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Page 11 - Stories and memories of your time at RAF Bridgnorth.
Write and submit your memories here.
Frank Charnock 4153838 from 1954, remembers that "our corporal was Cpl Reames, a very hard man, the next hut to us had Cpl Hurst, a much nicer individual. Like most people we found it very hard, I was just 17, but looking back it did us a lot of good."
The photographs Frank sent are listed as '1954 - Hut 248, 14 Flt' and '1954 - 14 Flt 'D' Sqd'
James Stirton 5082116 from 1960 - 1961, says he will "always remember the field day the Drill Instuctors had with last lot of National Servicemen, as this would stop with Regulars only to come."
Joseph Stanyer 3155407 from 1959, remembers "playing for the Station Football team."
Brian Bridle 4269391 from 1962, remembers "scraping black paint off the .303 only to repaint at the end of your time. How the steel of the rifle would stick to your hands in the sub zero temps. A spur to quicken the moves?! Sgt Rolls (a rotund gentleman)."
Keith Durrant 3526269 from 1958, remembers that "DI Cpl Sunnocks was a strict pillar of strength. An inspiration to a hick from the sticks like me. I don't believe they make them like that any more! I made my first steps in growing up here. Not really completed the job even now though!"
Sam Webb 5040038 from 1957, remembers that he "ran a lot of cross country and road races at Bridgnorth - don't think I was ever a particularly good airman."
Sam says he is on the photograph titled '1957 - 4 Flt 'A' Sqd' sent by Ron Waters 3524376.
Mick Snellgrove 2755651 from 1955, says he "couldn't slow march so I missed the passing out parade, not sorry though I performed On for the drill test whereas our officer did not!!"
Graham Bateson 4119708 from 1953, says it was "very cold with some snow. Fatigue week went into Admin office."
The photographs Graham sent are listed as '1953 - Bateson's Group' and '1953 - Bateson's Flt'
The daughter of Eric Loat (deceased) 4258262 from 1960, would love to hear from "anyone who knew my dad or has info about the three photographs I've sent. He later served at RAF Tengah Singapore. My dad was from Dudley in the West Midlands."
The photographs sent are listed as '1960 - Loat's Hut' and '1960 - Loat's Flt'
The daughter of Gilbert Henry (deceased) from 1958 ? says she "hopes that I can trace my deceased father's friend (if he is still alive). I know his surname was Livingstone and I think his first name was Joe. His nickname was Livi. I have an old photo where it says he was in RAF Bridgnorth Hut 159, I'm unsure of the year."
The photograph sent is listed as '1958 - Hut 159'
Michael Griffiths N4275529 from 1962 - 1963, says "a Geordie called Bill and I were in 17 Flt and put back to 19 Flt. I can remember the two coke stoves in the centre of the 22 man billet, it was freezing cold the whole time I was at RAF Bridgnorth.
I remember the Flt having a photograph taken on a cold Monday morning, meant to be marching but we all stood still and put the left leg forward, when the photograph was printed it did look as though we were marching.
I met Roger Kartassie in RAF Idris in 1966, and met another chap in RAF Brize Norton in 1971 who recognised my number as close to his. But never bumped into Bill again."
Comment by Webmaster - the photograph Michael mentions is on this site, listed as '1962 / 1963 - 19 Flt, marching' sent by Maurice Gromett 4275647.
Colin Wright 1958 from 1958, remembers his "Basic training, although I hated it at the time, it transformed me, a lad from the backwoods of Norfolk, into an adult. I have never regretted the experience."
The photographs Colin sent are listed as '1958 - Hut 25' and '1958 - March Flt'
Keith Walker 5029356 from 1956, says it was "damn hard work, cold weather and no respite from training. Fortunately, I had been in the Boys Brigade as a younger person and drill and discipline came easily, unlike some poor sods!!"
Malcolm Ellis 4197833 from 1957, says that "after kitting out at Cardington, we went on the long journey by train, not allowed to leave our compartment except for toilet visits. Stops at stations on the way we had behave as correct British airmen i.e. no hanging out of windows, and no slovernly behavior undre threat the most diabolical punishment from the DI.
Arriving at Bridgnorth station, there was a lot of "balling and shouting" I thought then what have I got myself into, being just turned 18 at the time. When we got to the camp, the "1... pauze...2" regime began and that went on for the next 5 weeks until we became Senior Sqdn which was D Sqdn. I was on 38 Flt. hut 307, under Cpl Wright and Cpl Lightfoot.
While we were on "square bashing" one morning, being Senior flt, we were allowed to stand as gentlemen in the corner of the square to have a smoke. During this activity a very tall Sgt. from A Flt. marched by, and someone said "cor blimey look at him he's just like a walking broom stick!" The Sgt just carried on marching, no looking back so we thought we'd got away with it! But no none of that, he had going to the sports field, playing a game of football, 20 mins. each way, and marched us back again when we got to the hut the Sgt said "I don't want to hear any more comments on my bodily posture!!!
Except for a few scrapes with authority, all in all I'm very gratefull to have been there, and the comradeship I found at Bridgnorth was never found again!!!!
After passing out, I went on RAF Melksham for electrical training. If anyone remembers me of the time at Bridgnorth, I would appreciate contact."
The photographs Malcolm sent are listed as '1957 - Hut 307 in Nov' and '1957 - Sept Intake'
Hedley Vincent C4275377 from 1962, says "it was the coldest Winter on record, did not enjoy the Shropshire Winter camp or the route marches..."
Mike Bull 5073584 from 1959 - 1960, says that "Cpl Pope was a great D.I. and very fair. Remember our Flight were famous as scroungers. We exchanged our complete lino floor with another hut while they were on a route march as per Cpl Pope's suggestion.
I enjoyed every minute, great D.I. Cpl Ray Pope. I think we were 26 Flt. We were taught how to never be short of coke (raiding parties to new intakes huts) I was lucky to be leading recruit for Passing Out so the lads bulled my kit. I think our Sargeants name was Newton. After trade training at Locking, I was posted 103 MU Akrotiri Cyprus."
Alec Lovatt Q4268155 from 1961, remembers that he "had Asian Flu. Spent two weeks in Sick Quarters so got back flighted. Used to chain smoke but stopped after Flue. 5ft 7in with glasses. Always in centre after sizing. Stammered quite a bit. Football goal keeper and cross country runner."
Trevor Anderson 3511800 from 1951, remembers "meeting great friends from throughout the UK."
John James 4144364 from 1954, remembers that "it was quite hard Winter and the shock to my system of running in PT shorts at this rediculous time of the morning woke me up ok... I usually suffered tonsilitis around April every year but didn't have a cold or anything whilst doing squarebashing until I had leave after. Then I was home in bed with severe tonsilitis for weeks. They were hard tough times that Corporal Smith I believe his name was, put us through, but he was quite fair and had a job to do.
One incident I will never forget was of Cpl Smith Drill Instructor putting us through our paces throwing the 303 around doing slope, order and present arms etc., and he glanced at me, known as 'titch', with the rifle nearly as tall as me and he burst out laughing... I will never forget that... I thought to myself, "this hard tough Corporal has feelings after all !" Wouldn't have missed it for the world and it did turn boys into men."
