ALL THE VERY BEST WISHES AND THE BEST OF HEALTH, DURING 2017, TO EVERY MEMBER OF THE ENTRY AND THEIR FAMILIES - AND INDEED TO EVERYONE ELSE WHO HAPPENS TO STUMBLE ACROSS THESE PAGES.
I have received an email from Bill Hardwick wishing everyone "A Happy New Year". He also mentioned that he had recently visited the website but had found no mention of the rumoured plans to close the whole of RAF Halton in the near(ish) future. Bill saw an article about this on the Forces TV channel and has sent in the relevant link.
Rumours of this event have been circulating for some time. The only thing that seems almost assured is that the Airfield will/has been sold off for housing development. The main site seems to be a different matter particularly because of the legal resposibilities of the government regarding (in particular) Halton House. The reason I haven't published anything on the matter is simply because I have no idea as to what will actually happen.
A friend of mine sent a note saying that a chap called Al Alcroft has been trying to contact Bill Briggs. Unfortunately, the only information I have regarding Billy Briggs is that he was an Engines Fitter who resided in 1(A) Wing and was posted to Lindholme on graduation. Do any of you 1(A) Wing lads, or any other Engine Fitter, have any memories or post Halton information regarding Billy?
I have included an item on the O.A.S. page that offers some sense of the scale of preparations the United States undertook for the invasion of Japan, prior to their eventual decision to drop the two atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. This is conveyed through a series of maps along with photographs of the ships men and materiel involved.
Jim Terry contacted me, enthusing about a book he managed to lay his hands on, entitled: The Lightning Boys: (True Tales from Pilots of the English Electric Lightning) by Richard Pike. As the title suggests, it mainly covers the jockeys but also admits what a b*tch the beast was for the engineers to maintain. Published September 2011 by Grub Street, it sounds like a good read, especially if you can find a copy in a second-hand or remainder bookstore.
Frank Turner was perusing the Motorbike page recently and was reminded of the car he managed to keep stashed away on a farm at Rowsham (on the Aylesbury to Leighton Buzard road). I've loaded his tale onto the Motorbike page.
I spoke with Colin Pogue yesterday who broke the news that Terry Setford has passed away.
Terry Setford, Dave George, Colin Pogue and Pete Eldridge became good friends: all four were trained as Airframe Fitters and resided in 1(A) Wing. Terry and Colin were posted to RAF Duxford on graduation. At one point Terry was stationed at RAF Akrotiri where he worked alongside Dave George and Pete Eldridge in ASF. Terry Setford and his wife, Pauline, took Dave George's fiancée, Shirley, under their wing while she completed the requisit residency period prior to participating in their civil marriage in Cyprus.
After leaving the RAF, Terry worked for BAe(Kingston) and then ran a Golf Shop in the UK. He retired to live in Spain and passed away in February 2017. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.
Bernard Horton has notified me that RAFHAA have issued a newsletter giving more information regarding the closure of RAF Halton. I have now received a copy of that newsletter which the Association has delivered via DropBox. I have provided a link to view the newsletter which works OK: however, if you see a message appear at any time which invites you to join DropBox, just decline the offer and continue your viewing.
The internet reveals that a cinema, known by every Halton Brat, is: "Located in the Royal Air Force camp of RAF Halton, near the village of Halton, near Wendover, Buckinghamshire. The Astra Cinema was opened in January 1926. Seating is provided in stalls and circle levels, with the circle used by officers and their friends." I suppose it is rather poor form to admit that it had not occured to me in those far off days that officers might have friends.
Fondly remembered for the films viewed as well as the treasure frittered away on weekly visits, it was better known to one and all as the 'Camp Stack' (anyone know why?); however, on the rare occasions that the golden-eagle was particularly generous, many of us ventured further afield for our entertainment.
One such venue was the Art Deco Odeon Cinema in Aylesbury. Although I now much admire that style I am the first to admit that, at the time, I was far more interested in the charms of the lass sitting next me than the building we were sat in - changed days I know. The cinema was opened in the mid 1930s and was located at 1A Market Square. It was converted to a 3 screen cinema in the mid 1970's and finally closed its doors in 1999.
Hoping that you have not yet lost the will to live, I shall get to the point. For some time I have been fascinated by a website which goes under the title Derelict-Places which "documents decay" by means of photographic reports from enthusiasts. The subjects covered range across ex - military, civil defence, industrial, medical and government sites - amongst others. The particular link I have offered details the aforementioned Odeon Cinema and reveals some of its Art Deco features. If you find it interesting, why not make your way to their Home page and check out some of their other reports.
By the way - this is what they replaced it with.
I have noticed an entry on the Brats Historical Time-Line webpage from a chap in the 62nd Entry (David Gibbings) who noted the following amusing anecdote:
"At some time during my stay at Halton, the band were picked up by the Air Commodore as 'Scruffy' on parade. As they marched off, they played 'Colonel Bogey'.
Later the edict went out; 'Col Bogey' and the 'Brown Bear' were forbidden, because they were always played to or at somebody!"
There has been a link to this site on our O.A.S. page for a long time and I have repeated it here. The page is authored by Bob Rodham (of the 223rd Entry I believe): it contains some interesting information and is well worth a visit