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Page 6 - Stories and memories of your time at RAF Bridgnorth.

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Allan Stern N4266240 from 1961, says he can recall "lining up with both hands on hips with needles poised for the plunge."

Leslie Corcoran 3117602 from 1949, says "I was put in charge of a billet with a good bunch of chaps and have happy memories during my square bashing days under Cpl Shaffer."

Bill Hill 2431575 from 1949, says "our DIs wer Sgt Smith, Cpl "Richard Spud" Murphy, Cpl Smith, another Cpl, nickname "Sabu" and Cpl Dia Francis, late of Black & White Minstrel Fame."

Edward Yeomans 4175648 from 1955-1956, says he was "only at Bridgnorth for a short time - end of 1955 to Feb 1956. We won the Drill Cup. I am on the photograph of '1956 - 9 Flt in Jan' far left, second from back row. My name is also on the paper underneath. From Bridgnorth I went to RAF Newton, Nottinghamshire."

Ian McDonald 5056629 from 1958, says "I was a drummer in the band during my time at Bridgnorth and on my pass-out parade I was the only member remaining and led the parade as a solo drummer."

David Hooper 5049417 from 1957, says "my brother and I enlisted on 19 August 1957 and after the usual week at RAF Cardington arrived at RAF Bridgnorth on 25/26 August our 19th 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 Hut 216 their names are a different story. Those that come to mind are Martin Brunning, from Birmingham, Gerry Phillips from Plymouth. D.I.'s were Corporals Widdowson and McKay and Sargeant Davies. Do these details mean anything to anybody out there? If so I would be pleased to hear from you."

Brian Saunders 4203305 from 1959, says "the first few hours of Bridgnorth were truly terrifying. We arrived in the dark. That was bad news. It only added to the horror and confusion of those first few hours at the camp. The moment we stepped out of the coach screaming bellowing dark shapes fell upon us. Move, move, move, come on you idle bastards, move yourselves. We tumbled out of the coach and rushed along pathways, between wooden huts. Within minutes everyone had been reduced to cursing sweating heaps of humanity. Falling over each other we stumbled headlong to God knows where. Some were foolish enough to get lost, take wrong turnings, others fell over. Yours ears paid dearly for such simple human failings. A recruit in front of me went sprawling, that fiendish holdall on top of him. Wanting to have a rest already airman? screamed a voice. At what must have been 120 decibels and three inches from his face, Get up you useless, stupid, idle airman. I'll teach you to lie down. Get up; come on, move move move. You quickly learnt that protest was not only futile, but positively dangerous. And so it went on. Out of the darkness a voice bellowed, Follow that corporal. An anxious voice whispered in my ear, What's a corporal for f**** sake? Alas it wasn't said quiet enough. A snarling twisted shape thrust itself into the hapless recruit's face. What's a corporal, what's a corporal; I'll tell you what a corporal is. He turned his arm to face the airmen, See these two stripes, that is what a corporal is and if you learn nothing else while you are here, you will learn what a corporal is. As the unfortunate airman disappeared into the darkness followed by this screaming banshee I thought to myself, Oh the poor soul, he has much to learn.
I was at an advantage to many recruits having been an army cadet at Elmore Green High School in Walsall. I knew most of the basics, drill and marching, looking after my uniform and of course, what a corporal was. These small bits of knowledge were to spare me the more excessive verbal abuse you were subjected to during training. Our destination was a large hall type building, which we later found out was an indoor drill hall used during inclement weather. There we were split up into groups of about twenty-four men. The mad headlong rush started again. This time we knew where we were going, to our billets. Billets, they had beds, rest and sleep perhaps. You've got to be kidding! We piled in and everyone tried to bag a corner bed. A corporal, who by some demonic power, had got to the billet ahead of us, found it very amusing. Corners won't help you; you can't hide in this place. He then plunged in amongst us and allocated beds at random. He called for silence and introduced himself. My name is Corporal Pickett. It is my misfortune to be with you for the next eight weeks. He continued. I always have the best squad. My squad always shines out on passing out parade. He then added menacingly, I hadn't better be disappointed this time. I thought to myself, I bet every drill instructor makes a little speech like this to his new recruits. Pickett must say this every two months. I had a feeling I wasn't going to like this bloke. He now became Mr. Nice Guy. Right lads, there is a lovely meal waiting for you in the cook house, so follow me. Only about half the hut had any appetite, the remainder just flopped onto their beds. On returning from our meal, Corporal Pickett, with considerable glee in his voice said, Don't hang about, get your beauty sleep and build up your strength, you are going to need it! Sleep didn't come easy to men who had been humiliated, bullied and screamed at for three solid hours. We were shell-shocked. One or two of the more sensitive lads actually looked as if they were in a state of shock. Stories circulated later about one or two recruits going AWOL after that first terrifying evening. We never found out what happened to them. At six a.m. the next day the door at the end of the hut burst open, all the lights came on and Corporal Pickett, immaculately turned out, strutted down the centre of the billet bellowing as he walked down, Wake up you idle airmen, rise and shine, up up up you lazy lot. Oh my God it's started again, how we are going to survive the next eight weeks. But survive we did!."

William John Morgan 4248238 from 1959, says "I was at Bridgnorth for basic training but, due to a flu epedemic, I was attached to the hospital as I was a male Nurse in civvy street and was sent to the hospital to help out. I left the RAF in December 1961 with a months terminal leave. My official discharge date was January 1962."

The daughter of John Edward Pickett (deceased) 3154082 from 1958-1961, says "Cpl John Pickett (Piggit) was my father and I would love to hear from anyone who has memories of him. His discharge papers say he was a Drill Instructor. Please if you know anything about him, good or bad, please contact me. He has grandchildren that never met him and it would be great to have something for them to read about their grandad.
I have many photos of him at Bridgnorth and would gladly share them. Thank you."

The family have very kindly donated over thirty photographs you can see here.

Bruce Smale F419477 from 1957, says he remembers "doing gate guard with a stick. Also guarding at Halfpenny Green."

The daughter of Bernard Saunders 931563 from 1955 - 1962, says "my father was there as a Drill Sergeant in C Sqd, Flt 14, during National Service from 1955 to 1962 when he retired. He may be remembered for having a white alsatian which he used to take with him sometimes. Also my mother worked in the NAAFI - her name was Connie. Any memories of him - you can be as rude as you like! He still around - aged 87 and living in Spain."

Peter Davis 5077188 from 1960, says "my time at RAF Bridgnorth was a real pleasure, we as a billet were not shouted at by our DI as a matter of course only when we deserved it. I had been dreading being called up as I was older than the other chaps having had 6 years deferment.
The fatigue week in my case was one to be remembered as I got Armoury guard which involved going on duty at 1700 hrs and leaving at 0800 each day for week. As far as I can remember all our billet got good jobs during that week.
The weeks camp R & I, I think they called it, was also a good time. It seemed we as recruits knew what was expected of us, all we had to do was to learn the RAF way of doing it.
I would love to hear from any of the lads that were in Hut 180 in May and June 1960."

Ginge Brook 4137056 from 1953, says he remembers "marching to the NAAFI and seeing another flight coming the opposite way and being halted and obout turned so our flight had to wait ages, then just as I had got a drink, the DI shouted "flight 6 outside." Also the gas hut was a big learning curve"

Allan Fraser 2467130 from 1950, says "I arrived at Bridgnorth from Padgate when RAF Bridgnorth was receiving the Freedom of the town.
On the Sunday we were detailed for Church Parade but in the afternoon with two others, we were busy chatting up some females by the river Seven. I knew that we ought to be getting back but didn't want to be a party pooper until becoming really worried, I had to ask whether we ought to be getting back. The answer given was that they were both RC and had been excused. I took to my heels leaping over gates, banks and style to find the members of my hut already outside and about to set off for the town and church. It was quite a long road round and then up the hill to the church and I was truly knackered, though to what extent, I didn't know. We stood up to sing the first hymn, 'Stand Up Stand Up for Jesus' and I went down like the proverbial house of cards. Of course this led to a some confusion with me being given a lift back to camp and seen by the M O who informed me that I had strained my heart. Thankfully I don't seem to have suffered any long lasting effects of my wild rush. Anyone who was on church parade that day my remember me falling away."

