One fairly certain way to join the R A F early war time was to join the Air Training Corps. I joined the Bristol unit, training was Drill, Air navigation (triangle of velocities) , Send and receive Morse code at 4 words per minute. We met during the week and weekend’s , we were lucky that we could visit RAF Filton, the RAF Air Flying Training Station at Lulsgate, with the Summer Camp at the Little Rissington, Station. Again a Flying Training Unit where we had our first experience of flying in Airspeed Oxfords !
At the age of 17 and six months one could volunteer for the R A F, which is what I did. Then I received a letter together with a travel warrant to attend an Air Crew Selection Board at a large private house in Birmingham. Basically a medical and interview with three immaculate dressed RAF officers. The result was well my boy you can join the Service but not as Air Crew, you are red / green colour blind. The first I knew of that, you would make a good instrument repairer and in that job an opportunity to fly on air test. I signed up, was given my Service Nunber of 3050367; numbers beginning with 3 denoted that you were ex A T C.
I retumed home to await the call up notice at the age of 18. The call up notice arrived for an 18th present and I was off to Cardington to be kitted out, then to Skegness for the initial training. At the railway station 20 of us were called out and a corporal who introduced himself as Corporal Carter said follow me . Private houses had been taken over for the duration to house recruits doing the drill and battle course. We discovered that we were all 20 ex A T C and did not need the drill instruction. The next posting was to RAF Melksham for the Instrument course of some 8 weeks.
Om leaving Skegness Corporal Carter said ‘ When we first met you thought I was the worst ‘ B -------- ’ in the R A F. It was my job to make airmen out of you; you never know what is in front of you. Good Bye and good luck.
On reflecting on his words , how right he was.
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