George Kerr 3525268 from 1957, remembers "waking up in bed outside on the grass between huts! Must have been shattered as I never felt a thing and had a great sleep!"
The photograph George sent is listed as '1957 - Oct Intake'
John Dicks 5035355 from 1956 - 1957, writes "My Introduction to National Service.
Early in 1956, I had been given a medical examination, resulting in being classified as A1 fit, and after a written test and interview I had been provisionally accepted by the Royal Air Force to serve my National Service in a ground trade, the type to be determined at a later date, at the end of my initial training (square bashing), dependant upon what positions they were desperate to fill at that point in time. After the medical examination, while I was being interviewed by an RAF Officer, I mentioned that music was one of my interests, where upon he enquired if I played a musical instrument, to which I replied in the negative. I then remembered that on the way to my medical I had stopped in Shepherds Bush Market and purchased two 78 r.p.m. records, which I had placed under my chair at the start of the interview. Luckily he did not ask to see them, as they were Experiments with Mice, by the Johnny Dankworth Orchestra and the Ying Tong Song by the Goons, hardly classics.
I eventually received my call-up papers and so on Monday the 29th. October 1956 I travelled to Euston Station, where I was surprised to be met by Jim Orvis, the Holy Trinity Youth Fellowship leader, who as he worked in that area had been watching out for me, to wish me the best of luck for the next two years, a very welcome gesture which was very much appreciated by me. It was then onto the train for Cardington in Bedfordshire, and then by three ton Bedford to RAF Station Cardington to be kitted out, ready for my two years in the Royal Air Force. The next day we were issued with our uniforms, knives and forks, etc. and given a haircut, regardless of the fact that most of us had obtained really short haircuts, by our standards, before leaving home. I believe that the tonsorial artiste employed by the RAF had done his training on a sheep farm, in the shearing sheds. We were marched to the station hairdresser's emporium, which was a room furnished with four chairs in a row facing a long wall mirror, where the staff awaited, comprising a man, a woman and a spotty youth of about twelve years of age. The first four of us were asked (?) to sit in the chairs; the youth then placed a cloth around our shoulders, then moved on to the next reluctant customer and repeated this task. Meanwhile the woman went to work with the hair clippers, and on finishing moved to the next chair, where upon the man now applied the finishing touches with the shears (sorry scissors). The spotty youth now returned and removed the cloth; the sheared airman vacated the chair and was replaced by the next victim, who received the still warm cloth around his neck and shoulders. So the sequence continued until we were all shorn, all sixty six of us, in less than one hour. For this dubious service we each had to pay the princely sum of one shilling (5p in today's money). As can be imagined the haircuts varied from the diabolical to the absolutely obscene.
The next step in our new uniforms was to have our photographs taken for our Identity Cards (Form 1250), and we were warned of the dire consequences if we lost or mislaid this important item. We were allocated our service numbers (never to be forgotten to this very day) mine being 5035355, which would be used more times than our names from now onwards. We were now officially "Aircraftsmen Second Class" AC2's, the lowest of the low, Erks. It was during my week at Cardington that England and France invaded the Canal Zone in Egypt, so we were advised that if we thought that we would be out in two years, then we should dream on. Things did not seem to bode well for my future. During this time we were introduced to the joys of "bulling up" our kit, and generally keeping our billet clean and tidy, by Cpl. Sermon, the NCO in charge of our hut. This first week lulled us all into a false sense of well being, which was soon to be shattered, when we eventually arrived at our initial training camp, we soon realised we had been mis-lead into believing that it was going to be so nice and easy.
The following week I was posted to RAF Bridgnorth in Shropshire, arriving there on the Tuesday 6th. November 1956, for eight weeks "Square Bashing", which turned out to be just as bad as I had been lead to believe it would be. It comprised of three weeks of ground defence training (learning to fire guns, etc) one week of fatigues (doing odd jobs around the camp as and where required) followed by four weeks of concentrated arms drill. The NCO's in charge of us, two corporals and a sergeant, seemed set on making our stay as unpleasant as possible, and they went out of their way to be as obnoxious as they possibly could. They never spoke to us without shouting, and if they found fault with any of us, we would have to shout back agreeing with them, much to the amusement of the rest of the flight. One corporal, Joe Davis, lived in one of our flights' three huts, in his own room. The other older one, Corporal Cooper lived with his family in married quarters. He was a Scotsman with quite a broad accent. Every command to any individual airmen ended with "If I find that you hav'na done it correctly laddie, I'll personally come doon and sort yer 'oot".
There were four squadrons of us trainees at this camp, named simply as A, B, C and D. The identity as to which squadron you were in was by means of a coloured disc, displayed behind your cap badge, the colours being red for "A" squadron, blue for "B" squadron, green for "C" squadron and yellow for "D" squadron. I was in "B" squadron, but I have forgotten my flight number.
During our Ground defence training we were taught to use and strip down the .303 rifle and the Bren gun. On the firing range I recall that I had difficulty with the rifle in hitting the target, let alone the bull's eye. On one occasion the corporal instructor snatched the gun out of my hands and blasted the middle out of my target, with five very rapid shots. "There's nothing wrong with this fire arm," he said, "it's you, you're bloody useless". So I ended up classified as a grade two shot, because I never actually injured or killed anyone. I was however much better with the Bren gun, but even though I managed to get all of the shots on target, they were all in the bottom half. This instructor was more civilised. "The idea airman is to kill the enemy, not shoot their bloody legs off", he explained.
Early in our training we had all been given a series of injections (jabs) amongst which was one to check our resistance to Diphtheria, which about ten of us failed. We were given the choice of ignoring this fact or of having two more injections, to improve our immunity, but the decision was to be entirely ours. We were warned however that if we managed to subsequently contract this ailment, as could happen if we were posted to certain areas of Germany, rendering us unfit for duty, we would automatically be charged as it would be considered to be a self-inflicted condition that could have been avoided, so obviously we unanimously volunteered for the extra jabs. A couple of days later we were told to fall out and report to the duty Medical Officer and, as I was the tallest I was detailed to march this group to Station Sick Quarters for the injections to be administered. As we marched along I espied three officers coming in our direction, and as I was feeling a bit cocky of my new powers and position, I called out "Compliments on the march, eyes right" which resulted in the oncoming officers all pointing to the large badges on their right fore-arms, they were all Warrant Officers, non-commissioned officers, and as such did not have to be saluted. "Eyes front" I said, rather sheepishly and apologised to the W.O's, who advised me to wake up and be more observant in future. For the rest of the march I had to endure the taunts and ridicule of my colleagues.
The fourth week of our training was devoted entirely to fatigues, doing any old jobs as required, around the camp area. Several times I was detailed to cookhouse duties, which included serving the food in the airmen's mess. During this time I met up with Harry Peak and Johnny Ward, (more about J.W. later) these were two of my old buddies from British Thompson Houston days. We had all been apprentices together, but they were in different flights to me, having been called-up a few days later. On the Friday I had a full day in the Cookhouse, starting at about 0530 hrs, cooking a huge pot of porridge, and then assisting with the serving of breakfast. After we had cleared the breakfast debris away, we started to cook dinner, which as it was Friday was mainly fish. So we deep fried numerous pieces of battered fish and then we steamed some. We cooked huge mountains of chips, and sautéed a similar amount of potatoes. When all was completed the food was placed in large ovens to keep warm until required at 1230 hrs. "OK lads, get yourselves a cup of tea," said the sergeant cook in charge, which we were only to pleased to do. Whilst consuming my cuppa I was surprised to find that it was only 1000 hrs, so now I knew why the food was so often dry and tasteless when it was eventually served to us, after having been kept hot for so long.