Campbell Davis L4271772 from 1962, says he "arrived RAF Bridgnorth 2nd April 1962 as a regular aged 17 years and 10 months, snow on ground.
Sgt Jackson & Cpl McMurtrie were my drill instructors. Very hard task masters, but we did win the drill cup. Came back from Bridgnorth one night to find bed dis-assembled and placed on rafters of billet, much angst, however great team work resolved problem."

Eric Joseph 4256336 from 1960, says "I was in hut 13 with B Churchill, Bill Anderson, P.A Bradley, B Andrew, Bird, Eddy Blackburn, Dan Banks, Dyer, R Bailey (farmer). Trade trainning at Compton basset, Tangmere, Scharfoldendorf 1961. Putlos 1962 Demobed Dec 1962."

Brian Smith 5043032 from 1957, says that "sometimes you wondered what was comming next, but looking back it was a wonderful experence. It certainly tought you discipline, which is very important in life.
Is there any ex RAF personnel out there who were square bashing at RAF Bridgnorth from April to June 1957, in 12 Flt B Sqd who could remember going on a route linning at Coventry, for the Queen and other members of the royal family to attend a Consecration service at the cathedral, probably in May 1957. I remember been taken by lorry from Bridgnorth to Coventry, then return afterwards. I also remember being picked from B Sqd to do this, there were a lot of us involved, so there could have been another Sqd with us. I have found another chap who took part, so we know it happened.
I am now 74 yrs old and its made my day finding this site and long may it run."

Terry Baldwin 3511953 [later J prefix] from 1951 - 1952, says "the garage I was working in went bankrupt when I was 17, who would employ someone going to be called up for National Service in 3 months?
As an ex member of Hastings ATC I decided to volunteer for 3 years in the RAF, didn't really want to go to Korea with the Army. Went to Brighton Recruiting Office on 29th November 1951, met another volunteer who had done his National Service in the Army!! and we went to RAF Cardington as mates for the duration, we were all regulars. Was issued with a funny service number 3511953 [ex ATC] all the other guys were 408****'s. I see in the numbers list there is a 3511956, I didn't know him but he has the same dates as me. We arrived at Bridgnorth on 4th December 1951 and were deposited in "B" Flight [I think] Hut 27 [definitely]. My new ex army mate was immediatly appointed as Senior Man [much to my relief] and I was to be his deputy in recognition of my ATC service. This turned out to be the cushiest number, as I got no room jobs to do and very little responsibility, only cleaning the hut Corporals boots every night. My doughty and dead keen Senior Man never missed a day so I was never called on to deputise.
We were allowed home for Christmas 1951, I can rememberer that civilian coaches were organized to take us to various cities around the country, mine went to London and then the train home to Hastings. Of the journey back to Bridgnorth I can remember clearly sitting on the back seat playing chess with a chap in our hut who supported Leyton Orient. Odd things like that stick in the mind, I can recall sewing elastic bands onto our woollen gloves to help grip our rifles, like having to buy your own personal sink plug which you took with you as they were always missing from the ablution sinks, like our Sergeant and hut Corporal blancoing all our webbing for the passing out parade so it all looked the same colour. Of our hut Corporal saying to us as we left our hut for the last time "Right trash it lads for the next entry but don't damage the lino"
We must have left in February 1952 because I reported to RAF Weeton for trade training on 13th February my 18th birthday. [I didn't remember that until I retreived my records from Innsworth!!] I can only remember two names, that of our hut Corporal Cpl Ruddell he was a great chap a rather laid back DI, I don't think his heart was really in it. The other name was one of our other DI's a really nasty piece of work he was a Cpl Richie, if anyone in my life taught me to control my baser more violent instincts, it was him I have to thank. But to give him his due he was a paragon of bull, always immaculate and gleaming, knife edged creases on jacket and trousers [weighed down with chains] and an excellent instructor his drill was faultless and we got the impression not the most popular Cpl amongst his peers.
In my hut photo Cpl Richie is sitting centre stage, my best Bridgnorth mate [The Senior Man] whose name I can't recall on his right and me on his left. The chap I played chess with [also nameless] stands behind me. I eventually went on to serve 22 years but never met any of these guys again.
In 1999 I went on the Severn Valley Railway, one reason to see what I could remember the railway station and the town and possibly see what remained of the camp. But after 48 years I had to ask about the railway station, I recognised parts of the town, but couldn't find anything of the camp. After studying the info held on this site I can understand why. I wish I knew of the info held at the Bridgnorth Visitor Information Centre before, but maybe it wasn't there in 1999 when I visited, a good reason for a return trip.
Great site, bags of nostalgia, and mainly happy memories."

The photographs Terry sent are listed as '1952 - Hut 27' and '1952 - Baldwin's Flt'.

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John Wilson J4237316 from 1958, says he can "remember the coke raids also, if any one can remember, one of our airmen got beaten up in Wolverhamton and badly injured. We as a billet along with other billets, went to town and managed to track down the man and took him to the Police Station. The C.O. gave us a big thank you in his office.
I saw the chap who got lost on that route march. I was in that same party, an old lady gave us tea and cakes and we had a couple of pints in a village pub. We were lost but managed to find our way back to the camp, they went mad with us that night.
There was a violent storm that washed all our bivowaks and us down the hill side.
Did 20 yrs, came out a Sgt. Happy days. Remember the Irish imp, that DI was weird."

Dennis Cothay 4132256 from 1953, says that he "did my basic square bashing @ Bridgnorth, met some great lads and if I'm honest enjoyed my basic training. Thought I was going to die at times, especially on the route marches and I never thought I could do a five (5) mile run. Would I could do it all over again."

