Some Interesting Recruits.

Below is a small selection of young men who arrived at the station as new recruits and later became well known in their chosen fields. Some didn't get past the first hurdle (after submitting medical appeals) whilst othere stayed in the service for longer than two years.


Donald Campbell CBE. World land and water speed record holder - Donald joined the RAF in 1939 and was posted to RAF Cardington in 1940 - sadly his time at Cardington was limited as he had failed to disclose a history of rheumatic fever and was discharged the same year. Like his father (Sir Malcolm) his exploits with the speedboat Bluebird were legendary.


Shown a young Walter William Bygraves who volunteered to join the RAF arriving at Cardington in 1940. Whilst on the station it is said Aircraftman 2nd Class Bygraves performed an impersonation of Max Miller on stage leading to the nickname Max which he used ever since. Max Bygraves became a leading showbiz entertainer for decades.

Showbiz entertainer Max Bygraves.

Donald Campbell CBE.


Forever remembered as Arthur Daley versatile actor George Cole joined the RAF in 1943 training as a wireless operator at Cardington until it was discovered that his eyesight was poor. He was transferred to Coastal Command H.Q. in Northwood and later posted to Germany where he ran the officers mess bar.


Bill Wyman - member of the Rolling Stones. Highly unlikely as it seems a young Bill was called up in Jan 1955 for the start of National Service in the RAF. Bill stayed on in the RAF until January 1958.

Bill Wyman - member of the Rolling Stones.

Versatile actor George Cole.


Sir Alan Ayckbourn playwright was not a willing participant of National Service.Young Alan was able to side step the two years required by citing a 'leg injury' on his arrival at Cardington in 1959 and was dismissed by a sympathetic medical officer after only two days. At this time in his life (aged just 19) he was already a published playwright and later recounts that on his first attempt at evading national service he failed the intelligence test by scoring two - which was disappointing because he was aiming for zero! Of course his plan failed as the officers quickly saw through him....


Cricketer Colin Cowdrey was called up to Cardington for two years of National Service in 1955 after successfully completing a tour of Australia for his country at the young age of 21. A month later however he was discharged from service for health reasons as he had problems with toe joints. Colin went on to become one of the world’s best cricketers.

Cricketer Colin Cowdrey.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn.