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AOTS Church Fenton

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AOTS Church Fenton

Old 28th Jan 2010, 18:13
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AOTS Church Fenton

AOTS RAF Church Fenton, Linton, Valley
Anyone on 247 Course at AOTS RAF Church Fenton September 1968?
No 1 FTS Linton April 1969-70
No 4 FTS Valley March 1970
Maybe a 40 year reunion??
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 08:21
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Was that Red Course at CF? I graduated on 251 on 4 July 1969!

The Aircrew Officer Training School at Church Fenton was a short-lived unit in the annals of RAF officer training but, with aircrew only officer cadets run by aircrew only staff (bar the DIs), in the 60s it was a great fun place to enter the RAF through. Many happy memories of schoolies from Ilkley and nights out in Taddy!! The weekly pay of £8 was good enough to have change at the end of the week, have a good drinking session during the week and at the weekend and never actually hit the 'interview by CO' threshold if your Mess Bill was over a tenner!

Foldie
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 09:53
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Just before you - joined at CF on 1 Apr 68 - April Fools day and the 50th anniversary of the formation of the RAF. Not wishing to hijack your thread, but if anyone reading this was on same course as me, would be interested to know (ps. stopped flying military aircraft last month!).
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 10:44
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AOTS

Foldie, do you know I can't remember the 'Colour' of the course (247) - perhaps I'm colour blind.
Some of the staff/instructors were:
Sgt Roose (Drill Sgt)
F/L Sturley
F/L Howard
S/L Scott
and many others whose names now escape me. Let me have another think.
Yes, good times with the imported 'Talent'. We did quite a brisk trade with young nurses from York and Leeds
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 11:32
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Good grief! Sgt Rhoose. That name brings back memories. There was one practice parade where a certain individual, tasked with raising the RAF flag, managed to get it stuck halfway up. "Mr. -----, you're an idiot, bring the f----g thing down and start again!" . So the poor guy brings it down and starts all over again. It's again halfway up when Sgt Rhoose shouts " The f---g thing's upside down", and he throws his pace stick on the floor whereupon it breaks in goodness how many pieces. He was livid; that said, he was a great guy who was always on our side, so much so that we invited him to an end of course ball at the cadets mess and presented him with a new pace stick.
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 18:27
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Bill Howard? I think that was Blue, which would figure as 251 was Red so 248 was Red. 252 (White) was the last course before it all moved south to Henlow and joint trg with the ground pounders!

Given that it was such a short-lived unit, perhaps we should just have an AOTS reunion and see who turns up!

Foldie
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 21:04
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No intended thread drift.......

Chipmunk WD390 is recorded as transferred from AOTS South Cerney to RFS (Church Fenton) AOTS Jan '67, and remaining there until Allocated MUAS Oct '69. I am assuming this means based at CF during the period of interest to this thread. Anyone have memories?

She is currently happy and active from Wickenby, and would welcome anyone wishing to renew a personal old acquaintance.
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 23:04
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I was on the course that transferred from South Cerney to Church Fenton half way through our Officer Training thus extending our period as OCs by several weeks. However, at least Church Fenton allowed us to see aircraft flying which we did not see at South Cerney.
Survivors of 237 AOTS course or even 113 Nav course please wave a flag.

MM
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Old 31st Jan 2010, 12:16
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Church Fenton

Studefather:
No problem with 'Drift' - let's let it drift wherever it likes around the places and times in question!
I flew a few of the WD vintage Chipmunks - WD 330, 380, WG459, 586, 810 and WF 564 and can't remember which others. I'd love to renew my acquaintance with the old dears. What's she going to cost me for an hour ? Do you own her?
Yes, it was Bill Howard - a lovely guy - as were all the instructors.....looking back! I didn't think they were so bloody nice at the time! Other names that emerge from the mists of time:
Dick Harden ex Sergeant Aircrew - went on to fly Buccaneers
Hedley Young
Andy Kirk
Gerry Tracey
Bob Jones - now with CAA
Donal Foley ex Aer Lingus DFO, then Thos Cook DFO, now with Irish CAA
Roy Citrine.
John Myers ex Arrows and Buccaneers
Dave Dillon
Peter Bailey.
Please dig out any others!!
Another famous face at Church Fenton was a character who I'll refer to as D H-H who stood up in the front cockpit of a Chipmunk and saluted the AOC (MacGill, I think) during the flypast on AOC's Inspection Parade. I think they tried to court-martial him for that. Shame.
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Old 31st Jan 2010, 12:42
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Vintage Chipmunks

