Born at a
very early age I was brought up at Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex. When
invasion threatened Westcliff High School evacuated itself to Belper in
Derbyshire, carrying me with it. I joined the Air Defence Cadet Corps
at the tender age of 12. This eventually became the Air Training Corps.
Reaching the dizzy heights of Flight Sergeant, and a blitz or three
later, I volunteered for the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at 17.
ROYAL AIR FORCE
Pilot,Navigator,Bomb Aimer training I arrived at a time when the place
was awash with would-be aircrew.The powers that be had a brainwave ( or
was it brainstorm ?) and sent me off to the School of Oriental and
African Studies at London University and crammed me full of
Japanese.Thus it was that I ended up very smartly in Burma by way
of five days in a Sunderland and ten on F Deck of a
troopship. Here I became a very minor cog as a Sergeant Clk/Sigs/Linguist(Japanese) in the Y Service at 164 Signals Wing.
successfully won the war and done a stint at AHQ Burma in the old Law
Courts building, I hit on a cunning plan to escape and went off
to Ceylon to seek a commission.The best laid plans of mice and men....I
gained the commission and was posted.....to Burma !
briefly to UK I soon managed to wangle my way overseas. My whole service
life was coloured by an Air Commodore who preached "Gentlemen...in
England you starve ; Overseas you starve like gentlemen."
arrived in Singapore, I worked like a black as Air Movements
Officer, Changi, escaping now and again to open AMS in Butterworth,
Malaya and Labuan, N.Borneo. Towards the end of this tour, with UK
looming again, I was sent up to Burma to advise the newly formed
Burma Air Force on their Movements needs. No prize for guessing who was
offered the job so there we were, two tours on the trot, as Air
Movements Adviser to the Burma Air Force as part of the British
Services Mission to Burma....complete with house and seven servants.
Such hardships !
I sailed home on the 'Staffordshire ' pausing only to pick up nice
little earners such as winnings from Capt. Kerbyson's bridge four;
the Ship's Daily Run sweep ( with the ship full of rich Aussie woolies
off home for the Coronation) and Gordon Richard's first Derby winner,
Pinza, ante-post at 20-1 .
penance postings in UK...Hendon...Hartlebury and Air Ministry were
leavened by a spell with the USAF at Burtonwood for the Berlin
Airlift....which they called Operation Vittles.The only real
achievement of this period was to cure them of the nasty habit of
drinking port and ice....at lunchtime.
Not able to
keep a wily ( no pun) dog down I was soon on my way back to
Singapore...Changi again.....but this time up the hill at HQFEAF. Much
of this time was spent directing and producing musicals and other
theatrical offerings with Changi Theatre Club ( which interest absorbed
some thirty years of my life) Knowledgeable readers will smile to learn
that I sailed home on the 'Nevasa '...albeit as OCRAF. Much of the
journey seemed to be spent fluidly in the Chief Officer's cabin.
worthwhile tour on the Directing Staff of the Royal Air Force College,
Cranwell was followed by...wait for it....an overseas posting...this
time to Aden. I guess one might argue that the hellholes had come full
cycle.Supposedly part of the Joint Movements Planning Staff at HQMEC I
happily spent time swanning off to East Africa, Kenya, Mozambique,
Southern Rhodesia and the like, and up into the Radfan where I covered
myself in MAMS glory by flying in a kerosene fridge underslung on a
Belvedere...cold beer on board.
all good things have to come to an end and I decided to venture
forth into civilian life. Readers will be delighted to hear that I
sailed home on the 'Canberra '
BACK TO SCHOOL
eight years or so saw qualifications via the University of
Bristol, teaching at St.Austell and Fowey in Cornwall, the purchase and
renovation of Nansough Manor, the establishment of the largest fuchsia
nursery in UK and plans for....overseas!
me as Deputy Head of an Anglican Boys' School in Hamilton, North Island
and later, after the death of my wife, teaching languages at Te Awamutu
older children having grown up and I having remarried it seemed time
for us to take the youngest, then13 and head.....overseas.
For the past ten years we have "lived happily ever after " in a coastal paradise some 350km north of Brisbane....Hervey Bay.
interests are many and varied my abiding love is our language and
literature. It has been my lifetime good fortune to be able to
help many to greater enjoyment. If I can help any who read
contact can be made via my guestbook. Ensure you leave a valid email
address even if 'encoded' with the usual substitutions such as 'dot' and 'at' to foil the email harvesters.