Entry to this section will be pre-1969 'ish
Please use the 'Archive' buttons below to access earlier material
or the personal links for nested albums.
Feel free to drop me a line with anything you would like to add.
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A friend of my wife's cousin told me of your website which he
discovered recently when he was looking for details to authenticate his
work building scale models of RAF vehicles namely, AEC refuelling
It was the first time we had met, when he told me about his hobby I
said that I had served in the RAF and drove an AEC tanker; that was
when he gave me your website address.
At the age of seventeen I volunteered for regular service with the RAF
in August 1952 doing four years.
After first going to RAF Cardington to
sign-on then Bridgnorth for basic training I was sent to RAF Weeton for
twelve weeks driver's training then posted to RAF Kabrit located on the
south of the Great Bitter Lake, Suez Canal Zone where I served with
number 13 PR Squadron from February 1953 to August 1955 driving an AEC
refuelling tanker registration number 22AD74, the squadron flew Gloster
Meteors Mk. 10's and a Mk. 7 two-seater trainer.
After my dis-embarkation leave I was posted to RAF Middle Wallop in
Hampshire where I drove a Bedford QLC refuelling tanker working with
JEHU (Joint Experimental Helicopter Unit) which trained RASC personnel
to fly Bristol Sycamore Helicopters; I came out in August 1956.
My service number was 4106634, rank: LAC. Although I was known as Gary
I was also nick-named "Pixie" as I was a Cornishman, this stuck with me
throughout my entire service although, only at Middle Wallop when
another airman (Driver) was posted there after serving with me in
Egypt. When he arrived on the station he told someone how he had served
in the Canal Zone as a Tanker Driver and consequently, was told about
me having been there and that I came from Cornwall to which he asked
"Is he short and called 'Pixie'?" needless to say, this is how the nick-name lasted for the rest of my service!!
I joined the RAF because I wanted to fly; fortunately, the highlight of
my service was a two-and-a-half flight in the Squadron's Mk 7 where we
flew at 30 thousand feet and did aerobatics not unlike the Red Arrows.
The down side, although I signed on for four years regular service and
one and a half PAID reserve, by the time my service had finished the
MOD did away with the "PAID" but kept the eighteen months reserve..I
wonder if they would be able to do this today?
I have attached two files showing my AEC the man sitting in the one
full length photo is my old school mate; he worked in the MT section as
a Fitter but as he could not drive he did not like the fact that a
diver had to get out of bed in the middle of the night to drive him
around when he was detailed to check the station's searchlights at
Kabrit; so he asked me to teach him to drive which I did when off-duty
with my AEC. When I thought he was ready to take his driving test I
told him to stop on an up-hill gradient, then propped a matchstick
against the nearside rear wheel and told him to pull away, he did this
without breaking the matchstick, bearing in mind that the AEC ratchet
hand break had to be "slammed-off "; to quoin a phrase, he did very
well..he passed first time!
love to see Queen Mary photos, this was one of my loads once.
I was 20 when I took this from Andover to Kemble. The wings
and tail-planes were taken to Colerne first, then I took the
fuselage to Kemble, and then from Colerne to Kemble with the
wings and tail-planes.
The R.A.F. Welfare Bus Service was a project started (1946-ish) by H.Q. 205 Group, (Transport Command, to run off-duty people to off-camp relaxation areas.
The service began around 1946, with a fleet of converted Chevrolet troopers, working out of a hangar on R.A.F. Abyad. The Chevs were replaced over time with Dodge troopers - converted into 'buses by ditching the canvas tilt and its hoops, replacing with a wooden passenger
cover and replacing the benches with forward-facing individual seats. Oh, and finishing in fleet colours, royal blue below, white above.
In mid-1953 the R.A.F.W.B.S. guv'nor, Flt.Lt. A.J. Putt, (D.S.O., D.F.C.) learned of a cache of buckshee Dodge spares at R.A.F. el Firdan, and organised with 109 M.U. M.T. to collect them. I didn't go on the trip, so sadly I only have these few pictures, which I took of the unloading, at the 'bus service hangar.
I've also included;
"109 Water Bowser" - to show one use of the tilt-hoops - surrounding our garden of desert sand. A 109 M.U.
Bowser is delivering "sweet water"- in our day, liquid s**t.
"Assorted RAFWBS" - included because the guy posing as driver in the Morris coach is also driving the crane in "Dodge Engine".
drivers, conductors and mechanics were local civilians, managed by a small R.A.F. staff, hence "posing". He could have driven it with one eye open, but wasn't one of ours.
"Bedford by Canal Road" - no idea which unit owned this vehicle. I just happened to be there.
"Trinder + CABS". See below.
The bus service was strictly a P.S.I. type operation, separate from the R.A.F. and run like a private company, even to having its own books of account. The army ran a similar service - the Canal Army Bus Service (CABS for short). They were a great gang, as witness "Trinder + CABS".
Bedford by Canal Road & Treaty Road junction
Trinder + CABS
109 Q.M. at
109 Water Bowser
109 MU 5 Ton Crane
Weeton, looking towards Blackpool from the east, 1946.
I know Weeton was
No 8 School of Technical Training, but cannot remember the No of the Recruit training School.
Cheers one and all.