The last four weeks were spent on the drill square, in all weathers, going over and over the drill routines that we would be judged on before participating in the passing-out parade. I quite enjoyed this, as drilling was not too difficult, so long as you kept your mind on what you were doing. In fact I must have got quite cocky as on at least two occasions I got bawled out for doing it wrong. When the day of the parade arrived there was a brisk wind blowing across the square, and we were decked out in our best blue uniforms, which included the big daft flat caps, these were very susceptible to the wind. Our NCO's reminded us that if our caps blew away during the parade we were to carry on as though nothing had happened, but reminded us that we should not perform any saluting moves as we would be deemed to be improperly dressed. This seemed a good idea to some of us so we made sure that our hats did come off. In all about a third of us managed it. When the parade ended, we all marched off and at the command "Eyes right" we, the bare headed mob, continued to look to the front with the NCO's bringing up the rear with their arms full of our hats. Afterwards the Station Commander, in his farewell speech, said that this parade would go down in history as the "Parade of the Hats". I think that he knew deep down that most of us had not tried to keep them on. We then returned to our billet hut to collect all of our kit and personal possessions, where we were confronted by our drill instructors, the very same people who had made our lives such a misery, over the past eight weeks, only now that we had "passed out" their attitude changed and they were almost human, no longer the demons that we would avoid if at all possible, and we parted on fairly friendly terms, and then headed for home."
Alan Moody 5076183 from 1960 and 1961, says "the RAF lads working in the clothing store (kitting out centre) went on strike one day after an altercation with the camp Tailor Mr Bhati. I know this as a fact, because I was one of those lads."
The photograph Alan sent is listed as '1960 - 'A' Sqd in May'
Brian Valente T4261074 from 1960, remembers being "only 18, got drunk in Bridgnorth on a Black and Tan. Sick on the bus on the way back. Made to clean it out by the duty Cpl. Reprimanded the next day. Cpl`s played good cop, bad cop."
Michael Cawley K4264067 from 1961, says he "loved every minute, made a man of me. Bridgnorth and the river Severn, beautiful. I played guitar and sang at Highley camp, talking Blues."
John Thompson 5043034 from 1957, was "surprised to find no less than 5 photos of my hut and Flight on this web site submitted by David Smith and Paul Trumble."
Ken Williams Q4275582 from 1962 - 1963, remembers it was a "severe Winter. Stores overhead heating pipes burst. Flights were moving carpets, stores, etc. etc. into the night. Served rum ration in Mess to thaw us out. Was in the Final parade to hand back the Freedom/close Bridgnorth."
Vic Wilson 2758057 from 1955, says it was "the best I ever felt with all the exercises we had to do. Walking down to town and mixing with the local girls and the local dance on Saturday nights. First time away from home. Very sad at first but things got much better when we were allowed to go into Bridgnorth town. After square bashing I was posted to Compton Basset."
John Petrie A4240125 from 1958, remembers that "I arrived at Bridgnorth in the Summer of 1958 as a callow youth of 17 years and 6 months. It was a glorious Summer for 18 flt B Sqdn in Hut 207 and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I have wondered, over the years, what has become of the pals I met that year and if they are still around. I trained as an armourer at RAF Melksham and left the RAF as a Chief Tech in 1987. You bet, I would do it all again."
The photograph John sent is listed as '1958 - Hut 207, 18 Flt'
Reg Burton 1595099 from 1944, says "I remember walking into the High town, Bridgnorth one evening and later walking back to camp in freezing weather but not feeling cold, but that was over 70 years ago!"
John Ingram 5077123 from 1960, says "glad I was there during a great summer and not the winter with the coke fires and all the dust."
Tony Ward 5055182 from 1957 - 1958, says "our Drill Instructor was Cpl Hough. I used to go out running with Clarke, very good athlete from East Anglia.
My billet pal was Derek Webster from Burnley area, I lived in Manchester. We lost touch once we went to trade training."
John Bailey 4270687 from 1962, says that "finding this site was amazing! I became a Photographer, greatest trade there was."
Alex Dow 3152857 from 1957 - 1958, says "Freezing Winter - about -10C. Ice in billets. Flu Epidemic.
I did very little conventional Square Bashing there, "Excused Boots" and the DI Corporals generally borrowed my rifle etc, also knew most of it from ATC.
Organising extra coal supplies by intercepting civvie delivery lorry at top, middle and bottom of lines, as though from different huts, marching squads into coal compound, waving blank "Coal Authorisations". Extracting some from scattered boiler houses, using Regular's dark kitbags.
Diesel fuel froze in coach returning from 48 in London. Intended rescue coach was crashed in to whilst parked in driver's village. Second rescue coach had radiator problems as we drove in to RAF Bridgnorth about 3 hours late at 01:00 - Snowdrop Flight Sergeant was going to charge us all with being AWOL!
My Flight virtually taking over cookhouse one day, as only the F/S cook was fit for duty (Flu above). As I had some baking and cooking experience (Electronics Engineer!). I handled quite a bit of the main cooking, with two others with similar experiences. Interesting time, catering for so many. Also a good preparation for "Just In Time" philosophy.
The PTIs wondering why our Flight was worse at the final check, than when we first arrived, 8 weeks earlier. Our check was in the afternoon on the day that the cookhouse used up Christmas left-overs - "Help yourselves!"
Final Parade and CO's address, with relatives and friends present. After the Parade, the main body of airmen and visitors went to the gym where the "Best Blue" airmen sat in the front rows and there was a gap then the relatives sat towards the back. Gerry Butcher (Senior Man) and myself did not go on the parade. There were several others in Sick Bay, so we gathered up their rifles & bayonets, then marched in to the gym, taking seats in the gap, dressed in "working blue" and apparently "armed to the teeth". Apparently impressed the girls in the audience."
David Hanstater 5056282 from 1958, says "I did my basic training at Bridgnorth from January - February 1958. The weather was very bad for much of the time. Temperature below freezing, heavy snow. Drill almost impossible. We ran out of coke for the stove. The three-day camping was cancelled."
The son of Harvey Millan 5074717 (deceased) from 1959, says "Harvey died in 2001. I am his son Daniel, hoping to find any photos and memories of him. I know he was going to be put into nursing but ended up in radar. I only just found a photo dated Dec 1959 which is not on the site. I will try and upload it."
Gerald Child 5078543 from 1960, says "it was a good time. At R A F Catterick I was best trainee on my intake B42. I met a lot of good friends at Felixstow. I learnt my old Corporal to drive that was a laugh his name was Cpl Bryant from hut 246."
Douglas Mansfield W4255691 from 1959-1960, says "after a horrendous train journey from RAF Cardington, arrived on a Saturday morning if memory serves me well. Spent Sunday 'bulling' our uniforms and our hut. Got up Monday morning and promptly fainted. Spent the next week in hospital with Bronchitis. A good start to my RAF career. A weeks sick leave then back to 'Pool Flight'. Can't remember what I did whilst waiting for a new intake arrived but ended up in Hut 25 of C or D Flt. Thoroughly enjoyed 'square bashing', as I did the rest of my 15 year service."