Cojones,

Just checked my first logbook - identical Chipmunk registrations (except I think it was WK 564 - AUAS, by any chance?
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Old 31st Jan 2010, 12:44
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I was on 240 (White) which IIRC was the first one to start at CF rather than transfer from SC. Must have been a late change, my original joining instructions said SC for the same date - Feb 68.

Turning to D H-H, his (last) CM was at Linton late '68 early '69 ..... for breaking a pint pot over the PMC's head. PMC had (wrongly) accused H-H of throwing a TF which was actually thrown by a young Middy...... I was close enough to the incident to get glass shrapnel in my (then luxurious) hair!!
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Old 31st Jan 2010, 17:26
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I did Orderly Officer Under Instruction with D H-H! What a night that was! "Nah, we don't have to do that. No, don't bother with that" was his regular chant.

When he was flying Hunters in MEAF, during Happy Hour, he would keep riding his motorbike round and round the rose bed in front of the OM at Bahrain (I think it was there but it may have been Salalah) before eventually bisecting the bed via the path that halved it and crashing in through the open front doors (duly pulled apart by accomplices) of the mess and parking his motorbike on the entrance hall carpet! Eventually, the PMC was so pi**ed off with him doing it that he (the PMC) planted 2 concrete bollards at each end of the bisecting path - so incensed was D H-H at this action that he stole a pneumatic drill, dug up one of the concrete bollards and recemented it in the open door of the PMC's office in the mess! Later, at CF, he blasted a pint pot out of the Educ Off's hands in the bar with his 'feusil' (a blunderbuss so the story goes) - for that he was court martialled.

He was also supposed to be the guy tasked at CF with taking an Iraqi pilot up to practise approaches against a cloud (the poor lad was not good enough to even practise doing approaches to the runway with a QFI behind him in a chippy). D H-H, having eventually had enough, evidently hit the Tx and said "I'm pi**ed off" - the Approach Controller exclaimed "Who said that? Calssign please" to which D H-H said, "I'm not that pi**ed off"! Apochryphal I know but I heard it first at CF when I was doing my OOI/U with D H-H!

Teeters - was the offence carried out at Linton or CF? 'Cos I was definitely at CF from Jan - Jul 69 and D H-H was there in No 1 Officers' Mess. However, he may have been back there following his CM?

Foldie
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Old 31st Jan 2010, 20:21
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Manandboy

Very good detective work....congratulations! Yes, AUAS 1965-68. I see you're new to PPRuNe, so you can either reply here or PM (send private message) me. Identify yourself immediately and I will reciprocate! Clue: Gerry Baxter was my instructor and Jolly Jack Butcher sold me into slavery in Her Majesty's Finest. Chris Sprent was my first boss.
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Old 31st Jan 2010, 22:14
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D H-H was definitely in the Linton Mess during the winter of 1968. Us RN Midshipmen were slightly in awe of him and his reputation, I always remember the advice to avoid being associated with him.

Red rag to a bull
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Old 1st Feb 2010, 11:52
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cojones

If you can get yourself along to Wickenby, then the rest can be had at the cost of a large breakfast from our excellent cafe.
I'm around most weekends. Just need to match availability with weather.
WD390 is syndicate based, but I own the lion's share of all that goes with operating a Chipmunk these days!
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Old 1st Feb 2010, 17:43
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Ah the sweet nostalgia! I flew WD390 several times but firstly on 10 Jun 69 with the Sqn Cdr, Cecil Jonklaas on my acceptance check. At the time, I reduced the average age of the Instructor cadre to around 54! I remember, wearing shirt sleeves, trying to change a pair of flying gloves at stores only to be told by the civilian at the counter that "students" were expected to make one pair last. I had to nip back to the Mess for my battle-dress top to convince him!

