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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 27th Feb 2013, 11:15
  #3541 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: N Yorkshire, UK
Age: 72
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Cool On the Skiing theme

On the Skiing theme

Danny as a resident of that funny place slightly to the North of the Tees you may not take 'The Northern Echo'!!!, but a piece in todays issue (27 Feb 2013) may be of interest to you

Airman is king of the slopes (From The Northern Echo)

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 27th Feb 2013, 15:22
  #3542 (permalink)  
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Flight planning for the 10-year-old in 1951

SENIOR Pruners will remember the stubby bottle containing one-third of a pint of milk and given to every British child each morning. Khormaksar’s supply of the familiar little bottles that I had seen in Lincolnshire only three weeks previously arrives from the RAF’s own dairy farm at Steamer Point in crates which in the heat are reeking of sour milk, something which turns my 10-year-old stomach.

Our headmaster is Laurence Acheson, and on my second day this kindly man does his best to make me feel at ease. “Drink up your milk, son, it’s good for you”, he says. “Please sir, it makes me sick, I’d rather not have it”.

It is not good to miss one’s milk, he warns, and nobody gets sick through drinking it. Reluctantly I take a gulp before spraying it and my breakfast all over Sir’s spotless white shorts as he stands at point-blank range before my desk. This feat earns me great peer respect, I gain immediate membership of the Khormaksar Kids who terrorise the camp, and nobody offers me milk again.

My class teacher Miss Buckle swiftly spots her new pupil’s weakness in arithmetic; I shall find that many teachers in the UK could not care less about Service children because they’ll soon be posted away. I’m obsessed with aircraft (and still will be, 60+ years later) and when Miss Buckle asks each pupil to recite something from memory a couple of pupils recite poems, someone else gives a few lines of prose, and I contribute the takeoff checklist for the Avro Lancaster which I have learned in readiness for the aircraft I’m going to buy once I grow up. Dad says Lancasters were ten a penny a few years ago so I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding one. Miss Buckle shakes her head sadly but a couple of days later gives me a sheet of handwritten problems.

Your Avro Lancaster carries 2000 gallons of petrol, its four engines each consume 60 gallons an hour, and it cruises at 200 mph. How far can you fly before the tanks run dry? Your Lancaster cruises at 200 mph. It is 900 miles from Khormaksar to Khartoum. How much fuel will you need ? This is great, I think. Totally absorbed, it’s the only time I fail to lead the rush home when school ends at lunchtime, and a faintly smiling Miss Buckle checks my flight plan.

“Oh dear. I don’t know much about flying, but on these figures you’re going to come down in the Red Sea. And what do we have in the Red Sea?” “Sharks, Miss Buckle”. “Exactly. Now I’d like you to take this home and recalculate your flights for tomorrow. Until you improve I’m afraid I would not fly anywhere if you are the pilot, I don’t want to be eaten”. Mortified, I slink off home and fall for her cunning plan hook, line and sinker. More flying problems follow and by the end of the next term we have explored every possibility of Lancaster operation, and I have at last learned some arithmetic.

Many years later my father told me that Miss Buckle had been waiting at Flying Wing one morning when it opened at 0700. There she had asked questions about the Lancaster and the basics of navigation so that she could set my problems. She told my father that she feared his child was totally obsessed, but she would teach him maths if it was the last thing she did.

A quarter of a century later I would have both pilot’s and engineering licences as well as my own aircraft, sadly not a Lancaster. No small part of these achievements was down to dear, dedicated Miss Buckle in her sweltering classroom at RAF Khormaksar.

COMING SOON: Pray join us at the RAF Khormaksar Church Parade, a solemn and reverential event on the Stations of the 1950s.
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Old 27th Feb 2013, 18:55
  #3543 (permalink)  
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.....talk of many things....


Your quote: "flawless landing demonstrations". That well known (and rather outspoken) Irishman whom we all love to hate (but who nevertheless runs a hugely profitable airline while others are losing money hand over fist) has, I believe, recently thought up a wizard wheeze. He has a mind to have a straphanger section fitted in steerage in his next batch of 737s.

The justification for the idea, apparently, is that he can pack a few more in and: "if there's an accident, they're all dead anyway" (which may well be true, but has raised some critical Press comment). What has escaped comment is his next remark: "and heavy landings are a thing of the past".
Really ? I'm very pleased to hear it ! Can any one throw light on this amazing development ? (With grovelling apologies to our Moderator).