Bill Butterworth 2762470 from 1956-1957, says he "stayed overnight having baby-sat for S/L G.E Johnson DFM of Dambuster fame. He awakened me early with a cup of tea in bed as I was due to play the Last Post at Bridgnorth Cenotaph and later in the Church on Armistice Sunday 1956.
In the p.m. I played the Last Post at Worfield at the request of Lt.Gen Sir Oliver Leese who often took the salute at Passing Out parades and he later took me {a lowly erk} with his other guests back to his house for refeshments and showed me around his amazing collection of cacti.
I did a lot of work for Gp.Cpt. Trumble, a perfect gentleman, who took me flying with him, but a downside was having to put on my Best Blue occasionaly and act as Prisoner Escort when some bad lad had to be tried by the O.C.
During the winter of '1956/1957 the Station Band played at the football grounds of Birmingham [twice] Wolves and West Brom on Saturday afternoons. Because of the late return to camp, the musicians were fed by the duty cook in SHQ Mess. It was always egg and chips, very welcome, but on one occasion the cook had a unique [I hoped] way of preparing the hot plate to fry the eggs. I saw him spit on it !!! When I challenged him about his disgusting act, he said that if the spit bubbled and sizzled he could crack the eggs onto the plate as it was then hot enough. Needless to say I personally took my own two eggs from the far end of the hot plate. Health and Safety?
Some of the SHQ clerks used to wander into the PBX now and again for a skive, me included, but I had reason to regret it. One night, I was shaken awake from a deep sleep by a recruit fire picket at 2. 45 am and told my presence was required in the Guardroom immediately. I underwent a considerable grilling by the Police Sergeant about my presence in the telephone exchange earlier that day but he would not enlighten me as to why. It transpired later that others had had the same treatment, the reason being that the married RAF Regiment CO had been making an illegal phone call to his lady friend and whoever was working the switchboard listened in and offered the CO some short and succinct advice on how to deal with the said lady friend. Fortunately, the inquiry fizzled out and no one was punished, but two or three of us knew who the perpetrator was.
RE. Regiment matters, shortly after the Suez War broke out, most of Bridgnorth's GCT instuctors were posted to Suez en bloc. The night before they departed and after celebrating in the town's pubs, they came back after midnight and further celebrated by raiding the SHQ billets, systematically pulling our beds away from the wall and tipping them up. Thanks for that, Rock apes!
One morning I turned in for work and sneezed a few times, and the Station Adj. ordered me down to Sick Quarters, totally unnecessary! I spent two boring days confined to bed, but being permanent staff I had a room of my own and was allowed visitors at any time. A newly posted-in very keen Sergeant insisted on accompanying the doctor each time he examined me [which was twice a day]. On those occasions I was sitting up reading a book or newspaper but the Sergeant each time flung the door open, shouted "Officer present, Lie to attention! I was dumfounded the first time it happened and I could tell the Flt. Lt. Doctor was embarassed as was I, but I slid under the blankets as ordered, further prompted by the Sergeant to keep my arms straight down by my sides. Unbelievable!
When I left SSQ, I related the incidents to my mates in the Orderly Room and Pay Accounts and for the next six months that Sergeant's leave applications regularly went missing or got lost as did his requests for ration allowances. He was often seen chasing round SHQ trying to find out what was going on. It didn't do to upset SHQ staff, particularly if they were National Servicemen.
Working in P2 Section, I used to have problems with officers trying to pull rank on me, asking for more leave than their entitlements, scrounging extra travel warrants etc., but I arranged for the the persistent offenders to suffer like the Sergeant. One officer who annoyed me immensely was P.O Subba Row, the cricketer, whom we hardly saw during the cricket season anyway but he used to swagger into my office, sit on the edge of my desk, usually on letters, files and documents, swing one leg, tap the other with his cane and make his illegal demands. One time I rebelled and asked him not to sit on my desk, disarranging the paperwork, and to desist from asking for things he wasn't entitled to. He immediately bristled and threatened to put me on a charge for insubordination. I excused myself and went next door to the Station Adjutant. On hearing my report, he told me to ask the Pilot Officer to come to his office. Through the thin office wall I could hear an angry adj. tear a few strips off Subba Row and after that there was no more problem.
When RAF Hednesford closed in February 1957 (our band played for the last passing out parade there), the gate guardians were brought to Bridgnorth. The Meteor was placed at the top end of the main parade ground but the Spitfire was sited at first in the flight lines of a training squadron between two rows of billets. Just before my demob., I was walking with my mate to the NAAFI when I saw the Spitfire the canopy was slightly open so I jumped up onto the wing, slid the canopy back and climbed in. All its controls and gauges were present, and for five or six minutes I was an intrepid Battle of Britain ace fighter pilot. The windows of the billets either side were filled with gawping recruits but I had to stop 'flying' when one bold recruit opened a window and yelled "Gerrout of that ******* 'plane!" I stood up in the cockpit to reveal my two stripes and all the faces instantly disappeared. Climbing out of the Spitfire, I entered the offender's billet, taught him the error of his ways (tongue in cheek), and carried on to the NAAFI. That aircraft, BM597, is now airworthy and quite famous, having appeared in TV, films and air shows. During the War it was flown by a Polish squadron stationed in Lancashire for the defence of Liverpool, so I'm very glad I took the opportunity all those years ago to 'fly' a Spitfire. I would have liked to repeat the experience with the Hurricane 2, LF686 (now in America) displayed on the grass area in front of S & C registry in the SHQ building. Unfortunately, in full view of the Guardroom it was never a viable proposition.
As well as importing RAF Hednesford's aircraft, we also took in two or three DI's, one of whom was Corporal Harvey, a Regular and an example of the very best type of his trade. He was senior DI. of 5 Flt. A Sqdn. during my 'square bashing' at Hednesford. He never screamed at or verbally abused us like the others did and showed a great deal of patience with the less able. Firm but fair was our opinion of him and he was greatly respected. He remembered me when I sought him out at Bridgnorth and was obviously quietly pleased when I told him how much our Flight had appreciated his humane and effective way of working.
I did have a run in once with a group of DI's from a training squadron. On promotion to Corporal, I had to move away from my billet and the other lads and into a room at the end of a hut on this squadron. On one intake, the appointed Senior Man was ex. Navy and a lot older than the other recruits and I was told that they were more scared of him than their DI's. In the billet one evening I told him that his fellow recruits did not have to bull his buttons, polish his boots, press his uniform and clean his bed space. The SM's complaint to the DI's resulted in their 'invitation' to a meeting one lunchtime in the squadron office. The outcome of the 'discussion' that followed was my offer to take their objections to the Station Adjutant [which was refused] and I had to listen to their strong disapproval of National Servicemen attaining the rank of Corporal.
When I was posted to Bridgnorth at first, the Bandmaster was W.O. Fairgrieve but he was elderly and not very well, suffering badly from emphysema. He appointed me to take morning rehearsals and drill the band until his replacement arrived. Chief Tech. Stephens [later Sqn.Ldr] took over in Nov.'56 and daringly drove a Bond Minicar which conveyed him and me, with a struggle, to the Castle a couple of times when we played for dances there.
One of the lads in our billet wanted me to give him trumpet lessons. I agreed to this so he went into Wolverhampton one Saturday and bought a top of the range trumpet for 25, a small fortune then. After only a couple of weeks he packed it in and swopped it with me for my old trumpet and a fiver. He had bought it on the never never, but I don't know how or if he paid his debt off because he started buying Glenn Miller records with any spare money he had.

Comment by Webmaster - Ian Bowlt bought the trumpet.   His memories will be found here.

Shortly before completing my trade training at RAF Hereford, I underwent a top security vetting and clearance and was told that my permanent posting would be Air Ministry in London. I wasn't keen on the idea, having just got engaged and my home town was some 30 miles North of Manchester. One evening at band practice, I happened to mention this to Corporal Johnny Bellis who played the tuba and told me not to worry. He said that he was in charge of postings and he would swop me with someone who was posted nearer to my home. He actually apologised for not being able to get me nearer than Bridgnorth. I couldn't believe that it would be that easy and I was very apprehensive when arriving at Bridgnorth, half expecting to be packed off to Air Ministry. This fear was heightened when I presented my credentials in the orderly room and the clerk exclaimed "Not another bloody shorthand typist!" Fortunately that was the end of the scare and I settled in to life on a permanent camp for the next 16 months. There was a slight hiccup when shortly after promotion to Corporal, I was put on a 48 hour standby for the Suez War Zone but happily for me nothing came of it."
I suppose like most National Servicemen of that period, I kept a "Demobb" calendar, and we religiously used to mark off the days to our eventual release. Being permanent staff, the occasions of demobb parties were randomly celebrated until it became one's own turn. This was preceded by the 'Release Interview' when an officer would try to persuade you to sign on as a Regular. In my case I was interviewd by Wing Commander Burrows as Gp.Cpt. Trumble was away. He offered me immediate promotion to Sergeant in the Education Branch, with a promise???? of a commission in six months time! When he could see he was flogging a dead horse, he shook my hand and wished me well in my future career. After two days going around 'clearing' and paying my dues, I said a final farewell to all my mates on the morning of Friday 12th July 1957 and walked out of RAF Bridgnorth for effectively the last time, end of an era. Having been deferred four years to gain qualifications and related employment, I was 22yrs old when I was called up, fairly settled and very reluctant to leave civvy street but determined to make the best of the next two years come what may. Thankfully this was how it all turned out and although I don't think it did me much good, it certainly didn't do me any harm. I met many great lads [my best mate and I still exchange Christmas cards] and in spite of not wanting to do it at the time, I can honestly say that I am glad I did.

Edith Gee from 1944-1948, says "I worked in the canteen and was there in the winter of 1947, we girls couldn't get out of our huts the snow was 6 foot deep and the boys had to come and dig us out. I returned to Liverpool in 1948."

Trevor Bliss 2684707 from 1959, says "while at Bridgnorth I escaped Fire Piquet and Guard Duty as I was sent to Weeton on a Direct entry Trade Board.
During Basic training we were sent out for a week (perhaps it was only a few days, but it seemed longer) for survival training, we were in tents and it rained all the time. I tripped over a tent guy rope and fell in the mud and spent the whole week trying to dry out! I was in Hut 24, our DI was Cpl Steve Bell."

Tony Holmes 2716582 from 1954, says he was "with 13 Flight, C Squadron. Cpl Joe Shiner from Doncaster our DI."

Norman Fostekew 4266597 from 1961, says he remembers the "coach waiting for me at Wolverhampton High Level Railway Station on 4th September 1961. Holding flight for two weeks. Started basic training on 18th September. Remember the layout of the Station. Sending my civilian clothes home. The Drill instructors were Cpl Davies and Cpl Billington. Enjoyed the camping at Shawbury and the long weekend afterwards. Passed out on the 10th November. Great times. Would dearly love to go back to those days."

Peter Attaway 2782136 from 1956, says he remembers it being "very cold with icy roads then snow. When marching to breakfast people would slip over and get up with just a mug handle. Always a battle to obtain fuel to get warm and to remove ice from inside windows."

