Alan and I were brought up on the same estate and went to the same school. When we were about 13, we joined the ATC together – it was better than the scouts. It was there that we became aware of the RAF Apprenticeship scheme and joined up together in 1959.
Alan ended up in a different billet from me and took a different trade so we were little together but there was one incident we did together.
We got hold of a sheet and painted ‘92nd Locking’ on it in big letters then, whilst home on leave, Alan and I took our cycles, very late in the evening, on a train from our hometown Watford to Wendover near RAF Halton Camp. We could not get into the camp, so we shinned up a drainpipe in the centre of Wendover, tied the banner to a convenient cable and cycled home through the night.
A week later, on parade, we noticed a group going to the Squadron office with a parcel. The parcel turned out to be our banner which had caused quite a stir. The cable we had used turned out to be a power cable and a shower of rain had made it wet, so when a workman attempted to pull it down, he got a shock. They had to turn off the power for most of Wendover to pull the banner down and were not best pleased.
When we passed out, Alan went one way and I another but as fate would have it, just a few days after I had just returned from two and half years in Singapore, I was on leave and went into M&S in our hometown with my wife. Who should I meet but Alan and his wife? They were about to leave on an overseas posting two days later. Funny how these things happen.
I left the RAF as soon as I could, but Alan stayed in for the full term becoming a Wing Commander. I was pleased to be able to trace him and he came to our 50th and 60th reunions.
RIP old chum.