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Life being an Admin Apprentice in the RAF

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  • #17009

    I joined the RAF just after leaving school in 1958 – First ever “Job”! I was 18 years old.

    I lived in Caernarfon (North Wales) and my dad took me to the railway station to catch a train to RAF Hereford. Absolutely no idea what I was getting involved in!!!!

    I was give a number – 593530 (later MO593530) and joined the 34th Entry as a JT.

    34th entry left RAF Hereford and moved to RAF Bircham Newton. I did not survive the training course because I found a girl friend (Pat) in a local village called Stanhoe (actually in the Stanhoe Pub!). Was posted back to RAF Hereford as an AC2 and finally finished training. Then – low and behold was posted back to RAF Bircham Newton as an AC2. Re-met Pat and got married in 1962.

    We were posted to RAF Rheindahlen in 1964 and lived in married quarters at Kanalstrasse. in Cologne – had to drive backwards and forwards from Cologne to RAF Wildenrath every day!

    Decided to start a “Pop Group” whilst living in Cologne (we called it The Germs) and started “gigging” in Sgt’s Messes at Rheindahlen, RAF Bruggen, RAF Wildenrath, RAF Laarbruch and many Sgts and Officers messes on the local army bases – 28 Sigs, 16 Sigs, 13 Sigs, Osnabruch etc.

    I was posted to Tongeren in Belgium (lived in Liege), then to the “caves” in Maastricht then eventually posted back to RAF Rheindahlen. The Germs continued throughout these postings. It’s a long way from Liege to the Sgt’s Mess in Osnabruch and back for a 4 hour gig!!

    Then – DISASTER – my 3 years as up and they wanted to post me back to the UK. So I applied to “buy myself out” of the RAF – they agreed – I left the RAF (still as an SAC) on a Friday and joined the NAAFI at RAF Rheindhalen on the Monday as a shelf filler!

    Spent 6 month training, then took over as manager of the NAAFI shop at 13 Sigs Birgelen, then was asked to take over the NAAFI Shop at RAF Wickrath, then was asked to take over the NAAFI shop at 16 Sigs Krefeld (over 10 years there) then was promoted to the NAAFI shop at Dusseldorf. The band still continued to gig!

    Came on holiday to Australia in 1981 – was at a party just before returning to Dusseldorf and my wife (Pat) and daughter (Sheena) were both offered jobs. They stayed and I went back to Dusseldorf to resign and move out of the married quarter.

    4 weeks later came back to Australia. Was offered a job in IT . It lasted 8 months, then the company closed down. I acquired the company in 1982 and now we are still working 5 days a week computerizing small to medium sized Australian businesses.

    Based in outer eastern Melbourne, have 6 staff and also have a very successful Liquor business as well as the IT business.

    Have a look at http://www.theoldorchardwinery.com.au and http://www.yeawcb.com.au

    All this would never of happened if I had not joined the RAF in 1958 then the NAAFI in 1961

    #17037
    Drummer boy
    Participant

    Hi David,

    Not sure if my answer was sent, so I will try again 😂

    a brilliant resume of your start as an apprentice which I’m sure gave you great confidence in life. Excellent read than you.

    Bryan Hoare

    ex 307th Clk Sec

    #17039

    Hi Bryan,

    Many thanks for your comments!!

    I have enjoyed my life and I’m sure that having that initial discipline, at a young age, was the best introduction to adult life – even though we hated that Cpl who used to scream at us when we were “on parade”. “Shoulder Back Smith You XYZZZZ”.

    Not sure if I liked “bumpering” either, then having to skid along the floor with small mats under our feet, when in the Nissan Huts.  It kept us fit I suppose.

    I forgot to mention that I also joined the apprentice’s band at RAF Hereford. I “played” the trumpet!! Well, I didn’t actually play, I just puffed out my cheeks occasionally and it looked like I played! There were 8 trumpeters in the band, so the other 7 all drowned my “squeaking”. I’m quite tall 6ft-3ins so I was in the back line of the musicians, so no one noticed .

    There were heaps of “benefits” if you were in the band. On Parade, we never got inspected like all the other guys. We had “practice nights” in the JRC – mostly practicing how to “down a pint the fastest”!!!

    I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you!

    Thanks again for your reply. Let’s keep in contact and maybe we can find some other guys who can describe their experiences.

    David Smith

    Ex: MO593530 Pay Accts

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