John Hicks 681995 from 1960, says "I remember the cold, the coke fire, I think our DI was Cpl Lloyd who was an RAF boxing Champ. We used to hold the weights for him when he was training. His bunk had to be spick & span with the fire lit for his return on Sunday nights!
Remember the Passing Out Parade just before Xmas, the band played carols as I remember."

The photographs John sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 217, 22 Flt' and '1960 - 22 Flt, 'C' Flt'

David H Chamberlin 4081850 from 1951, says that he remembers "Corporal Petrie and Sgt Murphy! Petrie was a middleweight boxing champion of the RAF, but I well remember him going down to the ABA championships while I was there and coming back with a swollen jaw, having been knocked out by a 'swinger' from his opponent!
Although I don't remember our Flight No. I do remember that we won the drill cup!
I served 5 years as a regular and finished up on 238 OCU at RAF Colerne, leaving in Sept 1956."

David S A Bawden 3519037 from 1954, says that "Bridgnorth was definitely a culture shock coming straight off the farm in Dorset, but well worth the experience. I think anyone who went through this brief period will say that it lives with you for-ever and I wouldn't change it for the world."

Roger Broscomb 3528127 from 1959, says he remembers "fuel raids for the pot-bellied stoves during the cold weather. Being marched away to buy a new mug after the DI had broken mine with his pace stick - cost 1/4�d I think!
I enjoyed myself probably because I had been an ATC cadet I had some idea what to expect. We went camping somewhere for a couple of nights (goodness only knows why!!) and were marched to the pub in the evening with a white light at the front and a red one at the rear of the marching body of men."

Fred Holman 4266951 from 1961, says "R.A.F. Bridgnorth, I remember it well, it was like a holiday camp, after my National Service in the Army, took things as they came loved every moment of it.
The things that stick out in my mind was that needle when a couple of the lads fainted, also there was one Airman who had pyorrhoea so it was stand well back when he talked to you, other than that, under tents was a hotel, meals on plates was a luxury, kit and billet inspection a piece of cake. Great lads.
Had a great time, made lots of friends, kept in contact with only one who name is Tony Hodgkinson."

The photographs Fred sent are listed as '1961 - Hut 246 in Sept' and '1961 - Sept Intake'

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Peter Dinnage 5077087 from 1960, says "I do not have any strong memories of Bridgnorth except the D.I's comments---You all march like a bunch of penguins; You march like a camel; when someone's out of step its always the one with glasses--tomorrow you will all wear glasses! I think they were Cpl Larkin's favourites.
We all pulled together and that was what it was about. It cannot have been too bad or I would have remembered more. I was in hut 180 but I have no recollection of the flight or squadron."

The photographs Peter sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 180 in June' and '1960 - 'C' Sqd in June'

David T Reynolds 3511860 from 1951, says he was "frozen every Sat. morning playing for passing out parades!"

Robert Atkinson E4267276 from 1961, says "my over riding memory of Bridgnorth is arriving on a cold Oct day to be greeted with others of the intake by a very nice what I would call a fatherly looking NCO who asked very politely to POP YOUR FEET TOGETHER and marched us into the unknown.
The following day we met the NCO (I cannot remember his name) who was to be our mentor and for a small man he could make the earth move when he told us what he thought of us.
Then followed the square bashing, the long cross country runs and that horrible time under canvas somewhere in the back of beyond.
I can still see that awful brown lino on the hut floor and the time taken to polish and buff it with some antiquated metal shoe on a stick ready for inspection. I dont think we ever got praised for being spotless no matter how hard we tried. However we formed a bond of sorts and I'm sure that it made us better men at the end."

The photograph Robert sent is listed as '1961 - Oct Intake'

Bob Byrnes 2787264 from 1956, says "I remember how flipping cold it was and when we had to carry out the R & I test, we had been to a dance in wolverhampton and on returning to our bivouac, one geordie guy honked up inside and we spent the rest of the night outside under the stars with snow all around."

The brother of Donald Coutts (deceased) 4260296 from 1960, says that Don "was posted at RAF Bridgnorth from 8th August to 5th Oct 1960. I have no details of his flight or Hut Number. Donald lost his life in 1965 after serving at RAF Ballykelly, RAF Luqa and RAF Kinloss. Donald was my brother and I am researching his RAF Career. I would dearly love to hear from anyone who might have known him. Thank you. Alan Coutts."

Peter Harrison R4275289 from 1962, says he "arrived 22nd October 1962 frightened to death, freezing cold, what am I doing here? What have I let myself in for? Now, wouldn't have missed it, met many good friends that I have since lost touch with, anyone who remembers me please get in touch."

Eric Brooksbank 5032996 from 1956, says "Cpl Archibald was a good D.I. hard but fair.
Hut 125 had a good bunch of lads and I finished up fitter than anytime in my life.
I rememember these surnames Fallon, Featherstone, Goodchild, Fred Evans (Fagan) Geoff Bristow and remember the entire hut inhabitants being used to launch our Pilot Officers boat on a nearby lake.
Fond memories of the Sally Ann and our first pass to the dance at Wolverhampton.
NEVER will forget our first 25 mile? route march to some distant valley on a freezing October day, making a passable tent with other recruits and about 10 waterproof capes. Five of us crammed together like SARDINES for warmth and a poor nights sleep. Waking up next morning and washing and shaving out in the frost in freezing cold water. I learnt at least, how to survive as a group in freezing conditions and to build and traverse a rope bridge.
In my honest opinion overall it did me good and made a better man of me although I did not think so at the time."

Ted Adams 4267272 from 1961, says he remembers "the Naafi "char" wagon arriving during a break in square bashing.
The blue hazy smoke that hung above the camp on still days.
The aroma of food which the cookhouse were preparing seemed to waft everywhere.
Trying (and failing) to sleep under canvas in a remote corner of Shropshire one bitterly cold November night with just a groundsheet and a greatcoat for warmth."

Andrew Brown E4173166 from 1955, says he was "stopped at the guardroom and prevented from going into town because I was improperly dressed in my best blue. Sent back to the billet to get properly dressed. On return was sent back again and again and again. I subsequently found out that my crime was having a Windsor knot in my tie. A henous crime for a 17 year old trying his best!!"

Bob Metcalfe 5090975 from 1957, says that he "enjoyed the mostly sunny days at Bridgnorth except the day we 'did' the gas chamber routine.
On my first day in 'D' Sqdn. HQ. Sqdn Leader Count Badini had a strong word with me for not saluting him in his office. I said "I didn't think you had to salute whilst under a roof Sir" He mumbled something which ended in .."next time".
Remember well Cpl Lightfoot, on parade if it was your turn for a strict personal word, he would whilst resting his chin on your shoulder, growl into your ear "Now then ermin what's with the loose shoelace eh? get it sorted now...I call you ermin 'cos it's the nearest thing to vermin as you are...don't think you'll ever be called an Airman at this rate."

Ron Lees 3155293 from 1959, says "prolonged squarebashing and parade sessions leading to incontinence of many tough guys.
Fellow hut occupier worked for Rolls Royce; "Lights out all 'Chinese'" announced at 10:00 by a cockney voice on the Tannoy;
Camp dentist performed well and her work was admired by a civilian dentist after demob. (As far as I remember it was the Bridgnorth, a female; who justly criticised my previous civy dentists work)"

Michael Head 5015685 from 1956, says "there was a Sergeant (peasa) Green who was o.k."

David Leigh 4259747 from 1960, says "the main thing I remember was the lovely comfortable train journey from Cardington to Bridgnorth??? I used to keep a car in the farmyard next to the camp.
If I remember correctly this was one of the last intakes of National Service men. Well it was a long time ago."

Robin Simmonds 4273041 from 1962, says that he "joined up on May 21st aged 21. Once I had got used to the routine I settled in quite quickly. Previously as a Police Cadet I had done a fair bit of drill and bull in their basic training, so that helped me no end. Seem to remember our DIs were Cpls Lynch and Cpl Hoste (George?).
Very hot summer that year and a number of people being put on 252s after getting badly sunburnt and then going sick. At the time I wasn't quite sure what offence they had committed. "Conduct prejudicial.......etc" I suppose. Still not a bad time all in all and reading the website it seems that a lot of people feel, like me, that it set me up for my adult life.
I went on to do twelve years in the RAF Police, mainly as a dog handler."

Barrie Burton J4263552 from 1961, says that "although considered the best we lost the Drill Cup due to painting our Rifles the day before the competition and the paint still being wet on taking part, therefore having black streaks down our uniform. We even tried covering the paint with brylcream."