PS Thanks to you and Chugalug for the solution to the Bold Type question !
(and it is Open House again on my PMs !) Your Miss Buckle sounds a very wise teacher indeed, and Mr. Acheson had reason to reflect on the old adage about leading horses to water.....or small boys to sour milk !.........D


Thanks for the link ! (don't take the D & S Times). But the Telemark was always far beyond my ability.
Good for the lad, though, (sounds like the R.Aux.A.F. ? - but hadn't they been disbanded ?)..............D

Regards to you all, Danny.
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Old 27th Feb 2013, 19:23
  #3544 (permalink)  
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"and heavy landings are a thing of the past" but turbulence isn't. Even with conventional seats and belts a significant number of injuries are caused by it.

Please don't let this fantastic thread be sullied with the smut and grime of the modern business world, especially from that quarter.
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Old 27th Feb 2013, 21:15
  #3545 (permalink)  
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Greasers every time.

pulse 1,

I don't think you need to worry too much on that score. It was not so much the business background of my reference, but the novel concept of no-bump landings which intrigued me ! Bring 'em on, say I !

Your point on the dangers of turbulence is well made.

Cheers, Danny42C.
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Old 27th Feb 2013, 22:30
  #3546 (permalink)  
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Your reminder of the perils involved in the early post WW2 period of civil aviation whereby the similar ex WW1 rise in commercial motor transport was repeated with even more shaky results is well taken.
Freddy Laker was very much the exception to the general rule in that he wasn't a Senior Officer and he wasn't a pilot, perhaps that had a bearing on his ability to see the woods for the trees. He obtained a contract to provide cargo aircraft for the Berlin Airlift despite having only passenger aircraft. By having a freight door constructed and fitted to a cut-out chalked out on a fuselage side over a weekend he had an aircraft to offer the following week. The remaining aircraft were converted in similar short order. Once the airlift was over so was his airline. He paid off the staff and melted the aircraft down at Southend. As other airlines folded, unable to find other business, he melted down their aircraft too. A survivor, well that is until the old boys net folded in on him, no doubt justified between themselves with the thought that, "The man's a bloody Corporal, for God's sake!"
To be somewhat provocative I see O'Leary in much the same vein. Most of his outrageous suggestions (coin operated loo doors, standing for take off and landing, etc) aren't serious, but have two great advantages, they get him and his airline in the news and irritate the "old boys" enormously. He may irritate others as well, I'm sure, but his load factors, modern fleet, and profitability tell their own story. Oh, BTW, I never worked for him, if I did perhaps I might think differently!
Geriaviator, well done for resolving the mystery of the "occulting" thread titles. If only we could speed the effect up, what an attention getter that would be! Your post brought back memories of lining up at breaktime for my third of a pinta. No-one at our school had the presence of mind or ability to instantly vomit it up. The esteem it won you at yours was indeed well earned! I very belatedly salute you, Sir.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 03:50
  #3547 (permalink)  
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Delightful story geriaviator, thanks. What a treasure was Miss Buckle, getting inside the head of a 10 year old boy. Not that it's hard, but she cared and was being utterly professional. Excellent.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 16:00
  #3548 (permalink)  
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Danny is Home and Dry.

Now we're ashore in Dover, and it is Sunday afternoon. British Railways (surprisingly) raised no difficulty with the return half of our rail tickets (apparently it was then not all that unusual for travellers to go out from one Channel port and return to another).

And now our chequebooks were good ? Forget it ! In those days eveything in London was shut tight except the pubs (no ATMs in those days) and it would be a stupid publican indeed who'd cash a cheque for a dishevelled young stranger waving some bit of plastic. Neither of us were members of the RAF Club, mostly avoiding London like the plague, so we'd never seen any reason to join.

All we had now was the cash in our pockets, and this had to be carefully husbanded. Willie went off somewhere to spend his last couple of days' leave with his people, I took the tube to Euston, deducted from my remaining cash the price of a sleeper on the Irish Mail, and had a very frugal meal with what was left. I got on the train as soon as they let us aboard, put my head down and slept like a log.

The train got into Holyhead at dawn. The steward brought me a cup of tea. I hadn't a penny to tip him and made a clean breast of it. He was quite understanding about it (he was ex-RAF). My little Bond stood where I'd left it in the station car park two weeks before (you could do that in those days, no one would pinch it, even though it was just a matter of throwing a switch on the panel and a tug on the starter). And if they did, it was the only one on Anglesey - it shouldn't be hard for Jones the Plod to find. It started first pull, I pop-popped back to Valley. Breakfast in the Mess tasted better than I'd ever known it ! Then back to work.

