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No 182 Course, 2FTS RAF Syerston, Dec '68 to Aug '69

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No 182 Course, 2FTS RAF Syerston, Dec '68 to Aug '69

Old 7th Aug 2019, 10:12
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No 182 Course, 2FTS RAF Syerston, Dec '68 to Aug '69

In 3 weeks time, the 28th August 2019 will mark 50 years since 182 Course received their Wings at Syerston (from a one-armed ACM!). Here is the informal Course Photo:



As memory best has it, this is who they are and where they went - at least initially:

Back row, cockpit, L to R: John Day - helicopters, subsequently C-in-C STC. Steve Nichol - FJ, F4s retired as. a 2-star. Peter Wildman - multis, Brits? Then QFI, latterly diplomatic posts as a gp capt

Back row, wing, L to R: Mike Young - FJ, Harriers. Andy Potter - multis, Canberras (?) killed in Vintage Pair midair. Peter Ford - multis, V Force(?) then QFI?

Front row, L to R: Andy Martyn-Smith - FJ, chopped at Valley for non-flying related reasons. Mike Hall - FJ, Lightnings. Julian Collis - multis, V Force then Maritime. Keith Jones - multis, Hercules. Al Turner - multis, Hercules. Moi - helicopters. David Niven - helicopters, subsequently Cdr JHC. Denis Chapman - multis, V Force. Dick Clode - multis, Hercules. Derek Liddell - multis, Hercules. Steve Evans - multis, Britannias?

I've heard of or from only 5 or 6 of these relatively recently, and - to the best of my knowledge - only one is no longer with us (although we survivors are no chickens). Any other updates or stories?
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Old 7th Aug 2019, 11:20
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Long chat with Liddell last week, Andover and Bulldog in his earlier days. Found myself playing hockey against Wildthing many years ago, he playing for an Army team, but in reality his twin brother. 'Clode of England,' minimal acquaintance but many tales, Electra on the Meeson outfit. Day 'Redbrick,' but wasn't Nichol from the 'Dreaming Spires.' Turner high quality rugby player, was it Bath?

As for 'Weekend Hippy,' ......
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Old 7th Aug 2019, 11:47
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John Day was London (is that Redbrick?), Steve Nichol was indeed Oxford.

And at least the Weekend Hippy still has all his hair - if somewhat shorter these days.
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Old 7th Aug 2019, 12:29
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Lovely photograph. With regard to the group, my own course, 27 at Leeming a year before, had no such article, and I believe this to be an indication of what I still see as a sour attitude in the system at Leeming. How we wished for the more light-hearted atmosphere which we perceived at Syerston and the newly established RAF system at Linton.

Dreadful holding times for fixed-wing in those days.
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Old 8th Aug 2019, 10:45
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John Day and I knew each other vaguely as teenagers on opposite sides of the street in leafy Eastcote. He climbed rather further up the greasy pole than I did.
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Old 8th Aug 2019, 12:15
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And for the spotters the JP4 is either XP665 or XR667.......possibly,,,from `63...
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Old 8th Aug 2019, 12:33
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Jet Provost T Mk.4 XP665Psn 10/30 AwCn 30-8-62; 2FTS/38 31-8-62; 27MU 8-10-69; NES 26-1-71; sfs Blackbushe Eng 17-8-71

Jet Provost T Mk.4 XR667
Psn 1/37 AwCn 30-4-63; 2FTS/44 3-5-63; 3FTS/51 6-10-69; CATCS/F 9-10-70; CAW/16 28-10-71; 6FTS/P 15-3-73; Cat 5C and SOC 12-12-75
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Old 8th Aug 2019, 13:46
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665 from that background Vampiredave - Fleet 38 too.

Edited to add:

Having checked logbook, flew XP665 a few times - 3 worth mentioning: the night navex on 4 Jul 69 with Graham Wright, a notable GH trip with Ken Tait (not my primary QFI) on 5 Aug 69, and my antepenultimate pre-FHT solo (last but 2) on 13 Aug 69.

