For blogs on everything to do with RAF Locking.
|Posted by edited out on August 6, 2011 at 3:55 AM||comments (6)|
RAF Locking's site is quickly building up momentum and now has a substantial membership. The Blog and forums see regular activity, the gallery is quite impressive and I think it's true to say this site has made it onto the internet scene. Mark Griffin has kindly offered to take the reins as the new owner of this site and I hope everyone makes him welcome.
It's members and the activities of those members on the site, that make a successfull site. Good blogs, busy forums and a growing gallery, cause others to take an interest, some to join in and add their tuppence to it all and although the hierarchy shouldn't just sit back and watch, it IS the members that make the scene.
|Posted by Brian Balshaw on July 27, 2011 at 1:43 PM||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!
|Posted by Bill Webb on April 28, 2011 at 6:35 AM||comments (1)|
We arrived in Locking in the winter of 1960 to stay in the caravan park to the east of the camp.A real shock to the system after 3 years in Negombo Ceylon. Who switched the heaters off! .
I walked to the primary school each day until we moved on to camp Eventually we were moved into 31 AMQ. Miss Crieghton was the principal of the little school as I remember. We had a couple of interlinked green huts play grounds and a little wood to entertain us. Locking was a happy place but a bit quiet ofter Negombo, no aviation. As a Senior Tech Dad ran the MT maintenance and set up a tug of war team. He had a Spitfire (IX) in the hanger one day and I got to sit in it. It became the gate guardian for a while but apparently was taken away and refurbished to take part in the battle of Britain film. I joined 1st Locking Cubs, the beginning of a BP career. In January 1963 we only just made it back to Locking from Liverpool as the snow came down and closed all the roads. Weston super mare was a nice holiday resort at the time. We also went to Burnham on mud, Cleveland, Ilfracombe, Chedder etc. Camp activities remembered were the passing out parades and the annual sports day. We got a posting to Aden which was cancelled at the last minute but having packed everything my parents and brother were sent to Cottesmore whilst I had two months in Wroughton. Seems like another world now.
|Posted by Mark Griffin on October 28, 2010 at 8:41 AM||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?"
|Posted by Mark Griffin on October 28, 2010 at 8:27 AM||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.
|Posted by Mark Griffin on October 28, 2010 at 8:07 AM||comments (11)|
I enjoyed Weston, it was a decent sized town with a very good range of shops and good amenities. I enjoyed the pier too. I remember arriving for the first time, by train, and then walking round to the bus depot on the front. It was still a big adventure then. On my second posting I lived-out in the suburbs, just about within walking distance of the town centre although in my youth anything was within walking distance!
I haven't been back for many years, but would like to go. Anyone here know what it's like these days? Any suggestions for places to stay?
|Posted by Mark Griffin on October 28, 2010 at 5:54 AM||comments (2)|
I passed through Locking twice in my time, in early 1973 for my Mechanics training, and again in 77 for my Technicians training.
For the Mech stuff, I remember we did transmitters and receivers, but also airfield equipment as at that stage we had the option of going to one or the other. So I also remember doing the Instrument Landing System and Commutated Aerial Direction Finding, in particular. For some reason I cannot fathom, I got a part time job in town working in the kitchens of a chip shop / restaurant on the front. I'd cycle to and from town on a bike, sometimes returning well after midnight.
When I came back for the Tech training, I was several months early for the course (why? I don't know) so I was assigned to the maintenance flight that did all the routine servicing on the kit. The Tech course lasted a year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got another part time job working for the same guy again, a Greek Cypriot, but didn't keep it up as it wasn't as much fun second time around.
Actually now I think about it, I came back once more for a Computer Fundamentals course in the new Block Five that only lasted about a month. That pretty much set me up for my next career when I left the RAF four years later - having never worked on a computer again!
When I came back from Germany for the Tech course, my personal effects box that followed as frieght weighed nearly half a ton and raised a few eyebrows. Singlies weren't meant to have that much kit! I also got permission to "live out" and found digs in Weston Super Mare. I never did like to conform :-) But I had to blag a truck from MT to take my box into town.
I think it would be helpful to add "Weston Super Mare" as a category, I'm sure that would jog a few memories!
|Posted by Vic Taylor on August 9, 2010 at 2:55 PM||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.
|Posted by edited out on June 29, 2010 at 3:53 AM||comments (5)|
Don Adams, from www.ventnorradar.co.uk/ also a Lockingite and myself accompanied by my wife, met at The End Of The Line cafe (in Freshwater IOW) over tea, this last Monday. We had a long chat about times past and places we'd been, it was a splendid sunny morning, we sat outside and spent an hour or so enjoying the chance to meet a fellow veteran in such pleasant curcumstance. We often holiday on the island, maybe we can meet up again like that Don?
Those who served in Radar with the RAF should pay a visit to www.ventnorradar.co.uk/index.htm Don has constructed a fantastic site full of interesting articles and photos that will have you paying many return visits.
|Posted by edited out on May 12, 2010 at 3:30 AM||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)