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Page 5 - Stories and memories of your time at RAF Bridgnorth.
Write and submit your memories here.
Derek Lloyd 4243699 from 1958, says "I got married just 4 weeks before I was called up and the first leave from there was the weekend after having all those horrible innoculations, went back late on Sunday night and was caught out on C/O,s inspection on the Monday morning and got 7 days "jankers" for one lousey uncleaned button on my greatcoat Ha Ha, Oh those happy happy square bashing days!!!!"
The photographs Derek sent are listed as '1958 - Hut 133, 30 Flt' and '1958 - 30 Flt in Nov'
Tony Mitchell 4156782 from 1954, says "I was what is known as a 'callow youth' and frankly a pain in the butt when I went to Bridgnorth but came out a young man who was still a pain in the arse! I remember Cpl Shiner threatening to rip my arms off and beat me to death with the soggy ends and to march with "Fingers curled at the first bleedin' joint" I believe he also threatened to place his boot in my arse up to the third lace hole. I liked that man! Didn't like the Sgt though. I think his name was Jones. There was another Cpl DI whose name I have forgotten.
I remember being 'gassed' and having to run round the fooball pitch. Following this Cpl fingers-curled-at the-first-bleedin'-joint Shiner informed us that we could possibly be sprayed with mustard gas but not to worry...he had a supply of ointment and we would be safe! This produced a whimper from one large agressive Glaswegian who, turning to a shivering mass of jelly, protested that he had a cut on the back of his neck and it would seriously damage his health.
I remember scoring zero on the range...I was aiming at the wrong target! I had another go and succeeded in hitting it this time.
There was another Cpl...was his name Walsh? Irish chap no one could understand....complete mess up on the square...One day I felt unwell and had to fall out. Cpl fingers-curled-at (etc) invited me to sit in the shade of one of the huts which were raised off the ground on stakes. I say 'invited', his actual words were 'crawl under there and die but be quiet about it. Cpl Walsh came up to me and asked in a very quiet and soothing voice if I was all right, then suggested I took my webbing belt off. Cpl fingers-curled sauntered over, looked at Walsh, then at me and just winked. I liked that man. Shiner had a webbing belt of an almost luminous blue whilst I had a greatcoat which producing a comment from him of, "Thats a nice Confederate Army Greatcoat you have on lad. Go and get it changed." Needless to say it remained with me throughout the whole of my service. Whatever happened to 'fingers curled at the first bleedin' joint Shiner? I really did like that man "
Jake Jacubs 4100324 from 1952, says "the summer period in 1952 that I was doing my training was very hot and dry. I remember some NCO's being stripped of their rank on the parade ground for abusing recruits. I enjoyed my time at RAF Bridgnorth and felt better disciplined and more ready to face the future. I was told on my last day there that I was to be posted to BAOR along with Dave Cann."
The photographs Jake sent are listed as '1952 - Jacubs Hut' and '1952 - Jacubs Flt'
Bob Goodwin 2458034 (Deceased 2008) from 1950, said that "I have fond memories of taking part in the parade of The Freedom of the town of Bridgnorth in Spring 1950 and also being on sentry duty during the tattoo held on the parade ground."
Tony Whittle 5080365 from 1960, says that "it was a tough time to get through but I realised after a time that it was actually making a man of me and you never forget that time in your life or your mates, God bless them all. The RAF has always been a part of me since that special time. It's sad to think that I will never see any of the boys again. Enjoyed every minute of my time there. Never let the buggers get to me and met some great blokes whose names now escape me. Oh for those happy days in the good old RAF."
Martin Greig 5056354 from 1958, says that he "thought I was fit when I arrived - I WAS when I left! Left Glasgow for Cardington and entered a life 'unknown', but enjoyable when remembered at this distance.
Haircutting time was most amusing with one rather large chap, huge head of hair (a bit of a bully) going in rather jauntily, and exiting with the smallest head seen on a large body, and no more a bully!
Remember the train trip to Bridgnorth and that climb out of the station to the trucks - all at the double with kit bags. Being allocated to flights and meeting the DI - Cpl Meadows, who by the end of our eight weeks we all rather liked!
January 1958 and heavy snow; poor heating from the stoves; little coke available, so a sortie to release some coke from the compound; lots of heat! One rather 'smelly' recruit who had to be 'taught' how to bathe. Going to watch Wolves after having had our jabs, and telling folk to "watch my arm" - and this at a football match too.
The only way to get out for an evening was to volunteer to go to a church evening, a service then tea, and not knowing where you were because it was so dark, but at least some time away from camp. Happy days, which were to continue at RAF Compton Bassett for radar op training."
William Robson V4268714 from 1961, says "first time I got pissed and under age at the time but got helped back to billet lucky me."
The photographs Bill sent are listed as '1961 - Hut 298' and '1961 - Robson's Flt'
Jack Garry 4086837 from 1951, says that "having experienced the squarebashing days at Bridgnorth during December 1951 thro January 1952 I was pleased to find this great website. I still have the photo of our hut squad and some names of those who 'suffered' alongside me. I will be forwarding the photo to the website shortly.
Unfortunately my memory fails me with details of Hut or Flight numbers. I do remember arriving at Bridgnorth from Cardington, in the freezing cold and wondering what had hit me! I drew the short straw and had the task of cleaning one of the coke fired old stoves each morning before breakfast/parade. The problem was that it was always red hot with the previous nights usage. The red cardinal polish seemed to get everywhere.
During the early morning drill/marching instructions, trying to look the part of a well disciplined fighting machine, our DI's took great sadistic pleasure in marching us to the Naafi for a mid morning cuppa only to leave us queuing for 10/15 minutes with no chance of being served in time before being called outside again to continue the foot slog (very funny!)
We were lucky in that our 8 weeks were split with the Xmas period which allowed us a few days leave. How I got home and back before New Years eve I cannot remember. The Scottish lads in the squad were allowed the New Year off instead.
I think a total of four of us were 'selected' to go to Cosford to take a flight in an Avro Anson. After being instructed to make our Last Will and Testament, we were taken to Cosford only to wait around to be told the flight was cancelled. Aircraft u/s.
I also recall the weekend dance which I think was held in a church hall.
The sentiments posted in your website about discipline; character building and resposibilities awareness are quite true. One of the London boys in our hut was really struggling to cope with the regime and was under severe threat to be re-flighted before pass out parade. We all rallied to his plight and sorted out all his kit to acceptable inspection standards i.e. I was allocated the pressing and ironing of his uniforms. Our Pass Out parade was in atrocious weather and had to be diverted to one of the drill hangers. What a relief and sense of achievement when it was all over and I felt as fit as I have ever been in my life at that time.