George Geapin 2774162 from 1955, says "I had not been out of London and could not understand the different accents. Numbering off was a matter of amusemant as I always seem to have the number free to call out, howls of mirth all round.
I well remember the jam sandwiches every morning at breakfast and I had the affront to complain to the messing officer regarding the lack of decent food. I complained there was not enough jam. Never enough in this life was the reply.
I went to the Castle dance once. I think we outnumbered the girls by ten to one.
I remememer the shock to be told that I was going in the Regiment as were the others, I thought I would be skilled as I had finished my time as an electrician.
God it was cold there. I went to Merton in the Marsh then Watchet for gunnery. They had a mosquito pulling three drogue. All the flack was round the wooden plane.
I have the signed photo of the drill squad December 20th 1955."

Roger Olden P4258256 from 1960, says he "was in 14 Flight B Squadron hut 152. Cpl Linus was our DI and Sgt Harvey was in charge overall. At Cardington prior to arriving at Bridgnorth us Regulars were kept well apart from the National Servicemen. There was a lot of micky taking by them on us when we were all put together to form a flight. I was just 18 at the time and all the National Servicemen were in their early twenties, but they looked after me like a young brother and kept me out of trouble most of the time."
The photograph Roger sent is listed as '1960 - Hut 152, 14 Flt'

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Gordon John Green B4162109 from 1954, says that he has "many memories of Sgt's & Cpls shouting guts for garters, etc. Joseph Cunningham from Northern Ireland hid in the toilets and escaped the passing out parade. He had already been back flighted three times.
Cpl Thurston our DI, used to play the double base in a small band and took me and another out to Wolverhampton on New Years eve and got us back in camp without being absent after 12 o'clock.
I was Senior man & played soccer for the Station as I was on Wrexhams books at the time.
When we went camping I was in charge of tent erection, being an ex boy scout.
Nel Tarletons son was at Bridgnorth when I was. Nel was a famous boxer from Liverpool.
Memories of square bashing never fade, you look at your billet photo & wonder how many are still on the planet.
Gone are the days when 5 Woodbines would be shared around the billet - what comradeship. Visited the old camp as I live nearby in Telford.
Recently had my square bashing photo put on by Gwynne. Thanks very much. Sent Gwynne a small donation to help with the costs of maintaining the web site. May I suggest others may follow with a donation however small. Regards Gordon Pop Green."

The photograph Gordon sent is listed as '1955 - 'A' Sqd in Feb'

George Osborne 4192038 from 1957, says he remembers "getting of the bus with the words ringing in my ear ( my name is Cpl Hinchcliffe and you do not spell it C--T.)
I joined before my 18th birthday and remember the Cpl coming into the N.A.A.F.I. and in front of my mates telling me I wasnt old enough to drink. I celebrated my birthday while on camp in Wales, the boys got me Paraletic, when I woke up in the morning I was lying on the Officers bed and he was on the floor, needless to say I beat a hasty retreat back to our home made tent, OH Happy Days"

The photograph George sent is listed as '1957 - Hut 255 in March'

David Clark 2746762 from 1955, says it was "a great life, made men out of us, but 2 years National Service was long enough."

Brian Tudor 5039427 from 1957-59, says that "I served all of my time at Bridgnorth SSQ. Duties included work on wards (admissions, treatments, meals, etc.) in the treatment room after sick parades and preparing apparatus for weekly jab parades (needles etc.) I also spent time in the documents office, with others of course, compiling medical records for all airmen being posted to the many different bases in the country and abroad.
We also looked after the families in the married quarters at the Hobbins and remember on night duty and about 3.00 hrs.,having to call MT for the ambulance to transport a very expectant mother to Cosford hosptital. Happy days."

John Aldred 5078858 from 1960, says that he "did National Service squarebashing at Bridgnorth in the summer 1960, then went to Compton Bassett for trade training. PBX operator at Bircham Newton, Schleswigland & Wildenrath. Had a wonderful time (except for the jabs at Bridgnorth when everyone became ill) Would like to do it all over again."

Brian Kirk 5070889 from 1959, says that he "met many Great Guys, plenty of laughs ( mostly at night in the hut) The Guy in the next bed was George Curtis and played for Coventry Football club. I think the hut was either 19 or 21."

Taff Weston 4174454 from 1955, says that "after the Saturday night dance down town, I was late getting back to camp. Managed to get away with it though."

Harry Taysom 4121686 from 1953, says he "took part in the Trooping the Colour ceremony in Manchester, after four weeks ceremonial training at RAF Wilmslow, in March(?) 1953 which was our "Passing-out Parade! Home for embarkation leave and then on to the Suez Canal Zone via the Empire Windrush."

Gordon Kippax 5074899 from 1960, says he remembers "the foot of snow the first night and the lack of any heat in the billet."

Jon Knight 4124632 from 1953, says "I enjoyed my stay at Bridgnorth and can only remember one particular thing is me boxing a chap from RAF Sutton Coldfield I seem to remember whom I knocked out in the 1st round and won a small cup which I have since lost!
I enjoyed my time at RAF Bridgnorth where I grew up. I was only 17 years and proud to be a member of the Service I wanted to join since a child."

Tony Senior B4267121 from 1961, says that he remembers "the cross country runs down that cliff to the river. R & I under canvas for three days, braking the ice on the water to wash in the morning, trying to keep the tent warm! by candle light and newspaper under my pajamas also to keep warm."

Tom Crowley 4271596 from 1962, says that it was his "first time away from home. Then 21 years old and took to it like duck to water. At least I hope that's how it looked! Found I could cope with anything that was thrown at me and introduced me to the idea of self disipline. It set me up for a great 24 years of service, meeting some great mates, who taught me so much about life and working together.
Later in my career I ended up at a training school, Police Dogs, and I found out what it was like to be the 'devil instructor' and began to realise what my instructors were trying to do. Never regretted one moment of the whole 24 years. The training I received has guided my life and continues to do so to this day."

George Gunn 4140033 from 1953-1954, says that "I remember it was a very cold Winter, with snow falling and having to march up and down, slipping all over the place and concerned we would have to do extra duties.
Cpl Vernon and Cpl Wiltshire two very fair guys! Would like to meet them again. Would not have missed it for anything!"

Bernard Bloore 4242079 from 1958-1959, says "I live very near to RAF Bridgnorth and every Saturday afternoon and Sunday I woul be picked up at the gates and taken home. I lived in Pensnett 20 mins away from camp. I would sometimes bring one of the lads back with me."

Paul Trumble 3151683 from 1957, says "we route lined for the consecration of Coventry Cathedral"
The only time in my life that my surname has ever worked in my favour was when we were first let out of camp. Of course we all drank too much and returned worse for wear and quite late - past the time we should have returned. As we were hearing from those on duty what horrible things they were going to do to us I, with bravery fuelled by alcohol, flashed my ID card and said 'Look at the name on that' somewhat shaken they allowed us to go without further threats. The Commanding Office at Bridgnorth at the time was Group Captain Trumble, no known connection but those on duty weren't to know that!

The photograph Paul sent is listed as'1957 - 12 Flt, 'B' Sqd'

Robert Bye 3153172 from 1958, says that he recalls "raiding the coke compound, to stay warm..... Night Guard, armed with a stool leg to deter the IRA..... Queueing in the NAAFI for a drink to the strains of Peggy-Sue by Buddy Holley and not having time to drink your purchase....."

Noel Howard (Jock) Hall 4094465 from 1952, says that "when one wanted a bath, they had to sign the register. The bath hut held numerous tubs. Having a bath was a cross between going swimming and playing water polo.
At the weekends... some of the chaps would visit as many as three mess halls in a row at meal times. Just don't get caught.
We used this "Red Cardinal" wax to polish the floors in our barracks and white blanco for the stoves.
One of our Corporal (DI's} was practising to be a Barber. We were alright for "haircuts" and he made some money and got some valuable experience."

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Harold Lewis 2434949 from 1949, says that he "had a great experience, apart from jumping across a pit on the assault course slipping in and finding it was a grease pit used by the cookhouse!! Result, a complete re-issue of battle-dress, underwear and my prize possession, the highly polished boots."
In 2015 Harold added;

My memories are good ones apart from the one already listed re the grease pit episode!! I wish there was a photo of 11 Flt which won the Drill Cup for the first time. Our senior DI was Sgt Jordan

Donald Sutherland 4258068 from 1960, says he can recall "after sneaking out to the Castle Ballroom and returning in the dark, imagine my finding out, next morning, that they had painted the billet windows when I was out. DI's never had much of a sense on humour!"

