Norman Haywood, of Coleorton near Coalville in Leicestershire, joined the RAF in October 1946, and signed on for 10 years in order to get into his chosen trade of Radio & Radar Technician. That arrangement of the brushes and buckets was almost universal practice in barracks and billets in all British units, across all three services. Innaugauration of the 'new wall-light.' There's always time for a laugh. In fact, when he left Liverpool docks on his troopship, he was headed for some desolate and dusty airfield halfway down the Suez Canal, near the Great Bitter Lakes.Aircraftman 3501380 was inducted at Padgate, then Cardington and did his square bashing and basic training there, before being sent to No 2 Radio School at RAF Yatesbury for trade training, followed by No1 Radio School at RAF Cranwell. Some wag, returning spiked from the NAAFI, must have tripped apex-over-elbow in the dark outside the billet one night, and so they decided they needed a light out there. He got wind of a vacancy for a wireless erk on Malta, and immediately volunteered.His access to Marsaxlokk was by bike down the lanes from his flat in Zejtun, through the villages, and over to the bay, and thence via launch and small RAF craft of varying descriptions out to the Sunderlands moored in deep water.As he often said, he thought he'd joined the Air Force, not the bloody Navy!
This small selection of photos is part of the collection that I inherited after dad died in 1997.Click the image on the right for a better view of this veteran trooper.A good 20% of her total voyages were in the service of the British military, some 74 voyages in all, and most of those through the Med.And where the hell he was going to get blessed flowers from on that dry, dusty, God-forsaken bomb shattered wreck of a rock, where even food was still in short supply, I've no idea, and I don't suppose he did either.It seems to me he did well to get there at all without suffering a stroke.