When we were informed of our postings, I hadn't a clue where Weeton was. Someone said 'it was in the Far East'. I must have been the luckiest of our squad to spend the next 12 months near Blackpool and travelling home to Manchester most weekends before being posted to Kasfareet Canal Zone.
When I have sent the photo and details, it would be great if anyone in my squad happened to see it and got in touch. Thank you."
The photograph Jack sent is listed as '1951 - Garry's Hut'
Bill Adams Y4202496 from 1961, says he had some "great times in the town, very interesting upper and lower town and the lift between same, very friendly people and lovely pubs. Must pay a return visit some time soon."
Tony Brown 4053595 from 1950-1951, says "I can remember that it was very cold with snow most of the time that we were there."
The photographs Tony sent are listed as '1951 - Hut 2/40, 21 Flt' and '1951 - 21 Flt in Feb'
Peter Geary T4248129 from 1959, says "I was at Bridgnorth in Jan to Feb 1959 during the Flu outbreak, Anyone out there remember it?"
Patrick McGarry M4275643 from 1963, says that because he "was 17 at time of enlistment, I had to do an extra 156 days. Went to Bridgnorth a boy, left a man."
John Packham U4274562 from 1962, says that "I wanted and went on to become police dog handler. I was next to a tall chap called Wilkinson who wanted to be a musician. Our corporal was Cpl brown and I cannot remember the other guy."
The photographs John sent are listed as '1962 - Hut 297 in Aug' and '1962 - Packham's Flt'
Peter Ward 3156439 from 1960-1962, says that he has "happy memories of the Bandon Arms Pub and the Hen and Chicken pub, Bridgnorth. Would love it if anyone remembers me, especially Duncan Black and Paddy Gilligan, could contact my son on the email address supplied."
Terry Taylor 4089860 from 1952, says that he can "remember the training etc. in the snow. I did not do the passing out. After seven weeks was sent on emergency draft to Deversoir - Suez. Remember we had two ex guardsmen in our flight (one ex Irish Guards)"
Frederick Deacon Q4197940 from 1957, says that "I enjoyed the time there. We had some fun and plenty of laughter especially obtaining coal for the freezing hut. How we got it? well you also needed an amount of white paint and a good lookout. Those were the days!!"
Sven Christenson 2746702 from 1954-1955, says that "the train journey from Cardington to Bridgnorth passed through our family farm. Severn Lodge Farm at Kinlet which was very upsetting at the time. On my first weekend pass my stepfather turned up in my car dressed as a chauffer and saluted me. The RAF police who were on guard at the gate gave me hell for the rest of my posting."
The photographs Sven sent are listed as '1955 - Christenson's Hut' and '1955 - Christenson's Flt'
William Davis 4267403G from 1961, says "a hard time during training but met some wonderful people."
Mike Hyde 5070062 from 1959, says that "I was at Bridgnorth in Summer of 1959, as one of the last National Service conscripts.
I remember the famous train journey to Bridgnorth from Cardington. Being met by a Corporal on the station (can't remember the name) as he marched up and down shouting at the top of his voice, he told us his name was --------- spelt B A S T A R D.
What a welcome, but things improved and I remember that the weather became very hot.
I also remember the coaches that operated out of camp. The journey was always slow until the hat had been passed around and the money safely in the driver's pocket, then off we went at considerable speed.
After "pass out" parade I had two weeks to wait before "trade training", so I was detailed to become a "fireman". Spent time making and drinking tea or cleaning the fire engine.
Great memories, made lots of good friends for the period - and I really enjoyed the experience."
The photographs Mike sent are listed as '1959 - Hut 87, 13 Flt' and '1959 - 13 Flt 'B' Sqd'
Roy Glover 4243134 from 1958, says that "our DI was Steve Bell. When we graduated from square bashing we bought a wrist watch for Cpl Bell. As hard as he was, I will never forget the tears that came to his eyes when we gave him our departing gift. He was a great guy and did his job well."
The photograph Roy sent is listed as '1958 - Hut 23'
Eddie Midwinter 3521925 from 1956, says that "as a drill instructor with our local A.T.C. Sqdn (1465) Bangor, N wales, I thought the square bashing at Bridgnorth was going to be a doddle, but then I hadn't come face to face with Cpl Hearle, he soon changed my mind. By the end of the eight weeks training I had learnt what respect really meant. I feel that the ending of conscription was a mistake."
Arthur McWilliams 4202316 from 1960, says he can "remember a Spitfire on the corner of the parade ground by 'D' Squadron huts thinking if I could start it up and fly home to Belfast. My mate Bobby was terribly homesick, he got me at it too feeling the same way but my time there done me good. I live close now in Birmingham and always have a pop in Stanmore."
Bobby Edwards 5074887 from 1960, says he can "remember going to old peoples home to dance with residents in Bridgnorth."
Brian Smith 4104940 from 1952, says that "we had coloured bottle tops attached to our berets indicating Wing and Flight.
My NCO's were Cpl,s Jennings and Dennis Stubbs. The latter, towards the end of our training, came with a sob story of how he would like to take his wife to a London show as a special treat but couldn't afford it. By this time of course the feelings of fear and loathing we had for our D I,s had changed to almost admiration. We therefore had a whipround and collected enough to pay for the tickets. I later realised he probably tried this on with every new intake."
Ron Hawkins 5057480 from 1958, asks "is there anyone out there who was in '12 Flt' hut during the first three months of 1958? I thought one of our corporals was a Cpl Swain but I can't see him listed. I remember him demanding more noise from our boot heels but no one had cared to tell him that we now had rubber heels. He was not amused.
I sometimes camp at the caravan park next door to the camp and always enjoy a walk round the park with all the lupins now growing there."
Ginger Davy 5021964 from 1956, says that he has "lasting memories of Saturday nights in Bridgnorth at the Church Hall dance."
David Clark 4199309 from 1958, says that "as Deputy Senior Man, I had to take half the flight on a route march into the hills west of Bridgnorth to a map reference, then phone in and describe where we were. Unfortunately, some sprog training pilot officer had transposed some figures on the map reference and we marched east and ended up in Wolverhampton Bus station! It backed up the old soldier's rule, "Never trust an officer with a map!!"
Bob Chorley 4178817 from 1956, says "I was 14 Flight B Squadron - 14 Flt came second in the passing out parade because the examiner heard us whisper our commands ie ONE Pause Two. We had a great bunch of chaps in the squadron, we tried to pull together always the fear of being back flighted. I eventually went on to spend 5 years - greatest thing that ever happened to me."
Dennis Marlborough 2763874 from 1955, says "I was given the trade of telephone operator which was trained on unit I was posted to 2nd taf Germany all airman going abroad did not pass out no wing parade or pass out parade as I and about 5 others were on our two weeks embarkation leave all 6 of us were to be tele operators."
Malcolm Vasey 4258640 from 1960, says that he "remembers Sgt Collier, Cpl's Hoast, Hoath and Stewart 'D' Sqn.
I had a serious chest infection and was ultimately re-flighted to 'A' Sqd to complete the basic training. Whilst recovering from my illness was in 'Pool' Flight and we often delivered cakes between the messes. Sometimes less arrived than started the journey as they were eaten in the back of the lorry!"
The son of Erick Williamson 617391 from 1953/54 - 1957, says "we lived at 8 The Hobins with my mother Joan and my brother Richard and myself David. Rick was 5 and I would be 8. Dad is 90 this year and can remember taking parades and instructing on the firing range. He would be able to tell you a lot about his time spent there and other bases. Dads not on e-mail but can be contacted through myself."
Ron Heyward 2720734 from 1954, says "Our DI was Cpl Floyd (Taffy) from Swansea.
We had a guy in the billet named Don Seaman, a very good athelete."
Les Cowen 4047806 from 1950, says "Wonderful Mates I can't remember names anymore but, do have photo of passing out Class with personal signatures on the back. Most of them hard to read. Anyone out there that can share a memory or two would be great."
Fred Bowell 5090803 from 1958, says "N.S. sqare bashing. There was a terrible flu.(Asian?) epidemic and the camp was nearly closed. Numerous empty billets were reopened as the sick bay could not cope. I had flu twice and missed Passing Out and while in the sick bay we were treated like pin cushons as the flu. was "typed"
The photographs Fred sent are listed as '1959 - Hut 260 in Jan' and '1959 - Jan Flt'
Roger Brown 5100067 from 1959, says "sadly I can't remember many of the names or the Hut number we spent our days in.
But the lasting memory of my time at Bridgnorth and the RAF was that I had a bloody good time. I am sure that if NS was still active lots of lads to-day would have enjoyed it to. Shame."
Trevor Morgan 2757337 from 1955, says "my greatest memory of Bridgnorth was returning after our mid-term 48hr pass to find that the whole of Britain's railway network was on strike, in order to get back in the allotted time, I and two other recruits from London managed to get a rogue train from Paddington to Coventry, got a lift by Coach to near Birmingham, walked for miles, slept in a field, arrived back in Bridgnorth for breakfast, only to find that had we reported to RAF Northolt we could have remained at home until the strike was over. Such happy days!!!!."
Raymond Smith 5081976 from 1960, says that his time at Bridgnorth was "Hell on earth. One of the coldest winters I can remember. The coke ration did not maintain a reasonable temperature in the timber billets all week, so a group of strangers from all walks of life came together and did the only thing possible - raided the coke store.
Like many others, I changed from boy the man in a very short time."
The photographs Raymond sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 15 in Dec' and '1960 - R Smith's Flt'
John Freeman 4168057 from 1955, says that "when my intake was sent home on mid-course 48 hr leave pass, the 1955 railway strike commenced during the weekend. We had to make our way back as best we could. It was the proud claim of Cpl Shaw, one of our two Drill Instructors, that he had slow marched for 5 miles at Queen Mary's Funeral."
Jack Western 1626156 from 1944, says that "we were billeted in huts and nearby was a building with showers - wash basins and etc - very cold open area between top of wall and roof. Washing hands - put engagement ring on sink, left, returned to nearby hut, went right back but ring gone. That's my biggest memory of the Station.
We had no planes, never saw any runways - but we did have to walk all the way around the parade ground to get to class we could not cut across it even after dark. It seemed some NCO watched it like it was a sacred area.
It took hours to book in and hours to book out (Clearance) and to get to town we could sometimes get on a Station bus but many times it left Bridgnorth before we did - so we would hitch a hike with a Negro USA Truck driver.
One memory was in one pub one night, just short of closing time, some white caps burst in (USA MP's) and routed out any one that they called Niggers and herded them into trucks. We went outside and saw they were not afraid to hit these man they called N......a with their night sticks. We could not interfere but thought it was lousy.
There was a camp movie and as we mostly had to study, we did not go to town often but played soccer and our Flight was the champs. I was in goal and the Naafi and Cinema was the main entertainment. We did cross country runs just to keep fit (Ha Ha) as AC Plonks we were the lowest of the low and wore that white flash to show we were aircrew but did not get along with the girls because someone put the rumour around that those airmen with the white flashes in their caps had to wear them because they had a sexual disease. Ground staff did not like us very much but our instructors were really great.
In the middle of the second month we were suddenly given an exam and sent to lunch and when we came back we paraded on the usual parade square and names were called and some of us went to one side and others to another side. Those that were directed to the same side as myself had to pack up all our gear. We had just been equipped with flying gear and now with three kit bags and all our other gear, we were went taken by a Cpl to Bridgnorth and by train to Liverpool.
Bridgnorth at one time was also a WAAF Training unit."
In 2014 Jack added this note;
"We were assembled one lunch day and placed in two classes for exams. After exams in two squads names read out either One Squad or Two. I was in One Squad along with a large number of others. Two Squad went back to class and we packed and went off to Isle of Man Air Gunnery School.
After the war, I met one of the class who advised that on that class, only three survived. But one was my friend Reg Morris this chap and of course myself. Now I am 91, so now maybe I am only one now surviving for now anyway. My other buddy Robert (Jock) McGarvie was killed on operations over Germany with PFF."
Des Cook 3501879 from 1959, says that "I was in the first flight to pass out from 7RC on 23 Jan 1947. Lots of Memories, such being issued with rifles straight from storage all covered with grease and the recruits washing it off in the baths, which didn't impress the DI's.
The weather was very cold, midnight raids on the coke dumps. Ex Irish Army DI's who told us to take a pace of "thirty" inches. Those of us who were not 18 yrs old, being issued with sweets from America, and the Memories page bring all back - life was a little different then."