Karl Stewart F4275559 from 1962-1963, says "great times been bullied by DI Crew and all the entry "been in it together"

Alan Causon 4175660 from 1955 - 1956, says that "on arrival at Bridgnorth I will never forget the incredible volume of the sound of the voices of D.I's. Cpls.Rice and Bishop. They together frightened me to death. It was my luck to be caught out of step more often than not. As a result I was being threatened with backflighting for most of my Recruit Training. On one occasion only I saluted an Officer by touching my cap when carrying a Rifle but as we had not been shown how to salute when carrying a Rifle I did not get into trouble. In the end however No.18 Flight of "B"Squadron won the Drill Cup much to the pleasure of the Flt.Cdr.Fg.Off.Fletcher, Sgt Keysworth and the Cpls Rice and Bishop.
The R.A.F. Regiment Cpls were much easier to please and would on a regular basis have "smoke breaks". I must have made my mark even with the Regiment lads as I proved not to be exactly useful at G.C.T.and let off a lot of problems in relation to stripping a Bren Gun and putting it together. I was one who could recite the Drill but could not put it into practice. After I had left the R.A.F. I happened to be out in the town of Swanage when a voice from out of the blue shouted out my name and No 18 Flight (this turned out to be that of Bob Ferguson one of the R.A.F. Regiment lads who remembered my performance which had taken place 3 years previously--- hence having made my mark) They let me off without adding to my problems on account of the fact that it was known that I could play a piano at that time. In fact I used to play at the Bridgnorth Salvation Army Club. Piano playing is now a thing of the past. As an alternative to piano playing I sing. When at Bridgnorth the lads in the next hut used to invite me in to sing Hymns. A lot of these lads enjoyed listening to hymns from the old Methodist Hymn Book which were very Evangelical. Since leaving the R.A.F. in 1958 I for several years had private singing lessons and won quite a few Bass Championships at Competitive Music Festivals in the West of England.
I have a few amusing memories of Bridgnorth relating to myself and others. Many of us arrived back at Camp very late after the Christmas period, in my case 4.5 hours late. A very serious offence!!!! On reporting to the Squadron Office I was told by the Flt.Sgt. on Duty that I had been appointed spokesman to speak for all the lads who numbered about 60 who were standing in lines. I decided to put on a "stage performance" hoping that I would be able to cause this N.C.O. to lose his "composure" and cause him to laugh. This he did and told us to get back to our billets at once and to be thankful that they had appointed the right man to speak for them.
There was also another lad from Huddersfield who considered himself to belong to the Magic Circle. We used to call him Einstein. He used to eat fire and would also push a pin completely through his wrists, he would also eat razor blades. One evening we were in the NAAFI when a lad broke a beer glass and obviously was about to get a dustpan and sweeping brush when Einstein said in his broad Yorkshire accent "Don't bother lad I'll get rid of it for you" and proceeded to pick the glass from the floor put it into his mouth and swallowed it. When Einstein was asked as to why he was behaving in such a peculiar way he replied by saying "I am doing this for your enjoyment". After a few days we all had an X-ray and when we were at a Lecture Einstein was called out and we never saw him again. Perhaps the lights were shining within him!!!!
I in fact enjoyed our week of fatigues most of all as we did not have to Parade in the usual way. My week was spent working in the cookhouse. As a result we could have as much food as we could eat at meal times. This suited me fine. I remember working with a young Recruit who was a P.O.M. by the name of Charles Cann who had been a pupil at the Merchant Taylors Public School. It was our job to prepare the potatoes for the whole of "B" Squadron on a daily basis. Charles did not want us to be wasteful and was removing the eyes with the most meticulous endeavour. I told him not to be so careful as we were going to be doing potatoes into the next day if we did not get on with it a bit faster.
On another occasion we were given an initiative test which involved going into the next village a few miles out of the Camp. We were supposed to walk there but as a bus was passing I managed to get the bus to stop which got us to the village within minutes. We found out what we had been instructed to do and for the rest of the afternoon we were having cups of tea in a local Cafe before returning to Camp for an evening meal. The bus conductors would not take any money for our bus fares so as a result we were able to enjoy a fine afternoon of unexpected leisure."

George Mullaney 2468476 from 1950, says that he can "recall swimming in the Severn. A variety concert given by RAF Bridgnorth as a thank you to the people of Bridgnorth in return for the 'granting of the Freedom of entry' to the town when the whole station marched through with bayonets fixed. Star turn was AC2's Sid Sylvester and Clive Samm [both from Luton I believe] who brought the house down with their version of a ventriloquist? getting his dummy to 'mime' to an Al Jolson version of 'Back in my own back yard', Mammy, etc.
Disappointment at finding that getting a marksman 'score' only got a 'first class shot' badge because the range was not full distance.
Years later I had to visit Messrs Decca electronics who had set up a unit at 'Bridgnorth'. This turned out to be on the site of the RAF station which I had intended to visit anyway. I was disappointed to see that the RAF had closed the camp and that the 'Asra' Cinema was reduced to pile of rubble with the Asra sign broken in half and lying forlornly on said rubble I could almost hear Doris Day singing 'It's Magic, Ah well, happy days."

Peter Funnell 5077519 from 1960, says that he "can't remember Flight or Hut. We had several Irish guys and our D I was Cpl Forward.
"Funnies" -- (a) The poor Ceylonese recruit who couldn't co-ordinate arms and legs. (there's always one)
(b) Sunday mornings loafing on your "pit", when word spread that "volunteers" were required. Half a hut of "erks" disappearing quicker than "USAIN BOLT" into the latrines, stacked 5 blokes to a stall, trying to avoid the "press-gang". Hilarious!!!
"Un-funnies" -- (a) Latrine duty at the end of the under-canvas debacle.
(b) Saying so-long to all the mates you just knew you wouldn't see again.
Great times with great blokes --- Graham Richards (Abergavenny) Ron Caine (Somerset) Dave Smith (Ebbw Vale) and so many more. If any reading this knows me, get in touch."

Alan Chilton 4074642 from 1951, remembers "No.3 Flt with Cpl Murchill as DI he was a big guy, red hair, but very fair, not like a certain Cpl Neal (from Hull) pure evil, he had a ten foot chip on his shoulder, another Cpl Neal (London) another born comedian firm but fair and Cpl Jennings (Irish) another funny man but you dare not laugh!
Took part in the searchlight tattoo doing gymnastics. Another flight were swinging Indian clubs!"

The photograph Alan sent is listed as'1951 - Hut 36, 3 Flt'

David Alston 2354793 from 1947, says that he has "happy memories of the WVS ladies who shared their Sunday afternoons (always sunny I recall!) with us young men away from home, by serving tea and cakes nearby.
Playing the joanna in the NAAFI. Being grabbed by the mess orderly to wash up - seen nothing like it since!"
Indelible memory of first sight of our band coming over the hill playing "Standard of St George".

Terry Bayes 3127294 from 1950 - 1952, says that he "was drum major in Station band for a while under W.O. Bandy"

Harold Goodwin 1530557 from 1941, says that he was "given uniform and webbing equipment, respirators etc. I think we were given our inoculations and vaccinations but I am not too sure about that. It was 67 years ago. Did "Square Bashing" Rifle training at the butts, also wearing respirator. We were billeted in bell tents in the Park. Carried out our ablutions in the open: a row of taps and not much privacy. It was fortunately mid Summer and I think the weather was good.
I have faint recollection that we would walk down a hill and have a few beers in a pub by the river. Cannot remember the name of the pub. Left on 15 Aug 1941, when I was posted to RAF Cosford for technical training as a Flight Mechanic/Airframes. I later saw service in Egypt, Western Desert, Italy and Palastine. Quite a journey!"

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Gordon Wright A4275044 from 1962, says that he is "still living with my best memory. Met my future wife after only four days there and have now been married for nearly 43 years."
The photograph Gordon sent is listed as '1962 - 1 Flt 'A' Sqd'

Lawrence Wood 4261007 from 1960, says that "on passing out parade the officer in charge of our flight gave the wrong order calling RIGHT wheel instead of LEFT wheel (which would have had us following the other flights), Result "chaos" as common sense battled "orders" ...a more than frequent conflict in HM forces!!"