About this time we learned that the Squadron's days were numbered. Some bean-counter in Air Ministry (possibly the same chap who'd picked up the mismatch between Derwent failures and flame-out practice crashes) had realised that it was a very expensive way to provide the simple services the Army needed. We were ripe for privatisation.

The job was put out to tender: the successful bidder was (IIRC) Marshalls of Cambridge. In September they wouid take over from us, setting up shop in Llanbedr (Harlech); we would hand over our aircraft to them; 20 Squadron would disband (it would in later years reform as a Hunter and then a Harrier Squadron). Yet there was still one last summer to work through.

Here I beg to differ a bit from the otherwise omniscient Wiki. They say that 202 AFS moved into Valley in early '51. The decision to move them might have been taken at that time, but they did not physically appear until early September, on the eve of our departure. In between we had some unexpected visitors.

A section of the xxxth Bombardment Group of Strategic Air Command would be coming in with their B-50s for an indefinite period. Why Valley and not East Anglia (that unsinkable aircraft carrier), which was their natural habitat, we never knew. There was plenty of unused technical accommodation on the W side of the main runway (later the AFS would go in there to begin with), but I wondered how the USAF even knew Valley existed. (Wiki tells me that they used it during the war as a staging post for aircraft delivered across the Atlantic).

On the appointed morning, the Valley weather had done its worst - rain, low scud at 2-300 ft, poor visibility, a pig of a day. I think all our flying had been called off. The plan was that the "Coinel" would bring in the first ship, with the others to follow at twenty-minute intervals. Of course we all turned out to watch the arrival.

So what happens now ? - don't miss the next Thrilling Instalment.

Good afternoon, chaps,


PS: Geriaviator, thanks for unravelling the Great Bold Type Mystery (the infection has reached P.2 now, our chaps must all be out drawing their pensions)..........D.

The Onlooker sees most of the Game.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 18:38
  #3549 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Hope it is not deemed off topic now but would like to add some of my childhood pictures from Aden, taken by dad or mum (sorry about quality, they are old and scanned in:

Me in the Lido at Khormakser, safer than Elephant Bay, although the sharks were still scary through the fence:

The 'corner shop' and flats:

and finally a general view from behind the flats, lovely playground for mischievous kids:

Last edited by Exrigger; 1st Mar 2013 at 18:42.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 20:17
  #3550 (permalink)  
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Sorry Danny, but I've just checked my log book and I was posted to 202 AFS Valley on 02/07/51 along with six others (five pilot officers and two sergeants) from 6 FTS Tern Hill for No 7 course. After a week of groundschool I had my first famil flight in a Meteor 7 with Flt Lt Wallace, the flight commander on 11/07/51.

The unit had obviously been in operation for several weeks when our course began as there were a couple of courses already running.

A couple of the chaps on the senior courses were granted trips in Spitfires by 20 Sqn but much to my regret in later years, I did not persue that opportunity, for which nineteen year old in their right mind would want to fly an obsolescent aircraft when daily we were able to aviate in Vampire Mk 1s and 5s, not to mention dual in the Meteor? The course lasted three months and I then reported to 229 OCU Chivenor on 28/10/51 having had had a weeks leave.

So I guess that this is one occasion when Wiki got it right!
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 23:28
  #3551 (permalink)  
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202 AFS, Valley.


You have me bang to rights ! It just shows how fallible memories can be ! I must now cudgel my brains even harder than before, but perhaps you could help me to get the record straight.

You started on No. 7 Course on 2nd July. As the Course was 3 months long, if we knew how the Courses overlapped, we could work back to the start date.

Was there any "folk memory" of the B-50s from any of the earlier Courses ? If so, we may be able to put them in the time frame, too.

We had our Mess and Nissen billets on the top of the little hillock to the North of the airfield. Surely you couldn't have been in there with us - there wasn't room, for a start ? Where were your accommodations and your Mess ?

You mention a Flt Lt Wallace. I have very recently been e-mailed by a Mr David Watkins, who is researching 202AFS, 20 Sqdn. and Valley. I've advised him to follow this Thread - he may get in touch with you via PPRuNe.

How could you have been with us for so long and I not remember !

