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  Brian Wheelton 1M1/58th.    Passed out as 1M5/59th.

Potted History

Pre-Cranwell School.

I passed the entrance exam in 1946-7 and I was not accepted for the 0M6's (56th Entry) as I had an eye problem that had to be cleared up before I was allowed to join.   (An arrow hit when playing Robin Hood).    I was not called for the 0M9's (57th Entry) and ended up joining with the 1M1 (58th Entry) and finished by passing out with the 1M5's (59th Entry).    I lived in Ireland at the time and instead of returning to education I worked as a 'boat minder' - hiring out rowing boats during the week and rowing kids and their parents round the bay at weekends. (Killiney Bay south of Dublin - likened to the Bay of Naples) Kids 3d, Parents 6d. I have never felt so fit and rich; this was at 15 of course.

I had to travel to Belfast recruiting centre from Dublin and I took the exam in Liverpool.   I had previously passed the Navy exam for Artificer Apprentice but my parents wouldn't let me go, with hindsight a good decision.

Post-Cranwell  

Air Radio Fitter. I stayed in until the age of 55 and enjoyed every minute of it - retired as a Warrant Officer.

 

1953

16th March   Got Married. We lived in rooms in Shrewsbury.
 

1951 - 1954

Shawbury, Nr Shrewsbury.   Anson's, Oxford's, Wellington's, Lancaster's and Lincoln's. A great introduction to the wide world as the station was home to the Central Navigation and Control School; we went everywhere to train our navigators. Malta, Gibraltar, Iceland, Tripoli, these trips occurred every couple of weeks and were great for nylons, cigarettes and presents for relatives that saw little at home (rationing was only then finishing).
 

1954 - 1956

Lindholme, Nr Doncaster. Lincoln's, Varsity, Valletta and Hastings.  First Married Quarter - Finningly was closed at the time for conversion to V-Bombers so we lowly ranks just married with no children were able to sneak into a married quarter.
 

1956 - 1959

Waddington, Nr Lincoln.  Promoted sergeant so enjoyed life in the mess.  First Vulcan Unit - once again trips around the world showing off the new aircraft. Canada, South America, United States.  First child was born while I attended the Bombing Competition at Orlando, Florida. Betty did forgive me.
 

1959 - 1962

Jever and Wildenrath, W.Germany. Hunters, Swifts, Canberra B1 and PR7.   Great place to be posted, travelled everywhere, first new car - a Beetle collected from the factory at Wolfsburg - sold it five years later for more than I paid for it.  Second child born.
 

1962 - 1964

Church Fenton, Nr Tadcaster. Jet Provosts - toys.  So much time on my hands I went to York Tech for Radio and Television Servicing - my apprentice training eventually started to make complete sense and I could say I now understood transistor theory.
 

1964 - 1967

Seletar, Singapore. 230 MU 2nd Line on Hastings, Dakota's, Valletta's, Single Pin, Twin Pin, Beverley's, helicopter's - you name it everything appeared there.  We even rebuilt Javelins that had arrived on the decks of cargo ships.  Took up dinghy sailing which was my love till quite recently, I should have took up golf at the same time - it was offered - I'm sure I wouldn't be losing so many balls now.  Made Chief Technician.
 

1967 - 1968

Wittering, Nr Stamford.  Only here a short time as 230 OCU closed and I didn't fancy flight line work - shifts.  Posted to Sealand.
 

1968 - 1971

Sealand, Nr Chester. 3rd line servicing Phantom radar AWG11/12.  Westinghouse sent instructors over and we completed the course at Sealand. 1st and 2nd servicing teams attended courses in the states.
 

1971 - 1972

Kinloss, Moray Firth. Promoted to Flight Sergeant and put in charge of the Nimrod Servicing School.  I complained that instructors should be volunteers and that I had no inclination to be an instructor.  Posted to Boscombe Down.
 

1972

Boscombe Down, Nr Salisbury. 1st line Martell Missile - Buccaneer.  I enjoyed the posting although I hankered to get back to Sealand as I had purchased my first house there and was enjoying the experience.  Managed to organise a three-way exchange with Sealand, Leuchars and Boscombe Down - Joe Harvey - Sealand to Leuchars, Joe Byrom - Leuchars to Boscombe and myself to Sealand.
 

1973 - 1975

Sealand, Nr Chester.  Good years, two more children arrived and I was enjoying the local community.  I had made friends with a local builder and was carrying out electrical work for him; I was working for another friend in his Radio and Television business.  I did consider packing in the service but I still enjoyed my sailing and the service life.
 

