- Contributed by
- Bournemouth Libraries
- People in story:
- Pat Cloake
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 05 March 2005
In 1943 I volunteered for the air force. My friend and I thought we would stay together but we were in for a shock. After the initial six week training we wondered what we had let ourselves in for. We attended a meeting and they decided what they would do with us. My friend went one way and I went to London.
I was in the record office and staying in a private billet. I was not happy as I had joined the air force, not to be stuck in an office filing. I went to my officer and she said would I like to be a wireless telegrapher. So I went vto radio school for six months and did morse code until every sound you heard was like morse. I was worried because I wasn't very good. I was alright at receiving but not sending.
I was posted to a training unit where pilots were trained to fly solo.when we got there we found it was a satellite of a main station. We had radios so we could speak to the pilots and I didn't have to tap, tap, tap all the time.
I saw a few crashes when aircraft were returning from their ops. We went there all night and would tell pilots if they couldn't get into land, but they would try anyway. I think they would panic and try to get to the nearest place. One aeroplane blew up but fortunately the crew managed to get out.
We were all very friendly and I'm still friends with some of them today. I married one of the instructors, an Australian, and we settled in Australia for ten years before returning to Britain.
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