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Page 9 - Stories and memories of your time at RAF Bridgnorth.

Write and submit your memories here.


Ernie Tucker 4146810 from 1954 says that his "Passing out parade was a bit of a shambles. Brand new Flt. Commander miss called several commands. At one point, he failed to turn us and we ended up marking time with our noses almost touching buildings on the side of the parade ground. To cap it all, the cymbal player lost a cymbal, it rolled through all the ranks to end up against the saluting base. Happy days."
 
The photograph Ernie sent is listed as '1954 - Tucker's Hut'


Peter Agate P4274756 from 1962 says "We drove F/s Jackson and Cpl Macmurtrie nuts, at the end they put their arms around us, not sure, we might have wone a trophy or something.
Can't remember hut No. but we were on the edge of the parade ground and second hut up from corner.
This is definitely walking back in the past."


Chris Wood 3527981 from 1959 says "Yes, I remember our drill instructor Cpl Wood alright... and of course he couldn't easily forget my name!!! (tough but fair) I especially remember 'Mr' Spooner the 'Drummer' and Tom Westrope and Big Rae from Scotland who were in our hut 244.
As our rifles were chained up in alphabetical order, I was always last to extract mine and consequently always got shouted at by Corporal Wood... shouting "you're late Wood, get on Parade." and "I want to see a blurr when you move Wood, a blurr"...Hmmmmm, those were the days.... then Injections and straight on parade afterwards in Greatcoats for drill practice in the belting heat of June/July 1959!!! Hope someone remembers me."

 
The photograph Chris sent is listed as '1959 - Hut 244, 31 Flt'


Noel Stafford M4267229 from 1961 remembers the "Di dismissing us after PT, we all racing to get changed whilst he followed us shouting 'on parade'. Struggling with the detached collar and collar stud (You could tell an airman in civvies by his collar stud bruise on his adams apple!!)"


Ken Jones 5079784 from 1960 remembers "Cpl Ferguson on the train from Cardington "If I catch one airman with his face within one foot of the window, he will be on a fizzer."


Gordon Wright T4270657 from 1963 says "I had the honour of being the first person on our flight to be on a fizzer before even receiving my uniform for smoking whilst marching to our allocated billet."


Alan Preen 4259167 from 1960 says his "first memory is of being harassed by D.I.'s on the rain trip from Cardington. Yelled at when we disgorged and all the way to the camp. I was in hut 43 and can only remember a couple of names of the blokes in the hut. The D.I.'s, however I remember well. Price and Billington. Billington was built like a brick - er - outhouse. Tough but very fair. Price had a dry sense of humour. I still have the photo of hut 43 inhabitants.
One instruction we were given was on correct fainting procedure. You will fall at attention in a smart fashion and not slump in an untidy heap. The D.I. I remember best was on another Company. His name was Nimmock. A real terror. I think he was a lion tamer in an earlier life. I was quite relieved not to have been in his care.
If there is one thing squarebashing camp was good for, it was the development of a sense of humour. Thems woz the daze."


William Maskell 2714164 from 1954 says "I remember two 'brummies' one was called Cliff, another poor lad died. I am sure there are many who recall Cpl Bostock D.I. I remember about a year later he made the national press, stringing a recruit from the beams in the billett by his webbing. I don't remember seeing the outcome.
If I remember right, out of 120 in 3 flight, about only 80 odd passed out. It was certainly a bastard winter, we had snow most of the time, those plimsolls & shorts didn't help. Thanks for the memory!"


Ken Walpole 5066072 from 1959 says that "during most of my eight weeks, at the beginning of 1959, the ground was covered with hard compacted and frozen snow. Marching to breakfast with our ceramic mugs behind our backs was quite hazardous. I can recall the corporal's repeated order, "Dig yer heels in!" I fortunately avoided most of the square-bashing by playing the flugel horn in the Station voluntary band."


The family of Frank Dungan 4099769 from 1953 say "this is for mine and my mums' sake more than anything. My Father, Frank did his Basic Training at Bridgnorth, his Rank was AC2, but I believe he was an Admin Orderly. He was originally from Dublin, as was his best mate Tommy Barrett. Would be nice to hear from any one who remembers him. Myself and two of my brothers were born whilst he was posted to RAF Tangmere, my younger brother was born whilst he was serving in RAF Wildenwrath, thanks, hope to hear from someone."


Peter Finney 4116027 from 1952-1953 says he was known as the "biggest skiver out". He "got the nickname after being 'excused marching, PT, parades and assult course' due to an exsisting medical condition (hidden up to then). This 'chitty' lasted my full three years service."
Found myself on two photos,1953 4Flt 1 wing, Flight cup winners for smartest billet, far right-middle row. Also, 1953 Flt 1 wing, Dec 52 to Jan 53, 5 from left-front row."


Tony Neal Y4271666 from 1962 says "I arrived at Bridgnorth in the pouring rain. It looked more like a concentration camp to me with the rows of wooden huts. Then began the endless bull, boots, bedpacks, bumpering the lino floor. Cleaning your eating irons and the big white mug in the hot water trough outside the mess. Then the never ending drill, the shouting of the DI's. The lads in our hut were a great bunch, everyone helping each other. It was tough but we were all better for it when we came out the other end."


Philip Henden 4051560 from 1950 - 1951 says "I was in Cpl Slater's hut. I also remember Cpl Ley who was i/c the next hut and the two huts were grouped together usually when on parade. For some reason that I can't explain, I often seemed to get on the wrong side of Cpl Slater and was threatened with being 'de flighted' which if carried out, would have meant extra weeks of 'square bashing.' "


David Cooper 2745914 from 1955 says "my first memory was travelling to Bridgnorth on the train. I've likened it to my grandchildren as being on the train to Hogwarts in Harry Pottter.
On arriving at the camp we stood in a group at the entrance of a building, our kit bags in a large pile. Get your kit bag and line up was the order. On picking up the first bag I looked at the name and number, I called out the name but nobody came. With his nose next to my ear, the Sergeant shouted as loud as he could, "IS IT YOURS?" "No" I replied."WELL GET RID OF IT." I put it on the ground. "IT'S IN YOUR WAY" he screamed. I threw it to one side, soon there were hundreds of kit bags in the air. After some time we were stood in line with our kit bags. We were marched in line to our billets, they were old wooden buildings with 2 to 3 inches of icicles hanging off the roofs. We thought that we were in a German concentration camp.
After we had picked our beds, a group of us went to the cook house. On the way there we passed another group who called out "GET SOME IN SPROGS." None of us knew what a sprog was.
We got the coal stoves working but it was so cold that I put my greatcoat over the blankets when we went to bed. Some went to bed dressed and at least two airmen went to bed fully dressed with their greatcoats on as well. In the morning I went to the bath house, there were some men there washing. It was freezing, I still had on my greatcoat. A couple of airmen were even washing naked, this came as quite a shock. "Where are the sink stoppers?" I asked, and was told "didn't you bring your own?", "No" was my reply. "Tough" was the answer. I ended up using toilet paper. The hot water ran out, "you should have got up earlier" we were told.
We went to the cookhouse for breakfast, there were some bowls of porridge on the tables. I loved porridge and filled my bowl right up but on taking the first mouthful, I spat it out as it had salt in it, the Scottish way I was told, there was another bowl of porridge on the table when we left."
 
Read more of David's memories here ........

 
The photographs David sent are listed as '1955 - Hut 65, 11 Flt' and '1955 - 11 Flt 'C' Sqd'


Tony Bowker 2448145 from 1951 says he "managed to do square bashing without any parades during eight weeks training. You can't play clarinet in gloves and winter uniform started on Nov. 1st. Band hut was cosy and all we did was make tea and copy music."


Trevor Scott 5091043 from 1959 says he "played the tuba in the Station band. Incidentally, I'm still playing the tuba 53 years later !!"
 
Trevor is on photographs titled "1959 - Band in the Summer' and '1959 - Hut 260, 33 Flt'


Clive Hutton 3155269 from 1959 says "Hut 58. I remember Sgt Allen and Cpl Forward. Sgt Allen let it slip it was his birthday during our course, so we all clubbed together and gave him an expensive present. Many years later a work colleague (London Electricity Board) told me he was at Bridgnorth under Sgt Allen and he had a birthday during his course! Neat way to get lots of gifts during the years.
I ran ATC and CCF units for 22 yrs later and had great fun. Ended as Flt.Lt (Vrt) in 2007."


Gordon Swan V4261829 from 1960 says that the "Sergeant in charge of Flt was known as the Aberdeen Angus. Cpl I/C hut was a cigarette scrounger.
Hut was a mix of National Service and Regular recruits.
Posted after basic training to RAF Weeton Airframe Course then Finningley."


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Brian Harvey 2479070 from 1950 says "all our NCO's were very decent chaps. I enjoyed my time there and certainly liked all aspects of Service life. I always got the job of cleaning Cpl Braces cap badge."


John Clark 5074348 from 1959 - 1960 says it was a "shock to the system but everybody was in the same boat and mucked in together."
 
The photograph John sent is listed as '1960 - Hut 212, 24 Flt'


Bryan Jones 3156221 from 1960 says that "on reflection a great time though at the time, rather frantic."
 
The photographs Bryan sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 84, 5 Flt' and '1960 - 5 Flt 'A' Sqd'


Colin Sargeant 2758271 from 1955 says "at our last "bullnight" one lad was swinging the broom around his head, when the broom head parted from the handle and made a hole in the wall.( do you remember the soft boarding, I believe called "tentess" like compressed cardboard? Oh God was the cry, (or something like that but not printable here) barrack damages for us all but no, some bright spark suggested we remove the kit inspection poster from its position and affix it over the hole. It was never noticed.
Woody from Chadwell Heath, Essex got would you believe it, yes its true, a stray bullet across his boot at the firing range - how who knows, no damage to him but very scary.
All the boys of hut 307, AC2 Woods for instance are on the Bridgnorth list of pictures under Hut 307 (all named)
When we arrived from Cardington, many lads were still chewing gum which made the DI who met us go ballistic especialy when, one irk in fright at the tirade, dropped his gum on the parade ground. Need I tell you more."

 
The photograph Colin sent is listed as '1955 - Hut 307'


Alex Hermiston 5100088 from 1959 says that "soon after arrival, we were all assembled and asked about levels of sporting ability. After several internationalists were identified, golfers were identified. I had a national handicap of 6 and I was promptly sent home to Edinburgh to collect my clubs, as there was a match the following Wednesday against another Station. I arrived home within 10 days of being called up and my parents thought I had deserted. I played in several matches as a result of which I nissed several sessions of rifle firing. This meant that to complete my basic training, I had to go to the range and fire all the required rounds at one go."


William Redford 4242035 from 1958 says "I was in Hut 173 and my wife Hazel, then girl friend came to see my Pass Out Parade."


William White 5024122 from 1956 was in "B Sqd with blue cap badge. Train from Cardington, herded into trucks in station yard. At camp arrival we were told by corporal that he understood how tired and dirty we must be and to go grab a bed in one of the billets, get undresed and go over to shower facilities, return back to billet then return to roadside on parade. AND BE BACK HERE in THREE MINUTES. Square bashing was hard but made a new person out of me. Left UK for Ausralia in 1966, still here."


Ernest Hornsey 4133529 from 1953 remembers "getting drunk, square bashing, queing to go to the pictures."


Jim Carden 3151615 from 1957 says that "washing and shaving in cold water in the winter, was one memory! Another was finding out if the acting Corporal's shiny boot toe caps were real, by arranging to accidentally tread on them one day. They were real. He spent hours on them with polish and a hot spoon. Ah! those were the days.
I managed a rowing session on the Severn one afternoon. It was very pleasant. Overall, "square bashing" wasn't all that bad. I made some good friends, but we parted company because I was the only one selected for Radar training at RAF Locking. Sad."


The son of Sgt Joe Saint (deceased) 4276943 from 1950-1954 says "In 1950 I was three years old. My father was D.I. Sgt Joe Saint. He passed away some years ago. I can just remember him bringing home babysitters. And all those buses at the gates to take all the recruits home.
He went on to Halton from Bridgnorth then to Wilmslow. From there to Singapore and 5001 Sqn (ants) Airfield construction. Happy days."


Bill Cunningham 4260605 from 1960 says "I never finished my basic training at Bridgnorth. I was selected for route lining duties for the Queen of Tonga. Billeted at West Drayton and trained at RAF Uxbridge."


David Carter 5020951 from 1956 says "I can remember a Cpl Amos who gave us a demonstration of American rifle drill, boy was he good.
I enjoyed doing GCT (ground combat training) remembering the tear gas drill, we went into this building, hands on the shoulders of the guy in front with our gas masks on and trooped round in a circle then a gas canister was set off and we had to remove our gas masks and sing the Happy Wanderer, we were soon out of that building I can tell you.
Inoculation time came round and we all queued up outside waiting our turn and it was a realy hot day. We could this bang, bang and it turned out to be chaps passing out and hitting the floor which didn't cheer us up that were waiting our turn much.
Even though it was hard work, I enjoyed doing drill, we were useless at first but as time past, we gradualy came together as one and took a certain pride in it. I was pretty fit when I went in as I was a keen cyclist, even so I was a lot fitter when I came out."


Peter Golding 4121503 from 1953 says "I was posted to Bridgnorth in January 1953 after a few days at RAF Cardington and it was a very cold and plenty of snow. My memories are having to go in the fields picking sprouts for the mess and after going on the rifle range digging the old bullets out of the ice cold sand. I then went on to RAF Weeton, Blackpool before going to Canel Zone."


Former Flt Lt Harry Pugh 154374 from 1955-1957 says "I particularly remember the introduction of 'initiative' training which really meant camping out on Wenlock Edge for a week end with only ground sheets for cover and tinned rations. This torture was blamed on someones scout experience. The recruits only did it once but the Staff had to do it as each new intake came around."


Ronnie Durward 4095143 from 1952 says it was a "during basic training, we spent an additional 8 weeks training with wooden clubs with lights on the ends to do a stint at the Royal Tournament July 1952 at Earls Court London. Quite a nice three weeks holiday."
 
