 El Adem: Flew to Nicosia, Cyprus in Vickers Viscount G-AOCB 2hrs and 5 minute trip. I was due to fly in a Hastings of 70 Squadron (LXX) but this was changed, thank goodness, as it didn't have a pressurised cabin. Took the trip to RAF Akrotiri hospital in a RAF coach with an escort from the RAF Regiment who was armed with a Sten Gun.
 
20th November
1964 Akrotiri: Had various tests, 7 X-rays on my face/head, hearing tests and was seen by a Wing Commander ENT Specialist, this guy was so gentle compared to the pain inflicted by the SMO at El Adem.
 
21st November
1962 Weeton: Gate patrol 2200-2400hrs then 0400-0600hrs. ( this reminds me of that old chestnut when the Gate Commander says to the LAC 'watch out for the Station Commander laddie', some while later a flashy car drives up to the gate and the guy inside the car, dressed in Civvies, winds down the window as he was driving under the barrier and said 'Group Captain Cummings' with that the LAC shouts back 'thank you we'll keep an eye out for the old bastard!')
1962 Weeton: Should have been involved in a boxing match in the gymnasium, but decided that the better part of valour was not for me so I went and volunteered for circuit training instead.
1962 El Adem: Word spread like wildfire that up in Tech Wing HQ they were looking for volunteer engine fitters to be made redundant, I shot up there only to find out it was for bods with an engagement of up to 9 years!
 
22nd November
1962 Weeton: Got charged for not being on parade at 0800hrs, I had come off gate guard and was on late breakfast, so got off the charge. Looking back on all of this how pathetic discipline was in the RAF at times!
1963 El Adem: Now this was what RAF life was all about. A 'casevac' Comet IVc came in with a young girl on board, in such a critical medical condition that she was not expected to live the journey to RAF Lyneham. Everything stopped on the pan, everyone mucked in and we had this kite refuelled and airborne again within the hour. We later learned on a congratulatory signal from the AOC that the girl did survive the journey and was admitted to nearby RAF Wroughton hospital.
 
23rd November
1967 Wattisham: No serviceable ear defenders spare on the line, so I refused to do a 'starter crew'. You can just imagine the Discip Sergeant marching from his office in the hangar over to the Squadron line ready to put me on a Fizzer (252 Charge), so I opened the crew room door for him, that took the wind out of his sails to start with, he asked for me by name and for my chit, I said 'I didn't have one' so he told me to go and get one, I said 'where from', he said 'Station Sick Quarters' and report back to him when I did have the chit, when he went out of the crewroom all the lads hooted and jeered him, he was steaming! I waited for him to get out of the way, went to SSQ and some Medic got my records and then got the UMO to sign the chitty. I had great pleasure in MARCHING into his office, clicking my heels and saying 'One chit excused Starter Crews Sergeant if no Ear Defenders available'. He looked at me as if this was my last day on Earth, guess what the next day there was enough ear defenders for everyone to have two pairs each!
 
24th November
1964 Akrotiri: I was allowed an afternoon pass out of the hospital to go to the main RAF base!
 
25th November
1968 Wattisham: 2 x 6 Squadron Lightnings in from Leuchars seconded to us for the day.
 
26th November
1965 Stradishall: Taken off a job on a NF14 Meatbox to go over to the Varsity line to clean a coffee stain off a Navigators table that had spilt on to the fuselage floor. Went straight into the Flight Commanders Office and told him I wasn't going to do it and told him the advertising posters in the RAF Recruiting Office in Swindon in 1956 didn't say that this was a job that an engine fitter had to do and I hadn't heard so much rubbish, Chiefy called in to the office and he got someone else to do it!
 
27th November
1963 El Adem: Saw 2 Blackburn Beverleys down to Kufra Oasis on Desert Rescue Standby.
 
28th November
1964 Akrotiri: The Station Commander of El Adem Group Captain Frost visited me in hospital, which I thought was a decent thing to do and he even got his wife to visit my wife in the Palace Hotel, Tobruk to give her a progress report.
1967 Wattisham: Taceval Exercise on 29 Squadron 6 Operational Turn Rounds.
1968 Wattisham: 23rd Nov just a year earlier, same discip NCO called me to his office and put me on QRA on Christmas and Boxing Day, told him I had a leave pass in and approved since September, he told me that 'as from now your leave is cancelled' I asked him immediately for a Gen App form to redress a grievance against him, I filled it out, went into see the Squadron Commander for him to sign, he called the discip NCO into his office, I had to wait outside, called back in after a few minutes to explain the situation and refused point blank to do the QRA, out of the office again and told to report back to the line. It then transpires that someone else volunteered to do this duty on my behalf, I went to see this guy and said I didn't want any favours done and made it clear that it was his decision and not mine. Phew!
 
29th November
1965 Stradishall: Had to go Special Sick to SSQ, ear giving me hell and flu symptoms, UMO gave me two days off.
 
30th November
1964 Akrotiri: Told to get a haircut in hospital, I just couldn't believe this, someone came round two days later and it was cut in the ward.
    

1st December
1961 Ballykelly: End of JASS exercise back to St Mawgan in Shackleton XF711 1 hour 50 mins. 
1963 El Adem: VIP Comet IVc XR397 in. A Hunter caught fire on Avpin start up, extinguisher doused the flames, fire engine attended, A/C left after 2 hours of checks.
 
3rd December
1961 St Mawgan: One of our kites failed to return to SM due to engine problems so I was on a team flown up on Shackleton XF710 1 hour 40 mins., we had to change an engine as metal was found in the Scavenge Filter. 
 
4th December
1966 Stradishall: To RAF Halton Hospital for ear operation 30 months after first developing problems.
 
