Reunion of a Lifetime

mauritius_mapThis reunion happened on 3 November 2010 in the middle of the Southern Indian Ocean and it stretched out over several days. Never would I have thought that we would meet again some 9,000 miles (14,480 kilometres) from where we were first thrown together. The place a beautiful island called Mauritius.

© WebsiteBack in time, January, the year 1963 a bleak UK winter and each of us are travelling by British Rail to reach our destination. Thomas (Tom) travelling from his beloved Scotland and myself from the South of England. Trains were delayed and sometimes halted by the severe frost and ice. Nevertheless, we were on our way to a new adventure which would begin at RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton.  Listed in those days as the Royal Air Force’s number 2 school of technical training, on our evening arrival it offered a depressing sight in the darkness of that winter. External water heating pipes had cracked due to the frost and icicles could be seen hanging here and there where leaking water had immediately frozen on contact with the air. We were issued extra blankets and housed in wooden huts with a single coal stove for heating. How fifteen year old boys just out of school and probably, for the first time, separated from their families stuck out this introduction into manhood is still a mystery today. However, that was the start of what would be our lengthy training period and our time together. After graduation we would never meet again at least not during our working lives.

m_P1000174Here we are in idyllic settings, 46 years later,  old boys having found themselves first on Facebook and now in person. I am retired and living in Mauritius while Tom has another year before retirement and living in Scotland. Thomas was always interested and involved in boxing so it is not surprising that today he has a column on the subject in two British newspapers. Needless to say that our time together on the island was charged full of memories and catch-up conversations which probably left our ladies in the exclusion zone.

This time has been an emotional one. Finding a friend from days of youth so many years later and in the knowledge that the person is doing well in life is in itself gratifying. What we experienced together so many years ago created a special bond. This comradeship transcends time and is fortified when and wherever a reunion is held. A treasured  moment which is truly a reunion of a lifetime.

0 thoughts on “Reunion of a Lifetime”

  1. G’day lads from down-under, well finally catching up with the state of play. Dave Hornsby found me via TV, which is great. I think it was an interview I did for a bombing here in Melbourne.( Ex bomb Technician). Had a look through the photos picking out names, and after all these years still remember most of them, amazing stuff. Remember having my shiny mug being hurled down the billet by bloody Rose. remember being made to go and sweep the parade ground by him too, but the CO came past in his car and told me to go inside. Can remember our Polish flight commander giving me a lanyard one week and taking it away the next for playing cards after lights out. A group of us when we went over to the wings, going down to the hangar to try and move the old aircraft out and up to the snowdrops HQ and then steal the bell outside. Did my time in RAF Marham, then over to Singapore (change) then across to Kuching. I never finished my time as I ended up coming to Oz with my parents after a protracted fight with the RAF to get me out. 32 years as a plod, now I am a local council Prosecutor until I retire. Will have a dig through for some photos. Some I think are already up from the old website. I am on facebook and also linkdin if anyone wants to chat. going to try and organize time for the 2014 reunion, depends on things this end. Great great memories looking at the old photos, and bit choke looking at all of the lads together again, so marvelous. Please all take care. And if you come down this way, bring a beer, I will supply the ice for you poor old poms. Cheers lads. Tipps.

    1. Hi Dennis, glad we found you again. Will hookup on Facebook too. I am just across the water from you in the Indian Ocean, almost neighbours. I decided to fire-up a new website after your efforts and I tried to save some of the old photos too. We are now digging up negatives from archives and processing them to upload for posterity. Hope we can meet up in 2014. Take care.

  2. Hi Allan,
    Further to your comment of 27th November’12 & my subsequent comment, the Robin has reappeared on the air-raid shelter as per a photograph that has just surfaced after 50 years.
    Surprised the Robin actually lasted that long (and the snow – too), but hopefully Mike will be able to publish the photo here and on the 48th Tels Website – very shortly…

    “Memories are made of this…”


  3. Hi all
    another one was “Blair ” in the bottom left hand corner of j3
    During our meet last thurs I remembered a bit more of his treatment by rose and murgatroyd
    cpl”Taffy Harris nearly had a fight with the two of them over his treament.
    I remem,ber his treatment vivdly and very nearly did a bunk myself.
    Today they would be doing time.

  4. HAPPY 50th REUNION to one & all…
    Likewise with Mike, ” I’ll raise a glass to you all ” and wondering how the ‘ still-brave ‘ of you are getting-on with your journeys to & from the Cosford Reunion in this current repitition of the same snow & icey conditions that have been mentioned above.

