Royal Air Force Locking

No 1 Radio School

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Free Walls ice cream at the Astra

Posted by Peter Green on March 3, 2013 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The night before a parade/inspection my wife offered to polish my buttons for me, I had shown her how to brasso and clean-off the dried white polish.  This left me free to hit the books before going to bed.  Saturday morning I walked over to the station from the Summers Lane caravan park and joined the parade.  The inspecting officer walked between the lines, occasionaly pointing to an airman and the attending corporal would would take the airman's name and number.  He came to me and to my suprise he pointed at me!  One of my buttons hadn't been polished-off and the raised eagle was covered in white crud.  I received 2 nights 'jankers' i.e. walking around the camp-site with a pick handle.

I noticed that the Ad- Astra cinema lights had been left on and reported at the guard-house sergent who entered the report into the log book and instructed me to switch off the mains to the building on my next circuit.

The following morning My name and number were called over the tanoy with the instruction to report immediately to the guard house. So with trepidation I presented myself to the sergent - when I had switched the power-off the ice cream freezers had thawed over the weekend, making the ice cream unsaleable resulting in a loss of hundreds of pounds.  Fortunately the instruction to turn-off the mains had been entered into the log-book and I was not held responsible. 

For the next couple of days airmen going to the cinema were offered free semi-frozen Walls ice cream bars.  Anyone who remembers receiving a free ice cream can now give me belated thanks...

RAF books for sale

Posted by Mark Griffin on September 6, 2011 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

In case anyone is interested, I've added a pile of RAF-related books to my site where I'm flogging some surplus stuff off. Please go to

Cheers, Mark

Strawberry picking

Posted by Brian Balshaw on July 27, 2011 at 1:43 PM Comments comments (7)

Somerset is a great place for fruit growing but does anyone remember strawberry picking as an organised variation on sports day activities? I'm talking 1958, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. It must have been the supplementing of income which was the attraction but I've no idea by how much or where we were taken to do this new back-breaking occupation.

I imagine the growers had only to ring the camp and guarantee to get a few unsuspecting lads!

Foreign students

Posted by Mark Griffin on October 28, 2010 at 8:41 AM Comments comments (3)

Locking had a lot of students from foreign Air Forces.

I remember a group from Jordan in particular. I was always a big fan of King Hussein, he was a keen supporter of RAF charities and an Anglophile. There happened to be a documentary about him on TV one night, so I went to the TV rooms in the NAAFI (one each for the only three channels we had in those days, BBC 1 and 2 and ITV) to watch it. All the Jordanians were there too, of course. It was a good programme as I remember, and I gave them a thumbs-up as we left, which they were all pleased about. These guys were getting something like £600 a week cash in-hand and living in town at a time when we were earning, I think, about £17 a week. None of us could relate to having so much money to spend. So they were having a pretty good time of it.

Less fortunate were the Nigerians, if I remember correctly who they were. An instructor told me about the difficulties of teaching them anything when they knew nothing at all to start with. They were supposedly being trained to maintain complex radio equipment, starting with the basics. An instructor is teaching them about tuned circuits and he's trying to explain how current rushes round from one side of a capacitor to the other through inductors and saying it's like the pendulum on a clock, and they're all saying, "What's a pendulum?"

The Great Chip Rebellion

Posted by Mark Griffin on October 28, 2010 at 8:27 AM Comments comments (0)

I always found the standard of catering in the RAF to be generally high, sometimes exceptionally high.

In 1977, I believe, the Catering Officer decided it was time to imporve our diet. He decreed that chips would only be served twice a week, the rest of the time we'd have to be content with boiled or mashed spuds. The mood turned decidedly ugly, nobody was happy and we were all letting them know it. It bothered peole like me in particular because I was having to pay for my meal each day as I was living-out, so it seemed like an extra injustice. He was spotted in the mess once and I've never seen anyone look so petrified, he must have thought he was going to be lynched. He resisted for a long time, but I think chips went back on the daily menu again eventually.

Guard duty

Posted by Vic Taylor on August 9, 2010 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I was on a weekend pass October or November 1955 when the IRA raided an armoury at an Army barracks - at Aborfield near Reading I think it was.

Consequently when we returned to Locking on Sunday evening there was a bit of concern to strengthen the guards. I was scheduled for guard duty the following Monday night.

One of us was positioned in the Armoury where he was told he could get his head down but he had to have a Bren gun by the side of the camp bed. He asked about ammunition but was told in no uncertain terms that ammunition was not necessary!

During the night, which was quite cold I recall, I was patrolling the gate armed with a pick axe handle when a man on a bicycle arrived & started to walk through the gate with no reference to me - not even a good evening. It was after midnight & I asked him where he was going. He replied in a broad Irish accent that he was going to collect his wife from the NAAFI.  I guess I should have stopped him but he seemed a nice enough chap & I had no reason to disbelieve him.

I said 'well that's alright then ' & let him through. A few minutes later I was glad to see him walk out pushing his bike with his wife by his side.  

About half an hour later a small MG two seater drove in the gate. The sentry outside the Guard Room waved for it to stop but the driver just kept going so the sentry brought his pickaxe handle down on the bonnet of the little MG with a loud thump. However  the car kept going. We realised that the driver was an officer, who was perhaps the worse for wear after a few pints somewhere, but were concerned about the likely consequences of damaging his car.  Fortunately we heard no more about it but it must have cost a bit to have the dent in the car bonnet repaired. 

The Locking Apprentice Incident.

Posted by edited out on May 12, 2010 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (7)

Frank Bennet from Forces Reunited sends this report from 1957:-

         I arrived at Locking in late November 1957, for a 17 week ground radar course. One of our instructors told us about the Teddy Boy problem, where they repeatedly attacked the apprentices who could only go off camp in uniform, unlike us NS & regulars who were allowed out in civvies. This had been ongoing until a few weeks before our arrival when the apps went out one night wearing their webbing belts. As soon as the expected attacks started, off came their belts and they hit back, giving the teds a real good belting in more ways than you would have thought possible. I understand that while this was going on, the local police kept a low profile. Needless to say, no more trouble of this nature occurred in Weston after that. The local hospitals `Casualty' was very busy for that evening and the local papers did carry reports I'm told. (Martin)

The Photo Gallery

Posted by edited out on April 11, 2010 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Unfortunatly I have NO photos of anything RAF Locking at all. It is completely up to members to upload their artistic offerings to the gallery, please stay `on topic', nothing risquet, okay!

Welcome to RAF Locking's Blogs

Posted by edited out on April 11, 2010 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Please (x3) blog within a category to keep navigation simple! If the blog is not professionaly orientated, use the `general' category.