(click the blue link to send an e-mail to Pete).
This is what Pete had to say in an e-mail to us:
I can’t believe that it has been so long, almost 48 years since we all arrived at Wendover railway station and crowded onto those blue/grey busses for the trip to 3 Wing RAF Halton. Sgt. ‘Mungo’ Parks was one of our shepherds. I can’t remember the name of the short, fat one with little legs, whose bum scraped the parade ground when we wheeled round the corners in column of three’s.
I had been trying to find something relating to the Halton Association for some time when my brother John, who was a RAF Locking apprentice (93rd Entry) sent me your link today, which I found to be excellent and certainly brought back many memories.
Looking through the ‘Galleries’, I see that in Gallery 6 on the bottom photograph, you have a ?? for the third person from the left on the bottom row. That is most definitely Tony Meston (bagpipes extraordinaire).
The photograph of the engine fitters posing with ‘Pop’ Fletcher in front of the Anson was taken by me, which might explain why I was not in the photograph. I still have the original with the names of all of us on the back.
I also have a group photograph of the whole entry, taken while we were still in 3 Wing. I’ll scan a copy for you and send it later.
On the AWOL list, there should only be two Cresswell’s, Mick and Myself (P.J.). Barney Meehan used to call us ’65 F@#!$ 6’ and ’65 F@#!$ 8’, our ‘last three’s.
I ran into Barney in Aden, in ’65. He was then the Station WO at either Sharjah or Salalah. As soon as he spotted me he yelled from across a dusty road, ’65 F@#!$ 6’. Needless to say, we had a few pots of Tiger beer before he went back to his station.
I last heard of Roger Mole (Moley) when we were both stationed at RAF Valley in Anglesea. He was still the same and eventually married Joan who was as mad as himself. I have a photograph of him, trying to get my one month old son to hold a bottle of whiskey. I think that this may explain why Peter Junior likes a drop now and again.
I now have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. My god I’m old. I’ll be an OAP at the end of this month, but I can’t see myself stopping working. I’m having too much fun.
As you can see, I am based in Australia, where I work for Alcoa, one of the world’s major suppliers of Aluminium. It seems a long way from Aircraft Apprentice U/T Engine Fitter and the path has not been a straight one.
When I left the RAF in 1973, I worked for Perkins Engines in Peterborough for about five years as an Industrial Engineer, before emigrating to South Australia, where I worked as an Industrial Engineer for a textiles company (sheets, towels etc).
About a year, I went to Bougainville Island, in Papua New guinea as a Condition Monitoring Engineer, working for Conzinc Rio Tinto at their copper mine. Later I transferred to Rio’s Iron Ore mine in Western Australia and then to Rio’s Diamond Mine.
I decided to move to Singapore, where I became a partner in a Condition Monitoring group doing business in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Australia called again in 1993 and I took up my current role in Western Australia, specialising in Engineering and Maintenance software applications for Alcoa world wide.
Well that’s me up to date. Do you keep in tough with any of the other Engines.
Oh yes, two of my son’s are currently serving with the RAAF, one in New South Wales and one in the Northern Territory. Both did their basic training at RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia, which their CO told me was based on the training program of RAF Halton and in fact RAAF Edinburgh have an aerial photograph of RAF Halton in the trainee’s club rooms. I was able to show my lads where Dad did his training including which barrack blocks I was in when I went to their passing out parades.
My last overseas posting was to RAF Laarbruch, where I worked on Canberra’s (3 Sqdn) and Phantoms (2 Sqdn). Laarbruch had an arrestor at the end of the runway and I may be wrong, but I think that RAF Valley had one to. They would have needed it as they had Folland Gnats for advanced flying training and a squadron of Hunter Mk 7’s and Mk 9’s for training overseas pilots.
Prince Bamber Faisal was one of the students when I was on that squadron, along with a swag of minor princes. I recall that one of our riggers made a large, dayglo Star of David to put on his car, but was advised against leaving it there after the first day.
Along with your website, my brother also sent this one. Are you familiar with this at all. I would think that at least some of the 96th would be in a position of only serving 12 years from the 18th birthday, as I did. (Note: there is also a link to this on our External Links page).
The closest I have been to the UK for the last 30 years was Vivero, in Northern Spain last year, where I spent some weeks with a team, installing an Engineering Document Management system (engineering drawings, data sheets etc) at the San Ciprian Alumina Refinery.
I suppose one day I’ll have to go back to England for a visit, but the chances are slim as my last remaining relative in England is planning to follow his two daughters to Australia in December this year.
Peter J. Cresswell
Information Systems Consultant
Engineering and Reliability Systems
Tel: (08) 9531 6544
Fax: (08) 9531 6171
Address: South Australia
Work: + (08) 9531 6544