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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: 
A3294128
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.

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