Comment by Webmaster - See the page titled 'RAF Personnel in the local newspaper' That shows the newspaper dated 16 May 1952 mentions the event "RAF personnel practice their illuminated club swinging skills ready for the Royal Tournament at Earls Court. Very poor photograph."


Manning Larkins 4264238 from 1961 says it was a "time of great comradeship, growing from boy to manhood and wonderful memories. It was a hard but good time and set me up for life."


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Donald Clive 3127067 from 1950 says he "did the 'square bashing' - passed out, only to be told our flight, along with others were to remain there for another six weeks, doing 'PT' all day, every day. We finished up at RAF Farnborough all 400 of us, together with 400 recruits from West Kirby (sleeping in tents at Aldershot!) for a massive PT display in front of The King & Queen, Churchill and many more famous people. Anyone else remember this?"
 
Comment by Webmaster - See the page titled 'RAF Personnel in the local newspaper' That shows the newspaper dated 30 June 1950 had an article and photograph of the event "400 recruits from Bridgnorth take part in a physical training demonstration at Farnborough. Trained by Flt Lt RICHARDS."


Frank Blake 5034146 from 1956 says that he "enjoyed basic training. Great set of lads. Regulars and National Service men who ranged from Doctors to Butcher's boys. The strong looked out for the weak. Learnt a lot about team spirit and made great friends who are still in contact after 56 years. Played Rugby for Station. No rank on Rugby field and team included both Rugby Union and Rugby League Players, including Professionals. Unheard of in the 1950's. Also Internationals in team. We had a great run in the R.A.F. Cup, beating amongst others West Kirkby, another "Square Bashing" Station, in front of the A.O.C. and both Station Commanders and their entourages. Great Kudos and released from other onerous duties to train every afternoon. Never been so fit. Passed out for Christmas leave at home and then reported to R.A.F.Melksham."


Peter Sutherland 4271591 from 1962 says that "Sgt Allen was our drill Sgt, a very boozy (big blue/red nose, but brilliant, we adored him. His squads won the cup every time. Cpl Daglish was our Cpl and a bigger xxxx could not be found. I instigated a rebelion which got him moved."


Edward Ashby 3512723 from 1952 says "I remember arriving by train and being met by NCO's at the camp. We were lined up and kit bags thrown out of truck. Our flight was used for RAF club swinging team and spent time at Earls Court. I remember first meeting with the Sergeant and was suitably impressed by the need to listen and obey, but at end of training a collection was made to show respect he had obtained. We also got chance to play football against NCO's and rules were not always followed."


Chris Chadwick 4261972 from 1960 remembers "lots of snow and our letters thrown into it on mail parade. John Falloon playing the piano and imitating Peter Sellers singing 'Well goodness gracious me.' John - your email address is not connecting."
 
The photographs Chris sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 20 in Dec' and '1960 - A Flt in Dec'


David Young 3151023 from 1956-1957 remembers "a cold bleak winter with a battle to get coke for the stoves. Highlights were trips to see Wolves v Honved and Red Star."


Brian Johnson S4263692 from 1961 says that "memories are pretty vague but can remember going up to London for a Guard of Honour which did not come off. Also the route marches or runs with pack from Bridgnorth. Went to Shawbury for trade training in air traffic control. Live in Australia."


Ralph Nightingale 5043341 from 1957 says that "after the usual week at RAF Cardington, we arrived at RAF Bridgnorth on 16th April 1957 after my 21st birthday. The regimentation and strictness was somewhat of a culture shock as it was for all the other recruits. After a couple of weeks we had gone through most of the pains of sore feet, injections, rifle drill and other disciplines and managed to impress our D.I.'s at the Passing Out Parade.
Although I can remember the faces of most of the lads in our hut, their names and the hut No. are a different story.
The most memorable tale about my hut is I remember one night, we was disturbed by a lad screaming in agony with an appendix and the next morning none of us knew what had happened to him because he wasn't there. I'd like to know if these details mean anything to anybody out there, and be able to get in contact with them.
I was posted to No.3 Radio School Compton Basset as Teleprinter operator 3rd Aug then went on to Gloucester 8th Nov to finish my National Service."

 
The photograph Ralph sent is listed as '1957 - Nightingale Flt'


Frank Fullerton 2436553 from 1949-1950 says he was a "member of the Station Band under Warrant Officer Fairgreaves. During this period the Band played at a number of events - such as cattle shows (!) A photograph was taken of the Band playing at such a show, but I was being posted to RAF Topcliffe before the photos were printed, so I left 5/-d (five shillings) as requested so hat they could forward a copy of the photograph to me - it never arrived! Have you by any chance any photos of the Station Band at that time? Would like to visit but I live in Bern, Switzerland but perhaps one day... "


Alan Thomas E4258794 from 1960 says he "missed Pass Out Parade. Did last week's drill with Queens Colour Sqd at Uxbridge for Guard of Honour duties re visit of King Hussein of Jordan."
 
The photograph Alan sent is listed as '1960 - Hut 11'


John Fraser 4130089 from 1953 says "I remember getting down to the rifle range and a herd of cows were roaming behind the targets. I was top shot that day."


Bernard Mole 5082055 from 1960-1961 says he remembers the "Winter, parading outside the hut. Freezing my '------'off and watching for the first sight of our drill Corporal appearing through the mist from married quarters. And then doing an interminable rifle drill. It was so cold that one of the lads cut his hand on the rifle breech and the blood running into his glove froze solid.
Happy days. Sitting in the hut being taught how to 'bull up' our boots and brasses by Leading man, 'Spike Milligan' older than the rest of us and an ex member of the Black Watch. Heat the spoon, rub down the toes of your boot with it, spit on your cloth, rub it in the blacking, lovingly circle it into the leather. Take your webbing belt into the ablutions, dip it in hot water, rapidly thread it over a water pipe, pull backwards and forwards until supple. Sitting around the stove in the hut, smoking and cursing the Corp. until the stove was glowing almost white. Polishing the hut floor until it was like glass, don't you dare to move about the hut without 'bumpers' under your feet.
Down to the Astra, yippee and a great western movie. Ah Bridgnorth. Where I met great lads, WHO LEARNED COMRADESHIP. I am in touch with only one. Tom Goult, originally from Cardiff."


William Nash 4148690 from 1954 says "we gave Cpl MacIntyre a cigarette lighter on our pass out. Any photo of 4 Flt? Please email - all expenses met."


George Phillips 5075348 from 1960 says "it was cold, food horrible, I reached my lowest ever adult weight; otherwise it was a brilliant time and far easier I am sure, than if I had been in the Army."
 
In 2017, George added;

"After the long tiring train journey from Cardington, we arrived in the dark on a freezing February night. The welcome for everybody, as I remember, was quite horrendous. After the previous relative calm of Cardington, we were greeted from, it seemed, all directions by screaming NCO's. On being rushed into our hut (222, flt 23, C sqd), I made a beeline for an inconspicuous bed in the centre of the hut, having been advised by previous old lags that the corner bed by the door was the best spot, but the occupant was liable to be chosen as the senior man. Not a job to be recommended. Shortly after, our hut Cpl Fagg arrived and standing us to attention, interviewed us one by one, asking a few pertinent questions. Whatever I answered, to my horror, got me chosen as Senior man. I did not need this, I was just a National Serviceman.
As it turned out, nothing was ever as bad as that first night. Cpl Fagg's bark was worse than bite. The other NCO,s Cpl Dickens and Cpl Honor were gruff but OK. The next eight weeks were really just a doddle, although there were moments when it did not feel like it. But I was over 22 years of age and perhaps not so overawed as I might have been as an 18 year old entrant."

 
The photographs George sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 222, 23 Flt' and '1960 - 23 Flt 'C Sqd in April'


Richard Brown 4198420 from 1957 says his "DI Cpl. liked his dog racing. One of the recruits had a car parked off camp. DI found out and he "persuaded" the car owner to take him into Wolverhampton on a few evenings but he was allowed to bring someone as well. So I had a couple of nights out. When we got back to camp the DI went in first on his own and we had to take our chances. Nice man!!!"


Barry Beales 4098014 from 1952 says that he "travelled from Cardington to Bridgnorth by train carrying kit bag which had boots at the bottom which, when swung up to rest on your shoulder, invariably clouted the nearest sprog in the head!!When we arrived at the station we were met by our DIs one of which (Parnell) to my surprise I knew, as he came from my village, although this didn't get me preferential treatment, quite the reverse!
I see in the Memories page mention of the "gas hut". My lasting memory is when you were herded in one door and then you were told to remove the gas mask everyone crowded near that door only for the sadistic DIs to open the door at the far end.
The other thing that sticks in my mind is the "bull night". Like when the lino was replaced for brown and we had to scrape the top layer with a razor blade so it could be polished with Cardinal. The other bit of bull was the coke containers in the hut were, when we arrived, painted black with shiny rivets we had to remove the paint and burnish the main part and paint the rivets black.
Another memory was that when we went to the mess hall you had to remove your cap and if you forgot, you were soon reminded of the fact by the rest of the mess hall. One meal time, the SWO man came in on Orderly Officer Duty, of course wearing his hat. One poor little innocent sproog shouted out "Take your hat off" all went quiet and the SWO man went over to him and pointing to the Warrant Officer badge on his arm said "What do you think this is?" the sprog said "I don't care if you are in the band, you can't wear your hat in here" As far as I know he could still be on jankers.
Another thing is the poor blokes that could not grasp marching. They used to put their left arm and left leg forward at the same time, likewise the right, so that if you were in front or behind them your arms clashed. Many mugs were broken on the way to the mess in this way."


Frank Connor 5069685 from 1959 says "like other memories the initial shock is what registers with you, remember when issued with my '303', got marched off so quickly hadn't engaged bolt properly and marched backed to hut holding it in with thumb and then getting a rollicking for it in case I'd dropped it, very soon got the hang of it though.
I can't remember the hut No. now but had one guy in there who just could not get the hang of setting up the bed for inspection his blanket/sheet display would all be cockeyed and almost always finished up on the floor, as time went on and we had got hold of strips of hardboard, this helped to keep all nice and straight and square so we would make his his bed up for him to give him a break.
We had one fella with us who was ex Navy so knew the Service set up so when it came to choose a trade, I'd finished my Apprenticeship for Carpenter, I'd hoped to get into something along those lines but he told us the Service would want to train us up their way and I was not likely to get anything like that unless I signed on which I wasn't prepared to do so decided to work that to my advantage and looked for something that I could make use of when I eventually got out and settled for teleprinter operator and ability to type has come in very useful over the years and also because we were working shifts we didn't get guard or fire duty.
Yes whilst it seemed hard at the time we did look back on it and think I really did grow up during that time. My wife has always said that I went in a boy and came out a man. I too remember the incident of the Spitfire being dragged onto the parade ground overnight and the trouble over it.
I believe the Eddie Edwards who lived in Hanworth, Middlesex and I know he went to Nicosia, I lived in London at time, he had a motor bike and had brought it up to camp but had to leave it a farmers field just up the road, he used to give us a lift back to London when we could get away and I remember coming back to camp late one night and the electrics were playing up and not far from camp suddenly the lights went out and we were doing about 60mph at the time. Eddie managed to stop and get lights back on and that when we found we looking straight down into a ditch. !!! Memories."


Paul Horton L4274341 from 1962 says "we were in hut 245 and spent most nights polishing the floor and learning how to make a bedpack for the following morning's kit inspection. I think we earned the princely sum of 3 pounds 10 shillings a week, most of which we had to send home to mother. We just had enough over for razor blades and toothpaste."


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John Williams 5033103 from 1956 says that "the prospect of having to do National Service was never far away from the thoughts of youngsters of my generation. Although time seemed to move a good deal slower in those days, from about the age of 14, most of us knew of someone who had received the dreaded 'invitation' to serve two years for Queen and Country, and it was our turn next. For me, this was not a prospect that I looked forward to, but when the time arrived I was determined to do what was required of me with the minimum amount of fuss, and so on 26 September 1956 I duly reported to RAF Hornchurch, in an attempt at officer selection, then to RAF Cardington by coach and on to RAF Bridgnorth by train.
My early days at Bridgnorth were very much an eye-opener, never having experienced anything quite like it in my life up to that point. My earliest opinion was that the whole regime was doomed to failure, but then it gradually dawned upon me that this system had worked well in the past and was here to stay, so I began to take it on board. During those weeks of training, I think that my fellow sufferers and I detected a change in our attitudes; through the discipline came pride and through physical exercise came a level of fitness that most of us had not previously enjoyed. I suppose that none of us ever thought that one day, perhaps many years in the future, we might like to look at a diary or daily records of what we did, ate or talked about, for this period in our lives was a mere preamble to a life of countless years stretching out before us, and therefore of little importance in the wider scheme of things.
One final point I feel that I would like to make relates to the longer-term effect of having been subjected to military discipline, because for many years after my release I could separate those who had been in the Forces from the ones who had not. In some instances, when I was able to carry out a few checks, I cannot recall ever having been wrong. I am sure that so many youngsters these days would benefit from the experience, but others would no doubt complain that their human rights had been violated."

 
The photographs John sent are listed as '1956 - Hut 65 in Nov' and '1956 - 14 Flt 'B' Sqd'


Philip Evans 4132237 from 1953 says he "went to RAF Bridgnorth from Cardington. Can remember having to stand a long time at the railway staion while we were counted several times as the Officer from the camp did not get the same total as the Officer who had accompanied us from Cardington.
Passed out on the Battle of Britain weekend. Marched through Bridgnorth with fixed bayonets on Sunday morning to the church for a service.
One evening went on a long march with several officers and NCOs. Can't remember any names of other recruits or NCOs. Had 48 hour pass and came home on a coach to Warrington."


Barrie Crookes 5075433 from 1960 says he "did not have a Pass-out at Bridgnorth. For the last couple of weeks we went to Uxbridge to learn route lining for the visit of General De Gaulle."


