The recent death of Paul Raymond, Soho Porn King, made me feel rather sad. Mr Raymond was a notorious entrepreneur, pedalling ‘soft porn’ in all it’s forms during the 1960s, 70s and 80s (so I’m told). He did not enjoy a good reputation among those of high moral standards.
Of course Mr Raymond’s activities did not, in any way, affect my life until The Falklands Campaign and Operation Corporate.
Right at the beginning of the operation I was sent down to Ascension Island and arrived at Wideawake Airfield at almost the precise moment that Wideawake became the busiest airfield in the world. An awful lot was happening and the situation was changing by the minute. As a Sgt Pers Admin I was, very suddenly, the Admin HQ for the RAF Element on the island. That situation lasted for just 24 hr when they sent me a Sqn Ldr Admin Sec to help out.
We set up our HQ in a large wooden shed, one of the only two buildings on the airfield, sharing the space with a number of other ‘outfits’ eg RAF MT servicing, Royal Marines and the Royal Engineers Postal Service.
Things happened rapidly and we soon got used to the frequent changes. As any administrator knows, anything that cannot be categorised is always passed on to ‘Admin’ – they will always sort it out!
And so we did – we got used to receiving all kinds of ‘goodies’ such as beer, playing cards and, on one occasion £10,000 of small change.
One morning a matelot driving a forklift truck dumped upon us a large wooden packing case. I had no idea what it contained but, of course, I had to open it. It was full of ‘Mayfair’ magazines gifted to the task force by Paul Raymond. Now, I expect that most readers will not be familiar with the ‘Mayfair’ magazine. Perhaps I should explain. The publication contained lots of pictures of ladies wearing very few clothes. In fact, sometimes they had no clothes at all!!! As you can imagine I
was a trifle shocked! I spent several hours mulling the problem over before I decided that they should be sent up to Two Boats the dormitory camp in the middle of the island. That should have been the end of the affair BUT on the following day a second crate arrived. Another gift from Mr Raymond.! This time I did not hesitate.
That crate was despatched immediately to English Bay, the other dormitory camp on the island. What I had not realised was, that each crate contained different
issues of ‘Mayfair’.
As you may imagine, trading between the two camps was most active!
I cannot help but feel a little sad at the demise of Paul Raymond – he did care for the troops!
There is a sequel to the story. A few days later I received two more very large packing cases. When opened I found that they contained a large quantity of soft porn tied in bundles of five and each labelled ‘A Gift from The Friendly Housewives Of Poole In Dorset’. How Kind! On my return to the UK I did visit Poole but, sad to say, I never found a particularly friendly housewife!