Sorry to burst the bubble, but I don't think it was the AOC Dai saluted. I think it was the Chief Instructor, a very nice chap called Harding, who inhabited the upstairs of the easterly hangar. As I recall, Dai had persuaded his student in the front to crouch on the floor and steer with his hands whilst he flung the canopy fully back, stood up and gave a rigid eyes right to the CI. That said, I'm afraid my lips are sealed on: the black powder fowling piece, the exploding cabbage, the confetti bazooka, the bar snatching tool and any other fanciful tales of the time!

But back to the thread, and the phantom AOTS student, APO Snipcock I think, who was always being recoursed, sent to the MO, or otherwise delayed. When he eventually turned up to fly he was late and his instructor was briefed to expect Snipcock to meet him after he had flown his first student on a running change. "Snipcock" duly appeared on the pan for the running change with visor down and ranked as an APO. You can probably guess the rest!

PS, don't forget the nav lights and the downward ident before commencing aerobatics at night.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 08:38
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Nostalgia!

Thanks everyone for the replies.
Yes, the memory sometimes plays tricks with the details, and I'm sure that all the stories involving D H-H have been altered and embellished over the years!
I met him again at AOTS Oxford doing my CPL/IR and ATPL Ground School. He had not improved with keeping. Sadly, he had befriended a gentleman who held an authority to deal in explosives. As a result of this, D developed an addiction to the Lifeboats' 'Dull Boom Maroon', a series of which were detonated at various hours of the night outside (or maybe even inside) Mitchell Hall at OATS and in Main Street, Kidlington and Woodstock. He was last heard of living on Scone Airfield in an old farmhouse. He flies from Scone testing other peoples' homebuilts. I told you he was mad!

Studefather: Wow, what a wonderful offer. I will certainly try and take you up on it. But I insist on paying for the Avgas and breakfast. I'll bring an extra little bottle to fill so I can fuel my Zippo, and sniff the fumes when I'm feeling extra nostalgic!
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 13:51
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cojones

No problem at all, but we have to limit it within CAA rules of "valuable consideration"!!!
Drop your contact details on PM and we'll set it up.
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Old 23rd Dec 2011, 16:06
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AOTS 244-246 Courses

Quite by chance I have just come across this forum and in particular this thread.
I was also at AOTS in the period recalled. At that time there were usually three courses in progress. I think that 244 Blue Course (UAS/University entry) and 245 Red Course might have both started at about the same time - mid August 1968. 246 White Course would therefore probably have started in mid September.
My overriding memory is of the high standards of that organisation and of the quality of the instructors.
There was mention of South Cerney by the staff and also of an even earlier incarnation of the school at Jurby in the IOM.
There was certainly some interaction (which went a bit beyond ancient RAF customs like bar propping and extended to, shall we say, friendly and exuberant rivalry on occasion) between all the courses, both in the student (No 2 Officers’) Mess) and outside. For instance I seem to recall a collection of road works signs from the area being ranged along the top of one accommodation block, "accidental" flooding of rooms, and one "tired and emotional" cadet being tied firmly in his bed and this planted together with the rest of the contents of his room in front of SHQ for the OO to discover in the morning. There were some other hi-jinks but, perhaps judicious selective memory is called for - if I recite them perhaps the ghost of Mary Whitehouse will come back to haunt me or at least censor the posting.
I think it is a slight exaggeration to say that AOTS was "run by aircrew only staff (bar the DIs)",
Certainly the course commanders, CI & Station Commander were all aircrew - but please don’t discount the rest. Apart from the three Regt Sgt drill instructors there were the PFIs, and The Educators, not to mention both the SMO (Aviation Medicine - I recall a lesson in the decompression chamber) and the Chaplin (God Bothering; but I suspect that was not the name on the timetable).
Am I correct in thinking that during that era not all of the aspiring pilots went on the Primary Flying Squadron (PFS) course but, if they had what was deemed appropriate experience (eg PPL or CPL) they were posted direct to Basic Flying Training at Leeming, Linton or Syerston, probably via the Aircrew Holding Unit (AHU) at Topcliffe?
I remember most of the student names posted by cojones on 31st Jan 2010. A quick rack of my befuddled brain comes up with those appended below. I should be able to recall many more but their names temporarily elude me. My sincere apologies if I have got some of the names wrong. Perhaps I should have invested a few moments consulting an old copy of the Air Force List or the London Gazette - these would not of course have listed those who left before the course was completed but who were still our friends and comrades.
Does anybody have any Course or Syndicate group photographs?
Please also forgive my congenital deficiencies in spellink and gwammar together with the abandonment of any semblance of adherence to JSP101...
Some staff.....
 