Graham Baker 4172142 from 1955 says "I cannot remember being in the photos that were taken and I cannot find myself in any of the photos on display. I do remember Cpl Pottinger and how well turned out he was as we got off the bus. I would be most relieved if someone could help establish that I was there. Though I was in the band, I did not partake in the passing out parade. Another mystery. A friend of mine from our home town was a week behind me, his name was John Lambert. As I am now living in Canada, contact has proven to be a bit difficult. Now that I have found this web site, I hope this will help my search.
I do remember being in the Station Band. At the last moment the Band Master placed me on the Base Drum. Something I had never played in my life before and of course I made a complete hash of it. The Band Master came back, stood next to me and said "If you can't hit that drum by yourself, we will do it together. When I hit you, you hit the damn drum." From that day on, I have been able to beat 120 paces per min. with no problem. Stayed 9 years in the RAF."


Jim Jervis 5079558 from 1960 says he "actually (feigning a fever) won a bet...... by getting the D.I. to bring me a cup of tea in bed !!"


Francis Joseph Green 2435847 from 1949 says that he "received the 'Best Recruit' award for the 6 week training period whilst at RAF Bridgnorth. This award was entered on my Service record and after the passing out parade, I took tea and cakes with the Station Commander and his lady in August 1949."


David Sellars 5032199 from 1956 says that "part of our training was to go "camping". We had to find branches and use them with our own and extra ground sheets to make a bivouac. We had torrential rain overnight and were washed out, but because we kept cheerful (and because we cleaned the Pilot Officer's car) we were granted a 36 hour pass on the Saturday morning on returning to camp. This was good for those of us who lived in the Midlands but no use to the Scots. Our boots were filthy and had to be spotless for first parade on Monday morning but one of the Scots, who could not get home, offered to clean all our boots ready for our return on Sunday evening (by lorry leaving Wolverhampton Low Level at 10pm prompt) He was well provided with cigatettes for the rest of our training!"


Tom Keates 4059363 from 1951 says he was "only 11 miles from home. My first exposure to man to man living. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute, (except the 4 days in Hospital with the flu?) Remember the full pack marches - the cold mornings - spit and polish boots - fish & chips in Bridgnorth - the rigid bed making protocol and the sudden, late in the day, realization that our DI was a "real" man and one of us."


Leslie Hinton 4197561 from 1957 says that "my time at Bridgnorth was not that bad but I know some hated it. Mind I did sign on after being refused for National Service because of my eye sight. I think that was rather daft."
 
The photographs Les sent are listed as '1957 - Hut 130' and '1957 - Hinton's Sqd'


Keith Woodall 2353553 from 1947 says that "1947 was a terrible winter but the summer was glorious. On being called up to Padgate, by the way, I lived in Dudley, after being kitted out, etc. we were woken up at five in the morning and given breakfast then taken down to the railway station, onto a train with the windows blacked out. After a couple of hours one of the lads managed to spy a hole in the blackout and said we were nearly in Bridgnorth. The lads from Dudley including me could not believe it. So we were to do our squarebashing close to home and the weather turned out to be the hotest summer for many years."


Colin Underwood 4087933 from 1951-1952 says "I arrived at Cardington on the 4th of Dec 1951, after being kitted out moved to Bridgnorth square bashing.
We were in our last week of square bashing when the King died Feb 6th. Moved back to Cardington for special drill reversing arms etc. Lined the route in London for Kings funeral, then went back to Bridgnorth for passing out parade."

 
The photograph Colin sent is listed as '1952 - Underwood's Hut'


Gordon Hopkins 4048769 from 1950 says that the "weather so bad - Unable to do training on the assault course!"


Liam McGuire 2490749 from 1950-1952 says "I was in the concert party with Sgt Lynch. We did a couple of shows. We also had a panto which did not go ahead because of the King dying. We did a skit about much bullshit at Bridgnorth. Happy times. All good guys."


Ron Bannerman G4271501 from 1962 says "I have looked at all the photographs, but I don't see any of myself. I loved my time at Bridgnorth and my basic training, unfortunatley I lost all my photographs, can anyone help. Thanks."


Gerry Llewellyn K4253199 from 1959 and 1962/1963 says "there was a photo in the local paper of myself and I think it was David Hill handing over one of our snooker tables to one of the Bridgnorth organisations. Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of the photo or the newspaper."
 
Comment by the Webmaster. Unfortunately, for that year, no copies of the newspaper exist anywhere.


John Haynes R4272683 from 1962 says that "Bridgnorth was quite the shock for a farmers boy from Derbyshire but I soon got into the swing of things, especially Saturday nights down town. I learned real quick that I could not play cards, after loosing pay two weeks in row on pay day!!
Highlight of basic training was going to London on Guard of Honour duty for the Prime Minister of Ghana's State visit."

 
The photographs John sent are listed as '1962 - Hut 246' and '1962 - Haynes Flt'


Malcolm Roberts 4239373 from 1958 says he was "in same hut 134, 30 Flt, C Sqd, with David Raine, professional footballer with Port Vale. Last seen when Walsall played Port Vale at Fellows Park. Spoke to him then."
 
The photograph Malcolm sent is listed as '1958 - Hut 134, 30 Flt'


Ian Humphries 4269212 from 1962 says he can "recognize many faces on '1962 - Hut 259' , ' 1962 - Jan Flt' , '1962 - Hut 299 in Feb' and '1962 - Hut 152, 15 Flt'."


Mike Cousins 4262114 from 1960 says that "in 1960, swearing in and kitting out took place at Cardington, before being put on a private train to Bridgnorth. Does anyone know which station we stopped at part-way with tea urns on the platform?
Sang in C of E church choir carol singing tour of station, including Sgts Mess and Officers' Mess where we were given soup and were chatted with by the Station Commander ("I can do a lot more to a Corporal than he can do to you").
Having gained Cert A in CCF, upflighted from 14 Flt, B Sqd and the foul-mouthed Cpls Gorman & Thomas, to the vastly more civilised 24 Flt, C Sqd (won the Drill Cup). At Cardington, had let myself be talked into joining for direct entry training as Supplier II at Kirton-in-Lindsey. A mistake!
In 1961, swearing in was at local RAF Careers Info Centre, kitting out was at Bridgnorth and the entries had dropped from one per week to one per month. Did not have to do square bashing again but worked in Station Post Office until posted to Shawbury for air traffic control trade training."


Albert Roberts 3153973 from 1958 remembers "Fisherman Jock 'jumping over the wire' and heading back home to MacDuff in Scotland."
 
The photograph Albert sent is listed as '1958 - Roberts Flt'


Cyril Muscroft 5020115 from 1956 says "I remember Cpl Reames. We were his last intake and we won the Drill Cup. Anyone else remember this?"


Gordon Hudson 3514955 from 1952 remembers "stealing coal from the coal dump as it was well below freezing in the billet!"


Barrie Davey 4258934 from 1960 asks "does anybody remember lining the root in London for the King and Queen of Siam around 1959 ish."


Alan White 5010784 from 1956 says "have just found this site, it has brought back many good memories. Unfortunately I can't remember the exact dates I was at Bridgnorth or names of others in hut 87 or 15 Flt.
Does any one remember that on the day of the drill test, our Sgt decided to take over, but gave the wrong commands so understandably we did not win the cup.
I went on to train as a radar op annd served most of my time at RAF St Margarets Bay.
Have attached photographs of the Flt and one of hut 87."

