Servicemen 1945-1965.


Les Birkett in 1961. For more details see the 1960-2000 Eye Witness page.


Alan Thomas - postal clerk 1960 -1963. See the 1960-2000 Eye Witness page.


Tom Mccallum arrived at Cardington in 1962. Read more about him on the Eye Witness 1960-2000 page.


Phil Collins - called up to Cardington in 1958. Read more about him on the Eye Witness 1945-1959 page.


Frank Moreton with Flight 16B at Cardington in March 1950 (fifth from the left on the back row.) See Eye Witness 1945-1959 for more details.


"C" Squadron 43 Flight RAF Cardington 1949 passing out August 24 1949 This photograph sent in by Heather Simpkins is of 43 Flight at Cardington in 1949 and shows Sidney Oliver Wilson 3rd from right on the back row. Sidney went on to serve in Malta and Libya. Do you recognise anyone here? *Thank you Heather

Gerald Parsons - read his story on the Eye Witness 1946-1959 page.

Laurence Birkett - Cpl i/c MT Control 1960's - see the 1960 - 2000 Eye Witness page.


22b Flight 1949. A black and white version of this photo was originally sent to me about 8 years ago from Les Nichol. In his own words “I will put the only names that I remember of the group, 63 years is rather a test of memory and we were only together for eight weeks never to meet up again after leaving Cardington. Except for Harry Baker from Weymouth we were friends at Cardington and both went to RAF Yatesbury Wiltshire number 2 Radio School, Harry did a Radar course and I did Air Wireless. Third row 3 from left my good friend Harry Baker (hope he is still alive!), very back row 7th from left Ex Jockey name forgot big grin, he won Best Recruit award. Same row 5th from right luckless recruit Les Nichol (me). Sorry about the lack of names, but our 8 weeks at Cardington was very intense, we hardly had time to relax or think. From the “crack of dawn time” when they woke us up until 9 pm lights out time to sleep we were very active. The plus side was we felt very fit and if any one shouted an order we instantly obeyed it.” Behind the dog seated is W/O Driver, the chaps seated in the same row with peaked caps are all Drill Instructors. The one 7th from the right is my billet CPL Blakeman, 2nd row standing 3rd from left Jimmy Franks ex Kings African Rifles (not new recruit friendly) same row 9th from left Bill East ex Royal Marine Commando (war hero but wouldn’t talk about it) we thought the world of Bill! 

22b Flight 1949. In November 2020 however Lee Walton made contact and sent in a colour version of the same photograph with the following information which is brilliant. “I was just looking through my dear dad’s things as we’re soon to be moving and came across a group photo with him in. I also found it on your website and can see him clear as day. He’s 4th row back if you don’t include the 2 sat on the floor and 5th from the right, got a little tash, haha. That’s my dad Ronald Walton. Just thought you might like to add that information. He’s sadly no longer with us and peacefully passed away in February 2010.” Thank you Lee it’s great to receive more details of items posted here.


David Godman has sent in this photograph (May 2013) of Flight 41c, No 2 Recruits Centre and wonders if anyone knows anything about it: “The photo is one of two that my sister was given by my stepmother, my father died a year ago last week and my sister visited my stepmother on the anniversary, the other was of my uncle at RAF West Kirby. My father joined the RAF in April 1947 but we do not think he did any training at RAF Cardington. My brother who I sent a copy of the photo thinks that my father is in the photo, 2nd row from the bottom 3rd from the right. My father was Lawrence Godman service number R4022931, a few years before he died he wrote to RAF Gloucester and obtained a copy of his service record, unfortunately the copy he gave me I have been unable to locate. He served from April 1947 to January 1979 and for most of that period he was in the RAF Marine Branch.”


Gordan Hayward England, second in from the left in the back row.


Kate Chorlton has kindly sent in the following details about her uncle Gordan Hayward England who was at the station in 1948. “Hi, last year when my aunt died I sorted out her house and found some military photos of my uncle. His full name was Gordan Hayward England, and he was originally from Salisbury Wiltshire. There are two beautifully clear photographs of his time at RAF Cardington in 1948 no 2 Recruits Centre. He is in the smaller group photo second in from the left in the back row. On the back of one is a load of signatures from people I presume were on his course. Now in lockdown and having a sort out I thought I’d look into it a bit more. I have some incredible black and white photos of him with planes and what I presume are his mates.”

Alan Bell. RAF Cardington 1947.

Flight 41c, No 2 Recruits Centre.


