RAF Upavon was to be my home and a more deserted place in mainland Britain would be hard to find. It was stuck on top of what could only be described as a small mountain, miles from anywhere, with no public transport and only one public house worthy of the name – and that was three miles away at the foot of the mountain. But it was an enjoyable posting. Upavon was a flying station in those days as well as HQ Transport Command. Our operational aircraft consisted of a Dove for the AOCinC and a few Ansons that formed part of the Western Communications Squadron. The highlight of my time at RAF Upavon is probably still talked about in those parts today. In 1964 the Station Cinema spectacularly caught fire whilst I was on duty as ‘Fire Piquet’. Despite the best efforts of the Station Commander and his
fellow officers armed with several buckets of water and watched by the whole population of the Station, it burnt to the ground before the professional fire fighters arrived. Following the fire, the inventory holders of RAF Upavon lined up to declare items of equipment from their inventory that had been destroyed by the fire. It turned out to be one of the most expensive fires in history – more expensive than the great fire of London. The volume of equipment allegedly destroyed would have
filled the Cinema 6 times over. That night we lost the only Cinema in a 30-mile radius but some good came from the disaster – I met Wendy and the rest – as they say – is history. With her help my career flourished and I managed to leave the Service in 2000 as a WO Chf Clk. After nearly 40 years we are still together and have just retired from the MOD Civil Service having worked for the RAF in one capacity or another for a combined total of 88 years. That careers master has a lot to answer for!
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