Last edited by Dick Allen; 8th Aug 2019 at 20:05.
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Old 9th Aug 2019, 17:18
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182 Course Syerston

To Dick Allen, Greetings,Thanks for the photo. It prompted me to open the appropriate log book probably for the first time in 49 years! I told my wife about it and she asked if I recognised anyone. (She remembers quite a few of the names I mentioned). With difficulty, I replied, as they all look alike! Young, handsome, slim and if the photo had been in colour, probably blue eyed!
I had the pleasure and privilege to have had a hand in the training. I note Dave Niven first soloed at Wymeswold the day before my 30th! Unfortunately my last flight at Syerston was 30th June doing formation with John Day. As I'm over 80 I forgive myself for my dreadful memory and cannot remember first names! However my memory is good enough to remember what a happy time it was with 182 course.
Missing from your photo but prominent in my log book is the name Hudson. Anyone know anything about him now?

Last edited by simmy; 10th Aug 2019 at 13:30.
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Old 9th Aug 2019, 18:28
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simmy

good to have stimulated your remaining braincells!

Hudson (can't remember first name - I've known several Hudsons and might get mixed up) was chopped, probably early July. Another choppee about the same time was called Bill, but I can't remember his last name! Can't recall any more of Hudson, or even whether he rebranched or left the Service.

We had one recourse - medical I think - who was Martin Withers who went on to Black Buck and XH 558 fame......

Edited to add:

Remembered the name of the other one suspended. It was Bill Orson (sp?)

Last edited by Dick Allen; 11th Aug 2019 at 09:19.
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Old 10th Aug 2019, 13:24
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Thanks Dick,
Thought that may have been the reason because I see that he took a lot of time to solo!
Martin Withers was a good friend of mine when I was at Waddington. I am no anorak but......a friend gave me a volume showing the disposal of all the Vulcans built( The Vulcan Story) so one grey day I decided to tick those which I had flown, requiring me to open another log book.( I counted 75 out of 128 built). On my wife's birthday in 1974 (04/04/74 I did a 3.55 training flight with Martin in XM607. (The one he flew on Black Buck.) To the delight of the rear crew we did 6 rollers after a low level from EP23-30!
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Old 12th Aug 2019, 13:33
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Dick,
Yes, his name was Bill Orson; we were both at Manchester together on the UAS, as were Peter Wildman and Al Turner. I have seen quite a few of them as we meet every 5 years or so on the anniversary of our AOTS course. However that photo brought back a few memories. Who this simmy fellow. It sounds like a chap I used to know who was a Vulcan display pilot, perhaps? To have flown that many Vulcans he must have been a fellow QFI.

Anyway a good thread and I hope as many of our contemporaries manage to see it!
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 20:48
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Thanks Dick. Lovely to see this photo. As you know I went on to Linton from AOTS, but good to see many of the young, eager faces I remember from Church Fenton. Best wishes to any who may remember Tom Mitcham.
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 12:26
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This is the 9-ship JP formation that overflew No 182 Course's Graduation Parade 50 years ago today - at about this time too IIRC.

I think more than one of the jets was on "chicken fuel" as the address by the Reviewing Officer (ACM Sir Gus Walker) had gone on much longer than planned!

I can remember to this day the first words of his address:

"You young gentlemen who have chosen the Profession of Arms........"

Autre temps, autre moeurs .....
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 13:43
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Gus Walker, now there was a man who sticks in the memory. I must have stuck in his too, as walking through Brancaster many years ago with the former SWMBO ( and after he and I, for the first time, had left the Service) he greeted me by name. I was much flattered and humbled at the same time.
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 14:49
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He seemed to have a knack for that Wander00. As a Course project, we did a kind of "This is Your Life" book on him; we were the penultimate course through Syerston and so the last big Wings Parade. He had lost his arm whilst Staish at Syerston in 1942, which was (gasp!) only 26 years in the past then. (OMG, that's like 1993 from now!!). Many local civilians still remembered him, and we got many good "dits" from those who served with him.

His memory for names and faces - even when unbriefed - was a recurring theme, Seems to be a characteristic of good VSOs
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 17:04
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To Dick Allen,

Small world, (unless you're SIN to LHR non stop!) I see your location is close to my wife's birth place and over which I drove a Vulcan to show off to her .Straight and level mind! Circa 1967. A practise div. to Shawbury and i remember the ATC controller asking me if I was house hunting!
PS I remember our reviewing officer's first words as well.......Gentlemen, you have each cost your country 7 doctors OR 14 schoolteachers.........I never checked how true that was.
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