5th December
1961 Ballykelly: Flew back to St Mawgan on Shackleton XF710 1 hour 40 mins, whilst flying down the Irish Sea the Aircraft Carrier USS Essex was being refuelled by a mother ship alongside, we made two very low level passes taking photographs with a Kodak K24 Long Tom Camera, this photo was published in many magazines under the title 'Avgas will Travel' anyone with a copy, please contact me. 
1966 Halton: Operation on my ear at last, but bloody painful!
 
6th December
1963 El Adem: 4 Valiants in with a support Hastings (Serv Crew) and an Argosy (Equipment) 
 
7th December
1958 Seletar: Flight in Short Sunderland PP112 in search for A Japanese Tanker that had sunk off the coast of Indonesia, wreckage found but no survivors, 4 hours 40 minutes fortunately I had my camera with me to take aerial shots of Seletar. The landing in the sea seemed strange, but of course this one was by design, not like the one on March 1st 1960!
1963 El Adem: A mate and I walked over to the Tank Compound in the bondu, there were 20 Centurion Tanks on immediate permanent standby.
1964 Akrotiri: An Air Vice Marshal came round the hospital with an entourage of other Scrambled Egg bods. He asked me who I was, how long I had been here, what I was in for and where I was stationed, when  I said 'El Adem' he started asking what it was like there, well he did ask, immediately all the Zobs smiles seemed to disappear!! I told him how the tour for SINGLIES should have been a one year tour, that some of the Hirings in Tobruk were disgusting and that the food in the mess was almost unpalatable. When he eventually went on to the next patient others were looking at me as if looks would kill, however none of that was ever taken on board!
 
8th December
1963 El Adem: Powerplant change on  Hastings WD489 of 70 Squadron, this took 3 days to complete as the new one that was fitted was OK but on start up another engine went duff and we had to wait for another Bristol Hercules engine to be flown in from Nicosia.
1964 Akrotiri: I was discharged from RAF Akrotiri Hospital, driven the 74 miles in a staff car with some W/C to RAF Nicosia. Later flew back to El Adem on ViscountG-AOCB 2 hours 25 mins flight time.
 
9th December
1958 Seletar: Reached the rank of Senior AicraftsMan, WOW!
1965 Stradishall: Put on Meteor Flight Line 'til the New Year, great just what I wanted, on 1st line servicing again.
 
11thDecember
1957 Weeton: Reached the dizzy heights of AC1 !
1964 El Adem: Rained almost all day now that is a rarity where there is less than 2" of rainfall per annum at El Adem.
 
12th December
1963 El Adem A very busy day with Aircraft Movements, among many in/out was a Canberra from 73 Squadron another from 213 Squadron and VIP Hastings WD500.
 
13th December
1968 Wattisham: Too foggy for flying, What-a-shame as Wattisham was known! 
 
14th December
1963 El Adem: Hastings C-1 TG620 in and Canberra WT314 to see off, otherwise nothing else to do.
 
15th December
1967 Wattisham: Had to get special permission from OC Wattisham to work in the GPO sorting mail on the run-up to Xmas.
 
16th December
1958 Changi: RAF Changi, Singapore to RAF Katunayake (formerly RAF Negombo) Ceylon in 48 Squadron Hastings TG531 7 hours 45 mins at 8000'.
1965 Stradishall: I liked this Meteor Flight Line, tow them out of the hangar in the morning put them back at 1630hrs, no flying as all being scrapped!
1968 Wattisham: Again worked in GPO on run-up to Xmas.
 
18th December
1964 El Adem: Not too many aircraft in to El Adem due to the crisis in the Sudan. One engine bod dropped a pencil into a fuel tank of a Hastings, thank goodness that floated and we were able to retrieve it.
 
20th December
1963 El Adem: Solitary Canberra of 3 Squadron in all shift.
 
22nd December
1964 El Adem: Just missed bomb dump guard over Christmas.
1966 Halton: Discharged from hospital after ear op, 18 days in, now 10 days sick leave then back to Stradishall.
 
23rd December
1965 Stradishall: At 0050hrs someone hammering on my door at AMQ 65 Poplar Walk, wanted me out to help turn 5 Vickers Varsities into wind, one trolley acc had blown along the dispersal and damaged a propellor.
 
25th December
1963 El Adem: Christmas dinner only served to those in Best Blue in the mess, so hardly anyone turned up! Loads of us guys went to the Astra Cinema to see 'Sergeants Three' starring Frank Sinatra, you could hardly get into the place for drunken bodies. I was on Bomb Dump Guard, the SWO was the Orderley Officer, one bloke turned up stoned out of his mind, for once the SWO passed this by!
 
27th December
1964 El Adem: A whole bunch of us MF guys took the bus from Tobruk to El Adem to tour the bars. TASS/Signals, the best bar/Hell Fire Club/MT section/Flying Wing and back to Signals bar. We all returned to our respective wives half cut!
1968 Wattisham: QRA over the New Year, (that Discip Sergeant didn't get me over Xmas though!)
 
29th December
1968 Wattisham: Snowed like the clappers, even the Sno-Flo Snowplough got stuck in a 3' drift trying to clear the approach to the QRA hangar.
 
30th December
1964 El Adem: Bomb Dump Guard, the second time in 8 days, something wrong with a roster there.
 
31st December
1968 Wattisham: QRA, visit from Wing Commander, Squadron Commander and Squadron Engineering Officer all visited us, several cans of beers deposited which was a good gesture but when I asked the CO if my name appeared on the New Years Honours List, he had a look down the list and said "I am afraid not this year Cooper" now that really surprised me as this was my last Xmas/New Year in the RAF especially as I had been such a model airman for all these years !!!!!!!!!!!!!      
  

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For photographs only click HERE

Copyright  John Cooper