The Royal Air Force        

My Royal Airforce career spanned 5 years, from August 1959 to August 1964.  During this time I served in the UK, Northern Ireland, Singapore, The Maldives, and back to UK again, to the West Country.  All the time working on the Air Radar of the AV Roe Shackleton (Mk. 1, 2 and 3.)

I wrote a lot of letters to my mother during the Air Force years and these are the basis of what follows. There are a few useful links to Shackleton and other sites, at the end.  If you would like any of the Photos you are welcome to download the small files here, or get higher resolution ones and I suggest you email any enquiries.

Now. (August 2003.) Dear Mum, This book is dedicated to you, who picked me up, wiped my nose and bottom and dragged me single-handedly, screaming through childhood and launched me into the Royal Air Force and adult life.

I am not unhappy with myself and a lot of what I am has come from you. Sorry I did not write more often, I know you like to get my letters (and there would have been more original matter for this book, had I done so). Thanks for keeping all the letters that I did write.


Dear Mum  Chapter 1

Dear Mum Chapter 2


Raf Cardington

Dear Mum Chapter 3


Our Basic Training.  Do you recognise anyone?

I am top left.



Below: Signatures of all the blokes



Dear Mum Chapter 4

One of Many Photos taken during my first home 48 hrs.




Dear Mum Chapter 5

Dear Mum Chapter 6

Dear Mum Chapter 7

Dear Mum Chapter 8

Link to RAF Changi Association. 

  • RAF Changi, shortly after arriving and buying my first camera. This holiday camp was where we all lived.  Some of the time , that is, I spent most of my free time in Singapore.               


  • This Photo joins up - more or less with the previous one. Look at all the cars about. I did not have one, as taxis were everywhere and really much more convenient, but lots of people did. We were quite affluent.



  • The famous Changi Bus Company.  They were red, definitely cheaper than Taxis, but took ages to get anywhere as they went to every little Kampong. I always wondered who the young girl was. I have blown up this photo and she is very sweet. Some Airman's daughter I expect.



  • Singapore, bridge over the creek. I am sure someone will tell me what this bridge is called and what is the name of the buildings behind it. If I remember correctly the Merlion is now not far to the left, am I right?  Note no buildings in the sky. High resolution image available or you can download this for free.
  • Update. 20-1-04.  Name of the bridge is Anderson bridge.
    The building in the center was the Fullerton Building, it was the General Post Office (GPO) in the 60's, then became the IRS (Internal Revenue
    Service) in the 80's, now it is a grand 5 star hotel called The Fullerton. 
    (    They have an interesting website with some historical information.  Thanks, Brenlee)
  • The building on the right was and is, the Bank of China building.                                                               
    Many Thanks Alex.  (from Singapore)



  • Again I would accept expert advice, but I feel this was the other side of the bridge and I think it is still an area where Makan Stalls are to be found. High resolution image available in the Shop or you can download this for free.



  • Further up the creek, almost to the next bridge. Most of the barges were loaded with raw bales of rubber. High resolution image available in the Shop or you can download this for free.



  • The next bridge. This and the previous one were both taken from the bridge, whatever it is called. Let me know and I will label them accordingly! High resolution image available, or you can download this for free.



Dear Mum Chapter 9


Dear Mum Chapter 10

  • The HQ of RAF Frazers Hill,  in the Cameron Highlands. About 2 or 3 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, at least it was, I expect there is a better road now.  It had glass in the windows as it was considerably cooler than Singapore.
  • There was a golf course running through the village and it was all very quaint and rustic.




  • The Magnificent Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.




  • Again, - from a different angle



  • Jungle George, or - if you prefer, "George of the Jungle".   Brendan Frazer would not be impressed. The kit was a bit non-standard as everyone added little personalised bits of their own, hence my (red) cap and towel to soak up the copious sweat, from our exertions.



  • This was the Barmaid at the Maxwell Arms in the village of Frazers Hill, the photo does not do her justice, she did not want me to take any and so it is a "stolen shot". She said I looked like Troy Donahue, I suppose she was right.  I can't remember her name at the moment, but it will probably come back to me.




Dear Mum Chapter 11


Dear Mum Chapter 12


  • Gan Island, a bit hazy, I am afraid, but the shape and layout can be seen, even if the detail is lost. The south side is the right hand side of the picture and the accommodation is all on the North West tip.



  • 205 Squadron Kilo.  One of my charges.  Sitting on the ASF Pan in the blazing sun they used to get very hot inside. This was a problem for the rubber insulated wiring and also a problem for the poor old Radar Fitter who has to get inside the radar dish assembly under the nose. There was a little drain hole in the bottom and the way to tell if anyone was in there was to look for the trickle of sweat dripping from it.



  • I was very skinny and fit at that time, so were most people, - it was that sort of place. You would not think we were putting away so much beer. I am the tall one.



  • One of the "Dhonies"  a Maldivian fishing boat, they were not very stable and had outriggers to keep them upright. The locals used to go all over the Indian Ocean in them, better them than me!



Dear Mum Chapter 13

Dear Mum Chapter 14 

RAF Gan Revisited

During the 5 years, in the Royal Air Force, the place that probably impressed me most, - or perhaps where I was happiest was RAF Gan.  There is something about the place and the morale was excellent.  In 1996 I took my wife there, to show her where I had lived and worked , so many years before.

Here is a picture of my wife Maribel, standing on the Gan - Fedu causeway on a windy day in 1996, with RAF Gan in the background, when we last visited Gan in the Maldives. This is where I spent nearly a year in the sixties during my time in the Royal Air Force. It was lovely to go back.


Here is an account of how my wife and I found Gan in 1996 when we went for a holiday.

Go To Gan1996

I have lots (and lots) of pictures of Gan but it all takes time. I have about 100 taken in the 60s and another 30 or 40 taken when we went back on holiday.  I will get round to it - I promise. At least I have now uploaded all the chapters, finding all the appropriate pictures will take a bit longer.  Watch this space!  George.

Go to Dear Mum Chapter 15


Go to Dear Mum Chapter 16


Go to Dear Mum Chapter 17


Go to Dear Mum Chapter 18


Go to Dear Mum Chapter 19


Go to Dear Mum Chapter 20



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