Barry Yeardley A4185976 from 1956, says that "most of my memories of RAF Bridgnorth are of being treated like we were sub-human. I'm sure if criminals in jail these days were treated in the same way they would be moaning about their human rights. However, it was self inflicted; I was a volunteer, not National Service. I can't find myself in any of the photos."
John Meredith E4275244 from 1962, says that he was "aged 16 - scared stiff - and didn't enjoy my square bashing one bit! Saving graces were the Salvation Army Red Shield and, since I joined to enter the Music Services at R A F Uxbridge, I was 'volunteered' for the Voluntary Band.
My (vague) memories are of a Drill Sgt Brown who seemed to take a dislike to me because of my membership of the Band, and I think I can remember a Drill Cpl Hirons and Petrie.
We had some funny moments though; Down to the rifle range with an issued rifle (week 6 I believe) and, after firing single shots and rapid fire we were introduced to the Bren (Sten??)- the one that jumped away from you when you pulled the trigger. In my little section to fire was a - well, a character, and after he listened to all the instructions carefully and was given the order to aim and take rapid bursts proceeded to pull the trigger whilst asking a supplementary question of the instructor and in so doing shot the red flagpole to ribbons!! If you're out there, was it you??
Typical good forces organisation meant that straight after the rifle range with our ears still ringing (no ear protectors in those days!) we were marched to a hanger where pay parade was held. Many of us nearly didn't get paid that day because we couldn't hear our names.
After the indescribable relief of reaching passing out day I was asked by the WOII Bandmaster if I would stay on to help the band with a further passing out parade as he was short of Tuba players. I did and after the Christmas of that year went to R A F Uxbridge for 12 months before joining number 5 (subsequently The Western Band) Regional Band at RAF Locking and was discharged in 1965 having what I now, but didn' then, appreciate as the privelege of being on Churchill's funeral."
Ken Benge D4092542 from 1952, says that he can "remember the dances in Bridgnorth town, having to have an ink stap on the wrist to prove you paid. Got caught washing feet in a hand basin - 2 hours peeling onions for the serious breach of RAF LAW!!"
The photographs Ken sent are listed as '1952 - Hut 213, 16 Flt' and '1952 - 16 Flt 'D' Sqd'.
Dave Stemp C4253290 from 1959, says he had a "great Summer picking blackberries on gdt training. NCO was Cpl Vass and Cpl Edgington. Ended up in front of Stn. Com. for breaking barrack room door, fined 7/6. Moved on to Weeton mt training. Do it all again if I could."
Bob Wray C4252877 from 1959, says "I recall the glorious Summer of 1959, and the blokes with whom I shared those two months. During my early teens I had been a scout so the regime at Bridgnorth did not as I recall unsettle me too much, more so as I spent time with the band for station parades, rehearsals and once assisting the band at RAF Wilmslow, so perhaps I was somewhat fortunate.
However, I did my stint with morning cross country runs, PT, foot and rifle drill and all the rest of it, and actually I qualified as a rifle marksman, and to this day have my crossed rifles badge which I had proudly worn on my cuff. Known somewhat jealously I thought as the 'skiving bandman', I was as events turned out the ONLY recruit in that flight to qualify as a marksman, as I was informed by the SNCO i/c rifle range.
I was never ever so fit before or after, and looking back I have largely happy memories of my 'square - bashing' days. I played flag up and down also each day at a rate of 6p per day, and still await payment !!!
I enjoyed Bridgnorth town when eventually allowed out, but did much enjoy a sneak preview unofficially once through a hole in the fence out of the camp...
I took part in my 'passing out' parade as a member of the band, complete with cornet - rather than with a rifle in my flight, and it was with keen anticipation I looked forward to my forthcoming 12 months in the RAF School of Music at RAF Uxbridge. I subsequently served for 22 years in the RAF Music Services, with UK and overseas bands - but thats another story...."
Mike Grinstead 4274498 from 1962, says that he had "an enjoyable time at Bridgnorth, sometimes tough sometimes easy. First time I had come across people fom all over the country, took a while to understand all the accents, Northern Ireland and Glasgow the most difficult for me!
My time in the Air Cadets paid off well for me, at least I had a good idea of what was coming our way, an RAF ton of bricks coming down on you seemed a lot heavier than a civvy ton!
Once the "Hut" had welded itself into a team, we did O.K. Part of A flight, 165 entry and hut 29 springs to mind, though possible wrong numbers. Good to see the photograph of the intake in the photo section, I recognised John Morris who sent in the picture, I am in the second row from the back, far right. I have a picture of the "Hut" and occupants somewhere, I will try to look it out and send in a copy.
Great website, brings back memories of a good period of my life, I hope that the members of my intake had as good a future career as I did in and out of the service. Best of luck to everyone! and thanks very much for the website"
Victor David Trollope B3529361 from 1961, says that "on the 21st of November 2007 I stumbled upon the "Bridgnorth Home page" and was absolutely amazed at the amount of information and pictures that were available. After reading many of the "Memory Lane" donations and seeing group photos I just had to write and tell you of one particular happening right at the end of the eight weeks "Square bashing".(Jan/Feb 1961)
First off though, in some of the letters a D.I. is mentioned and I'm sure, although I don't remember his name, we're speaking here about the "Poisoned dwarf", the peak of whose cap sat on the end of his nose so that his head was held at what I can only call a very uncomfortable angle, which probably explains why he was always screaming his head off, he also had the terrible habit of getting about half an inch away from your face while yelling at you and so you got the bonus of a free face wash.
Now to the event that has never left my memory, not even after 46 years. The passing out parade was over and we were marched back to our huts, now the Corporal i/c of our hut gave us the following order, "Go into that hut, with your boots on and use it as a skating ring, I don't want to see one bit of polished floor, leave it just the way you found it" Now the terrible part of this story is, we went into that hut like a horde of maniacs and really didn't leave one square inch of polished floor over. Thinking about this act of vandalism now, makes me feel a bit shameful, I do apologise to the lads that went into Hut 130 after we had left.
Although we had a very hard time, i.e. "Down rifles" go and get your TABT. etc. both arms simultaneously and back on the parade ground and carry on with drill. I wouldn't want to miss it for all the tea in China."
Ken Grainger 4183522 from 1956, says that he was sent "from Nottinghamshire to RAF Bridgnorth for basic eight weeks training. Two Corporals that frightened us all to death at the begining named Cpl R Horne and Cpl B Parkinson, I often wondered if anyone had murdered them after we had passed out. A wake up call to any young Squaddie in 1956.
