David John Anker 1944-1994 Aged 49 Years – Dixie Deane 40th
David Anker, aged 15 years and 8 months, arrived at RAF Bircham Newton on 17 May 1960 along with all the other new entrants of his entry. He came from Stalybridge and regularly regaled us with stories from that area especially Stalybridge Celtic FC. He was a cheerful, outgoing and sometimes outspoken Lancashire lad! He had a library of his own made up songs such as ”Land of Fish and Chip Shops” to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory. He was a likeable person, kind and considerate to others.
In David’s view, no meal was a meal unless it was eaten between two slices of bread and this he did breakfast, dinner and tea. He only stopped doing this after several weeks of being cajoled by his colleagues.
He loved messing about on the sports field – well anything that would distract him from studying – and liked football and rugby, in the latter he represented the AATS fifteen.
The 40th Entry Passing Out Supplement in the Spring 1962 ”The Apprentice” magazine contained the following pen picture of David: AA Anker. Passed out SAC (Jnr Tech in trade), posted to RAF Finningley. ”ANKERS ON JANKERS” became a popular phrase used by all from the CO down. When not singing the praises of Stalybridge (the finest city in Europe) he took time off to play rugby and occasionally do some work.
As far as I know, David served at the following RAF stations: Finningley, Gan, Oakington and Waddington and his last posting was at RAF Boulmer. He left the RAF as a Cpl on 30 April 1974 on completion of his 12 year engagement and returned to his beloved Stalybridge where he had indicated he intended to retrain to become a nurse.
I tried to trace him, with no luck, a few years ago for the combined fiftieth anniversary event that was held by the 39th, 40th and 41st entries but we did have unconfirmed reports at that time that he had passed away. A few days before the date of this article, I received some snippets of information via Facebook which eventually put me in contact with David’s sister in law who knew him well. Sadly, she confirmed that David had died suddenly as a result of a heart attack a few days before his 50th birthday. On leaving the RAF he fulfilled his desire to retrain as a nurse and also for a few years been a Labour Councillor on Oldham Council. David had up until his death had been a Charge Nurse on a busy and demanding A&E Unit – a measure of the man.