The group photo above and below have been sent in by Malcolm Bell and show Malcolm’s father Alan Bell. Malcolm explains: Hello Jane, the photographs came into my possession last month after I had returned to the UK because my father had passed away, they were his photographs. My father’s name was Alan Bell, he was originally from Annfield Plain, Co.Durham, and volunteered to join the RAF in Sept 1947, and was sent to Cardington for recruit training as a flight mechanic (engines). I am not sure how long he trained there as the course was 6 months long, and his service record shows that he was stationed at RAF Cosford when he completed the course. He later served a 4 month course at RAF Calshot to become a fitter (marine) and after 12 months qualified as a marine fitter and served in the Marine Craft Section for the rest of his service, he saw active service in the Malayan Emergency where he was stationed at RAF Glugor (Penang) and RAF Seletar (Singapore) His final posting was to 1115 M.C.U.(Pembroke Dock), where a detachment of I think, two launches were billeted at Fishguard, they were used to locate and recover missiles fired from the experimental rocket range at Aberporth. He met my mother at Fishguard and on leaving the RAF with the rank of Sgt he had completed ten years’ service, he served two years in the reserves and then worked as a maintenance fitter in an oil refinery. I knew my father had served in the RAF but I had never seen these two photographs before last month. I do remember my father telling me that when he was undergoing recruit training that there quite a few men who had served in WW2 and had been demobbed and then re-enlisted in the RAF, many of these men had served in the Royal Navy, and I have noticed that some of the recruits in the flight photograph have decorations.


Alan Bell - middle row third from right. The smaller group photograph, is I think, of the men in his billet. This photograph has twenty three signatures on the back, although there are only twenty two men in the photo! And some of the signatures are hard to decipher.. As promised here is what I think the names look like to me, they are in no particular order: F.H.EDGINGTON, Edward (Ted) George MORRIS, James R BELL (Ding), John T B WOOD, (Jimpy) , Ron ULPH (spiv), R B MILLETT, Alec T or J WATERHOUSE, J. H. C or G. ALLEN, F. WHITE, Robert W HALL or HILL, E .F. C. BOSTICK, William George Maurice PICKFORD?, ADAMS ? (Paddy), T or J SCOTT, G.H.OATES, John J or T WALL, J Mc GEE (Scottish), John MUNRO (Scottish), John? T. COTTINGTON, John. B. ACKROYD (Sgt), and my Dad, A.BELL, (we are not related to the other Bell).


This man’s signature is also on the card, but I cannot see a corporal in the photo, Charles C BENNETT (CPL) The last name is a bit of a mystery it looks like he has only used his initials A.J.B. and then what looks like the word PATCH, he has used the following initials after this name D.S.M,M.I.D. This I think would indicate that he was the holder of the Distinguished Service Medal and been Mentioned In Dispatches. From what I understand the DSM was awarded for Gallantry at sea to men not of officer rank, this may well be one of our former Royal Navy men, and may be the man seated in the front row next to the Sgt as he would seem to be the only man wearing medal ribbons. I seem to remember Dad saying that a lot of the ex-Navy men who had re-enlisted had served in the Fleet Air Arm. Anyway I hope this all makes sense to you." Our grateful thanks to Malcolm Bell for sending in these photos and names. His father certainly went to some interesting places during his career in the RAF. Thank you again Malcolm.


Jamie Smith (right) at RAF Cardington in November 1952.


Shown left is Jamie Smith (right) at RAF Cardington in November 1952. “I was kitted out there 11-12/11/52 before being passed on to West Kirby for basic training. The photo is myself on the right A.C.2 Jamie Richard Smith aged 17 ½. I reported to Cardington to be kitted out - (the photo was first try on) on 11/11/52 to begin 4 years as a volunteer. (I actually served just over 13 and then bought myself out!). The second figure is David Elton a Welshman (who incidentally I met again in Bridgnorth in 1955 when we both independently married girls (friends) from the same street).” Jamie went on to become a Sgt. "In the group photo above I am top right but that was at West Kirby".


This group photograph was sent in by William McKnight who explains "Hi Jane, I found your website and I am attaching a picture which you may wish to post. My dad James Alexander McKnight is the only one I know...he's 8th from left 2nd row from the front. Not sure what year maybe 1949. "It was around 1949 I'm not 100% sure, he joined as a regular and he ended up as a corporal in the RAF police. I was born in 1954 so he probably returned to Northern


James Alexander McKnight joined up around 1949 at Cardington.

Ireland about 1952, he worked for Laing construction for many years mainly in England as there wasn’t much work in Ireland in those days. He then joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary here in NI until his retirement. He passed away in 2000.” Our thanks to William for sending in these photos.