Would like to hear from anyone who remembers me? Some photos available of hut 156, B Sqd July 1956?"
Chris Blick C4247262 from 1958, says that he "signed up RAF Cardington 26th November 1958 and subsequently travelled by train to Bridgnorth. Does anyone have details of Flight, Hut, Corporal in charge etc?."
The photograph that Chris later found and sent is listed as '1958 - Hut 212 in Dec'
Brian Matcham 4175271 from 1955, says that "I do wonder if anyone remembers the race to strip a bren gun which the Corporal Instuctor challenged me to - and which left him with egg on his face!
Who else remembers our Drill Instructor - Corporal Flynn - a strict but very fair instructor and a very good boxer. (Not someone to trifle with!)"
The photograph Brian sent is listed as '1955 - Matcham Intake'
Cliff Thomas 5055736 from 1958, says that "leaving home for the first time was quite daunting, being at Cardington was "The lull before the Storm" Arriving at Bridgnorth station was even worse, I couldn't believe men could shout that loud.
First was the FFI with MO walking along the line with his pencil lifting up " Bits & Pieces, after the FFI we were never to ever feel embarrassed again through life.
I can remember the DIs ( Wright & Lightfoot ) asking who could play football, the "footballers" were marched to the football pitch to mark it out!! Didn't see a football!! Other memories were the cookhouse fatigues, your denims had so much grease on them you could stand them up in a corner after working in the "Tinroom".
I really enjoyed my time at Bridgnorth (when over the first shock) One of the Photos in the Gallery asks if it is of the "Gasroom" next to the sports ground, I would think it was as the Instructors would make you on exit from the room run round the ground with the warning "Do not rub your eyes or you will find yourself on a Charge."
I read the memories of Cpl "Dolly" Hart (PTI) 1958, regarding marching squad to the Gym, halting them outside & calling (I think a WO) to emerge from the gym, when he did the squad pelted him with snowballs as instructed by Cpl Hart. I was one of that squad & remember it well, the recipient was not best pleased & instructed us (the squad) to remove all the snow from the gym wall. I believe Cpl Hart was put on a 252.
The recruits that were in their final week of training, you will remember, got to dispose of Berets and wear their dress caps. That's when you felt like veterans & inform the new intakes what a dreadful time they were in for."
Comment by Webmaster - Cpl P.T.I. Eric Hart 2677390 who gave the order to throw the snowballs, has listed his contact details.
The photograph Cliff sent is listed as'1958 - Hut 309, 40 Flt in Feb'
In 2014 Cliff added this note;
"I have searched the site for the residents of hut 309 Jan - April 1958 but to no avail obviously they would be in their mid 70's now. Names I remember Ron Parker ( Bradford ) Alan Saunders ( Northampton ) D Wilding ( Dudley ) Norman Sedgley ( Birmingham ) Paul Teer ( Somerset ) Pete Millidge ( Romford ) Graham Smith ( Rotheram ) Peter Truscott ( Kingston ) D Taylor ( Harrow ) B Ward ( Cornwall ) Mick Turpin ( Bristol) Brian Webb ( Chatham ) Where are you ? or relatives of........"
John (Ian) Grant 4260644 from 1960, says that "after getting kitted out at Cardington we were put on a train to Bridgnorth where we were met on the platform by a group of Corporals shouting their heads off. Ours for that journey to camp was a Scot called Cpl Forsyth who was obviously enjoying himself having us running about like headless chickens. Once on the camp we were allocated our huts and collected our bedding. I was in hut 55 under a very smart Cpl Vane who had his uniform so pressed that you could just about cut yourself on the creases and his boot toe caps were like mirrors.
I had been in the Boy's Brigade as a teenager so did not find the drill difficult but I do recall one chap, who, when he marched off would always put his left foot and arm forward together. Cpl Vane or Cpl Jones would bring us to a halt, stand in front of him and shout at him "You're a twit, What are you ?" to which he would reply "A twit Corporal".
We had another lad called Chris Champ who was rather overweight and was always last when we did our run so he had to do 2 circuits of the football field. The PTI was a Sgt who we all hated, wore rimless glasses and had a crew hair style and a proper bully. He bullied Chris so much that we turned against him, much to his annoyance that he challenged anyone to a bout in the boxing ring in the gymnasium. This slim lad volunteered, who we thought was mad until we found out that he was some amateur boxing champion. Word went round the station like wildfire and the Gym was packed. The PTI turned out in his silks and boxing boots and the young lad had just his RAF blue PT shorts and plimsolls. The lad went in for the kill straight away, no messing, and gave that PTI the hiding of his life. We never saw that PTI again while we were at Bridgnorth.
On the Saturday morning of the Battle of Britain air day at Cosford, we were paraded to sick quarters for our jabs, both arms at once. One chap on our Squadron, a fellow Scot called Wullie Baird, asked how many jabs we had. As it turned out that he had had 2 TABT jabs. In no time he was in some state shaking and sweating and ended up in sick quarters till next day. After lunch buses set off for Cosford but had to stop half way there so that all those that were feeling unwell could return in one bus to Bridgnorth while the other buses carried on to Cosford.
One Friday evening a trainee got beaten up in town by the Teddy Boys so on the Saturday night we put our webbing belts on under our jacket to go and sort them out. Someone must have tipped off the RAF Police as we were all stopped at the Guardroom on the way out and told to open our jackets. Needless to say, the belts were all taken from us and told to collect them on our return. Luckily all was quiet in town that night.
We had a lad in our hut who did not wash himself and smelt so after a bull night when we were just in our PT shorts someone slipped out to the ablutions and filled a bath with cold water. We grabbed him and carried him to the bath and threw him in. We ended up wetter than him as the water came over the side of the bath but he it cured his dirty habit.
Instead of a passing out parade, we trained for route lining and then taken to Uxbridge to line the route in London for the King and Queen of Nepal's official visit. Little did I know that nearly 5 years later, while stationed at Kinloss I would be lining the route again, this time for Sir Winston Churchill's funeral. It all came back to me.
Looking back now, it was a bit of a shock to the system at the time but like many others, I would not have liked to have missed the experience and the laughs. I was reasonably physically fit when I went there but left even fitter. I was called up as one of the last National Servicemen for the Army but for financial reasons I originally signed on in the RAF for 5 years and retired after serving 34 years having had a marvellous life."
The photographs Ian sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 55, 6 Flt' and '1960 - 6 Flt 'A' Sqd'
Barry Hemmings 5059897 from 1958, says that he "arrived from Cardington to a real awakening. Expected to hate every minute but not too bad! we survived.
