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OC Flying/CFI RAF Ternhill 1969/70-ish

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OC Flying/CFI RAF Ternhill 1969/70-ish

Old 25th Mar 2012, 14:37
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OC Flying/CFI RAF Ternhill 1969/70-ish

A contemporary of mine has just asked a question that our failing grey cells between them cannot answer.

Who was CFI at Ternhill from 1969-71 -ish? We think it was the one immediately after Cedric Symons, but before John Lobley - don't know if more than one fit that bill, or only one between those two.

I can see him in mind's eye; slightly built chap with pencil moustache, ex-night fighter I think. But that could be memory playing tricks, as it increasingly does, and could describe someone entirely different!

Must be someone out there who can recall ......??

[also posted on AH&N]
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Old 25th Mar 2012, 15:48
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That was unkind!!! Read the post, mentally generated the answer, got distracted by the thought that Cedric was Staish NOT CFI and promptly lost the correct answer ...Frank... ? generates bell tones but that could just be the effect of the tablets!! Will have a look in the logbooks ... Pause... Barnes???. Sounds sort of familiar but will check. The joys of ageing
PS - logbooks not helpful other than listing Cedric as a Wg Cdr (I 'see' him as Gp Capt???)
PPS yep! Barnes , it was... leastways I did Valley -TH with Wg Cdr Barnes on 2nd April '70. Such relief! Will retire hors de combat and let the nurse soothe the fevered brow - if only!!

Last edited by Cornish Jack; 25th Mar 2012 at 16:01.
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Old 25th Mar 2012, 17:41
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I was at Tern Hill in the spring/summer of 71 and confirm the CFI was Frank Barnes. He went on to be the boss of Gulf Helicopters, Doha.

I met him in Oman many years later and, if my ageing memory is correct, he said he flew Spits, Mustangs and the early jets before going onto helis.
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Old 25th Mar 2012, 17:57
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Many thanks - Frank Barnes it is! Cedric WAS CFI, but was then promoted to be Staish at Sharjah!
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Old 26th Mar 2012, 11:17
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Frank Barnes had been the DCFI in the mid 60s at Tern Hill and he retired in May 1972.

Sadly, I noticed that he had departed the mortal coil about six months ago aged about 89.

Old Duffer
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Old 26th Mar 2012, 12:47
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Thanks O-D, I should have known you would know!!
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Old 26th Mar 2012, 20:15
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Gents I know its not CFI related but a board showing all of RAF Ternhill Staish's is still on display in Ternhill tower. In fact I'll be walking past it several times when making the brews tomorrow !
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Old 26th Mar 2012, 20:55
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I still remember "Troop Captain Goon" - a nice gent on a blue pushbike with a triangular flag on its front mudguard.

1975...I was an brand new LAC then.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 05:47
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Troop Captain Goon 'DAT' I think, left us a few years ago and his widow just last year.

I did not know him, as I was long gone from Tern Hill but I am still friends with his son in law and daughter.

Incidentally, I had two short stints at Tern Hill separated by a 'get your knees brown' trip to Malaya and followed by a 'get the rest of you brown' to Borneo. T/H has very happy memories for me and I visited the station, courtesy of its Army 'owners', a few years back. The end wings of the splendid officers' mess were pulled down and the long corridor is now interrupted with a string of fire doors - no more riding motorbikes along its length after dining in nights now! Still it was nice to be back and the best bit was being flown in there from Shawbury in a Griffin.

O-D
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 09:28
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The doors in the long corridor were there in my time O-D. If the front wheel of the motorcycle was accurately targeted at the central join of the doors, both would swing open to accommodate the passage of the aforesaid motorcycle....

........ allegedly .......

But it is a shame about the wings .......
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 15:18
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Following one T/H dining in, one of the younger members appeared in the mess with his leg in plaster. His bleat went something along the lines of: "I didn't break my leg when I fell off the mantlepiece, it was when old &^*%$ ran over me with his motorbike".

Another recollection was when the now departed Brian D&^%$r set up a watchman's hut outside the front door of the mess, complete with coke burner, and then diverted all the traffic from the westbound A41 up the station drive, along past the rugby pitch, then a right turn past the mess, before a left turn back onto the '41'. This went well until Shropshire's finest turned up and stopped it. At this point we adjourned to 'Jack's Cafe' further up the A41 for breakfast still dressed in our mess kit. Unfortunately, interviews without coffee followed and Jack's was placed out of bounds. This of course in the days when stations were relatively 'open'.

O-D
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 15:30
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If I remember correctly the old 'West' wing of the mess collapsed when the CO of the regiment taking over from us decided to have a lot of the internal walls removed to make bigger suites for his officers! The resultant crash in the middle of the night was quite alarming! Then because that wing had to be completely removed he had the other one knocked down as well to keep it symmetrical.

Unfortunately my only memory of the CFI (JL) during my stay was standing to attention looking over his shoulder out of the nice panoramic windows whilst receiving a 'talking to'. However, I did learn never to let go of the collective whilst someone was climbing out of the other seat in a Whirlwind!

Last edited by Shackman; 27th Mar 2012 at 16:54.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 21:36
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I love the story of the A41 Diversion, mostly because it reminded me of Jacks Cafe - excellent butties from there to the Whirlwind Line (Handling Party No.2) and then of the Stormy Petrel - with a Polish Landlord called Jan who used to cash more cheques for the troops than the NAFFI.

Me: Jan, can I cash a Cheque?
Jan: No! ve're not bleddy open yet!
Me: Okay. I'll wait.
Jan: Do yoo vant a bleddy drink vile yoo vait?

I'm not sure if the "1930's aviation themed" tiles in the Gents loo survived the Black Watch (?) moving in.
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Old 28th Mar 2012, 09:52
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And the petrol station at the Ternhill X-roads (now roundabout) would cash a cheque for 5 with F1250 for ID. Which is (scarily) about 70 now ......
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Old 28th Mar 2012, 11:38
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Ah the petrol station on the crossroads!

I was at the pumps one day in my trusty Morris Minor 803 cc sidevalve engined car - the type with the bar down the windscreen. A car driven by one Pilot Officer Stevie (Wonder) G*&%$e drew up at the otherside and out jumped Stevie. He whipped up the bonnet lid and the engine compartment was on fire! The blonker had put copious amounts of newspaper around the engine to help insulate it in the cold weather and then forgotten to remove it before driving off from base.

This was the day I discovered that adrenalin is probably coloured brown.

With much shouting, gesturing and application of the foam extinguisher, the fire was quickly brought under control and neither Stevie's car nor the forecourt were any the worse for the incident. Subsequently Stevie was given an extra five hours general handling before he got through his FHT.

I swore that if ever I was bobbing about in the oggin and an SAR Whirlwind arrived, I'd check with the winchman and if he said the pilot was Stevie, I'd tell him I'd wait for another helicopter. Unfortunately, when I went to Mount-B, in May 1966, to do my sea survival course we lost a master pilot from Gaydon but that's another story.

O-D
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Old 30th Oct 2018, 17:51
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A photo of Frank Barnes when he was the OC of the Sycamore Squadron in KL. I guess it was in 1957 or 1958.
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