Standing in corner wearing Dunce's Cap, Cheers, Danny.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 08:36
  #3552 (permalink)  
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Aden 1951-61

Super pix exrigger, the one in the Lido might have been myself 10 yrs before but I wasn't as good looking. Could the flats and boatyard pictures have been the village of Maala? I know that RAF Khormaksar expanded in that direction after Suez when the base became very important.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 11:54
  #3553 (permalink)  
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Thanks Geriaviator, but good looks, no, I think you are probably right as it looks like I spelt Maala wrong, as the flats were on Maala high street.

I had a great time there especially when my dad took me to Crater? which I believe was a no no at that time, but the markets were fascinating to a kid. The shop in the picture was great it was so easy to 'borrow' stuff that was my first go, with a mate, at smoking only did that twice since then put me off to take it up for real.

There was only one bad thing and that was unfortunately seeing a Hunter crash during an air display, quite shocking for a child, especially when it was one from the Squadron dad was working on.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 11:59
  #3554 (permalink)  
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Danny, Sorry but I have little memory of the layout of Valley sixty plus years ago but assume all officers were accommodated in the one mess which was in easy cycling distance to "flights", from where one could walk a short distance to a small beach. Everyone was issued with a bike and we frequently visited a drinking establishment in Rhosneigr known as "Aunty Tatties" by cycling along the runway and climbing over a crash gate. Obviously not much night flying then.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 19:04
  #3555 (permalink)  
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Tales of Old Valley.


Your account of Valley raises goosebumps ! My log tells me that July '51 was a busy one for me - 22 trips (one three in a day, a couple of twos, 24 hrs all in Spitfires. So there's me, head down, engrossed in my paperback, shuttling between Barmouth/Aberdovey, not a care in the world, never even looking out of the window - and there's you and a whole AFS load of Bloggs milling about all over the place ! Talk about living dangerously !
(Were you warned off Towyn ? - I do hope so)

You went from Flights (over far side, almost on beach) over to Mess by bike. Did you have to climb a little hill ? And was it a Nissen hut ? (we'll get to the bottom of this, somehow !)

"Aunty Tattie" Club ? Just "Tatty Club" in my day. Did they still have an old Bardic Chair (all carved dragons and things) from some past Eisteddfod ? (check spelling). If so, same place. Access was by little footbridge across the creek just off end of 34.. Approaches to bridge were underwater at high tide, but if depth no more than a foot (and on an ebb tide), you could charge it with a bike and hit planking with luck, or get very wet. No crash gate in my time.

Cheers again, Danny.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 19:30
  #3556 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
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The only available drinker on Sundays in my Gnat days was the Sandymount Club in Rhosneigr - everywhere else was shut as Anglesey was 'dry' on Sundays back then:

A very friendly place! It could also be reached by back roads, avoiding the need to use the A5 via Bryngrwan.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 22:10
  #3557 (permalink)  
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Danny - The mess was a nissan hut affair as were the accommodation huts. Divided into small rooms and saturated when it rained. I've looked on google earth and visualise it somewhere near the undershoot of 16, but where is the current mess? I certainly stayed for a couple of nights in it '65 ish but remember nothing. Perhaps the hospitality deleted it all. But in '51 the main camp with admin wing etc was on the eastern side and a very long cycle ride from "flights".
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 15:44
  #3558 (permalink)  
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THE CHURCH PARADE: or the innocents wronged

1. In the beginning the Lord created the Heavens and the Earth, and the light, and every living creature that moveth. And He created that place which is called, Aden; and for some it was heaven, and for some it was hell.

2. And the Lord created His servant which He called, Padre Ashe; and He made his servant’s voice of the booming thunder, and the people feared the voice for it boometh for many hours. Or so did it seem to the people.

3. And it came to pass that the Padre Ashe did summon to the House of the Lord all people that did dwell in the place that was called, Khormaksar. And the people did enter the House two by two and in their proper order: behold the Group Captain in his Great Headgear of Gold, his Officers, their Ladies, the Sergeants in their raiment of Best Blue, their wives, their Kids, and all manner of lesser creatures, yea, even onto the lowly Erks that did creep upon the airfield.

4. And the Lord’s servant Padre Ashe gazed upon the assembled multitude, and it was good in his eyes; and he boometh on and on and on and on before them, yea, even above the mighty blasts as of a brazen trumpet; for Flt Sgt Smith did partake of the juice of the grape the night before, and the mirth of the people did fall upon him as he slumbered.