 
The photographs Alan sent are listed as '1956 - Hut 87' and '1956 - 15 Flt'


Roy William Taylor 3527565 from 1959 says "I was very lucky that, having completed recruit training, I worked in the Pool Flight Office for a while (Flt Sgt Reynolds and Flt Sgt Carslake), one of my jobs was to fix up all the week-end 295's for the lads. I loved the place and remember it well."


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John Bisset L4264149 from 1961 says he "went home with the best tan I have ever had. Went in fit, left fitter. Good start to my 9 years in the Service."


Brian Higgins U4261997 from 1960 says that "when I left Bridgnorth, I was fitter than I have ever been. Most of our entry were National Service from Scotland who had been deffered. Most names escape me now but I wonder what happened to my good friend John Hillier, his Service number was one number before mine."


Owen Jones X4269281 from 1962 says he "arrived on the 8 Jan, the camp having closed due to the whole place freezing. It remained that way for the rest of my training."


Roy Twynham 5058059 from 1958 says he was "only there for 8 weeks training. Played football and missed some training, much to the dislike of Cpl Wright and Cpl Lightfoot. Would appreciate any feedback."


Derek Maskell 2464858 from 1950 says "I recall that we were given the Freedom of the town of Bridgnorth and we marched through the town with rifles at the slope and bayonets fixed. Quite an honour!"


Reg Bright 5016267 from 1956 says "Don't remember a lot, it was 50 plus years ago, seem to remember our DI was very slim, not very tall and think he came from Isle of Man. Anyone add to this. I completed my 2 years at Fighter Command HQ Bently Priory in my civilian trade Draughtsman."


Ken Best 4265383 from 1961 remembers "arriving at the railway station and being shouted at by a Corporal for not arriving on an earlier train, however I got over it and enjoyed my Service time at Changi, Gan and Northolt.
Happy times, does anyone remember the 'sallyanne' dark red tea bus at basic training. I think I was in the yellow flight."


Malcolm Coles 4260066 from 1960 says "It had to be done. But it made men out of all of us. I was nearly back flighted because I was still over weight! It did not happen. I had a Bren Marksman but so did many others. The 303 was more difficult. No Marksman with this rifle. Saw one airman have an accident with a Bren - wow - a bit of blood but not serious. What a passing out parade!"


Ian Smith 4246569 from 1958 has "Happy memories! I was in Hut 309, 40 Flt, D Sqd. Drill instructors Cpl Wiseman and Sgt Ventras. Went on to Yatesbury for Air Radar training."


Alan Muter 4256587 from 1960 says "The memory uppermost in my mind is getting off the bus at Bridgnorth on a bitterly cold January day with six inches of snow covering the ground. We were freezing cold, hungry and tired. We were told to make our way to a certain building. We had gone but a few steps when a voice from nowhere bellowed "Get off the f------ grass" Yes, these were the first friendly welcoming words from our corporal D.I. We wouldn't have minded so much but because of all the snow we couldn't see any f------- grass. From that day on our feet never touched the bottom never mind the grass.
I also remember the plastic eggs and porridge thick enough to lay bricks with, the endless polishing of boots & brasses.
I remember also the pot-bellied stoves, we had them burning so hot that the structure was glowing red & when we woke up one morning we were unable to speak the fumes had done something to our voice boxes. Anyway, the M.O. said it would wear off and it did after a few hours.
Half way through our training, we were allowed the weekend off {Saturday afternoon till Monday morning} me and my marra Barry, a fellow Geordie, decided to live it up a little in Wolverhampton on the Saturday night. Barry didn't know it but I had just received a "Dear John" letter from my girlfriend back home and feeling a bit down I was looking forward to the night out. To cut a long story short we had a great night out and we were enjoying ourselves so much that we missed the last bus back to the camp. We figured that walking at an average speed of 5 miles an hour, it would take us about 2 hours to walk the 10 miles back so off we went. What we hadn't considered was the fact that we were slightly p----d and that we were walking sideways half of the time. Anyhow we were passing someone's garden and at the bottom of the garden was a shed, so we decided to kip in the shed and continue our journey the following morning. We each settled in a corner & pulling our Greatcoats over our heads, we tried to get some sleep. It was a freezing cold night in the middle of winter and had it not been for our good old Greatcoats, we may well have frozen to death. Anyhow, early in the morning off we went on our journey and lucky for us a delivery van pulled up and took us back to camp. I think he was making a delivery to the N.A.F.F.I. When we got back to camp we headed straight for our pits {Beds} we didn't bother with breakfast.
By the way, the girlfriend who sent me the "Dear John" letter later became my wife and in September of this year, we celebrated our Golden Anniversary."

 
The photograph Alan sent is listed as '1960 - 9 Flt 'A' Sqd in Feb'


Riddell Weir 5071818 from 1959 says it was "tough going at the beginning, but nonetheless enjoyed it and met many decent lads, who like myself, were doing their call of duty."


Roy Steadman 4272845 from 1962 was in both "Hut 131, B Sqd, 19 Flt and Hut 211, 16 Flt. Back flighted because of adverse reaction to all the needles I had received. Ambulance job. Spent 10 days in Hostpital followed by 2 weeks sick leave.
I have a couple of photos showing Graham, Carl, Frank Cooksley, John Harris, Chris, Peter Webster, Jeff Searle, David, Morgan? J woodman?
Memories of note. Fire alarm went off early hours of the morning, we were staggering about all over the place still asleep on our feet. I mean WE WERE tired after a long day doing drill, any way, when the fire bell stopped we were like dodgem cars trying to work out where we were to get back into bed. Anyway the next day I woke up in bed with someone who wanted to share, I wonder who he was????
Our DI (The Greatest) had a great idea. He started up a very select club called, "The Bumblies" just for those with two left feet and those who's arms were on the wrong way round. This is caused by having arms which had been removed from the owner and later modified by our DI before being reattached. Fondly remembered as Bumblies No1 and Bumblies No2 & No3 etc. Membership was forced on us, so we had to make sure we were good little erks! Hands up those who were members?
Did we have time to go to the pictures? I don't remember ever going. I was always too busy."


Norman Atkinson 2400915 from 1948 says "I recall many of the faces in the photograph [ 1948 - 18 Flt ] but wonder whether Mr Bacon's father was with me when we had 'Shic' injections and boys collapsed. I was in the first lot because I was Atkinson and recall putting Ernie Aitkenhead to bed.
Again, I recall potato picking and my squad getting one tin of pilchards between us all. We literally starved and I stole slices of bread concealed under a dinner plate.
I recall the Armistice Parade march into Bridgnorth Town in the rain.
I recall Cpl Spud Murphy, Cpl Kemble- a pair of right bastards and a kinder Cpl McCourt.
Frankly, I was glad to finish my square bashing and to be posted to a proper RAF unit.
I'm adding my e-mail address so that children of those on 18 Flight will know what their dads had to endure. tramuntana***btinternet.com"


Stan Adamson 4250062 from 1959 says "my drill Corporal was Cpl Pottinger and I think the Sgts name was Sgt Haddow. He was a keen Wolves supporter."