Bryan Rawlinson 5017519 from 1956, says that "at weekends, if we had any money/energy left, we used to go to the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton for a knees up on a Saturday night. Sometimes we crossed swords with the spotty Boy Entrants from Henesford.
My memories of Bridgnorth are of a hard few weeks, but good times with my fellow erks. Todays young men don't know what they are missing. Sad really.
I have a lot to thank the RAF for, I could easily have gone the wrong way.
If Cpl Parnell is still around, I hope he is well and I say THANK YOU. This is from a now 73 year old recruit you bawled out many times."

Jim Hobin 4275610 from 1962, says "have just come upon your web site. Sorry to hear it's closing. Puzzled by photo of last intake as I was in the last intake at Bridgnorth and remember being in the parade through the town. I have a photo of my intake but different from one you show. Were there two intakes started at same time? Memory not so good. I have a few photos from my time there but no point sending them now if your web site is closing. Wish I had come across your site earlier."

Mike Holmes 5044160 from 1957, remembers "eating egg and chips and drinking poor mans black velvet. Not too much change left out of 25 shillings pay."

Ted Horan 5072753 from 1959, says "on week-end pass, catching the coach from the camp to White City, London. Instructions from the DI for the passing out parade - "if you drop your rifle, you drop with it"
The photograph Ted sent is listed as '1959 - Hut 10, B Flt'

Reg Haddock 4162052 from 1954, call recall a "terrible winter, 3 feet of snow, we were marched up & down the roads to flatten the snow, all water was frozen etc. Sent home for Christmas all the trainees that is...came back to continue square bashing, the snow went and some lovely sunsets... R & I training done in the snow, I was ok only one able to map read and put up a tent...Ex Boy Scout from London surrounded by mostly carrot crunchers..great time!!!!"

Eric Hale 4019586 from 1947, says "I remember training was suspended due to heavy winter conditions in 1947, big freeze up, sent home initially for three weeks on emergency leave if I remember correct, followed by another three weeks extension; after the freeze I understand the camp was marooned by flood waters.
I welcome contact by anyone who remembers me, including the two airmen who were buddies, ex merchant navy, who were in the same hut as me, one of whom took on the role as umpire when a disagreement arose between two personnel and we all trooped off to the Gym to witness a ringside fight, I'll never forget it."

Raymond Huyton 4139014 from 1953, says he can remember "having to parade on the Friday evening before being allowed out of camp after your first month training and being terrified of failing the inspection because of some improper dress situation."

Roy Johnson 3529189 from 1959, says "I remember the cross country run when several 'runners' went over a wall and 'rested'. They rejoined the marathon at the end, but they were too fresh and were charged. I managed to work up a sweat.
Guarding OMQ during night hours, when an incident occured. I had to ride back to the Guard Room on a huge bike to inform them of the situation. I then had to ride to the Armoury to wake the duty staff that they would be possibly issuing five rounds to the duty guard staff. In any case it was not an IRA attack. Yes! in 1959. We would have all been wiped out before we loadded a our LE 303's.
Happy, innocent times"

Jim Weymouth, now Freeman, V4169293 from 1955, says that he was a "Country boy who never left Devon till 1955, one hell of a shock but enjoyed the experience. Found out what brasso and polish was for. Remember coming out main gate, go down across the fields, throught the council estate, up cliff railway, quickest way to the town pubs when you could get out of camp after suffering the daily humiliations of the NCO's.
I finally went to RAF Holton to become a spoiler of RAF food for 22yrs. Recieved commendations and medals along the way."

The photographs Jim sent are listed as '1955 - Hut 157 in July' and '1955 - 6 Flt 'B' Sqd'

James Gallagher U4274599 from 1962, says "Hard going at times but overall I enjoyed it."

Terry Hart 3528758 from 1960, says "48 years on - I can't think of one bad memory!"

Maldwyn Jones 2768712 from 1955, has "memories of 'Grilling' by Corporals Evans,and Atkinson."

Chris Jenkins 4051085 from 1950, says "ref' the photograph "1950 - Nov Flt?" I recognise myself and one or two others. I am second from the left, back row. A Gordon is eight from the left, second row from the front. Is there any one else out there?
What I remember most of Bridnorth was the cold. It was a very bitter winter."

Pat Neville 3153919 from 1958, remembers "the unsmiling, granite-faced Sgt Pallas! He thawed a bit at the pass-out parade."

James Williamson D4164568 from 1955, says that "I am fourth from the right in "1955 - Christenson's Flt" photograph. I gained a stone during square bashing. Although I only signed on for five years, I ended up doing 22. Only met one other of the Flt when serving at Seletar Singapore 64/67 and he was only passing through."

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Sam McKee 3125642 from 1950, is ex Hut 2, 11 Flt, C Sqd, 2 Wing. He says "I was on the Guard of Honour for the Freedom of Bridgnorth on Wednesday 12th; Sat 12 noon, also I was in the "Arms and Sentry Go" squad at the "Searchlight Tattoo" on the Saturday evening (15/4/50).
Since recently aquiring a laptop and finding the Bridgnorth Site, it has been great reading the memories etc; bringing back "Happy Days" at Bridgnorth Bods."

The photograph Sam sent is listed as '1950 - Hut 2/3 in March'

Malcolm Whiteley 5068842 from 1959, says that "one memory does stand out. The time all the flight went for medicals. We had to strip off and face one another in two long lines stood on benches. We could not stop laughing, so they about faced us while the MO gave us all a thorough inspection, using a stick to move certain parts to one side, I can't tell you what my comment was."
The photographs Malcolm sent are listed as '1959 - Hut 136, 28 Flt' and '1959 - 28 Flt 'C' Sqd'

The daughter of Ian Hepburn 4258390 from 1960, says "Ian recently retired - doing the nostalgic bit, reminising over good old times. Would like to hear from anyone who was with him at Bridgnorth April/May 1960. Any photos would be great, this is his daughter messaging, would like to make his day!!"

Allister Smith 2704861 from 1953, says "I was posted to Bridgnorth from Cardington in October 1953 for "Basic Training" As most of you will know my Sertvice Number is a National Service one. It was at Bridgnorth that I first ran into a problem with a "Regular". My surname is, of course, very common, and I have two initials. However, on arriving at the Railway station one of the NCO's yelled "Smith 861" I called out and was told to get with some other "erks" only to find that they were regulars. My kitbag was taken away in a truck and, as you may imagine when I told the NCO I wasn't a regular just what his numerous responses were. Not only did a regular have my name and initials but also the "last three"
The problem continued after Bridgnorth as we were both posted to RAF Melksham. When, after training as an "Instrument Basher" I was posted to RAF Pembrey, thinking that at last I was free of the problem, until, that is, I applied for leave, only to be told I had none left! He'd been given my leave as well as his own!
Of the DI's we had the one who stood out was a Corporal Petrie (Scotsman) who would stand outside the billets shouting in a very strong accent "Outside all you people!"

Geoffrey Lloyd 4168502 from 1955, says "I was really impressed by the size of the hangars at RAF Cardington - they had been home to the airships eg 101. After kitting out we had a military train ride to RAF Bridgnorth. My home town was Kidderminster - a mere 12 miles distant so I was able to go home at weekends; there was a 20 mile radius. Clomping up and down the train's corridor were corporals Lynch and Evans. We were to get to know them very well over the coming weeks.
I was in 9 Flight, C Squadron. Part of our training included a Resource & Initiative (R & I) weekend. All we had to make a ''tent'' with our capes. No one slept. The weekend consisted of a pitched battle between two opposing sides in the very close vicinity of a disused stone quarry. The venue was Wenlock Edge within the shadow of a pub named ''The Plough Inn''. The pub is still extant but has changed its name. The gate to the quarry is completely overgrown. The vile wet weather gave many lads severe colds and 'flu. Several of us were carted of to RAF hospital at Cosford where we spent a week. I was extremely lucky not to be back-flighted as rifle drill had only just been started. So, we missed Fatigue Week!
Many years later (1967) I met the former corporal Evans - now a sergeant and on gate-duty at RAF St. Athan.
On the long weekend pass - J.T. Whittle & Sons Coaches took lads to Scotland, and the 'Midland Red' took others to Wolverhampton and Birmingham railway stations. It's strange how we only recall the happy times."

