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- Location of story:
- U K & Europe
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 19 March 2004
ONE OF THE MANY STEVE [SOLIDPAKEHA]
I am writing this brief personal resume of myself in the hope that someone out there may make contact for whatever reason , or perhaps may even have some recognition.
I was born in Walsall [nr Birmingham] West Midlands
I was 14 years old when WW2 was declared, I can recall vividly gathering around the Radio with my family on Sept 3rd 1939 listening to Neville Chamberlain P M.
My Father who had served in France in WW1[ he was wounded badly] got up from his chair and after a brief silence said “ Well the B ….ds have started again, and you lads will be in it.”
He died before the war ended in 1944
I joined the Civil Defence before I was 15, as a ‘Bike messenger’ Use your own bike, for one & sixpence a week We were the only mode of transport on the Post, my best mate and I .You would be surprised how two kids on a bike can get From A to B when the ‘heat’ is on . We held the firm belief that if we rode like hell nothing could touch us. It was all very exciting , until we both came across our first fatality, then it became very serious. Like thousands of other young lads , we grew up very quickly .
I became an Apprentice Plumber , and most of our work was on bomb damage in Birmingham.
They were bombed regularly and took extensive damage.
We had 12 hour work days, plus our duties at the C D post most nights, which often carried on till 4 or 5 in the morning . Some were ‘active’ raids , most were ‘nuisance’ raids , but none were on the same scale as B’ham
We were just a few miles from there, so we had a backseat view of their ‘pastings’.. And a front seat the next day , of the results.
Although I appear to present a stark picture of those times ,like most teenagers of that time , our social life went unchanged ,[albeit rather restricted ] Sport, Movies, a k a ;The Pictures, The Pub. Dances ,and Girls. The competition for the Girls became very one sided, when England was ‘invaded’! by
The Americans. The CD uniform, versus GI Joes No Contest.
It was time to change the uniform . I volunteered for the R A F, I had always been interested in Aircraft
My ambitions were for Air Crew , unable to make the grade , became Aircraft Mechanic.
Stationed - Bomber Group 58 M U Skellingthorpe Lincoln [operational Lancasters].
Later I had the opportunity to transfer to no 3 Base Recovery Unit 2nd T A F France.& Belgium
Our job was recovering ‘downed’ aircraft. A self contained mobile unit of six men, dismantling and transporting them back to Base. Hopefully to fly again.
Our final base we operated from was from an airfield known as “ Buc” a few miles from “Versailles’ near Paris [I wonder if there is anyone out there remembers the British Service Club, for N/cos and O/ranks , known as “The Skittle Alley” ?]
Demobbed in 46 Married in 50 Emigrated to New Zealand in 58.
I wonder if there is some aged ‘gentleman’ out there did similar service in the same places?
I am writing a book of my life story, and enjoying every minute of it. It’s like living it again [I recommend it]
Yours Steve [solidpakeha]
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