1975 - 1978

Bruggen, W.Germany. i/c Engineering Operations - one of the few occasions a fairy had charge of all the heavy operations on a station. Jaguars - moving special weapons - the power! It was also a great tour for seeing the parts of the continent we had missed last time and also revisiting the old haunts - still enjoying the sailing.  I had been introduced to the joys of Baltic sailing at Keel.  Trips to Sardinia and Cyprus with the squadrons.
 

1978 - 1982

Leuchars, Nr St Andrews (wish I had taken up golf in Singapore).   Promoted to warrant.  Not a place that I wanted to be, as I didn't have the family with me.  Commuted to North Wales - long weekend every couple of weeks.  Phantoms aircraft good station made the best of it - enjoyed my sea fishing, sailing and made a couple of trips to Cyprus and Sardinia with the squadrons.
 

1982 - 1985

Wildenrath, W.Germany. Radio Servicing Flight.  What can one say - the best place for an overseas tour no one to bother me - all coming for advice, cheap petrol good allowances - I could stay in this job for ever.
 

1985 - 1986

Sealand, Nr Chester.  I asked for my last tour here as I still had my house.  The end of a lifetime - handing over your 1250 to some AC in the general office - Goodbye.  I always had a hobby horse that ex-servicemen should have a veteran's card similar to the American Forces, but I generally got onto it when I had had a few drinks and never bothered to follow it up the following morning.  I always felt it would have been nice to wander into a mess, have drink, a few words and wander off again - we surely could not have been a security risk.
 

1986 - 2000

Carmel, North Wales. Carried on working after leaving the Air Force - went completely different, working in Quality for a small firm that makes decorative gas fires - I never fancied the idea of waking up in the morning and thinking what the blazes am I going to do today?   Having reached the civilian retirement age the firm I work for asked me to carry on a couple of days a week to help out.  Three years later I am now only doing one day but it keeps my computer knowledge up to date.
 

5th Sept: 2000

Still working but only one day a week now. I have decided to take more holidays and this year we have done Germany Berlin to Cologne by coach, Brest 2000 - a Festival of the Sea - tall ships etc.,   Benidorm in February; we had heard how enjoyable it was that time of year we just had to see it.   We may go again for the warmth. That with the occasional game of golf keeps me happy.

 

22nd Jan: 2001

Packed in working at Christmas, the firm gave me another small retirement party with a couple of bottles of good whiskey.  We are off to Benidorm the end of the month and haven't yet decided for the rest of the year.
 

4th Oct: 2001

Another year almost over - where can we go next?  We have managed Ireland and Canada after Benidorm.
 

4th May 2005

Some time has passed by since I had thought of updating the potted history of my life and with a kick start from the APPSNET crowd, I decided to write a few more words!

Doesnít time pass quickly Ė here we are still Ski-ing (spending the kidís inheritance) with holidays two or three times a year from Singapore to mainland Europe Ė I have great trouble persuading my wife to venture long distance by aeroplane!   Singapore brought back so many memories of our spell there in 1964-67 with tremendous changes having taken place and being made so welcome, one of the most welcome sensations is the feeling of security Ė we walked out frequently at night with no sense of threat.   Seletar is still virtually the same as it was as we left as the camp was taken over by the Singapore Military and is still used today.   For those that where stationed there and used the Yacht Club Ė an island has been created immediately in front of the clubhouse and you can longer look out onto Johore!

Luckily, apart from the normal events of age we are keeping quite well although we are looking to move residences as the garden and house is getting too much and we need to downsize.  The kids have all moved away from home and itís becoming a greater chore although well worth it, to travel over distance in the car to visit.  They come to see us but what with work and their kidís school they cannot stay long enough for us to get to know our grandchildren.

Although spending so long in the Air Force and being almost 20 years retired I still miss the comradeship and I thank APPSNET for reminding me of the times that we had.  I suppose Iím lucky that my son-in-law is still serving and this permits me to visit the messes on occasions.  I always have regrets that I didnít pursue some form of veteranís permit to allow entry into service establishments similar to that of the American forces for people such as ourselves Ė I often spoke about it in the Mess after a few beers but tended to forget all about it the following morning.  In a way our time in the Mob is entirely different to the modern day forces Ė what with Health and Safety and Individualís Rights I donít believe a modern recruit could stay in and enjoy!

So endeth the lesson - watch this space!
 

Brian Wheelton 4th. May 2005

 

Jan 2008

Still going strong although struggling with my sight.  Glaucoma has stopped me driving but doesn't prevent the annual two or three holidays a year.  My aim is to get as many ticks in boxes as possible - to this aim we try to visit as many new places as we can although Betty objects to the long-hauls which has ruled out Australia and New Zealand.   We managed Singapore again last year - amazing what they have done with that place - I'm sure it is a lesson for other areas of the world.
 

Brian Wheelton   11th February, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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