The photograph Douglas sent is listed as '1959 - Hut 25'
Brian Longworth 4110056 from 1952, says "it was a shock to the system at first but made me a better person."
Colin Clayton 5046613 from 1957, says he "and Dick Slack were both on the 1957 Band photo. Myself top right with bagpipes, he is directly below me with the sax. The most memorable part of my stay was the great trad jazz band we had."
Jeffrey Burden 2411346 from 1948, says he "had a lovely time in town, the Copper Kettle gave good half price meals if you were in uniform. A lot of the other places did the same, plus the dances."
Gilbert Kerrigan N4264874 from 1961, says that within "my first hour on the camp, I knew I had made a mistake. All of us were talking and 2 Cpls screamed "Shut up, Shut up" Wasn't used to that."
Peter Bennett 4220205 from 1962, says he remembers it was "very, very cold January. Even the fire buckets were frozen. Our NCO was Corporal Hoste."
Bryan Passey 4183161 from 1956, says he "well remembers the greasy concrete "tubs" used to wash mug and "irons" and how we hated the drill NCO's. Our flight won the drill cup at the time and we bought Cpl Potter some golf balls as a thank you.
I was never able to find a photo of us or recollect our hut number, any help out there? Recollect moving the Hurricane gate guardian for restoration. The reliability and initative test, a night out under a ground sheet -- it rained! But I would do it all again, friendships formed, a great sense of personal achievement."
Colin Bray 3153162 from 1958, says he "fired a 303 on the range in a blizzard, could only see snowflakes!"
Keith Austin R4270047 from 1962, remembers the "very cold winter though not as bad as 1963! I enjoyed the whole of my time in the RAF."
Brian Coates 2469389 from 1950, remembers "arriving by train on 25 April 1950 in a snow storm. By next day the snow had all gone."
The photograph Brian sent is listed as '1950 - 23 Flt in June'
The family of ? Mockford (deceased) 1627661 from ? , found a tin while sorting their deceased parents' things. They say "we have come across a tobacco tin with various items regarding the RAF including buttons, crown badges, AG wing etc and a sew on name tag with the above details but as there were three Mockfords over two generations, we are not sure to whom they would have belonged. Frederick Stanley Mockford was with 39, 141 and various other squadrons in both RFC and RAF. Patrick Alfred Kingsley Mockford served in Bomber Command and sadly did not return from a mission over Denmark. Laurence Elwyn Mockford served in Coastal Command."
Raymond Hatfield 4260154 from 1960, says "I write about Cpl Nimmock, he was dreaded, he was feared, he was loud, he was many things. But on reflection, what a smart man he was, always immaculately turned out, doing what must have been a horrible job, training us young erks, day after day, week after week, month after month and so on.
He was probably the most successful Drill Instructor at Bridgnorth. Finally, his Court Martial, for what, giving a new recruit ten press ups? and a couple of insignificant offences. Cpl Nimmock, good luck to you, Sam, wherever you are, you did a great job!!"
Tom Graham 4201436 from 1959, remembers "the ice on the inside of our windows, bulling our boots and going to the NAAFI to send souvenirs back home and those freezing mornings on the parade ground. Also posing as the Padre when the new recruits arrived. A young 17 and a 1/2 now 74."
Nicholas Keun 4269509 from 1962, says "I signed up during the first or second week of January 1962 and arrived at RAF Bridgnorth shortly after. One of the weird things I noticed on exploring the area was a bridge, that had a stone engraved notice built into it, which threatened 'deportation' to anyone who damaged it.
We spent about two weeks, 'getting used to the system,' while we were issued with uniforms and other kit. Two men were chosen as 'Senior Man' and 'Deputy Senior Man,' in our hut, not because they necessarily had any leadership qualities, but because they had previous, [unsuccessful, one assumes] military service, one in the Scots Guards, and one in the Cold-stream Guards.
The whole system had been set up to bully conscripts into submission, but all our entry were volunteers, as conscription had been abolished some two years earlier, so I felt that the system was mostly superfluous, and pretty pointless. One recruit thought the same, only more strongly, and operated his option, and left after a few weeks. The weather was very cold, and so was our wooden hut living quarters, the fire buckets froze solid, but I can't remember it bothering me particularly. I came from East coast England, and bitter winters were the norm. It was cold enough though, for the MO to cancel the 'R-n-I' week in the Welsh hills under canvas, because it was 'too cold.' I had camped out in January under canvas many times before with the Scouts, so I was rather disappointed. We had to do the 'building a tower' with ropes and poles on camp instead, all rather boring.
One of our entry was 'marching' moving right arm forward simultaneously with his right leg, ditto left leg. This caused the instructor to scream, "Hoy! You! F*****g Tick-Tock Man, Come here!" He was then instructed how to march correctly. I found marching in freezing snow, with no gloves, as we had to do, both unpleasant and unnecessary, and still can't fathom the point of it. I was surprised at how unfit some of the entrants were, struggling to do even three press-ups. With only weekly PT, and cross country runs, I got far less exercise than I was used to, and after four or five weeks, on my first return home on a weekend leave, I found that I was less fit than when I had joined.
During weapon training, the group of chaps who were destined to go to Compton Basset for wireless training were all together in one team. The instructor announced that the first team to dismantle, and re-assemble the Bren-gun could go to NAAFI break. We had our weapon dismantled and reassembled before some of the others had even dismantled theirs, so off we went. The NAAFI doughnuts were usually stale, so I mostly bought my tea-break coffee and doughnut from the 'Sally-Ann' truck. Years later, when I saw two Salvation Army ladies collecting donations door to door, one evening, I stopped and gave them a substantial donation, and told them it was because the Sally-Ann never sold me stale doughnuts. They were happy.
One day it was sunny and 'warm' during the afternoon, so there was a brief partial thaw, then it froze, and snowed. Next morning, the first chap out of the door in his hobnail boots, slipped on the ice, wrenched his back badly, ended up in sick quarters for a week, and was consequently 'back-flighted.'
We were issued with one bag of coke for the week for heating, but we were burning one a day in the two stoves, so coal from the nearby water heating unit was pinched which usually solidified into one red hot lump, and also frequent visits to the coal yard to bring back more coke was essential. Sometimes the stoves glowed bright cherry red, and it was nearly possible to read by them. While we were there, there was a flu scare, so beds were turned alternately head to toe, so we weren't breathing into each others faces at night.
There was a chap who made a habit of rolling in late at night, long after lights out. He clonked down the room in boots, on a wooden floor, and frequently woke several people up. So, one night when 'lights out' came and he wasn't back, his bed and lockers were removed, and hidden in the roof of the ablutions. Then all the beds were spread out so there was no gap. Coincidentally, his bed was the middle of eleven, so when he arrived, he counted six beds, and woke the bloke up saying 'Hey, you're in my bed.' The chap said that he wasn't and showed all his stuff in his lockers were his. So the late-comer, counted from the other end, got to the sixth bed, and process was repeated. He eventually got his bed back, but I don't remember him returning after 'lights out' after that.
