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Posted by / 02-Mar-2016 19:21

Raf pilots dating

I was sworn in at RAF Innsworth, and issued with more kit and caboodle than I had ever seen in my life; I had never owned three of anything, and now I did!

RAF Innsworth was the induction centre at that time.

These had to be serviced, checked, laid out, and lit before any aircraft could take –off or land at night.

The flares had a finite life of course, limited to the amount of kerosene, so they couldn’t be lit until you knew how far away, in time, the landing aircraft was.

We did lectures on every aspect of fire-fighting, use of vehicles, compressed air breathing apparatus and, amazingly, marshalling of aircraft by the simple but effective means of one member of the course doing the marshalling while the others pushed an ancient Vampire aircraft around according to the direction given.

There were trailer pumps, the MK 5, Dual Purpose, and Mk 5a.

The runway lights consisted of ‘gooseneck’ flares, a shaped can full of kerosene with a wick.

This meant a return to RAF Innsworth to be issued with even more kit, this time tropical uniforms although, despite RAF Eastleigh being smack on the equator, we had to take all of our existing kit with us, including greatcoats! I left Stanstead Airport on the 11th April 1958 on a civilian charter flight run by Skyways of London, in an Argonaut aircraft, bound for Malta, Benina in Libya, Khartoum in the Sudan, then Eastleigh itself.

Eastleigh, at that time, was also Nairobi International Airport.

Training complete, the day came when the first posting to an operational RAF Station was to be advised.

So the whole course, all eight of us, trooped down to the Orderly Room, to hear that six of us were going to RAF Eastleigh, near Nairobi in Kenya.

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I was actually a Sea Cadet at age 15, and was aiming to join the Royal Navy as soon as I was old enough.