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Looking back to 1946 when conscription was at it's height, I was exempt because I was a farm worker and enjoying the fresh air and hard work. But then a year later the War Agricultural Board drafted me from the farm in Ripon and stuck me in a farm hostel near Leeds. We were earmarked to work for various farmers to cover their labour shortages, along with Land Army girls (they were great!). The billet accommodation was dreadful and the only way out was to volunteer for Service. So in 1948 was when the RAF got their hands onto me.

The first 13 years of my service was in the Equipment Stores trade, and good as it was, I am glad that I switched to Air Movements. Many of the very best Stations have long since gone, but my tour in Singapore will always remain special to me. FEAF MAMS took me to Malaya, Borneo, Thailand and Hong Kong. One task I'll never forget was a 'chopper' trip to a small clearing in the Borneo jungle. We took a Ghurka soldier with us to bring back his brother who had been shot dead in the jungle. Local natives had carried his body strapped to a pole and he had been dead for several days. We had taken a stretcher but the journey back in the Belvedere had to be done with doors open because of the smell.

Maybe it's because of my smart turnout, (or was it the fact that the FEAF Regional Band wanted a pianist) but Changi Pax Section got me for the last part of that tour. When I wasn't working, I enjoyed Dixieland Jazz Band sessions in the various messes and clubs. Maybe some readers might remember hearing 'The Islanders'?

You know how it is, not being able to remember names, (faces come easier), but at the Movements Training School at Abingdon, I must have trained dozens of Movers, especially on that Beverly 'mock-up'. Stan Holloway and Ian Pike were a blast from those days in '66/'69.

I had a 14 month stint at 25 MU Hartlebury working with Suppliers and the Pioneer Corps to put together complete Married Quarter house lots for service families being withdrawn from Aden. That was in '67/'68. House lots included everything down to knives, forks and spoons. Whilst on this tour I met, and eventually married Jean, my wife. We moved these house lots to M.O.D. properties all over the country by Pickfords Carriers.

 

During my 13 month tour on Gulf MAMS, Muharraq set out two teams challenges that often seemed impossible.

Dave Barton covered 'A' Team with Mike Farquarson and 'B' Team was led by Barry Belton, Henry Ellerby and Tony Saw to name but three.

Incidentally, Dave is trying to get me interested in the World Wide Web but I don't know, at 73 I might just have missed the boat!!  But Dave has promised to get this on to the Old Boys Net.
 

 

 

 

My 5 & half year tour at West Raynham where I was the sole Mover was good.

I probably prepared, palletized and lashed well in excess of 500 Bloodhound missile loads to and from Laarbruch, Wildenrath and Bruggen.

The picture shows me celebrating my 500th load with my boss S/Ldr Dave Wood, some of the Hercules crew and the MAMS Team

 

Brize Norton was quite cosy, passenger handling on a 4 x day, 4 x night and 4 x day off roster. After booking the passengers and baggage in, they would be called forward and into to the departure lounge by name - probably still are. I recall one family by the name of Bates. Mo Mohindra unintentionally brought the house down when he called “W.O. Bates, Mrs Bates and master Bates” - well, it was 6 o'clock in the morning

At RAF Gatow, Berlin, some of the names that spring to mind are W.O. Bill Fitt who was replaced by Dave Barton, Tony Last, Derrek Cammock, Graham Cotton, John Hadley and Derek Webb. I think it was one 'trooper' a week and the odd freighter, there was plenty of champagne time to enjoy to ourselves. We had a social club for just about every activity and sport on the camp.

On my final tour at Stafford, the Tornado was being deployed to the German and Italian Air Forces and my task was to liaise with the German and Italian officers along with No. 2 MT Squadron in the movement of Tornado spares by road and ferry.

 

 

Thank you for hanging in there, I'm kept reasonably busy playing the piano and I ask myself, "Would I do it all again?"

You're damn right I would!

Best regards to all

Les Charlesworth.
June 2002

 

 

 

From
 
To
 
Unit Duty
 
Oct 1948
 
Dec 1948
 
RAF Cardington
 
Square Bashing
 
Dec 1948
 
Jan 1949
 
RAF Melksham
 
Square Bashing
 
Jan 1949
 
May 1949
 
RAF Hereford
 
Equipment Training
 
Jun 1949
 
Oct 1949
 
RAF Henlow
 
Stores Duties
 
Oct 1949
 
May 1952
 
RAF Kasfareet, Egypt
 
107 MU
 
May 1952
 
Jan 1957
 
RAF Stafford
 
Instructor, Supply Training School
 
Jan 1957
 
Dec 1958
 
RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus
 
Stores No. 6 Squadron
 
Dec 1958
 
Aug 1961
 
RAF Stafford
 
Disposals No.6 Site
 
Sep 1961
 
Apr 1962
 
RAF Kidbrook
 
Air Movements Course
 
Apr 1962
 
Jul 1963
 
RAF Seletar, Singapore
 
FEAF MAMS
 
Jul 1963
 
Oct 64
 
RAF Changi, Singapore
 
Air Movements Passenger Duties
 
Oct 1964
 
Jan 1966
 
RAF Lyneham
 
Static and Mobile Air Movements
 
Jan 1966
 
Jan 1967
 
RAF Abingdon
 
Air Movements School Instructor
 
Jan 1967
 
May 1968
 
RAF Hartlebury
 
Furnishing Supply Wing
 
May 1968
 
Jun 1969
 
RAF Muharraq, Bahrain
 
Gulf MAMS
 
Jun 1969
 
Sep 1974
 
RAF West Raynham
 
Bloodhound Support Unit
 
Oct 1974
 
Jun 1976
 
RAF Brize Norton
 
Air Movements Passenger Handling
 
Jun 1976
 
Oct 1978
 
RAF Gatow, Germany
 
Air Movements
 
Oct 1978
 
Feb 1980
 
RAF Brize Norton
 
Air Movements
 
Feb 1980
 
Jun 1981
 
RAF Lyneham
 
UKMAMS
 
Jun 1981
 
Nov 1983
 
RAF Stafford
 
ETF - European Tornado Flight