Another part of our training included introducing us to tear gas. First we got to jog around a room with a gas mask on, and then we were instructed to remove it and continue jogging. The tear gas did what it was supposed to do. Not pleasant! It could be likened to peeling the most aggressive onions one could imagine. We also had a day when we were all given inoculations. I remember passing between two tables, and receiving a jab in both arms, then onto the next two tables, and two more jabs. On exiting into the very fresh air, one chap passed out.
Half way through one 'bull night' there was a scream from the senior, and deputy senior men, when they found someone has 'Brasso'd' the toe-caps of their mirror finished boots. There were three suspects. I was one, probably because I was in the habit of telling the senior man to go f*** himself, whenever he gave me a stupid order, which he did quite frequently. Eventually, after the three of us had been threatened with a 'drill 303' which had a hole drilled through the breach, so was utterly useless, and loaded with 'drill rounds' also equally useless, one of the three owned up. [fool!] There were mutterings from the senior man and his acolytes, about duffing the guy up, so he disappeared. The Duty Officer came across him wandering around camp at 1.30 in the morning and turned out the guard when he ran off. He was subsequently found and taken to the guardroom. The whole silly story then came out, and the senior men were moved to another flight, as was the culprit. Does one laugh or cry? I heard a year or so later that the 'senior man' was subsequently discharged from the RAF as being 'unsuitable.' There was some bullying, and one chap probably one of the smallest was reduced to tears. Years later, amazingly, I met him in the Christmas crowd in Picadilly Circus, and he had a very attractive girlfriend with him. We had a few beers in a nearby pub, and he told me he'd been shot in the back by an Army man, when he was in RAF Uniform, while serving in the Middle East, and after he recovered, he'd been discharged from the RAF.
During fire fighting training, the Instructor set off a 'water-acid' extinguisher meaning to demonstrate its use, but the wind blew some of the water spray onto the group watching. Some of them panicked and tried to get out of the way, and in the process, someone kicked the neatly regimented line of extinguishers waiting to be used. They went over like dominoes, and there was then extinguishers squirting in all directions. When the pandemonium ceased, there were only two or three extinguishers that weren't empty, so the demonstration was rather truncated.
For some reason, during 'square bashing' people had trouble keeping in step if they were behind me, probably due to my 'country boy stroll,' so our column was moved to the centre of the three, to obscure any problems during Pass Out Parade. However, on the day of the actual Pass Out Parade, everyone decided to revert to our previous arrangement. This meant that on the march past the podium, where the inspecting Officers stood, our column was on the side of the podium and half of it was hopping and skipping, and trying to stay in step, totally unsuccessfully. The CO tried hard to cover his laughter by coughing into his hand.
I was pleased to leave the place, so that I could get on with my real reason for joining the RAF, which was the be trained as a tradesman in the wireless trade. "
Alec Fry 4187686 from 1956, says "I remember it well - and I was on a route march and bivvy camp-out in November, when there were a few casualties because of the extreme cold. I have photos of inside our hut, full kit layout, the numbered rack of .303 rifles at the end of the hut...maybe I'll post them on the site if I can make some reasonable scans of my rather scruffy snaps."
John Ward R4264975 from 1961, says he can "remember 'Pop' Allan & the Cpl from the Black & White Minstrel Show."
Rodger West 3155359 from 1959 - 1960, says that "ss I had come from having a father in the services and spent some 5 years in the ATC, Bridgnorth was not a great shock. I was in C squadron and Sgt Dryden was our Sgt. He had a part share in the Vine pub and it was said also a share in a stall at the local market. Cpl Kelly was the stickler. We had a Cornish DI who was transferring to an operational station, he was very helpful.
One of our number, a big lanky Yorkshire lad, after having the first set of jabs crowed that it wouldn't affect him. An hour later we found him in his 'pit' groaning saying that he 'wanted to die'.
We tried to win the Drill cup as the DI in charge was leaving soon, but we could only manage to win the Sports cup.
A young lad had bought his mum a full dinner set, from where I couldn't imagine. He put it into the boot of the Whittles coach coming home at Xmas. Our coach was following behind, it lost its brakes and we went into the rear of the front one. That 40 piece dinner set was now 1000 or more pieces, sad.
It was a good time, you worked hard and with the little time left, you played hard also. Made up my mind to enjoy it and I did."
Richard Dolman 3523691 from 1956, recalls he "arrived injured from motor cycle accident. Made excused all duties to start by MO. Was billet and abulution cleaner to fill in time. Told Drill Instructor I would tear up chit if he gave me a bit of leeway to keep up with others. Did so and managed to complete training."
Richard Dolman 3523691 from 1956, says he "arrived injured from motor cycle accident. Made excused all duties to start by MO. Was billet and abulution cleaner to fill in time. Told Drill Instructor I would tear up chit if he gave me a bit of leeway to keep up with others. Did so and managed to complete training."
John Boxall 4274820 from 1962, remembers that "on my first kit inspection, the Officer in charge of Flight asked me the question 'Rovers or City?' to which I replied 'Rovers, Sir'. 'Good man, good man' he said. He was from my home city of Bristol, and supported Bristol Rovers Football Club, as I did also. I've often wondered what he would have said if my reply had been 'City'!"
The photograph John sent is listed as '1962 - Hut 221 in Sept'
Malcolm Goddard 5076633 from 1960, recalls the "BULL - BULL & more BULL with great comradeship and a few laughs. Memories of Cpl Nimmock will never fade. All of which led to what I recall as the Best 2 years of my life."
Anthony Rodenhurst E4269287 from 1962, says he "arrived first week in January, Shropshire being well known for cold winters. I recall the coke stoves which "glowed red", and I am sure we all suffered from the fumes, no "elf & safety" then.
In the main I enjoyed my time notwithstanding the cold and the awful grub, thanks for the Sally Ann. I seem to remember that I was one of four or five "Scousers" in the same billet, three of us from the same school. We had not seen each other since leaving school at sixteen. All in all good fun."
Peter Hubbard B4237498 from 1958, remembers he " had to spend a couple of days in Sick Bay due to a slight injury so nearly got back flighted.
Just like John Wilson J4237316 I also went to Wolverhampton searching for those responsible for beating-up one of our own. Remember it well. Also Cpl Wright and Cpl Lightfoot seems to ring a bell as to my drill instructors.
Went on to RAF Weeton for trade training - ended up signing on for 9 years, happy days."
Jeremy Rose A4268816 from 1961, says "my strongest memory during basic training was, New Years Eve.....I was on guard duty and had to flush the toilets every hour to stop them freezing up, so at 12 midnight I sang to myself miserably, Auld Lang Syne as I was pulling the toilet chain in one of the barracks!...."
William Long 4274988 from 1962, says he didn't have "a good experience at Bridgnorth. There were two guys in our flight who were 1. ex-civvy police and 2. ex-RN and they bullied me and a couple of others without mercy. Glad for them I didn't see them again in my 12 years service."
The photograph William sent is listed as '1962 - Hut 125, 14 Flt'
Rex Hamilton-Turley from 1960-1962, says they were "very good times for the young men we were."
Marshall Hawes U4198718 from 1957, was there during the "freezing cold winter of 1957, people dropping like flies, one died. Lucky to get away unscathed."