Barratt, Sqn Ldr Course commander at AOTS. Perhaps of 246 White course.
Dennehy or Doughty, ?? Flt Lt Educ. AOTS. taught Maths, or were these two separate RAF educators?? Doughty might have been a Sqn Ldr who taught science?
Devey(spelling?) Sgt PFI at AOTS
Gibb, Ian? Flt Lt GD/N Syndicate leader. Ex Beverleys (& ULLA Trials) & perhaps Javelins?
Gilmore, Tom, Flt Lt Syndicate leader. GD/P perhaps ex Lightnings
Headland Sqn Ldr Educ. taught Maths/ Aerodynamics/ Science
Horsfall, Flt Lt John? GD/P.
Montgomery, Sqn Ldr Educ. taught English?
South, G J Gp Capt Gerry. GD/P Stn Cdr Church Fenton & Commandant AOTS in 1968. Pathfinder. After retirement from the RAF, I think he worked for the Officers’ Association.
Taylor, E A Wg Cdr GD/N Chief Instructor.
and some of the student officers/ cadets .......
3 Singaporean students, one or two junior officers plus two or three cadets. One of the cadets was Lim. I think one of the cadets was eventually to head up the Singaporean armed forces or perhaps just their air arm.
Briggs, Robert/Bob
Citrine, Roy GD/P, 256 White Course.
Cocking, R K (Keith) GD/N - 244 Blue Course.
Fox, John H. 246 white course
Garnons-Williams, John? 244 Blue Course
Greer, Alan/Al 244 Blue Course
Grybowski, (Spelling?) John (or perhaps Steven?)- 245 Course AOTS. His father was the ATCO at CF
Gunn, D C E Dave
Guyatt, D J (Dave) GD/P
Johnson, Ian
"Jonty" (Jonathan?) 245 Red Course. From an expat family that lived in Malta. Anyone remember his surname?
Martin, Philip
McNeil, J J James/Jim or John? GD/N 246? course
Myers, John R
Platt, Stuart
Scott, J M P (Mike) 245 Red Course
Smalley, EJ (Ted)
Tvedt, William (Bill) (Spelling?)
Whatmore, Alan G. 256 white course
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Old 24th Dec 2011, 20:24
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Mars 57 I'm assuming that's the same John Grzybowski who was co-pilot on my crew on 214 Victor K1s around 1972. He impressed us all by ordering a new Morgan in the days when you went to Malvern to be measured up for your car.

After leaving us he became a QFI at Valley and was unfortunately killed when (I think) his student stalled and went in on finals

Keith Cocking went through Gaydon and Strad with me and along with Al Whatmore was on my NBS course at Lindholme. Both posted as a nav rad on Vulcans. Phil Martin drove a huge Daimler and was medically discharged from Gaydon because of hypertension and I think became an equipper.
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