First & Last, Journal of the Halton 81st Entry

Issue Number 3

May 2005

The Journal of the 81st Entry

Uploaded by Brian Spurway

Edited by Mike Stanley

Welcome to the third edition of The Journal.

The initial idea of this Journal( hardly news when the events reported happened so long ago , any suggestions for a more apt title? ) was to give accounts of our lives after we left Halton. There are of course many tales to be told of events whilst we were still at Halton. Did you go on The Spanish Trip? What did YOU get up to at Woodvale? Were you ever in the infamous ' Derby Arms'?

The statue of limitations is well past so now the truth can be told!

Mike Stanley.

Continuing the popular theme of first postings:

Following a suggestion from Alan Humphrey, any 'pen picture' received will be shown. A fuller account of your lives would be welcomed in order to keep the Journal going for more than just a few issues.

Pen Picture No 3

An Interesting Life by Doc Knights

I joined the 81st Entry with four school pals who all left at the end of the 3 month probation period! Having seen them since I find them financially comfortably off, but having led totally boring lives, none of whom moved further than 25 miles from their home towns! Never one to rush a decision I finally took PVR 37 years and 5 months later, 7 months before my 55th birthday! We all know whose life has been the most interesting and enjoyable to date!

  • 1958-60 Cottesmore - Victor 1st and 2nd line
  • 1960-62 Aden Arm Serv Flt - 1st and 2nd line - Detachments to Kuwait (first Iraqi threat) - Bahrein - Kenya - Uganda
  • 1960-69 Stafford Arm Serv Flt
  • 1969-72 Cyprus - Akrotiri 103MU - 2nd Line Bofors Servicing
  • 1972-73 Stafford Arm Serv Flt
  • 1973-76 Cyprus 3 Wing RAF Regt Support Flt (Turkish invasion)
  • 1976-79 Catterick - 48Sqn Armourer then Bofors Servicing - Detachments to Buchan and 5 to Belize
  • 1979 Belize - Harrier Armament Servicing and ESA
  • 1979-84 Wittering No1 EOD Flt- Detachments - 1982 Operation Corporate Falklands War and an MID
  • 1984-85 Abingdon DSGT as Trade Rep - Detachments to Germany and Algeria
  • 1985-87 Catterick WO Arm and Eng - Built a Museum for the Regt plus two great years gliding with 645VGS
  • 1987-93 Wittering WO EOD Operations Flt - OC EOD Operations Flt - EOD Sqn WO - Detachments to Germany x2, Saudia Arabia x2, USA x2
  • 1993-96 Scampton Running a Seat Bay for Hunting Aviation - made redundant when Scampton shut.
  • 1996- April 2004 Commissionaire Boundary Mills Store (3 Weeks) RAF Cranwell as Arm Support Manager (Arm Off) working for Hunting Aviation,Hunting Aircraft Services and SERCO

Things most remembered:

  • 1.1962 - Climbing Kilimanjaro
  • 2.1963 -64 Making friends with a Gurkha at Bisley, only to find he had been awarded the VC.(Rambahadar Limbu - Our paths crossed for many years.)
  • 3.1966 -Racing Formula Ford with lousy results
  • 4.1969-72 Rallying in Cyprus with very good results.
  • 5.Winning the RAF Autotest Championship and others at National level
  • 6.1973-76 Watching the Turkish Air Force bombing Radio Cyprus Transmitter whilst at RAF Troodos. Being sniped at in Limassol and machine gunned near the village of Episkopi
  • 7.1976-79 Visiting the Mayan ruins in Belize and Mexic
  • 8.1982 - Being bombed on board ship (RFA Bedivere) and at Ajax Bay - 6 bombs - one exploded (5 dead, 26 injured) two remained UXB in the building, about 15' from my head! One exited the building, bouncing alongside a Marine in a trench, before landing UXB on top of the hill. (Said Marine could not stop talking for hours afterwards!) The remaining two landing UXB in the sea. Clearing mines, napalm and cluster bomblets etc - quite exciting!!
  • 9.1984. Watching the sunset over the Sahara from an old French Foreign Legion Fort in Algeria. Examining Migs and Sukhois at Dar el Blida and much further afield.
  • 10.1985-87 Gliding over the Yorkshire Moors and Dales.
  • 11.1987-93. Any number of unexploded bombs - muddy holes and adrenalin rush, any number of IEDs at all times of the day or night.
  • 12.Various flights in various aircraft, Lightning, Lancaster, Red 3 Hawk RAFAt, Corsair Oaklahoma ANG, Harrier and Mifeng M3C Chinese ultralight flown by an ex-Mig 15-21 pilot.
  • 13. All five trips, so far, to China.

Yes its been an interesting life so far - better than some - slightly less than others. Between us, we have probably visited every country in the world - interesting thought for a future issue - Who has been where?

My very best wishes to all other fellow entry members. We left our mark!

" interesting" ? rather an understatment I think Doc, exciting , with some terrifying moments , is nearer the mark! Ed.

What's in a name?

Willie Keays Eng Fitt(S) u/t

Have you noticed that those aircraft types that are regarded with most affection are generally known by alternative, often shortened names? For example 'Spit' for Spitfire, 'Lanc' for Lancaster., 'Tiffy' for Typhoon. 'Shack' and 'Dak' are other well-known examples. Even if the name, like 'Bev' in the case of that troublesome beast, were bestowed more through grudging admiration than affection, it set that aircraft type apart.

Was it irreverent and laconic groundcrew that fostered the use of pet names? Who first called the Argosy 'The Whistling Tit'? How apt! Well done that man!

At RAF Tengah the RNZAF operated the Bristol 'Vibrator'. Nowadays it would be thought that what was being referred to was an interesting object with internal batteries that could be used on tits, whistling or not.

My brother and his mates, at Leuchars on 74 Sqn, always referred to their Lightnings as 'Frightenings'.

'Mossie', 'Whirly', 'Brit' are other pet names, but none of the V-bombers had alternative version of their proper names. Neither did the Hastings, if you ignore that to us, at 70 Sqn's second line, it was sarcastically referred to as 'The Queen of the Sky'. In tabloids of the time, any report of Hastings operations always seemed involve a rare variant, the 'Giant Hastings'. On this theme, is 'Herky-bird' actually used outside the Sun and other kiddies' comics? 'Jump-jet' is another tabloid term used to avoid challenging their readers' mental recall too much.

Does anybody now call the Tornado, the 'Tornie'? I doubt it, but in its early days as the Multi-role Combat Aircraft (MRCA), repeated delays in its path to production led some wags to to say that the abbreviation stood for 'Mother Riley's Cardboard Aircraft' or 'Must Refurbish the Canberra Again'. And the Canberra? Always just so, thus avoiding calling it the 'Can' I suppose.

Some names may have been given out of dislike. Take the Valetta, for example. This type, on 114 Sqn, was 'Pig'. Not only did it have a porcine silhouette, but our fitter Chief claimed that it deserved the name because it had clearly been built in accordance with the First Law of Aircraft Constructors. This states that a part may not be said to be properly installed in an aircraft unless it can only be touched with one finger with the arm outstretched, or seen by only one eye, but not both at the same time. Do you know of other names for our kites? Let's hear them.

Hope to get plenty of response to this article. Ed

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