The Other Royal Air Force

RAF postwar
ISBN 1-84683-101-6
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by Ray Clinton
An RAF airman's experiences while on National Service in the UK and Egypt, 1951-55.

The Royal Air Force of the 1950s as seen from the perspective of a lowly mechanic on national service provides a worthwhile insight into the contribution made by RAF tradesmen whose unglamorous but nevertheless essential work keeps the aircraft flying.

In this enjoyable memoir Ray Clinton sets out to record the realities of life in the postwar RAF as experienced by the ordinary airman or ‘erk’ ~ a far cry from the glamorous image of heroic pilots and their daring deeds promoted in novels and films.

He tells the story of the four years he spent in RAF uniform in the early 1950s, as one of thousands of young British men obliged to undergo a two-year period of National Service in the armed forces or (as in the case of Ray and many others) volunteer to serve longer if they wanted to learn a trade.

After undergoing the usual rigours of Initial Training, Ray qualified as an Electrical Mechanic, although he was soon to discover that he would only infrequently be called upon to apply his newly-acquired knowledge. Nevertheless, his life in the RAF involved plenty of inci¬dents, which he describes, in sometimes robust language, as we follow his progress through various postings, suffering the usual indignities and humiliations of forces life, from initial ‘square-bashing’ to a long spell in the Suez Canal Zone.

Along the way he introduces us to some colourful characters among his fellows and gives many an amusing insight into barrack life in the UK and abroad, with its wide diversity of conditions. We also learn how he and his fellows relieved the tedium of underemployment and what they got up to in their off-duty hours.

Ray is a gifted storyteller whose descriptions of service life provide a useful insight into the era and are related in an easygoing and humorous manner that will amuse and entertain ex-service personnel and the general public alike.

details softback | 140 x 205 mm | 180 pages | monochrome photos
subject life in the RAF of the 1950s
genre military memoir | 1950s nostalgia
readership aviation enthusiasts | military historians | RAF veterans | general readers