Gordon Hector 5059264 from 1959, can "remember the Astra cinema and the terrifying Cpl but not his name."
The photographs Gordon sent are listed as '1959 - Hut 14 in June' and '1959 - 'A' Sqd in June'
John Chillingworth 4265828 from 1961, remembers "waiting for the Salvation Army wagon on bull nights."
Howard Levinson 2388939 from 1948, says "it was very hard going there but it was also fun as the WRAF's had their training camp there as well I believe.
My Nickname, Stella, came from the song "Stella By Starlight" I used to read by torchlight."
Bob O'Rourke 4158068 from 1954, says his "only real memory was Corp threatening to beat me up in store then backing down when I called his bluff. Can still feel the pain in my arms from walking round the parade ground as a result. Also did baby sitting for the Sarge."
Ted Cooper 4272330 from 1962, says "we did a route lining in London for, I think, the President of Liberia. So we didn't have a passing out parade."
Alan Green 5081174 from 1960, says "I am a retired Engineering Manager living in Australia. I use to lecture to Engineering students at the University of Wollongong and when asked about qualifications and status in the workplace I used Cpl Bryant, our drill Cpl, as an example of people being tops in their station. He was smart and was with us in everything we did. He never asked us to do anything that he was not prepared to do himself. Though a D.I. he was a shinning example of a person achieving and though most of us were NSM and came from higher education positions, this man was our equal. I will always up hold his integrity in teaching us. To identify him, he use to have a coffin on his door - a great instructor."
John McNeill 2427145 from 1949, remembers "in the depth of winter running in vest and pants, blue with cold and in state of collapse. Am surprised we didn't end up with pneumonia. As I remember, several did fall out from sheer exhaustion and cold, I was reasonably fit having played a lot of football prior to call up. I still shudder at the thought of the hills and dales around the camp."
John Landman 4255066 from 1959, remembers that "Cpl Pickett was my drill instructor, he was a great guy. I hated the first few days, but enjoyed the rest of my time at RAF Bridgnorth."
Dave Paisley 4267894 from 1961, says it was the "biggest shock to the system I'd had up till then, but made me a better person!"
Leon Newmark 5039648 from 1957, remembers that "our Corporal DI, whose name I do not remember, was a failed Officer Cadet.
One day, when sitting on a freezing concrete floor being taught about the bren gun by an RAF Regiment Corporal, I fell asleep. The Corporal spotted me, took me up front and instructed me to "put this weapon back together, you xxxxxx airman". I amazed him because I was able to do it correctly. Fortunately for me, I had learned how during weapons training in the Army cadets at school."
The family of Owen Richards (deceased) 4087985 from 1951, say that "we are trying to trace information on Owen George Richards from 19 Dec 1951 - 05 Feb 1954. This is our father and he has passed away, and we found he was in National Service at RAF Kai Tak in Hong Kong and would love to contact any old comrades he served with. Names we have are A Bowen, A Everitt, Lofty Bates, B W Bligh, J M Williams."
Peter Harper 5079748 from 1960, says that he "enjoyed my time at Bridgnorth. Many good memories. Did my first ever cross country run. Square bashing was a doddle. Got my only blister playing roller skate Hockey."
John Townsley F4253472 from 1958, says his "main memory is of Whittles coaches on our first weekend leave - went back in 2014 and they are still there!"
John Dopson 5015698 from 1956, says "my memory was of being in the Station Band and doing a Mayor's parade through Bridgnorth."
Bill Hogg 5047523 from 1957, says "''originally from Edinburgh, I arrived in Bridgnorth in the Summer of 1957 after a very pleasant and cushy week getting kitted out at Cardington so it came as a massive shock at the way we were treated by the DI Corporals upon our arrival. For sure the intention was to establish their authority and they certainly succeeded.
We enjoyed super weather at Bridgnorth and that certainly helped because life was quite tough and frugal and I was glad that at least we did not have to put up with freezing cold barracks.
I remember Cpl Bishop but unfortunately the other names, such as the Sergeant who used to borrow the car of one of the recruits, I have forgotten. I still have a framed photo at home of all the members of my contingent and also fond memories. If anyone reads this and remembers me it would be great to hear from them."
David Twigg 4255830 from 1959 - 1960, remembers that it was "very cold and not pleasant doing rifle drill on road outside billet!"
Colin Mitchell 4272208 from 1962, recalls that "this intake took part in route lining in London, parade on Horse Guards all for the State visit of the President of Liberia."
The photographs Colin sent are listed as '1962 - Hut 312, 10 Flt' and '1962 - 10 Flt 'A' Sqd'
Derek Sutton 5081547 from 1960, recalls that "our Sergeant was Sgt Allen, reputed to be the oldest NCO in the RAF."
Keith Baxter L4112970 from 1952, says that "this place taught me a lot although I never thought so whilst there. It gave me my chance in life. I stayed in the RAF for twenty two years, then with MOD for a further twenty four years. Would really love to hear from anyone who knows me. Have tried lots of avenues to find old friends but alas all to no avail."
The widow of Eric Wood (deceased) 4155388 from 1954, says that "Eric died suddenly in July 2011. I am trying to find information about his time at Bridgnorth for a book I am writing in his memory. Does anyone remember him, very tall with blonde hair."
Pete Snowden 4264495 from 1961, remembers "in "A" Flight, an incident made the daily newspapers when our drill instructor (Cpl) was reduced to the ranks which I thought at the time was a great shame. Some recruits didn't like the discipline and reported him to higher authorities!"
Comment by the Webmaster - An newspaper article detailed the Court Martial of Cpl Nimmock in July 1961.
A copy can be found at the bottom of my web page titled RAF Personnel in the local newspaper.
Cameron Anderson 4245896 from 1957, says that "after eiight weeks basic training, I was the fittest I have ever been."
Denis Collins 5042734 from 1957, says he "can't remember Hut, Intake number, etc. but our intake did the Guard of Honour for the Centenary in Bridgnorth which was inspected by The Duchess of Gloucester."
Raymond Kretchmar 3124872 from 1950, says that "waiting for breakfast outside the cookhouse in January was no joke. Dam cold. The canteen for a cup of tea was a nice change."
Charles Palmer 5081793 from 1960 - 1961, says that "RAF Bridgnorth was a shock to the system for a country boy but it did show us a wider world away from our own back yard and made us interact with people from all over our country from all backgrounds. We would benefit from something similar today."
The photograph Charles sent is listed as '1961 - Hut 189'
Allan Curtis 4261726 from 1960, remembers that he "broke my specs, had to borrow a Ford Consul to drive into Bridgnorth to get replacements."
John Hale 5051154 from 1957, remembers "the immense popularity of Cpl Yule. We would have followed him anywhere when he saved us from a lot of trouble from a mad Sgt Macloud!"
Thompson Alfred Coe 3020581 from 1943, has "vivid memories of marching from the railway station to Bridgnorth camp with full kit in the middle of winter in the snow. It was bloody freezing! I hated the place and vowed never to return! How wrong I was.
Married a Wolverhampton girl in 1955 and moved to Bridgnorth to take up a position as a draughtsman where I spent some of the happiest years of my life, I really loved the place. How ironic! Became involved in community activities, Bridgnorth Operatic Society, under the musical Director at that time Arnold Clarke, Amateur Dramatic Society, St John's Church choir, Comrades Male Voice Choir and Bridgnorth Cricket Club.