Our intake was National Service and Regulars (3 years or more) they got battledress and gabadine best blue - National Service got 2 old type best blue (someone must have known National Service was ending!!!)
Great site I visit it regularly. See our photo (50 years ago) I don't believe it!"
The photograph Barry sent is listed as '1958 - Hut 309, 40 Flt'
Martin Hall 4252845 from 1959, says "I remember the blue disc we had to wear behind our cap badges on camp and I remember '14' maybe our flight number, but cannot remember our hut number. We won the 'Drill Cup' for which our D.I. took all of us out and got us 'p*ssed' up town (Bridgnorth)(cost him a bob or two!) I remember an unoficial photo being taken outside our hut after the passing out parade and would dearly love a copy if it still exists. Nearly half a century ago!! Brasso, blanco, boot polish and floor polish equals bullsh*t and it baffles brains, I'm assured!
Who'd have known, that a stay of 2 months in a small northern town, would impress so firmly into our memories and thereafter influence our lives, right on through our future into old age?"
Since posting the above, Martin has been able to identify himself on two photographs submitted by Mike Hyde 5070062.
In 2015, Martin added a further message.
"I have frequented RAF Bridgnorth's pages for several years, the photo's are incredible. The site is a fantastic archive of times long gone, something today's people will never know, much to their loss."
Brynley Holland 3528116 from 1959, says that he had "a great time, will never forget the day's, train ride from Cardington to Bridgnorth seemed never ending, I think I was in 1 Flt 'A' Squadron, can't remeber the NCO's names. Lot's of National Service guy's as well as Regulars. 17 and a half then, god it seems a long time ago. Anyone who want's to contact me feel free."
The photograph Brynley sent is listed as '1959 - 1 Flt 'A' Sqd in Sept'
Edward Boyle 5049392 from 1957, says that "I'll never forget Cpl Widdowson who would jump on his peak cap in what appeared to be Rage if we didn't get it right. And Cpl David Coward D.I. to the band he was a keen boy scout I recall, Bandmaster Denzil Stevens a great guy (ex Black Dyke Mills band) Ted Prince and John Pecorini (he was head and shoulders over the rest) of us played trumpet with Spud Murphy on euphonium. I was on drums."
Stuart Greenway 2438849 from 1949, says that "we had to display our square bashing techniques at RAF Shawbury Battle of Britain show in September 1949. Showing what the RAF can do with lads off the streets in six weeks training. We had extra square bashing in a hanger at night with the Provost Sergeant complete with pacing stick. We could perform for 10 minutes without a command. Happy days."
The photographs Stuart sent are listed as '1949 - 2 Wing' and '1949 - Hut in Aug - Sept'
Bob Boyne 3153816 from 1958, says that he "saw little of others from Hut 133 / Hut 134 as most of the time spent with the Band. Ordered back to the Flight after a few weeks but sent packing by the Cpl DI after 5 minutes because drill was below the standard of the rest. Attended about 6 or 7 passing-out parades with band and Battle of Britain parade in Bridgnorth town, the day after my jabs!"
John Lawrence 2651708 from 1958, says that "being Ex A.T.C and an Ex Member of the Royal Aux Air Force I was given the No. as indicated.
I remember that it was B... cold at the time with a lot of snow, this created lots of hilarity on the parade square. It was a very cold winter 58/59, our 4 nights out in the wilds were cancelled. Most of the drill time was spent clearing the snow, mind you I don't think we minded as Cpl Wood was not the nicest person when on drill practice. I can't remember the Sgt's name. I went onto Weeton for training and then to Honnington. The rest as they say is history."
The photograph John sent is listed as '1959 - Hut 318, 35 Flt'.
John Edward Mason 3523432 from 1956, says that he" hated the drill but made some good mates in the RAF. I'm still in touch with some 50 years later. Counted the days to demob on a calender but now realise I wouldn't have missed it for all the tea in China."
The photographs John sent are listed as '1956 - Hut 178, 17 Flt' , '1956 - 17 Flt 'B' Sqd' , '1956 - 17 Flt 'B' Sqd, PTI' and '1956 - Bivouac'
John Gale 2481883 from 1950, says "there seems to be a dearth of material from 1950 National Servicemen, though there were enough of us (perhaps most of couldn't write) A few items I remember; the 'graduating' of the flight in the queue for getting paid as the flight got nearer pass out.
I remember being picked out of a parade, told to change into number 2s at which we all guessed that a period of guard was our fate. Not so, loaded into the back of a 3 tonner and off. We arrived at RAF Cosford, de-bussed, lined up and were told we had been selected to experience a flight in an RAF aircraft! The chosen beast was an old Anson.
Another remembrance was a day of field training in gas masks, we were taken somewhere I know not where, donned the masks and began by a short 5 miles run then to a steep hollow, "Run down to the bottom and up the other side". After completing this twice, it was decided that we were too slow so the exercise was repeated, we were sweating so much that the masks were sliding off our face.
I also, like many other comments, would add that I arrived a callow youth only to leave a much tougher young man ready to take the six months training as a Flight Mechanic Engines. A good period in my life that did much for me and my character."
Brian James 4135896 from 1958, says "I made the mistake of calling the respirator a GASMASK for this I had to double around a hanger with it on and missed a N.A.A.F.I break. I will never forget it."
Tony Algaze Q3526275 from 1958, says "Sgt Mitchell & Cpl Beacom were DI's, scared the life out of me. Lost my kit-bag enroute from Cardington, they were throwing them off the lorry; so no Kit ready for inspection following morn. Both eardrums blown out."
John Kightley 4258404 from 1960, says it was "tough, but great for turning boys into men. Like most lads, couldn't wait to finish square bashing."
Philip Watson Y4271092 from 1962, says he has "memories of the cold March nights, when we wouldn't use the stoves because they had been blackened and the coal had been levelled in the scuttles. The squares of blankets cut to use under our footwear, to skate along the highly polished floors so as not to scratch them. The smelly hot water trough outside the Airmans mess, to wash knife, fork, spoon and mug. The recording of Reveille screeching through the speaker early every morning. Apart from all these things, we did have some good times and laughs."
Colin Wilde K4261248 from 1960, says that "I remember being picked to box for RAF Bridgnorth but declined because I would have been back flighted, also all the bull, drill and playing 7 aside rugby in the frozen mud with a keen rugby league player."
