Cranwell

From Graduation a number of the Entry gained Cadetships and went to Cranwell and below is John Dillon’s recollection of some of his training during his 3 years at Cranwell. Hopefully this will be of interest to others, as well as those of us who went to Cranwell after Halton. For those of us who went there, we were in for another 3 years of working up from Junior Entry to Senior Entry.  We were joined by other ex-Apprentices from 104 Entry.  Cliff Spink (104th) has now retired as Air Marshal.

We all joined 94 Entry at Cranwell, finally graduating in Aug/Sep of 1968.  While we were there the length of the course was cut down by 1 term, about 5 months.  I don’t have a lot of photos, but I have some from King Rock and the trip to BAOR.   King Rock was the Cranwell version of the Brecon Beacons, but it took place in the Sauerland in Germany and included a day/night escape and evasion exercise from the Army.

This is the team I was on, I’m far left.  Far right with glasses is Geoff Green (104th).

Years after leaving the RAF I bumped into Geoff in the Business Class section of a BA flight to San Francisco.

Abseiling.  Not me.  I didn’t go much on this as vertigo is something I’ve always suffered from.

Our team again on some navigation exercise.

Two days in a tent we had to make from a parachute.  It didn’t keep out the rain, just turned it into a fine mist.  Either way, you still got wet.

Canoe training.  I’m at the front of the one, second from left.

Our “kitchen boy” (can’t remember his name).
 
We lived in 160lb tents, sleep 10, in the pine woods, this was our “en-suite” kitchen area.

Although the 160lb tent sleeps 10, in true “Rockape” fashion, we had to use the pup tents. Lovely when it rained.

Nice day for a ride.

At some point, in the final year I think, we had a week with the BAOR, split up between different units.  I was with a mechanised gun unit, Abbot guns as I remember. Great fun bombing around on the things.

The Army do love trying to hide things. They also love making mud tips out of any open fields they find.

After Cranwell, and before going to Stradishall for Advanced Nav training, I had the chance for 5 days on a submarine.
 
Left Faslane and spent a few days on exercise in North Atlantic, before putting into Londonderry.  The boat was the Oberon, an “O” class diesel electric boat.  Great experience, not much room, and no water for washing.

From Cranwell it was on to Squadrons as a Navigator on Vulcans. After leaving Halton I hardly met anyone from the Entry.  I met Ron Dent once at Scampton, and Brian Lee once in Offutt in the States.  No contact until a phone call from Les Garden in 1990 saying there was to be a reunion.

We did a quick display for an air day at RAAF Darwin, then took the aircraft for a weekend away at Brisbane.  I’m second from right, Darwin, June 1973. 
 
I came out in 1976 and went off into mainframe computers.
 
John Dillon.