5. Now the child Graham was of the Kids, yet not of the Kids, for he was of the Israelites and so attended not the Church Parade, and he did wander abroad that Lord’s Day morning. And lo, the devil appeareth before Graham and sheweth onto him that portal in the House which they calleth, Emergency Door. And the child Graham fell into temptation and did open that portal, and did place therein certain of the Lord’s creatures, that is to say, the locusts which destroyeth the land, and his great land crab which he had named, Abdul; and the child Graham closed that door and crept away as a thief in the night.

6. Then did the twenty and two locusts rise as one to perform low-level circuits at full boost and max revs, and the House was filled with the mighty whirring of their wings, and the Ladies cried out in their fear. And beneath them the great land crab which the child Graham had named, Abdul, did run across the bare toes of the Ladies, and they called out in their terror, and Mrs. Edwards did fall to the ground with the vapours.

7. Now the tumult awakened Flt Sgt Smith from his slumbers, and he cast his hymnal upon the great crab which was named, Abdul, and did smite him thereon: and in his alarm the great crab named, Abdul, did seize the toe of Mrs. Evans, and in her fear she leapt up and did spill the Communion wine upon her finest raiment of Dior white, and her cry of woe rose to the heavens, where all the while the twenty and two locusts did orbit in furious formation. And the Padre saith Behold, the plague of locusts is upon thee for thy sins, and the people milled about in disarray.

8. Then did the Padre’s voice of thunder arise above the tumult, saying, Suffer the little children. And the people replied, saying, Thou bet they will suffer. And the mummies and daddies seized the Kids by their necks and bore them from the House while in vain the Kids piteously cried out their innocence; for well the people kneweth whence came all pestilence in their midst.

9. And as the weeping Kids were borne past him, the Group Captain did turn from them his countenance, for it was red as of the setting sun, and his eyes watereth, and his hand was before his mouth, and he uttereth a gasping noise. And thereby the Kids did learn that the dread Russian plague of VD had fallen upon their station commander, for he guardeth not against it as the MO did warn.

10. And behold, the dread Wrath of the Lord did fill the right arms of the daddies, and thereby the Rod of the Lord did fall mightily upon the backsides of the Kids, and they were cast into the darkness of their bedrooms without any supper: and the Patch was filled with wailing and lamentation.

NEXT THRILLING INSTALMENT: In a little-known chapter of Cold War history, RAF Khormaksar converts to Judaism.

Last edited by Geriaviator; 31st Dec 2018 at 15:12. Reason: Silly old fool forgot the picture!
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 18:36
  #3559 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: where the north starts
Posts: 94
Peter Brett RIP

A couple of years ago, I posted a series of Peter's wartime Hawker Typhoon flying exploits on this thread.

Sadly, Peter passed away peacefully yesterday morning after a short illness. He would have been 90 in June, and we were all looking forward to celebrating his birthday, but it was not to be.

Last summer, while staying with Peter's daughter, Mrs TOW compiled a set of amateur video clips of Peter talking about some of his adventures.

If you do a Google search for "Peter Brett Typhoon" you will find them on Youtube. You can't miss him, he's the one with the shock of white hair and matching beard!

Peter had overcome the perils of Atlantic convoys, airborne combat, tuberculosis, a fall from a roof in which he damaged his back and even beat cancer ten years ago, but old age finally got to him.

RIP Peter, you will be missed.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 18:57
  #3560 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: AndyCappLand
Age: 97
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Never a Dull Moment !


Nice pics - Abdul looks a fearsome beast ! And what a rattling good story ! (would I be wrong in suspecting an "inside job" - a confederate who contrived to get into church a little early, and opened the Emergency Exit just a teeny little bit so that a small hand could gently open it a little more from the outside ?).......Let's have lots more like this !.......D.


Sandymount looks fine, but as I recall the Tatty Club was more like the Valley OMQ you showed me a while back. Mind you, it was always after dark when we got there .........D.


It very much looks as if the Mess you remember was our old place (on long finals to 16 would be about right). In which case, as I don't remember 202 AFS there, do you remember us 20 Sqdn chaps ? (or shall we just forget it - it was a long time ago, after all)......D.

Regards to you all,




Another old comrade gone - May he Rest in Peace. Please convey to his family our sympathy and condolences.

Danny42C, wife and daughter.

Last edited by Danny42C; 3rd Mar 2013 at 19:27. Reason: Additional Material.
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