    Those who are unable to go, hopefully might meet-up in 2013 (and beyond) at smaller reunions…


  5. Mike it is a shame you wil not be with us at the reunion, but you will be remembered in a glass or two, best wishes , Robbie Robinson

    1. Too cold for me over there and risk of flight cancellations. I prefer to come over during milder season in 2013. There will be other smaller reunions. I’ll raise a glass to you all too.

  6. Hi Pete, your mention of two people who did not complete the course, I believe they were
    Tich Johnson (left in ITS) and Mel Plaskett who left in the wings. Both were in Hut J4 , must have been something in the water!

  7. Ohhh those glorious days with freezing weather and all the windows open to allow the DIs to eject the occasional bed back poorly constructed so we could all enjoy watching the sheets idley glide down onto the snow.

    My well scrubbed and polished china mug, the last one left in the billit, proudly on display and a DI looking on in admiration before stating ‘That mug is gleaming lad, but it’s not up to my standard!!’ and then the smashed particles ringing in my ears for the next couple of days before replacing that beautiful mug with the standard green plastic one!!

    The rush of feet as we ejected ourselves from under 8 blankets to rush to the paraffin heaters in the washroom and stand astride them as we got dressed.

    The skating on the cloth pads to keep the lino floor nicely polished to be dismayed as a DI did an about turn with his studded drill boots leaving lovely circular marks.

    The huge salaries that meant that we were always asking better off colleagues ‘after you with the Butt’

    The cementing of the 3 toilets to the parade ground during Beat the Bounds along with the positioning of the reliant robin on the air raid bunker behind fulton block. Swiftly followed by the bill to repair it!!

    Great memories. Pooky

    1. Oooh Aaah Allan !!!
      I wonder who will add some more of these fab memories.

      The bogs on the parade square was certainly implanted in my brain-box as I was one of those guilty of the business too. Shame we didn’t get a photo of that and
      the other mis-deeds. Can’t remember the bill for Robin (or bunker) repairs – how much was it ???


  8. Hi Barry, Good to hear from you after so many moons and with those mugs comments from you and Mike, brings back another of the all important memories.

    Perhaps another might be how far does a bumper go before it is eventually stopped by friction or a door/wall. Presumably depends on the state of the floor-shine… ???

    Also was it the Dave Clark Five band and their hit “Glad All Over” that nearly brought the ceiling-down in the Fulton Block…???


  9. Oh It was cold al’right,I remember we were issued with overalls and marched to the canteen with a mug in one hand lol The coldest winter of the century up until then,I remember the weather for the camping as being good up until the last day when it was really cold and wet.The last night we were in these big tents sleeping on the floor and I got shipped out to hospital with Gastric enteritis,but I did enjoy the two weeks
    PS Only found this site ten minutes ago

    1. Hi and welcome Barry. Thanks for your memories, it seems none of us will forget that tough and important time in our lives. I had a chuckle at your mention of the overalls and the mugs. Those mugs that were all conveniently disposed of by our various DIs. My memories of the trek and camping in Wales are much the same i.e. being constantly wet with dead and bloated sheep in every lake. Glad you found us in cyberspace.

  10. Put it this way how many – today- would have even started out, given the “cold start”.
    My brother has just mentioned that I left home at 6.30 a.m. and arrived at cosford station arround 9-10 p.m.. All I remember is white and “bloody cold”.
    The Cosford Mag I have says about our 2 wks “camping” (June-July63) ” under adverse conditions” and that was June.That was awfull as well.
    “Big G” must have been having a laugh that year and we were picked.
    Looking forward to Jan.

    1. Totally agree with you remarks Peter, but just to add that the 2 weeks camping and trudging around near Tal-y-bont (nr.Aberystwyth) reminds me of the recent flooding that the village has encountered – what’s new. I don’t recall a day without rain during our time there…

  11. Memories like this are frozen in time – as we all started-out frozen in our huts at Cosford back in ’63.
    Thanks for those memories Mike.
    Terry Jacobs (1948973) – even the service-number is frozen in my mind…

    1. How apt terry, how we survived was even mentioned in high places.
      If I remember rightly only 2 out of 111 did’nt complete the course

      1. Not sure about the figures Peter, but it is good to know that currently at least, just over 50 of us are still around and able to talk about our times at Cosford and beyond and with the 50th Anniversary period, about to begin, no doubt many an interesting reminder will surface in due course, especially at the various reunions being arranged…

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