The photograph Colin sent is listed as '1960 - Flt in Oct'
Brian Wickert Q3524936 from 1957, says that he "just read the latest edition of RAF News and this website was mentioned. Have just finished reading all the memories recorded. All I can say is "it brought back lovely memories of my own square bashing days in all its glory" The only thing is, I can't remember what Flight, hut number, etc. I was in. So if there is anybody out there that remembers me? Please get in touch. I do remember a certain saying that one D.I. was always saying was "Cook House, Okay" which I heard a few times for not getting my drill right."
The photograph Brian sent is listed as '1957 - Wickert's Flt'
Comment by Webmaster - David Valentine 3524933 is within 3 digits of your number. He was also at Bridgnorth May - July 1957. His entry in the 'Guest Book' page gives Hut 147, B Flt. David's email address is on the 'List of Surnames' page, on the far right hand side. Hope it helps.
Derek Jones 3119657 from 1949, says that he has "many happy memories spent square bashing? We had a smashing crowd of mates. I remember it well. Happy Days.
We were in the hut, Cpl Cadd a fellow Brummie was in charge. He was one of the best, I was made Senior man, (being ex ATC) however I joined the Band so lost the job.
I was chief marker on the passing out, I believe we where the best of all the others Flights who passed out at that time.
I can recall the fact that after spending weeks polishing up the boots, then the polish all cracked on the day.
We all went our different ways. I was a driver MT along with a few more of the lads."
The photograph Derek sent is listed as '1949 - Hut 3, 1 Flt'
Eric Wise D2267153 from 1947 - 1954, says that whilst a Cpl Cook he "lived in caravan at side of hangars with wife and family."
David Evans L4256029 from 1959, says that "our DI was Cpl Wood, mean and hard but kind at the end! Remember my time there with good and bad memories, plenty of snow.
On one occasion we carried one of our hutties who was always sleeping on if he could (can not remember his name) complete with his bed and bedding to breakfast and left him fast asleep in front of Sqn office on the Square whilst it was snowing!
Also remember rigging the Tannoy system to the other adjacent huts to broadcast false messages in the one evening. Great fun.
Also lining up for our jabs on the Saturday morning before a 36 hour stand down and then going into Wolverhampton to watch Wolves v Blackpool with Billy Wright and Stan Matthews playing wearing those heavy great coats. When we exited the ground could not raise my arm to salute a Officer because of jabs and had a severe bollocking.
When we left after our square bashing we climbed into the hut roof and left some kippers for the next intake to get the aroma!
Had our pass out party at the STAR INN I think and Corps Wood and Payne were found to be human after all and really nice guys. Good memories and I stayed in for 28 years!"
Frank Lawson 3155764 from 1960, says that he "was billeted in hut 23. Posted to RAF Yatesbury on a JT's course to become an Air Wireless Fitter, but due to my father's illness, received a compassionate posting to RAF Sealand as an SAC, having served just two weeks short of the 12 months trade training."
Michael Lowdon 4255963 from 1959, says that I "arrived at Cardington for induction as a 22yr old after deferment of National Service having signed for a 5 year stint. I was getting married July 1960 so I needed the money.
Shipped out to Bridgnorth by train about 9/10 December 1959. Think I was in 'D' Flight. DI was Cpl Duff with Sgt Penman as boss. Duff threatened to knock 7 bells out of me in the bathroom if I didn't comply with the misery he was inflicting on all us raw airmen.
I recall Dave 'Jock' Crum who always looked like he had never worn tidy clothes. Dave Thom, 'Ginger' Thompson and I was sure Lofty ?? was appointed senior man as he had previous period of service.
After some 3 weeks we went on a route march and I got blisters on my right heel as big as golf balls - reported sick and excused boots. I never had to do any outside drill again as every morning I went to the DI's Office where Sgt Penman always asked if anyone else was sick I don't think anyone was but I must have made a good cuppa because I only ever did drill inside the hut when the weather got the better of outside square bashing.
Oh those Jabs we had particularly the TABT jab after which we were made to keep bumpering a perfectly polished billet hut in case we fell asleep and became unconscious due to its side effects.
Come the time for the Drill competition prior to passing out parade Sgt Penman and Cpl Duff implored me to go on parade as one other was not up to scratch - probably Jock Crum or perhaps someone else had taken ill. I condescended to this request and it all went well and we all Passed Out from Brignorth on or about 15th February 1960.
I had taken a trade test and was on SAC pay throughout this period and subsequently was posted to Melksham on an Instruments course, getting my JT's stripe and off to Thorney Island and in Feb 1962 posted to Akrotiri returning in August 1964 to St Mawgan at the end of that tour. Nearly came unstuck there as records had posted me there to a squadron for onward posting to RAF Ballykelly. My youngest brother was in Cyprus also and he had an initial M. Some thicko at Innsworth did not notice that my 5 years were up in November 1964. I had to fight my way out of the door. Close call.
I have a Flight Photo and a few signatures and I think a full Bridgnorth Intake Photo. If I come across them I will make them available to the site if they are of interest."
Maurice Oshaughnessy 5046707 from 1958, says that we "arrived as boys and left as men. DI was Willy."
Brian Beedham A4202014 from 1960, says that he had a "great time at Bridgnorth, learning to be a man !! Drill on the square in the early February mornings carrying a Lee Enfield 303 rifle with freezing hands is something which is not easily forgotten.
One of our Corporals, Paddy Nimmock, will be remembered by all who had him as an N.C.O. He was seen at the time to be a bast....rd! I found that he was fair as long as you did what was required as a recruit. If you didn't you could find your bedpack dumped through the window into the frozen grass outside ! A lot of my Flight got the Alex Ferguson 'hair dryer' treatment right in the face. Whether he was liked or not, we finished up as group of airmen who could produce 'the goods' at the end of the training.
I remember the old coke stoves which heated the billets and the fumes that they gave off !
I bet people remember the tanks of boiling hot water which we used to wash our eating utensils after dining in the mess. The secret was not to drop any of the utensils into the water because if you did the water was too deep to rescue them unless you finished up with third degree burns to the arms and hands! Great days at Bridgnorth."
The photograph Brian sent is listed as '1960 - Hut 60, 5 Flt''
John Askew 4017512 from 1947, says that "we were sent home for 6, or was it 8 weeks, because of the extreme weather conditions. No mention of global warming then!!."
Alan Pendlington 5068461 from 1959, says that he "had a great time at Bridgnorth, enjoyed every minute of it, have always said that I would do my National Service all over again, so many great guys who could keep you laughing when you were a little down."
