The THIRTY NINTH Entry was attested at the Administrative Apprentice Training School RAF Bircham Newton in January 1960.Training was undertaken there in the trades of Pay Accounting, Clerk Secretarial and Supply at until 1 August 1961.
22nd October 2020
Obituary Tony Pearce – John Boston (44th)
When I passed out of training in April ’63 my first posting was to Benson where I found that there were already two Jnr Techs in the Accounts Flight, one of whom was Tony Pearce (the other was Erle Ameresekera, who was married and lived out). Tony and I found that we had similar outlooks on life and shared the same sense of humour so we quickly became firm friends. We spent most of our off-duty time together; mainly in Wallingford and sometimes in Oxford which were both reachable by bus (neither of us had a car at that time) and sometimes visiting each other’s homes. One occasion in Wallingford stuck in both our minds and we would still talk about it 50-odd years later. It was a cold, dark Saturday night. We were unsure if we had missed the last bus back to camp but the light over the timetable by the bus stop wasn’t working. No problem – Tony produced a matchbox with 2 matches in it. We had no idea where it came from as neither if us smoked. Unfortunately, Tony dropped one of the matches when trying to light it so we lit the other one to look for it! Not the wisest of decisions but possibly it was influenced by alcohol. We ended up getting a taxi.
Tony was then posted to Cyprus and I went to 2 (Pay) Div at Barnwood. We kept in touch by post until Tony was also posted to Barnwood and by pure luck he was allocated a bed in the same 4-man room as me at Innsworth. We both eventually married WRAFs and Tony was my Best Man in 1968 when he successfully got me to the church in an upright condition. We continued to socialise, as a foursome, until I was posted to Sharjah and Tony went to Offutt, Nebraska. I was starting to get the idea that when I compared the two of us, someone was being unlucky in the postings stakes. As the years went by we continued to meet up when we could, at our respective homes, until Tony decided to PVR in (I think) 1991. He did his Resettlement Course at Uxbridge and stayed with us there in our MQ.
Then, as so often happens in the Service, due to a combination of postings for me, a change in personal circumstances for Tony and house moves for both of us, we lost touch. However after some detective work of Poirot-like proportions I managed to track Tony down in Swaffham and we picked up our friendship as if there had been no hiatus, once again visiting each other’s homes and being in regular telephone contact.
Tony started feeling unwell about a year ago and in recent months was finding physical exercise and walking, in particular, a struggle. He was eventually diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and although he continued to be his old, positive, self it was clear that things were getting difficult. At the beginning of October, Tony’s partner Jo rang me to say that he had passed away peacefully at home, sitting in his favourite chair.
Despite the limitations in numbers due to COVID restrictions we were able to attend Tony’s cremation in Kings Lynn on 14th October. Although there were a few ex-RAF people there I was the only ex-Apprentice but I was pleased to be able to represent us all.