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After cycling in that 1950 high summer's heat, right across the island from one end to the other, he also stood accused of being late!I was born at 4am, he still had to finish his duty, and didn't arrive till 13.30.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. 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. Dad wasn't a particularly good or keen sailor, so his memories of the voyage are, understandably, rather scant. He recalled arriving at Liverpool Docks to be confronted by the sight of a ship, so massive it seemed to a 20-year old that had never been near the open sea let alone aboard a ship, it were bigger than a block of flats.
The Med might be the calming mill-pond for today's summer holidays, but in winter it can be as cold and as rough as the North Sea. Only 5 years after the end of the war, with Valetta still largely in ruins and bomb damage everywhere, it is surprising that they enjoyed it as much as they did.
The RAF had several craft down there, one of which was a very ancient and leaky steam pinnace ! An idyllic holiday destination now, Malta in 1950 wasn't quite so pleasant or funny. She complained, when I was born up at the Military Families Hospital at Mtarfa, that dad didn't take her any flowers!
Norman Haywood, of Coleorton near Coalville in Leicestershire, joined the RAF in 1948, and signed on for 10 years in order to get into his chosen trade of Radio & Radar Technician. which moved around quite a bit, but in 1948 was at Cranwell. Access to which was by bike down the lanes, through the villages, and over to the bay, and thence launch and small RAF craft of varying descriptions out to the Sunderlands moored in deep water.
Aircraftman 3501380 was inducted at Cardington and did his square bashing and basic training there, before being sent to No 1 Radio School at RAF Cranwell for trade training. The road shown is still there, and that corner now boasts a large 2-storey secondary-school type building of the 70's. As he often said, he thought he'd joined the Air Force, not the bloody Navy!
There's some interesting RAF links at the bottom of this page. See further down for photos of HSL 2625, the Air-Sea-Rescue launch dating from 1943, upon which he had many a hair-raising ride.