In preference to being drafted into the Army for two years compulsory National Service, Reg Chiddick ‘signed on’ for four years with the RAF in 1952 (it was common practice to sign on for an extra two years in order to learn a trade). It’s a decision he never regretted, and this book is his fond salute to the years he spent in the ‘best blue’ uniform of the Royal Air Force.
After basic training at West Kirby and trade training as an Electrical Mechanic (Air) at RAF Melksham, Reg was posted to 12 Squadron, based at Binbrook in Lincolnshire, to work on one of the latest and most exciting aircraft in use by the RAF at that time – the jet-powered English Electric Canberra bomber.
To be selected to work on this aircraft was a great honour, but Reg soon found that his electrical skills were in demand at RAF Binbrook for other purposes too... He was given the job of updating the station’s antiquated broadcasting system, which led, among other things, to a part-time career as a radio announcer and disc jockey.
Other memories of Binbrook are more serious and include participating in vital emergency work after the floods of February 1953 (the worst of the 20th century) which caused extensive damage and loss of life on the east coast of England and witnessing the aftermath of fatal crashes of squadron aircraft.
But by far the majority of Reg’s stories are of the amusing variety, with many tales of aeronautical high jinks, mischief and mayhem recounted in a jaunty style that is sure to bring back many happy memories for those who also donned the RAF ‘Best Blue’ during the post-war years.