My Service Life `1944 onwards 3rd Episode by Gordie

Our time in the transit camp at Ratmalana was short lived, as we were split up again. Of the ex apprentices there, Don Macmillan and Oss Screech were off to Trincomallee (NE Ceylon) whilst Mick Bourne, Nick Carter, “ Diesel” Humfrey and myself were off to Southern India.

A long train journey from Colombo through lush jungle country and the ancient city of Anuradahpura, to the ferry at Talaimanar- the northern tip of Ceylon. There we were ferried across the short trip, on an old steamer to a sand spit on the coast of Southern India. . Amazing change from the jungles of Ceylon to flat arid bushland. A long train trip, passing Madurai, Trichinopoly to Coimbatore our destination. Coimbatore being the capital of Tamil Nadu.

Next, a lorry ride of 12 miles to the small village of Sulur, where our Naval Air Station ( Garuda) or HMS Vairi ,was on the outskirts. At first, we wondered why a Fleet Air Arm station was in such an isolated place. Later, it was explained that it was a front line air base for Burma.!! Sulur had no recorded rain, whereas Burma had plenty,which limited flying This allowed Cover Air Patrols (CAP) to take place nonstop. The station consisted of 3 large hangars and a group of leaf covered huts called Bandas where we lived. It must be explained that Tamil Nadu was never occupied by the British nor anyone else except the Chinese a thousand years ago The Rajah of Mysore reigned there ,and still does. So that he had control of our existance, our food, “going ashore”, no rum or tobacco issue (only local made cigarettes ) and worse of all – no ENSA shows or pictures. Beer in a canteen, but then I was TT.

Just before we arrived the natives burnt down a part of the camp, and poisoned the two water wells, so from then on, water came in by truck, and we were issued with a bucket each, Half a bucket full was issued each day for drinking and dhobying clothes ( but we only wore shorts). Payday was each month, but there was a table on the next desk where we could bank it. We had to shave at this time and one razor blade was issued for this. However we were in good spirits, plenty of sports, “Fishing’ in the nearby river, which hadn’t seen water in living memory ( try it sometime !!) But it was a good place to find semi- precious stones.

- Gordie

The 'Terrible 5' by Gordie

"Yorky" Ellis   "Nick" Carter  Gordie   "Ginger Case    "Blondie" Cutbush

Machining a Cube on a Lathe - from Richard

I'd been told about this exercise by Gordie, as a mental exercise about how one might go about it. Obviously the russian author of this video link hasn't had the training that you and I have had, or a sense of finesse, but this link does illustrate the task.