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Old 20th May 2017, 13:50
  #3548 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: 75' from the runway edge and 150' from the threshold
Age: 70
Posts: 161
How True

Frelon, How very true. I joined my local Sqn. a month or two before the required age of, I think, 13 years 8 months (might have been 4 months). By the time I was 16 I had been in full time employment for 1 year and 2 months (yes, work it out, full time employment at 14 years and 10 months!) and when I was 16 my enlightened employer of the time thought that yes, they could get a return on their money by releasing me to go on a gliding course with the ATC. This involved the Saturday night Heysham steamer (no cabins or bunks, just a good old fashioned great coat to keep out the November cold, whilst crossing the Irish Sea)

After the crossing, a Sunday train service to Euston Station in London, a long wait for a connection to Norwich from Liverpool Street and await a minibus to take us to Swanton Morley (I was a Cadet Sergeant, in charge of two others). It's too long a story to regale you with the goings on, including a couple of "chaps" from a CCF at a boarding school who had never heard of but thoroughly enjoyed a working class delicacy known as a "Chip Buttie" Sadly I was the only one of the three from "N'Orn I'rn) who soloed. Sadly the other two got weathered out alongside several other students.

That was it, I wanted to fly BUT I was earning only 6 a week, 4:10s:0d of which went to my Mother (my Father was earning a princely 18 or so, so my input, along with my Brother's was needed to keep the family finances in the black) Membership of the Ulster GC, then at the old RAF station Long Kesh, was WAAY beyond my means until I joined the RAF and on my first posting, to Wattisham, hotfooted round the peri track to stump up my cash to join the RAFGSA at the Anglia GC.

So yes, the ATC gliding system lit a fire in me which was fuelled by both the RAFGSA and RAFGGA, a fire which burned from the mid 60s of the 20th century through to the first decade of the 21st, but dimmed sadly by ill health. I still study the clouds, look up at the sky and watch the guys and girls from Bellarena soar Binevenagh Mountain and the cliffs overlooking Benone strand (where I once landed due to a treacherous N'Wly dying away to nothing whilst at the furthest end of the ridge.)

What a sad end to an organisation that helped so many youngsters of all classes, creed and ethnicity. I fear it will never return to those glory days, and all because some RAF officers didn't do their job in monitoring the contractors at all stages.

Last edited by ACW342; 20th May 2017 at 16:27.
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