David Jones 4250864 from 1959 can "remember my journey from Chester to Bedford station and my kitting out at Cardington, not much shouting at that stage. Then the journey to Bridgnorth and the arrival at the railway station when we were lined up and when our name was called out, we had to shout out our last 3. I suffered a mental block and couldn't remember them, but the guy next to me Jock Mackenzie was one digit different to mine so when they called my name, he whispered 864 and I got away with it.
Remember Cpl Cheetham on our first 'Chat' in our billet, he was showing us how to iron our uniform and shirts, when the rear door to the billet burst open and this figure appeared in fatigue overalls looking very flustered. Cheetham asked him why he was late and he replied in a broad northern Irish accent "I have been cleaning a couple of Cr*ps under the bath Cpl!" to which the whole billet of men erupted in howls of laughter.
I remember the 2 days we had on the rifle range at Rugely... 1000 yard range, 2 of us running with a bren gun and ammo and stopping at 100 yard intervals and firing a magazine off then swapping over to carry on to the next firing point. The following day we did it with a 303 rifle every 100 yards firing either standing, laying down or kneeling, at the final 100 yard point it was standing and that rifle felt like 4 feet of rubber hose we were so knackered.
Enjoyed it though sleeping in a barn with straw palliases. I hope someone remembers these memories and gets in touch!"


Bill Bate 2458027 from 1950 remembers "RAF Bridgnorth was my introduction to the real world, the first time away from home and ending up in a billet with 24 strangers. They all ended up good friends after the eight weeks training. I think we had the best D.I. in the camp. I recommend National Service to all eighteen year olds, it would make men of you. A good memory of Bridgnorth was playing football for the camp on the Wolves ground."
 
The photograph Bill sent is listed as '1950 - March'


David Elson T4274608 from 1962 remembers "only that my square bashing was ardous, however I look back with great fondness and regard being part of it as a privilige and a great honour."


Robert Hooper S5061353 from 1958 says he "Can't offer any remarkable memories, but remember many experiences on a daily basis. Some surnames remembered from my basic training days Barry Levy, Alan Jane, Peter Viesnik, Bytheway, Neal Jones. Also Cpl Jimmy Ralston, Sgt Ventress ...."


Hylton Sleightholme 4260118 from 1960 says "I was on the Battle of Britain parade in Manchester when Brian Allison broke his rifle."


John Brown 2781207 from 1955-1956 says "what a different atmosphere greeted us at Bridgnorth Railway Station: the DIs kicked around our new white kit-bags in the slushy snow until they were sufficiently dirty and then screamed at us to get on the coaches for transport to the RAF station.
There we were given tea and then allocated our billets. After a short while of sitting on our beds, there was a noise, followed by the end door bursting open. A short glowering Corporal swept his eyes around the billet; he left us in no doubt that he was not impressed. He then proceeded to stride up and down, striking the end of each bed with his pace stick, to emphasise what he was saying. The first lesson was that corporals were 'God' when one entered a room, the first person to see him was to shout 'NCO present' which was the signal for everyone to leap to leap to their feet and stand to attention. After a depressing diatribe, lasting three quarters of an hour, he departed. The effect on the billet served to generate a camaraderie that we were all in the same boat and together we would all survive."

 
The photograph John sent is listed as '1956 - 'A' Sqd'


Brian Bird 2783664 from 1956 remembers "being cold and hungry. Hence my pal and I contrived a scheme to have two hot dinners a day and it worked well for a couple of weeks until a more observant cook-house Corporal twigged what was happening. We weren't caught red handed and we never saw that Corporal again, but he probably told the other shifts so we decided better hungry than jankers (or worse)"


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Glyn Morris 4128516 from 1953 says "I had a great time with my mates and many fond memories. We went on parade to cheer the Queens Coronation.
Eddy Kelly, Albert & myself were allowed to visit the town IE uptown & low town. As I remember we were only allowed 1 tot of whiskey in each pub and Eddy and Albert, being Scots, they liked their whiskey so we went in every pub twice. We ended a wee bit drunk and missed the coach back to camp which meant we had to walk. We arrived back at camp very late and were locked in separate cells for the night. We were marched in front of the Adjutant and were put on jankers and subsequently re/flighted. Sorry but I cannot remember Albert's surname but they were great mates to be with.
I remember that we were marched to breakfast with one snowdrop in front of us and one in the rear, past everyone who were on parade. After breakfast we had peel spuds and then move tons of coal in the compound from one wall to another, whitewash that wall then put the coal back. This was repeated till we had whitewashed the whole yard. This took a couple days as we had other chores to do like cleaning the toilets, etc. We did these fatigues for about a week till it finally came to an end, when as I have said, we were reflighted. I could go on but it would take too long. Happy days."


The son of Jack Coan 1219185 from 1941 asks "My father was inducted at Bridgnorth in 1941. Do you have any records please? Many thanks Nigel Coan."
 
Comment by the Webmaster - All information I have is already on this web site.


Peter Lincoln H4256009 from 1959 says that "all I remember it was cold I got shouted at a lot and had to clean the bogs with my bare hands for wearing gloves without permission and I was always dropout my irons into that that tank of boiling water outside the mess.
Oh happy days, it can't of been that bad, I stayed in for 37 years and would do it all again but not in this modern Air Force. I have now retired to sunnier climes Down under in Western Australia."


Ian Band A4273462 from 1962 says that "the town of Bridgnorth was my first introduction to Scrumpy, boozing on the cheap, I never got past 3 half pints.
I also recall taking part in a Freedom of the Town March Through with flags flying, Bands playing, and bayonets fixed."


Peter Webb G4267197 from 1961 says that "all of us Irish were held in transit flight from 27th Sep 1961 for two weeks before we started square bashing.
Remember Tim Wood ex army who was our hut Senior man and showed us the ropes.
Coke raids when our supply ran out. Mucking in together on 'bull' nights."

 
The photographs Peter sent are listed as '1961 - Hut 174 in Oct' and '1961 - 18 Flt in Oct'


John Rogers 4099790 from 1953 says "our Flight spent the last week of training acting as ushers and helping with crowd control at Runnymead when the Queen opened the RAF memorial there in October 1953. We lined the route of the royal procession and therefore had a grandstand view. We were billeted at Uxbridge and met many pretty WAAFS there. As we had been locked up at Bridgnorth for 7 weeks, it made a pleasant change!! I wonder if anyone remembers."
 
The photograph John sent is listed as '1953 - Hut 215, 15 Flt'


Tony George 5076531 from 1960 remembers "Wolverhampton Wanderers at the local pub. Cpl Cadwallader and lifts with him back to Cardiff. Crashing out after being attacked by medics giving us a series of multiple jabs. Fatigues. Noting what a waste of time it all was!"


Eric (Terry) White 4129487 from 1953 says "before arriving, by steam train of course, we were given a 24hr pass after only 7 days in the Service, due to Queens Coronation, much to the disgust of veterans, our civvies had been sent home. None of us had a clue how to behave or who to salute whilst in uniform. Needless to say I was pulled up a few times, by MPs and SPs who seemed to be everywhere in London, for various breaches of RAF regs which I was blissfully unaware.
Arriving at Bridgnorth was a rude awakening. I remember that No 11 Wing stores was the best fatigue duty, the cookhouse tin room the worst. You could wangle the best once you realised how the system worked.
Ended up posted to RAF Credenhill (Hereford) for trade training."


