This page was suggested by Alfie Bass who has also sent the first contribution.
Should you wish to add something please send.


As I quote the Fairport Convention song title (remember them?), it's 50 years to the day, also a Wednesday, that I found myself sat in the RAF CIO, Kingsway, Holborn, wondering what the f*ck I was going to do if my latest roll of the dice struck out! I was exactly 1 month shy of my 17th birthday & had already been refused entry to the BEA Cadet Engineer programme, for being too old; their upper age limit was 161/2 , so I was already over the hill!! During the afternoon, I was sent a couple of blocks away to visit some backstreet doctor for my initial medical; just routine, I was assured. They were right, as this was the first, but not the last time a total stranger told to me to assume the position & cough. Just how routine would this become, I thought? As this was a precursor to my hearing test, I mused that maybe this was only his way of clearing the wax from my ears! The hearing test descended into farce, as I adopted the required distance for the forced whisper test to unfold. The doctor was a Scot, who appeared to have had an extended lunch break, if the subtle aroma of his national drink was anything to go by. Every time he tried to force a whisper, it induced a reciprocal coughing fit; it was hard enough to understand his accent when he was talking normally, so how I passed this test remains a mystery. I was glad when the medical was complete & I was liberated from the clutches of the most unhealthy doctor I have ever met - it really seemed like I had been transported into a scene from a Dickens novel.

Back to the CIO, to complete paperwork & further discussions on a possible entry date to the Craft Apprentice Scheme, if selected; they were giving nothing away! I declined the tempting offer to enlist earlier by joining the Aircraft Mechanic training route, should I be unsuccessful in my selection process. It seemed a bit cat & mouse to me at this stage, as I tried to wipe the Dickensian Doctor's surgery from my mind. By the end of mid-afternoon, I was informed that I would be recommended for further consideration by the final selection board & given a letter, to deliver by hand to my father (as I was just a boy). As I trudged out of the CIO, I pondered on the dichotomy of my rejection at the hands of BEA & my possible future training in the RAF. My future was in the balance, but I was still in with a shot! More importantly, I had declined the offer of early enlistment through the Mechanic trap door. The fact that I had tickets to a Mott the Hoople gig for April 14th, which swayed my decision, would prove to be career defining! Mott the Hoople were instrumental in my subsequent training route at Halton with 223 entry.

God bless Mott; the gig was phenomenal & the rest is history!! Who knows where the time goes, indeed - I guess the rest of 223 were experiencing similar circumstances to me 50 years ago & they are part of the many things that bind us together.

Roll on July, fingers crossed. Cheers,  Alfie Bass.

The following from Phil Jones:


Just looking at the website after your latest update  

I spose you could update my current work status. Now selling plastics extrusion equipment. Composite resin and press equipment. No longer involved with flares etc or machinery repairs  

Current website address for entrepreneurs is  

I am about to buy a watch from a company called Bremont. They specialise in military watches and have many projects for Forces around the world, mostly Uk & USA. Might it be of interest to others to commission a 223 watch. The one Iím buying for either 2 sdn reg, or 111 Lightings are about £2k each (so only 1 for me) their website is