I joined the RAF at 16 and served 22 years. Never regretted my decision to join, with the superb training and discipline I received serving me well once I became a civilian.
I think that a stint in HM forces or other vital public service could not be other than beneficial to young people embarking on the road to their future careers. It is my view that by so doing, one can experience the unique bonding that takes place during military or para-military training. Friendships made tend to last a lifetime and that sense of belonging to an organisation where everyone supports each other is unparalleled.
I understand that some European countries are thinking of re-introducing compulsory National Service while others like Greece, still operate it. Good for them! A bit of square bashing might just wean our youngsters away from social media, give them a sense of public duty and the opportunity to make real friends.
My experience of nuclear defence training was simply to put your head between your knees and kiss your backside goodbye! The ignorance of the effects of radiation was breathtakingly inadequate in the 50s and many good servicemen who took part in the tests for example were later to develop cancers. Only now becoming recognised as such.
Yes Jimmy I forgot the ‘On the day they will all be there’ bit. I certainly remember him saying that as will I am sure, a large number of my own entry! We had a guy called Bill Laverick and one day on the parade square Joe was wanting to demonstrate some rifle drill movement. He called to Laverick ‘throw me your rifle boy’. Laverick did so throwing it hard and horizontaly at Joe, catching him square in his ample stomach area. Poor old Joe nearly collapsed completely winded, much to the amusement of the assembled herd. Cannot honestly remember what happened next but it was a long time ago.
On another occasion he was doing bedcheck and noticed my yellow luminous socks hanging to dry over the stove. He picked them up on the end of his pacestick as if they were diseased. Waving them around he shouted ‘who owns these abortions’? Me Sarge said I meekly. ‘You ain’t nothing but a Teddy Boy what are you’? ‘A Teddy Boy Sarge’ I said. At that Joe dropped them in the fire. Bloody hell, they cost me 2/6 a fair amount at the time!
Have lived in France for 16 years now Jimmy. Although the cost of living has practically doubled in that time, it is still a wonderful country to be in with so much space. Would not swop it now for anywhere else. Would be interested to hear from any other ex-admin apprentices who have settled here.
Uncle Joe Salter, remember him well Jimmy. Favourite expression was ‘bloody ‘ell’ and he had a host of well rehearsed bits of what now would be great situation comedy. Once caught me skiving of PT and I remember he said to me, ‘Ain’t you supposed to be on PT?’ Without a good enough excuse he then said ‘ Do you know anything about cooking’? I made the mistake of saying no our course and was promptly dispatched to the cookhouse where I could ‘start learning by washing up a few pots and pans’!
A master of the rhetorical question eg ‘You will never come to anything you won’t – what will you come to’? Nearly always started his rants by saying ‘Wot’s your name boy’!
Everyone had a bit of a soft spot for old Joe and at reunions we always talk about what may have happened to him after Hereford.
Was the kiss worth it Bill?
For information there is a notice on our website Noticeboard with a link leading to a report from the Hospitality and Catering News website:
There are several pictures there so I do not see a real need to also place these on the website.
The AAA Apprentice Band was largely made up of members of the 29th Entry when I was a member in 1957. Our drum major was George Masson. I was a side drummer on front row with Jack Norris Paddy Gilbert and Ben Croucher. We got very handy with clicking the sticks across the line and it was good fun and if you liked marching, then being in the band was just great as well as avoiding some of the more close inspections on morning parades. Always remember the late Jack Norris, an accomplished drummer in his own right, once breaking into Skin Deep just after march off. As you can imagine chaos reigned for a few minutes!
I stood in for the bass drummer from time to time and got to like setting the pace. Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom! Di Dah Dah!
You must let me have an account of the event Bryan