Leslie Birkett F4262795 from 1961 says "I did my square bashing at RAF Bridgnorth starting 18/1/1961. My Flight Commander was Flt Lt Penny. DI's Cpl McClusky and Sgt Payne. They could never understand why every time they shouted at me I laughed. It was because they stood so close that my glasses always used to get showered.
I remember I had to wait three days to get home to see my newly born first daughter. Had some good times and made a lot of mates."


Michael Short 4084604 from 1951 says that he "was at Cardington with Doug Worton and together at Bridgnorth. We can't remember going into Wolverhampton to meet girls on a Sunday afternoon. We read some did. We met up this year. First time since 1956. We recalled our Bridgnorth days and could not believe it was only eight weeks. Doug isn't on the Flight photo and we spent time speculating where he was. There seems to be a shortage of guys from 1951. They must be out there somewhere."


Clifford Warren P4272809 from 1962 says "us lads in A Sqd, 3 Flt, Hut 255 seemed to get along very well together. Saturday nights we went to the White Horse pub opposite the park in Stourbridge. They had a dance out the back, a few beers and a dance if you were lucky. Not enough girls to go around. A few more beers, pile into taxis back to Bridgnorth.
Mike Aikens (the Manchester kid) got the next service number to mine. Came to my gaf one weekend on Whittle's Coaches. He took me to Manchester, went to a disco and I'm sure the D.J. was Jimmy Saville.
I had a good time and Bridgnorth did me some good. Cpl Wiseman called me a smart arse when he asked me how I knew how a webbing belt went together. I answered that I had been in the Air Training Corp. Happy days, all the best to the chaps. Clifford Warren aka Bunny."

 
The photographs Clifford sent are listed as '1962 - Hut 255, 3 Flt' and '1962 - 3 Flt 'A' Sqd'


Colin Kay J4265779 from 1961 says "what a good time was to be had here. Looking back I thoughly enjoyed it, although at the time it seemed like hell. Can't remember any of the Corporals names, although they would probably remember me. All the spit and polish never did any of us any harm."


The daughter of Graham Metcalfe from 1958 - 1962? says "my name is Jean Jones, the daughter of Graham, he is now 84 years old and in poor health. He has short term memory problems but talks of Bridgnorth often. I would like to know if anyone has any photographs of the camp or knows where I could get hold of any. I myself return to Bridgnorth every year and have many memories of our time at the camp. Thanks to anyone who can help."


Peter Went 2718837 from 1954 - 1956, says that "after Medical training at RAF Warton I was posted to RAF Bridgnorth and worked as a medical orderly in the Sick Quarters. Poorly trained we did our best! We seemed to deal mainly with the after affects of inoculations etc.
I have one memory that has never left me. Our senior Doctor, a Squadron Leader, always placed his hands on the warm radiator before examining a patient. I was and still am astounded by such sensitivity in an Air Force context. I would love to know where he lives, if he is still alive, and what his name is/was.
My home was in Wolverhampton so I spent all the time I could with my parents. During the summer two of us would cycle the 10 or so miles to camp. During the winter it was a bus ride. This involved a nearly two mile walk for the bus at Compton and then almost a mile to Camp after the bus had dropped us off.
On a visit of discovery, I once tried to find the area where the Sick Quarters were situated, but have failed miserably! Can anyone help? Are there any photographs of the Sick Quarters available?"


Ray Rastin 4112193 from 1952, remembers "meeting for the very first time my step cousin. Cpl Haliburton set up the meeting. He lived next door to my step cousin on the married quarters and she worked as a cleaner in the camp cinema. She was the wife of Sgt Hicks i/c 24 Flt. I was 15 Flt. Just a casual mention of my surname set everything going and I have never forgotten Cpl Haliburtons kindness."


Steve Nicholls 4165614 from 1955, says that he "loved every minute. No one should have missed it. Made great friends at Bridgnorth and Kirkham where I was trained to be turret armourer. Did the rest of my time at Ballykelly."


Stan Bullock 4256251 from 1960, says that he "was in first all Regular Entry. Back flighted because of the flu epidemic and finally found the escape tunnel to RAF Weeton and basic training. Sgt Fowler was my nemesis but he was true to his last. Met his son later in life. Apples do not fall far from trees."


Stanley West D3152485 from 1957, says "I remember well with trepidation the train journey to RAF Cardington on Sept 10th 1957, for kitting out. We had a very kindly Sgt to assist us and look after us sprogs. It certainly gave us a false idea of what was to come. We were gently ushered onto a train bound for RAF Bridgnorth.
It was then the world turned upside down. We entered the gates on RAF 3 tonners direct to the Parade square outside D Squadron blocks, The reception was awesome, there were these strange servicemen, extremely smart uniforms pressed and boots shining as though varnished. Our feet never seemed to touch the floor from that point on, the verbal description of personnel came as a shock to our delicate ears. When we were finally herded into our billet we were most impressed it was immaculate, we were also told in no uncertain terms by our Drill Corporal (Cpl Tosh) together with a Sgt Ferguson that the billet was expected to remain as such for the remainder of our stay.
Within seconds it seemed we were ordered outside when we were lined up for our first initiation of Drill by Cpl Tosh. He seemed to be the devil incarnate he screamed at the slightest mistake until he had us going in all directions (individually) He was extremely versatile with his colouful description of our capabilities. However after about an hour we were at least managing to keep together and were marched back into the billet, I think Hut 29 and kept marching on the spot on the beautiful polished floor in our hobnailed boots. The state of the floor when we were finally halted was in a sorry state, Cpl Tosh then gave us the good news, he expected the floor to be back to its original state by inspection the following morning. I think we spent the rest of the evening on our hands and knees cleaning and polishing as well as getting our personal kit ready for the next day. Overall I reckon it took the full 8 weeks to bring it back to its original condition ready for the next intake to be introduced to the gentle administration of the DI`s.
It was shortly after this we were asked if there were any ex ATC. There were two of us!, it was explained that as ex ATC we were entitled to forego 2 weeks basic training, we jumped at the chance, Big Big mistake !!!!! By the time we were transfered to another squadron it was the weekend of the Survival Camp, exactly half way through training, by which time we had gelled together as a group and were extremely proud of our achievements and of the Squadron. We were duly dispatched to 'A' Squadron where to say the least, we were regarded as interlopers and certainly not wanted. To make our feelings worse on the day of transfer the two of us were carrying our bed packs etc along a conjoinig roadway when coming towards us was our original flight. The rules stated that in these circumstances personnel remained stationary until they had passed, which of course we did, standing to attention. As they approched, obviously Cpl Tosh recognised us and immediately gave the order 'Eyes Left' which in fact was away from us. It was one of the worst moments to be rejected by our fellows and not wanted by the other flight we were joining. Of course we survived and Passed Out as expected.
I was bound to RAF Yatesbury as an Air Radar Mechanic. My final comments are that the time at Bridgnorth made us into responsible airmen and to work together as a Unit, I would not have missed it for the world, so thank you Cpl Tosh you were a B*****D as you impressed on us, you brought us down to our knees but built us up as men."


The views expressed on this page are those of the contributor and the opinions
expressed are not necessarily those of the web site and / or Mr Gwynne Chadwick.

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