In 1968 the family emigrated to Western Australia at the beginning of the resources boom and travelled extensively in various mining projects before retiring in 1992 and now enjoying the easy life!"
James Bean 4180734 from 1956, remembers "the day my mate and I went to London and we got on the wrong train back. We nearly walked from Wolverhampton to Bridgnorth, then this jeep with 2 RAF Corporals pulled up and enquired what had happened. After a brief explanation they said everything would be O.K. and told us to go straight to our billets. We were scared stiff but fortunately everything turned out O.K."
Former Cpl Drill Instructor Brian Edgington from 1958-1960, says " a friend suggested I visit your website. What a revelation. Over half a century and I was able to put names to faces of many of my colleagues. I did my 'square bashing' at Bridgnorth in 1958, 13 Flt B squadron. Our Sgt was Sgt Hadden and our drill instructor in receipt of all the hate and loathing was Cpl John Pottinger.
Towards the end of the 8 weeks basic training I received confirmation that I had been accepted into the RAF Police but 3 days before our passing out I was summoned to the flt office and Cpl Pottinger informed me that he had recommended me for training as a drill instructor. Arguing was out of the question, my posting was cancelled and after passing out parade, travelled to Uxbridge for a further 12 weeks drill. After qualifying, I was posted back to Bridgnorth, B squadron where the first person to greet me was John Pottinger. I could not believe this was the same man who had shouted and sworn at me for 8 weeks. He explained it was nothing personal, it's just what you did when faced with 88 raw recruits. Oh happy memories."
Fred Martin 4263548 from 1961, remembers "our flight won the drill cup and passed out on 12th May 1961. Our DI was the infamous Cpl Nimmock who was court martialled after allegedly ill treating recruits from the intake directly after ours. In fact his first reported offence was 13th May 1961, the day after we left Bridgnorth."
The newspaper report of the Court Martial can be found at the very bottom of the page titled 'RAF Personnel in the local newspaper.'
Fred later added that once "on parade, our DI Cpl Nimmock. Ordered "Right dress"." From the right number "..The response came " Airman number one "ONE " Airman number two " TWO " airman number three complete silence ! Nimmock repeated the command and got the same response....Nimmock went marching up to airman number three, a big lad called called Whittle. Nimmock pushed his face into Whittle's and screamed " Whittle why aren't you calling out your number ?.........Whittle's response " I haven't been given one yet Corporal " Corporal Nimmock to Whittle....."Whittle. fall out, march to the station garden store, draw out a spade, dig 'an ole' and bury yourself" Whittle went marching off at the double. I'm unsure if we ever saw him again. Happy Days."
Charles Carruthers V4274330 from 1962, says he "was at basic training but played bagpipes in military band under band officer Warrant Guthrie from Aberdeenshire.
My DI was Cpl Wiseman and most of my flight came from Edinburgh and Manchester. That winter was something else in Dec 1962 !
Looking for info' on a colleague Joseph McGouran a TPO like me. Joe served with me in Aden later and committed suicide in 1964 there. I'm sure he was at Bridgnorth in 1962 and after training at RAF Compton Bassett, we both were posted to RAF Steamer Point in Aden."
Brian Morley 4175352 from 1955, remembers "visiting the Salvation Army tea wagon to help while away those boring Bull nights. Winning a ticket and transport to watch Wolves play a Russian team at Molineux."
Michael Ruddock from 1958, remembers that "having decided I was a good rugby player, Cpl Thomas made me hide behind a wall then made me tackle everyone who ran passed the wall. Played rugby for RAF Bridgnorth against the Army Training School in Oswestry in early 1958."
Brian Meehan 4096771 from 1952, says that he "did my first four weeks training and then was taken ill with scarlet fever. I returned to Pool Flight and then back to hut 80, C Flt to complete my eight weeks."
Frank Morley 4154925 from 1954, remembers that the "first time I ever got drunk was in Bridgnorth town. We went to Kidderminster and paraded through the town."
Ian Cheal G4258313 from 1960, says "I remember on about our second evening at Bridgnorth we were all busy bulling our brand-new kit when an RAF policeman walked in and asked for me. What is this all about, what have I done wrong now? He told me to follow him outside and who was waiting outside, only my old mate Brian Beswick who had been an apprentice in the garage with me, he was doing his National Service in the police at Bridgnorth!"
George Reynolds 5077914 from 1960, says he "spotted myself on photograph '1960 - Cook's Flt' and also '1960 - Hut 83 in July'. Cpl Nimmock and Sgt McDuff I believe, were trainers. Memory has faded quite a lot since then but would not have been the man I am without that experience."
David Evans 4145422 from 1954, remembers the "arrival by train from Cardington and assembly in Station forecourt for trip by QL to the camp. Trips into Bridgnorth and generally very happy times."
The photograph David sent is listed as '1954 - Hut 210'
Tom Faragher 4236961 from 1958, says he "only did 2 days square bashing then joined Station band, great, then enjoyed my time at Bridgnorth."
Tony Burrows 5011587 from 1957, says he was "upflighted after four weeks from C Squadron to Hut 41, A Sqdn. We spent the last two weeks preparing to take part in the Duchess of Kent visit on 28 May 1957, to commemorate the Freedom of Entry granted to RAF Bridgnorth in 1950."
George Warnock L4274378 from 1962, says he "Loved it , still have the booklet with photos of the camp."
Brian Shove 5025572 from 1956, remembers that "during the 7th week we had the AOC's inspection. Our hut officer was the Surrey cricketer Subba Rowe however we never did see much of him and the Drill Sergent took us for the pass out parade.
In our hut, apart from two people, we were all deferred students over 21. Being tall, I was detailed to be senior man."
Peter Lancaster 4266319 from 1961, remembers a "great eight weeks, even when charged for laughing on parade. Sgt.Penman about turned us with this chap off the square and in the middle of a waist high shrub. Just broke me up, got five days breakfast duty, Permanent Staff Mess, up extra early but great breakfasts. Cannot remember any names, sad, as we started with a full billet and finished with only the ten of us. More workload but necessity made us a tighter and friendlier unit.
Many, many thanks for the website, have found two old mates from ATC trade training, same course, on the photos."
John Aspinall 5078983 from 1960, says "I enjoyed my time there reasonably and whilst there, I was selected to be in the RAF Standard bearing squad at the Battle of Britain commemorations at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in September 1960. The whole service was televised and I have tried to obtain a vt of the occasion but have been unsuccessful."
The photograph John sent is listed as '1960 - 16 Flt 'B' Sqd'
Tom Race 4262203 from 1960, says that "it has taken me 55 years to realize what a great time I had. Pity that I cannot turn back time."
The photographs Tom sent are listed as '1961 - Hut 258' and '1961 - Race's Flt'
Arthur Carswell 5061076 from 1958, says "what a great web site - I wish I had found it sooner.
I had a memorable time at Bridgnorth in 1958 and the rest of my nat.service at 2ATAF HQ in Rheindalen. I was a pianist so they gave me cymbals and put me in the band - you know it makes sense! I also played jazz in the NCO's club every Saturday - a nice little earner. In Germany, I had my own jazz trio and played in the many clubs and functions run by the various armies and airforces who shared the NATO HQ.