Ken Robinson 4257715 from 1960, says "I remember it was dark and I was tired after that awful train journey. I was quite frightened. I was 17 and 9 months old. Most seemed a lot older being National Servicemen who had completed a trade training and were in their 20's. There were people shouting and running.
I enjoyed the drill, although there was no way "you orrible lot will win the trophy" and we didn't. I was in hut 10, as my photo now tells me and have identified our lovely Corporal as Cpl Pope.
I couldn't get on with the Le Enfield rifle, it kicked my soulder black and blue. The Bren was much more civilised and I scored a marksman with that but you didnt get the marksman brevet with the Bren.
Easter fell mid course, which was our first break to go home in full uniform. I remember Whittles coaches lined up on the sacred parade square, ready for destinations to all points.
Happy days and through this web site, it is nice to reminisce and hopefully make contact with some of those beaming faces in the photos."
The photographs Ken sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 10' and '1960 - Robinson's Flt'
John B Walker 3523929 from 1956, says that "our Flight Commander at Bridgnorth, in late 1956, was Flying Officer Ramon Subba Row, who subsequently became an excellent England cricketer of some renown.
I recall that the weather was very cold and of course fuel (coal and coke) were in short supply due to a Miners Strike. It got so bad that we had to raid the fuel dump to steal whatever coke we could, just to stop from freezing.
Our squad won the Drill Cup at our passing out parade. A great introduction to RAF life which I enjoyed as MTD(H) for a further three years."
The photograph John sent is listed as '1956 - Hut 257 in Nov'
Robert Sinclair 3520973 from 1955, says that he can "remember being scared most of the time, my Cpl was over 6' tall, it was on my last day that I realised he was there to help me."
The photograph Robert (Robin) sent is listed as '1955 - Sinclair in June'
Alan Goodenough T4143310 from 1954, says that "Bridgnorth was an eye opener for me. I learned a lot from the DI,s Sgt Hoey, Cpl Brown, Cpl Trainor and Cpl Sweet. Found out I had a good eye at shooting and became a marksman. I was with B Flt hut 127 near the Astra cinema. During fatigue week I was chosen as the SWO's Stick Man as I was the only one on our flight with a full driving licence and spent the time driving him around. I was posted at the end to RAF Middle Wallop which was only 15 miles from my home town of Winchester. I stayed in the RAF until my pension and if I could I would would do it all over again. Happy memories Bridgnorth."
Jock Reid 5064758 from 1958, says "we were under Cpl Ferguson, a fearful little man then a Cpl Sturgeon from Dublin."
David Byers U3528155 from 1959, says "most is a blur but I do remember the odd dance hall and someone yelling through the mist; "I am not an horrible", aimed at some NCO. All in all, a good time was had and a very proud passing out parade. Thanks Cpl Pope."
Arthur McAuley from 1957, says that "it was almost dark when we got there, everyone got a bed but I was the last one and there were no beds left. After some time I got a private room, one of the little box rooms by the door of the hut. That was my room for about two weeks then someone went home and I asked if I could have his bed. It was a lot better there as I became one of the team.
We had a Flt Sgt that had moved from air crew and told us every night that he was not happy at Bridgnorth. He would send word to us that no one was to leave the hut till he had been. He would get there about 9:00 pm and any dirty mugs, combs or toothbrushes he would break. At 10:00 pm he would leave, by that time the N.A.A.F.I shop would be closed so you couldn't replace anything till the next day.
I had a great time at Bridgnorth and wish I could do it all again."
Malcolm Short H4259105 from 1960, says that "One of my abiding memories is when we were told to change into different kit, running to our hut, one boot off and hopping to our bedspaces on one stockinged foot so we did not mark the polished lino. The sight of twenty airmen hopping en mass will live with me forever. Heaven help the last person back on parade!"
John Wilson 4080191 from 1960, says that "the most vivid memory I recall was when our squadron (A Squadron,6 flight) was on marching drill. Corporal Jones called "Halt!...about turn!" which meant that we swivelled round on the spot but I don't know where my mind was at that moment so I did the about turn as if I was still marching (knees high up in the air). Corporal Jones called "Halt!" He came over to me and yelled, "Where do you think you are, in the F...... camel corps?" but he was a great Corporal and I often wonder if he and Cpl Vane are still around."
Jim Dudgeon 3528738 from 1960, says that "Cpl Gorman played the guitar at our end of training party. Sgt? stopped the bus going through the gates and threatened to hold us back as were showing the 2 finger salute at him."
The photograph Jim sent is listed as '1960 - 12 Flt 'B' Sqd'
Robert Daglish W4199447 from 1961-1962, says that he "was in RAF Regt and was forced on drill instructors course and posted to Bridgnorth. Not a happy time as I did not want to be a drill pig.
But had happy memories of Castle dance hall, worked there as a bouncer part-time.
I was glad to see some recruits used their common sense. One scam was to raid the coal/coke yard to keep the stoves in the billets warm and I had to close my eyes at night seeing recruits carrying their prize back to their billets. As all ex recruits must know, the weekly allowance did not last a couple of days. I can still remember catching a recruit on my Flt wearing my No.2 jacket, ordering some recruits of anther Flt to chop fire wood for his hut."
The photograph Robert sent is listed as '1962 - Daglish'
William Hauxwell 4109411 from 1952, says he "remembers I was there for bonfire night as I was fined for letting off a firework in the town, the rub is that I picked up someone elses that had not gone off and it started to fiss. A lot of people had illegal brown bags with fireworks in. I broke up a card school by walking past the stove and dropping an empty bag into it and making a hasty get away."
The photograph William sent is listed as '1952 - Hut 156, 17 Flt'
Ray Bossom 4255827 from 1959-1960, says that "we were fresh from Cardington & had no clue what to expect so on arrival we were in for a jolt. We had to bull our working boots & drill boots with polish, spoons & spit, but it did the job, you could see your face in the toecaps.
The most funny thing, our idiot officer decided that we all had to cut all our buttons off so we could smooth out all the brass forgetting that we had a CO's inspection the next day. So we held the buttons on with Matchsticks and as we marched the buttons fell off all over the parade ground so we were all put on a charge. But we got away with it as our DI put his side of the cockup. Our DI was a lucky man in as far that we did not have Live ammo in our Lee Enfield's.
I still have 4 coathangers, 4 boot brushes, button stick & cap badges."
The photograph Ray sent is listed as '1960 - Hut 216, 22 Flt'
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