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Odds 'n' Sods

In this section we will post all the odd's and sod's that have not been catered for elsewhere on the site, feel free to send in anything you think might interest others.

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David Bale sent in the 51 MT Newsletter (October 2016)

Another Autumn comes around, faster than ever it seems. We enjoyed the Thirtieth Reunion, sixty years after the Unit disbanded, on 24th September. Sixteen of us sat around one big table, our smallest gathering yet, Senior man Gil White provided the music, having to quickstep alone as Iris watched from her wheelchair.

We discussed if this should be our final gathering, it was put to the vote, the seven Unit members voted unanimously to Carry On although one man present knew it would be his last attendance. Laurie paid tribute to all those members who worked and helped in years past. The first Reunion was in 1986. We should thank Bryan Blow, present with Barbara, because it was due to his hard work, with help and advice from the late ex Flt/Lt H Hicks, in compiling the Unit history that led to a comprehensive list of old boys(+ Miss Whyte).

Maurice and Pam Townsend were the prime movers in keeping 51 MT people together following the original publication of Brian Blow’s first book and organised the reunion for TWENTY -TWO YEARS at various locations. When, most reluctantly Maurice gave up. It was brilliant that my old mate of 51 M T and RAF North Weald days Laurie (Korky) Calkin agreed in 2008 to organise future reunions, which Joan and Laurie have done exceptionally well.

A most memorable member was Joe Ovel, who subsidised the 51 MT tie and lapel badges. Joe left us eight years ago. The last CO Ivor Easton (1954-1956) always donated £51.00, be it a reunion or towards our tree. Thanks to Jamie Jamieson, Ron Taylor and Frank Applegate who have paid for drinks.

At The Manor, Leamington Spa ‘’Sidelight’’, was animated at having just discovered the unit again after several years and was reminiscing, ‘’ That old B**t**d Perry was C O and gave me jankers’’. He then recognised S/Ldr Fred Perry slowly crossing the room and shook his hand saying ‘’Hello Sir great to see you again’’.

Since returning to Brownsover the hotel has held weddings on ‘OUR’ weekend for some years, I have usually given the Best Man a card from 51 MT wishing the Bride and Groom health and happiness. On one occasion I told a wedding guest we had been known as ‘Pickfords of the Desert’ I don’t think he had heard of Pickfords or knew what a desert was. I forgot the card this time but did have a word with the Best Man, he was delighted we were RAF ‘’I fly Spitfires all day long’’- ‘’On my Computer’’. At breakfast, together Laurie made the comment we were like a family, very true.

I have since spoken to Ken Yelf, both Ken and Sheila being unwell and feeling a bit remote now so far from Salisbury hospital, but with wonderful and helpful neighbours. I had a letter from Blossom Applegate, Beryl finds it hard to walk, Frank has sold the coach business, but misses it and has bought a small bus and runs a Private Hire and Trailer Hire to keep himself occupied.

In July a relative phoned to say Hugh Allard (1951-53) had died. Alan Bunting phoned he’d had two stents fitted and was feeling much better, he enquired about the Garden Party. I heard from Gerry and Jean Greer’s son with a new address. ‘’ Mum and Dad are well but needed help that could not be provided at home. They are both in the same care home and are being well looked after. They enjoy your news letter and trust that all is good with you. They were sorry to read the news of your son in law’s sudden passing and are thinking of you. They really appreciate the work you do keeping in touch.

Ron Taylor mailed:- .Thanks for your email, (nice photo but a bit dark). I was posted to Shallufa early 1950 and then posted to 51 M T in 1951,I only did a week on Hippo,s and Flt Sgt Dyson (pinky Dyson) found out that I had been on AEC refuellers, so he got me on fuel flight. At Shallufa we filled up at Anglo Egyption Shell or Fort Agrud (army depot)on the Suez Cairo road. I have a photo somewhere of all the Fuel Flight, I will dig it out and send it. I left 51MT in July 1952 (demob). I was employed by Bolton Corporation (bus driver). January 1966 I emigrated to Western Australia and joined the Commonwealth lighthouse service and went to Eclipse Island (southern ocean) we went on a few lighthouses in Western Australia And one in the northern territory (Cape Don). My last one was Cape Leeuwin on the south west coast and retired. Hope I didnt bore you. Best regards to all. Ron.

Responding to the last Newsletter Bryan Blow had trouble with the cops,’’ I had an officer in a Land Rover when we were pulled over for speeding, they cut in front and pulled up I then cut out and carried on they tried to overtake I would not let them, I turned into Kasfareet and dropped the officer off, the officer told them I was time X and could not care less.’’

I phoned Phill Addison, I had not seen him since July, he remains cheerful, although he cannot stand or walk, he has an electric buggy to get around the house. He enjoyed a recent visit from his Daughter who, like mine, lives in New Zealand.

My son took me to the Air Tattoo at Fairford, made a family day of it, grandson being a very keen Air Cadet. I took a stroll around the RAF Village, I had spent quite a time working on bowsers and saw a big Oshkosh drawn artic tanker, not an Avery Hardoll gauge in sight, Dutch kit I would guess, the driver did not know that technically the Oshkosh is out of gauge for legal use on U.K. roads. I found the 2 M T trucks in a corner and had a josh with the various drivers about old times and 51 M T. They had a very good display, but did not believe there had ever been a bigger and better M T Company than theirs.

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This week Phyll and I met Laurie and Joan Calkin at a pub halfway between their son’s home and our birthplace. We had a good lunch and general family chat. After we left we formed the first 51 MT Convoy for years on the A 30, parting on M 5 as we came home.

Although attendance at the reunion becomes more difficult it is good to keep in touch with old mates. I have 65 addresses, 11 of them are on e mail, if need be I could tell you if your old buddy is still about or in contact.


Do you remember the OC 2MT circa 1940/41?

I am currently researching my wife's family history, and I have become aware that her grandfather was part of the No. 2 Mechanical Transport Company, RAF. Briefly, he became part of this Company I believe in 1940/41 and was working from Kings College, Cambridge.

We have a group picture of him taken in 1945 at Stow-Cum-Quy, Cambridge and at that time he was a Squadron Leader and 63 years old! His service number was 89485, and his name was Francis Arthur Montague Rawes RAF VR Sqn Ldr (Rtd).

Kind regards, and many thanks.

Steve Brown

No 2 MT Company RAF_Quy, Cambs 1945.jpg (337061 bytes)


Looking for anyone who knew Arthur William Watson
RAF Bridgnorth intake 19-03-1953

Arthur was a driver with 317 and then 431 at Bruggen, recruited at RAF Bridgnorth in March 1953, his last posting was Odiham.

Any information would be gratefully appreciatted.

Kind regards.

Alan Watson