As many others have said before me, the experience turned us into men with a sense of responsibility.
One fond memory still springs up. During our passing out, I was on parade with the Station Band - presenting cymbals when the inspecting CO suddenly took a detour and headed straight for the band - and me in particular . With me ready to really pass out he said "I've never seen anyone on this parade ground with a with a Musicians AND a Marksmans badge. well done, lad." A few weeks earlier, the same CO had given me a weeks jankers for "malingering in the Band Room while the real men were out training!" So much for all that practice aiming two cymbals at each other."
The photographs Arthur sent are listed as '1958 - Hut 158, 20 Flt' and '1958 - Band in Summer'
Anthony Newlyn 4154949 from 1954, says "I trained for 9 weeks in the summer of 1954 and was in hut 186 and looking to see if anyone else who was training at that time and who might have a photo of 12 flt C squadron as sadly mine has gotten lost."
Colin Hubbarde Q4272351 from 1962, says his "Passing out parade was route lining in London."
John Fox 3525995 from 1958, says he thought it a "good experience. Enjoyed. Two good D.I's and Flight Commander and fellow new entrants."
The widow of Reg Merrill 3115373 (deceased) from 1948, says "I am seeking information about my husband who died recently and I discovered a RAF Winner medal with Bridgnorth engraved. He trained at Bracknell, Wilmslow and Hereford during 1948 - 1950. He was originally from Yorkshire. Please help as I want the information for our son and grandson."
Roy Fletcher 5091270 from 1959, says he "started training in shirt sleeve order, finished in greatcoats. Our flight did not win anything and just scraped through the passing out parade. We were so bad the Drill Sergeant marched us onto the parade square and made us all wave goodbye to the busses as they took all the other passing out recruits to the Station. He then left us to make our own way home. Pleasent memories."
Alan Whitehead 4177107 from 1955, remembers it was "the coldest winter for a good number of years, every thing frozen, water, toilets, could not keep warm in the hut/billet. The bods in charge finally relented & issued extra coal, slept several nights with my feet in my kitbag. Squaddies falling base over apex on the parade ground due to the ice & getting bellowed at for daring to fall over. Glad to finish & go to trade training at Weeton. Bridgnorth town was OK though.
A memory of returning to Bridgnorth in early 1958. We transported a IIRC Hunter to act as a gate guard aircraft from RAF Kirkbride. By that time I had reached the dizzy heights in rank of Cpl Tech & was in charge of the four man team doing this task. We wanted to get the task finished as quickly as possible so asked the NCO in charge of the cookhouse if we could work late & get food at a later time. This was agreed, around the time of 7:30 in the evening we were walking from the main gate to the cookhouse, all wearing denims with berets stuffed in lapels, when from behind came the shout "you orrible erk's - stand still". We stopped & up puffed a 'Snowdrop'. He started to give us a verbal rollacking when I said to him "Would you please address me by my rank" This stumped him some what, as I was as said in denims. "You" he said, pointing at me "with me". We walked back to the Guardroom with him trying to get me to march. In the Guardroom he is telling the Sgt what had gone on. The Sgt looked at me and shook his head and told the Cpl to shut up. Sgt then said to his Cpl "I've seen this airman without his denims & he is a Cpl Tech, not that you'd know what one of them is and his rank is substansive, unlike yours, which is acting, unpaid & unwanted, so pipe down. To me he said "Sorry son, he's all wind & p**s, carry on". It turns out the Sgt's nephew was in my team but hadn't said anything to us but had in fact told his uncle that he really liked being on tasks that I was in charge of, because I wasn't full of bul***it so I guess I must have been doing something right.
Much water has flowed under the bridge since those days but a little nudge gets the memory going again."
The son of Pat Hutchings 4069938 (deceased) from 1951, says "sadly Dad ( Patrick Hutchings ) Passed in 1975. I have on the rear of a photo some writing with Service number 4069938, Hut 12 , A Squadron 1 Wing, No 7 S of RT. If anybody can help me with info / pictures I have looked all over this site but no joy. Thanks in advance."
Gordon Walker 4253336 from 1959, says "I remember that the weather in August 1959 was hot, and drill on the parade ground became unpleasant due to a plague of wasps. Some recruits were given fatigues for failing to stay at attention."
Sydney Graham G4265804 from 1961, remembers that "it was a hot summer. Our DI was a Scotsman who had been discharged from the Army then called up for the RAF - he was rather bitter ! Because of all that drill and PT, I was permanently hungry. When the station duties week came round, I was sent to work in the mess kitchens. The other guys laughed at me, washing dishes from morning to night but I got two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners so I guess I had the last laugh. When I left Bridgnorth I was the fittest I had ever been."
Frank Hilder 5071643 from 1959, remembers "Corporal Latcham telling us we would never forget his name. Boy was he right."
Clive Gardiner 2724383 from 1954, says Bridgnorth is set in "beautiful countryside. Learned that Corps were not really Gods, more like the rest of us, just doing their time. Would not have any regrets, taught me a lot about myself. Realised that there is always someone worse off than myself, made me more of man and made me grow up quickly. Pity today young people do not have to do National Service."
Eric Halliday 5077183 from 1960, says "I had a bad time at Bridgnorth as I had been charged  at Cardington before I even had my uniform, so square bashing plus jankers, not much fun. Sgt Davies was waiting for me when the train pulled in."
Peter Walker 5057486 from 1958, remembers Bridgnorth being a "very, very cold place, but the Salvation Army hut was always warm. Just there for basic training."
Ronald Coates 2463860 from 1950, remembers "being issued with a kilt and spear, converted to a Scotsman for 1 day, to take part in the Freedom of Bridgnorth pageant."
Albert Galbraith C4200532 from 1957, says he "enjoyed it, but was glad when it was over."
Ivor Shaw 4262552 from 1961, says he "must be mad but I loved basic training, just hated the cold, it was freezing that winter."
Aubrey Phillips 2481888 from 1950, remembers that "National conscription raised from 18 months to 2 years whilst undergoing training."
Baz Fox 5071924 from 1959 - 1960, says that "one weekend some of us went AWOL and went home. We were all given jankers. That was when I realised that there was only one winner, the RAF."
David Full 3527186 from 1958, says it was "one hell of a wakeup call. It certainly cut me down to size - but I wouldn't have missed it for worlds!"
Ted Cummins 4241589 from 1956, still remembers "using spoons and melted shoe polish to give boot toe caps a shine. Gliding round on pads in our hut to the protect shiny floor. Making up the bed pack every morning for inspection along with other things laid out on the bed. Rifle practice which nearly knocked your shoulder out (I got the crossed rifle badge for good shooting) Some idiot let a fire extinguisher off in our hut causing mayhem. Enjoyed the passing out square bashing competion which our hut won."
The photographs Ted sent are listed as '1958 - Hut 292, 38 Flt' and '1958 - 38 Flt 'D' Sqd'
Bob Hall P4254727 from 1959, says "I was in D Sqd. I remember an airman who swung both arms as he marched along. Also someone went on parade with two ties on, one over his shoulder to protect it while he was bulling his boots, the second put on while in a hurry to get on parade."
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