The above pic of our flight on parade was before the digital era began so I cannot highlight which one is me !!!
BASIC TRAINING AT RAF WEST KIRBY NEAR LIVERPOOL
Following on from the earlier process of a physical at Northampton where I was rated A1 despite the fact that my left knee was playing up and was locked in a bent mode. I could not touch my toes with straight legs but I was still A1 and so when I received my call-up, it was on the bus again to Northampton then they put us on a train to nearby RAF Cardington. There we went through the full induction process and I collected a rollicking from a little man for not saluting him. How was I to know that a thin little stripe on his shoulder meant he was a Pilot Officer ! We had only been there a couple of days when I got another one. It was Coronation day and we were told we could have the day off which to me meant catching a Birches bus outside the gates and a 20 minute ride to where my girl lived. A Pompous snowdrop on the gate said ` you do not leave here with a windsor knot in your tie`. As I had not used any other it took me 20 minutes to change it to be deemed acceptable in which time I missed my bus and had to wait for another. Never mind, I watched the Coronation on my future father-in-laws television set.
New sprogs on the block at RAF Cardington and pictured in front of the giant airship hangers.
I am seated second from left
I am seated second from left
RAF West Kirby
My God, how innocent we all were. Following our long train journey from Bedford to West Kirby on the Wirral near Liverpool, our lorry pulled up in a large open shed area and all hell broke loose. A horde of screaming, shouting, blaspheming NCO`s chivvied us all off the lorries and introduced us to the niceties of life at a square bashing camp. This continued for four week`s until we were half way through our basic training and warranted a weekend leave home. The situation improved a lot on our return because a new intake arrived and the attentions of the drill instructors diverted to those poor sods. Come the Passing Out Parade and I had developed a sore heel so I was excused from the parade ! We had our "jabs" one Saturday at 12 noon so that if you suffered any reaction, you would be ill in your own time, not Air Force time. It was some sight with long queues for jabs and guys keeling over on the spot. I lasted until middle of the afternoon when I got the sweats in New Brighton and had to get back to camp fast. Later that night I was transferred to the camp hospital to recover.
Guards on parade at the main gate.
Our squad. I am extreme right on the back row. Friend to be Roy Whistance second from right, front row.
Our flight on parade.
Coke mountains...........Anyone who did their basic training at West Kirby will have memories of the Coke Mountains maintained there in the 50`s. I will not spoil it for you , I just recommend that you look at this website for a fabulous tale of basic training days there including the saga of coke. JUST CLICK HERE then click the link for RAF West Kirby
The local SS Waffen Group
We departed West Kirby for several weeks of well earned leave to recover from all our exertions there, even being put on jankers for not screaming loudly enough as I stuck my bayonet into a sandbag !!. In due course, probably RAF SOP, we were called back early for overseas assignment. Of some 100 trades to choose from, nearly all were placed as Clerks Provisioning and all bound for Egypt.
Sims and me pose for a seaside snap on a day out at New Brighton opposite the Liver building across the Mersey.
We`re on our way. RAF Warton transit camp near Blackpool.
Seated on my pit in the nissen hut. We planned for a celebration last night at Blackpool but at the pay parade to collect our subsistence money, I only received 1/6d to last me all the way to Egypt !!! So at that time i was introduced to that good old services practise of borrowing from a mate until (and absolutely) paying it back at the next pay parade.
Tea break in the NAAFI with me on the left seated next to Roy Whistance.