Peter Grey 4273448 from 1962, says "I was a member of 21 Flt, A Squadron, I think. Sgt Jackson and Cpl McMurtrie were the NCO's. Sgt Jackson was keen! Anyone remember his craze for winning the Drill Cup? I have tried to find photo of 21 Flt but it seems we were not photogenic enough!"

John Sherrington 4197941 from 1957, can recall "seeing how attractive the NAAFI girls became after a few weeks there!! The train ride back to London. The Jabs and the camp on Brown Clee Hill."
The photograph John sent is listed as '1957 - Hut 58 in Sept'

John Cuttriss 5075607 from 1960, says "I was in the January intake as a National Serviceman at RAF Cardington. I signed on for an extra year and selected Teleprinter Op as my trade. Because of the coal strike of 1960 our stay at Cardington was cut short, we were marched through Bedford to the railway station and put on a train to arrive at Bridgnorth around 1900 hours on a very cold icy winters night. We were then taken to the camp and de-bused onto the parade ground. My first memory of Bridgnorth was the complete chaos as we piled out of the buses onto the icy surface of the square with studded boots, everyone was falling about with kit bags flying in all directions.
We eventually of course soon settled down to the routine of life at the camp. Mugs and irons behind your back as you were marched down to the mess. Scalding your utensils in great tanks of hot water. Sergeants hitting them with his stick as you marched along if they were not clean. Being left with just the handle in your hand and being told not to be indolent and buy a new mug. Making you swing your arms or be beaten with the sticky end when they threatened to rip them off. Corporal Nimmock I think his name was, his peak on his cap was almost vertical so you could only see his sly eyes looking at you sideways, nasty man.
We were given a talk by one officer who warned us not to go into Bridgnorth but if we did, beware of the Wolverhampton Wanderers and I am not talking about the football team. We were then shown a film about how to remain healthy, especially in the marital department.
I remember the "bull nights" and the bed packs, blanket, sheet, blanket, sheet, blanket, nicely wrapped round by another blanket. Ah yes it's all coming back. The best billet out of the four got the radio for the week as I remember, all would be polished, beds all lined up etc, then it was lights out for all "Chinese" (trainees) then someone from the other billets would kick open the door around midnight and throw a bucket of ash down the full length of the floor. However we usually finished up with the radio. Then it was up in the morning, "right dress" and drilling by numbers until you were dizzy, back in the billet it was spit and polish, rubbing your brasses with brasso and cardboard.
I also remember volunteering to be a blood donor, it was a good "scive" you got a cup of tea and a biscuit as well as making contact with the female nurses.
On now to the shooting gallery, we had a lad named Strachen in our Flight, he was off his head and sprayed the butts when handed a Bren gun. He was soon removed being a danger to all and sundry. I was pig sick that day as I didn't get a Marksman's Badge because the guy next to me shot at my target with the 303.
All good stuff but better was yet to come, General de Gaulle decided to pay a visit to the UK to pow wow with Churchill etc. and because we were the intake who were approaching the passing out parade we were sent down to RAF Uxbridge to become part of the RAF Regiment and form the route lining party from Victoria Station in London as the French party arrived on the boat train. I think afterwards we did return to Bridgnorth and probably got some extra leave.
Going back to the Sergeant, whose name escaped me, I remember him asking if there was a Painter and Decorator amongst us. I put my hand up and got the job of painting the Flight office much to the disgust of the D.I's who couldn't touch me as I was under the instructions of the Sarg.
Those are just a few memories of my time at No 7 School of Recruit Training albeit seconded to RAF West Drayton. Next stop was RAF Compton Bassett."

The photographs John sent are listed as '1960 - Hut 15 in Feb' and '1960 - 1 Flt in Feb'

A friend of Brian Allan Hampton (deceased) from 1956, says "Brian served with the RAF at Bridgnorth, was at RAF Cardington during July of 1956 and saw action at Aden. There are some old photos that I have stumbled across recently which I will post to this site. I am trying to piece a family tree together and would like to contact anyone who may remember him. He suffered sever schizophrenia since his 30's and I have only learnt about his time spent at Bridgnorth through old photos. He was a likeable fellow, a keen drummer and loved swing. If anyone does have any memories of this man, I would love to hear from you and your stories. Much appreciated and many thanks."

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Arthur Bathgate 3140940 from 1953, says "we arrived here from the enlistment centre of R.A.F. Cardington in July 1953. Set in a lovely part of the countryside, it was a home-from-home - or not quite.
Our entry was given the task of bringing up to standard what the R.A.F. expected of wooden-billets which were semi-derelict until our arrival from R.A.F. Cardington.
After about a fortnight we were given the usual pep-talk by the Accounts Officer. At question time, I asked the said Flight Lieutenant what National Servicemen earned. I think the retort was "28/-" in old money. He added "... but you are not National Servicemen are you? When we replied in the affirmative, his next question, being a numbers-man said; "Will the N.S. men stand-up!" About a third of the erks in the hall stood up. For a few days, the term "headless chickens" would seem appropriate. I think they eventually continued to treat us as Regulars. They even kept us longer than the statutory eight-week course.
Apart from that, it was a well run camp and we benefited from it.
I had the honour to be made the "stick-man", at the completion of our training. I know I have never been fitter in my life. I am sure there is no square-bashing station which could compare with R.A.F. Bridgnorth. If I remember correctly, our unit Commander was a very fine officer called F/L Warburton."

Brian Carman 4242728 from 1958, has memories of "Cpl Wood, a bit of a sod, but a good drill instructor!"

Patrick Ryan 4200859 from 1958, says "our flight was "D" and our Corporal DI was called Cpl Rawlston, our civvies were taken from us and not returned to us until we were leaving to go to our next posting. I must say I enjoyed the 8 weeks, jabs, marching, PE. On Saturdays, I and a few pals would go to Wolverhampton have a few beers and go to football."

Derek Palmer 4112832 from 1952, says "I hated it, I loved it, it was hard, cold but I enjoyed every moment of becoming a man"

Bryan Tansley S4256792 from 1960, says that "I remember leaving Cardington en route for Bridgnorth. It was snowing and all you could see was a thin line of blue-clad figures trudging to the railway station. When we arrived at Bridgnorth railway station, the corporals were waiting! In fact you could hear them shouting before the train drew in! My abiding memory of my 8 weeks training was the cold! A great experience and plenty of material for stories to the grandchildren!"

Bill Howells H3528674 from 1960, says "I remember the train journey from London to Cardington in a carriage full of NS guys taking the Micky cos I was going to be a regular.
From there we arrived at Bridgnorth station after a long uncomfortable journey on a steam train and arriving in Bridgnorth in the dark and then all hell let loose with NCOs barking orders. It was even more scarry when we got to camp having to run off the coaches at the double with all our kit. Being screamed at to get off the grass as we tried to line up as quick as poss in front of our billets. We had a Cpl Edgington who spoke very strangely as though he had swallowed a frog.
I remember all the hard work bulling our boots for the first time and walking on blanket pads after polishing the floors and the time all my kit was thrown onto the floor because my blanket pack was not perfect.
I also remember going to my first strip show in Dudley driven by a couple of NCOs so we could contribute to their petrol.
If we went into town we would spend most of the time in the coffee bar near the arches or maybe The Swan pub. Saturday night was the dance in the local dance hall and a walk around the churchyard if lucky enough to meet a girl.
Nearly 60 years ago but I remember it like yesterday. I was only 19 at the time but I would not have missed the experience for anything."

Bob Baker S4258786 from 1960, says that "looking back - a great time - young guys finding their way in life - esprit de corps - 'A' Sqd - Flt 9 - Hut 33"
The photograph Bob sent is listed as '1960 - Hut 33, 9 Flt'

John Holford 4262290 from 1960, says "I remember standing by the rifle ranges with fellow servicemen and looking out onto open fields discussing if we should make a run for it. I'm glad we chose not to and I went on to enjoy the best nine years of my life and I would do it all again."
The photograph John sent is listed as '1960 - Hut 178, 16 Flt'

Mike Green 3513371 from 1952, says he had "an interesting 8 weeks with a good crowd of guys and wonder were they may be now?"

Bill Freemantle 4154989 from 1954, says he can recall "a very wet Battle of Britain parade in Kidderminster marching behind a scout band at a slower than normal pace."
The photograph Bill sent is listed as '1954 - Hut 220 in Sept'

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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