Once more with feeling

Joining in December, 1958, originally with 412 Squadron in Nottingham, I then transferred to 209 Squadron at Upnah House on Forest Road. After a few years, the building was handed over to the Girls’ High School and we moved to a new wooden hut at Gresham playing fields in West Bridgford which still exists today. Our Commanding Officer was Flight Lieutenant Frank Allen, Adjutant Flying Officer Gill, and Warrant Officers Bob Ward, George Cook and Bill Bishop.

I attended three annual camps before leaving in June, 1963, as a Sergeant; RAF Leeming in 1959, RAF Bassingbourn in 1960 and RAF Wattisham in 1962.

One of the highlights was winning the Wing Drill competition at RAF Newton. The right marker was Corporal G. Williamson and I marched the squad onto him, and from there WO Gough took over the drill instructions. After opening us for inspection, he forgot to ask the inspecting officer if he wished to inspect us and closed us up; he was then asked by the officer to open us up again to inspect us.

So we had extra open up and close up. At the end of our drill, WO Gough apologised for his error for he believed it would mark us down. However, after all the squadrons had finished, we were awarded the trophy for the best display.

After getting married and moving, I met the CO of the local squadron who I recalled as a cadet from Wing Parades and he invited me along to his squadron and I became a civilian instructor for a few years.

Last year I met up with three old cadets and since then others have joined us. We meet at the Queens Head at Watnall, Nottingham, every first Wednesday of the month and we are trying to contact other members who might remember us and wish to swap stories over a pint. They would be most welcome.

John Newham, Nottingham.