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-   -   Bowling Alleys (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/519552-bowling-alleys.html)

SOSL 20th Jul 2013 15:14

Bowling Alleys
In the '70s and right up to the '90s quite a few RAF Stations had bowling alleys:

St Athan; Wyton;Leuchars; Leeming; Coningsby; Akrotiri; Henlow (I think); Marham; Valley andothers.

The bowl managers all used to keep in touch with each other and they used to share information, ideas, equipment and tools, as well as organizing tournaments.

They were a bit of a secret society and they had cottoned on to the concept of sharing bestpractice at a time when that was not so fashionable as it is today.

The bowl managers were paid a pittance but they worked long, hard hours. As well as 10 pin bowling, they provided a unique, all ranks venue for all sorts of functions, drinks and in some cases eats. I can testify that at least one of the bowling alleys hosted a wedding reception. Some of them used to stage an annual barbeque and a Christmas event.

The fact is that these guys( often retired SNCOs) were underpaid and overworked but they provided a service which, at times, was central to the life of the Station.

So from me this is a salute to the RAF Station bowling managers. Let's see your stories about the bowl on your station.

Rgds SOS

Wander00 20th Jul 2013 15:21

ISTR that at least some, maybe all, were provided from grants from the Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown. I remember staffing one or two applications when I was the non-Publics desk officer at Brampton in the 80s

SOSL 20th Jul 2013 15:26

Right you are Wander00. The managers were subsequently paid by the local NONPAS. My point is that they did so much for so little.

Rgds SOS

Wetstart Dryrun 20th Jul 2013 15:38

Does this count? The post has reminded me of a skittle alley up in the attic of the lean-to hangar buildings above, what used to be in the seventies, 1 sqn accommdation at Linton on Ouse.

..it was a quite magic and surreal place to pass a black-flag afternoon.

still there?


SOSL 20th Jul 2013 15:55

Of course it counts!


Rgds SOS

SOSL 20th Jul 2013 16:01

Just remembered, back in the day, someone had to submit a case to NONPAS to increase the managers pay quite significantly when the minimum wage was introduced.

I repeat they did a brilliant job and were paid FA.

Rgds SOS

airpolice 20th Jul 2013 16:25

St Athan; Wyton;Leuchars; Leeming; Coningsby; Akrotiri; Henlow (I think); Marham; Valley andothers.
Coltishall had a nice one as well. I don't remember one at Valley.

smujsmith 20th Jul 2013 16:37

Lyneham Bowl

As a Ground Engineer, and SNCO, our arrival back at Base after a long and often arduous route or deployment (:rolleyes:), ended as we went our merry ways. Due to the make up of the crew, a mix of Officers, SNCOs and sometimes JNCOs, Airmen (SVCs and MAMS chaps) and even the lads from 47 AD, the Lyneham Bowl offered the chance to have a few beers together before "coming back to earth" so to speak. I had the good fortune to fly with several Captains, who, on return would ask if anyone would like to join him at "the bowl" for a wee beer before heading home. None of the Lyneham Messes offered a scruffs bar for all ranks. It was always a nice place to wind down, and most valued by all ranks in my opinion. In my later days, Lyneham Bowl was a great place to get our whole servicing team together to celebrate promotions etc. again a chance to informally have a laugh, get some feedback and put the world to rights, without airs and graces. I'm sure many ex Lyneham Aircrew will back up my statements here, and probably in a more lucid way.


Martin the Martian 20th Jul 2013 17:15

There was one at Brawdy. I went to it on ATC camp back in 1985. First time I'd ever had a chance to go ten-pin bowling. I'm not much better at it now.

Wander00 20th Jul 2013 17:36

SOSL is not wrong - Bowling Alley managers were not well paid and worked very long hours ISTR. Is the Nuffield Trust still making grants?

Sun Who 20th Jul 2013 18:01

Saxa Vord
The skittle alley at Saxa Vord. there were some things happened in there that would have got people locked up had they been made known.


goudie 20th Jul 2013 18:08

There was/is a bowling alley at Brize, courtesy of the USAF. Good place to take the kids or leave them to play with friends.

teeteringhead 20th Jul 2013 18:19

There was the "Rose Bowl" at RAF Aldergrove (the Station badge had a rose on it).

Don't know if it's still at JHCFS Aldergrove ......... (yes really, Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station no less ........:{)

uffington sb 20th Jul 2013 18:36

There was/is a bowling alley at Wittering, and a skittles alley on Gan.
Great all rank places, but I expect they may feature in the 'Drinking culture in the RAF .......' Thread! ;)

WhiteOvies 20th Jul 2013 18:39

Some happy memories of Hockey Club get togethers at the Bowling Alley at Wittering (still in working order as far as I know).

barnstormer1968 20th Jul 2013 18:41

Not much of a tale, but I first heard the song 'when two tribes go to war' by Farnkie goes to Hollywood in the bowling club at Wyton. I was very young and very patriotic then, and thought it should be banned as it was too anti establishment (looking back it almost sounds like I wanted a war:}).

It has taken me about twenty years to hear it as a song and nothing else :)

scarecrow450 20th Jul 2013 19:01

Cottesmore as well, many a very drunken all ranks ATC pi, er social gathering !

Easy Street 20th Jul 2013 19:02

AFAIK the Marham Bowl was closed a couple of years ago due to "health and safety concerns" because the bowling equipment was getting dated and there was no money to bring it into line with whatever standard is expected these days. This was brought about through the arrival of PAYD - because the bowl, as a food and drink outlet, had to be handed over to the contractor. Who, it seems, was not particularly interested in branching out into bowling alleys... so it's now just a bar and cafe.

NutLoose 20th Jul 2013 19:16

Yup Brizes was an impressive place, is it still on the go?, you used to struggle to get a lane in my era not being a Civilian, as they had several Civi clubs using the facilities..

Wander00 20th Jul 2013 19:52

Interesting - "had to be handed to payd contractor" -as the bowl was provided by non-public funds, which had (and probably still have) charitable status under the Charities Act, and probably grant aided by the Nuffield Trust, another charity, I am surprised they were handed over free of charge to a "contractor".

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