Wednesday, 26 August 2009
A name from my past,heard again.......
Whilst doing some surfing, brought on after my wife mentioned about an air crash that happened in August of 1984, i found that after all these years at least some things that I think are buried deep in my memory..actually are !.
The story in the Sleaford Standard told of an air crash involving a Flt Lt from RAF Cranwell named Bob Bailey, and she asked me if i knew him as my RAF career really began at Cranwell in March of '84. I did not remember the name she mentioned, but something about the story stirred a memory of a fella that I once knew who went by the name of Wing Commander Ralph Reid-Buckle , a very fiery man who I had met during my service not in the RAF, but as a young cadet in the Air Training Corpse (384 Squadron,Mansfield).
I remember Wng Cdr Reid-Buckle and I having a very short conversation at the Beckingham Rifle Range just outside Newark-Upon-Trent a few years before i joined the RAF.
I had just started to fire off a few rounds at the ranges 600 Yrd targets with my Lee Enfield 303 rifle, when he walked along the row of shooters and stopped behind me.
"Nice shooting young man" he said, "I bet you are pleased with your aim?". Well, of course this was a great honour, me, being complimented by such a senior officer on my marksmanship skills!.
"Thank you sir", i remember saying, "i am trying for my marksmanship badge".
"Excellent" he said,"but next time, try to hit the target at the end of the range and not put six holes in the range lane marker sign!".
What!.I looked closely at my small lane marker sign that lay slightly to the left of my guns muzzle, and there they were!....six bullet holes which i had punched through the wooden sign at a range of..oh....six inches!.......... nicely group though !.
Ralph Reid-Buckle was a "proper" gentleman and an officer, even down to his handlebar moustache and swagger stick.He died with 10 others when the Vickers Varsity they were in at the time crashed on it's way to Liverpool Airport.3 People survived when it plummeted 3'000 feet and burst into flames.
25 years ago this month. R.I.P to you all, and condolences to their surviving families.