BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

13 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Teaching Radio in South Africa

by Ipswich Museum

Contributed by 
Ipswich Museum
People in story: 
James Kelly Coates
Location of story: 
South Africa.
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
18 November 2004

My father, now deceased, spent most of the war as a RAF sergeant in South Africa. He had learnt to be a ground radio operator during the battle of Britain, and then was a teacher about this, in the Cape. Even in old age he could recall the Morse Code.

There were, he said, large forces stationed there. Not just because of the strategic importance of the area, or because it could be sued for training, but out of fear that the pro-German element would cause trouble.

His main memories of the war were centred around the camp magazine, which he helped edit, and the astonishing beauty of the country. He would often talk about what a sight it was to see such astonishing warm and fertile landscapes. That is, of course, not surprising from someone who was brought up in one of the poorest parts of Glasgow.

In a way he always felt guilty at having an 'easy' war out of the threatre of operations. But no-one decided where they were sent (and he had volunteered before conscription) and he played his part to the full.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Royal Air Force Category
Southern Africa Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy