Royal Air Force
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Some Recollections – Geoff Stevens (40th)

Some experiences and recollections after passing out on the 29th of December, 1961, as a Junior Technician, aged just 17 and a half years old and posted to Marham; sometimes labelled RAF El Adam with grass.
I believe at the time of passing out, I was the youngest JT in the whole of the RAF, as our fellow apprentices from Halton and Locking had to complete a 3 year course and direct entries would have to wait a considerable time before completing their fitters courses.
I will never forget the 28th of December, 1961, as I walked through, in awe, the gates of this huge RAF station, reported to the guard room to start my journey in man’s service.
The photograph is taken of the accounts section sometime in 1962, a couple of months after my arrival. I worked in the Airmen’s pay section, as did all the other Airmen in the photo and we were all billeted in the same room of the barrack block, alongside 5 boy entrants from Hereford, working in the P2/P3 SHQ. In the photo there are 4 ex-apprentices from Bircham Newton (including myself) and 3 ex-boy entrants from Hereford.
The F/Sgt, second from the left in the front row, Jack Davenport was a Ruislip Apprentice Clerk – a nice man and my mentor. Second from the left standing, is JT Chris Youngman, 39th Entry. Seventh from the left is JT Dave Cartwright, 38th Entry. The eighth from the left is myself and the ninth is JT Brian ‘Jock’ Devchis, 36th Entry.
I was the last apprentice to arrive at Marham and the first to exit, when I was posted to RAF Safi in Malta, following the terrible winter of 1962/3.
I was to come across Brian once again in 1970 whilst stationed at RAF Tengah in Singapore. I was in hospital at Changi and required a little cash, so I contacted my section to arrange a casual payment. I was sitting on my bed and up the hospital ward strode a certain Flt.Lt Devchis, the OC Accounts Flight, RAF Changi. We had a lot to talk about and enjoyed our chance meeting.
It was during the Vietnam War and there were Australian troops being treated in the hospital. In the bed next to me was one of them, an Englishman who emigrated to Australia with his family under the £10 pom scheme. His wife had left him for another soldier, so he decided to join the Australian Army and ended up fighting in Vietnam.
Halfway through my tour of Malta, I was posted to RAF Idris, a staging post, near Tripoli in Libya and worked in the Officers Mess and Transit Block, dealing with the mess bills and book keeping. I went back to Malta on a football tour and before we started our first match against RAF Luqa, a signal was sent requesting my immediate return, as an influx of aircraft had arrived in transit and the officers mess was full. The Station Commander, Wg.Cdr. RS Mortley would sly the Station Devon across the Mediterranean Sea to collect me. I will always remember his words to me: “Sorry I had to interrupt your tour, Stevens, but we urgently require you back at base”. Of course I was compliant.
Geoffrey Stevens.

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