The MTD Reunion: RAF Elvington - 22 May 04
Walking into the entrance of last night's function was like climbing into the cab of an AEC with a knackered exhaust: you weren't sure what to expect but the noise was exciting. The sound of hundreds of MTDs calling to each other across a crowded room whilst ordering from a bar whose staff were hopping up and down like proverbial one-armed paper hangers had to be heard and seen to be believed.
Even before we got inside the Main Event the line-up outside by the boys from 2MT was pretty impressive with everything ranging from a 1938 Ford Popular, the ubiquitous Bedford S type tractor and the modern day Seddon and Volvo. And the lads manning the show were so pleased to be among their own rather than lined up for Joe Public to ask stupid questions at some fete worse than death - well done to all of them: you did us all proud.
If you attended last night and didn't see anyone you knew; you were either blind or a disguised Mirror Reporter looking for a scoop. Everywhere you looked there were faces old and knew, as it were. The age range was quite amazing from a game young lad of well over 80 who fought his way to the bar with the best of them; to serving MTDs of no grey hairs at all. To hell with the fancy squadron reunions featured in the "commissioned officers seen here enjoying a joke" photographic spreads, these were real MTDs - the servers of the rest of the RAF, the bringers and takers; the get there at all costs through the rain, wind and s**t brigade; the refuellers, doorslammers; the endless waiting-around-in-crash- ambulance guys - it was their turn to be honoured - and not before time. For too long the world of MT was moaned about by other more glamorous trades: the glitzy aircraft techies, the computer whizzkids and the fancy chef-a-go-go. The plain fact of the matter was that if you'd got the goods then an MTD had brought it.
Well Done to the staff of the Yorkshire Air Museum for putting up with our cheery bunch: the food was excellent; the bar staff who must have been rather tired* by midnight and the Bavarian Stompers band were "gute". But a real special thanks go to Bill and Sue Cundall and Ian and Jacqui Scales who dreamed up and organised the whole excellent evening - it took a lot of time and effort and one which the MT of this world and the next will look back on and say it was the first - but it won't be the last. The unanimous opinion of all who attended was that those who weren't there really missed out on something special. The oft repeated phrase of the night was: "Why didn't XXXX come tonight? - they'd love it". I suspect next year's reunion will be double the size - bring your own earplugs.
Finally, the names of the two former MTD's seen furtively opening and sniffing the interior of the cab of the Bedford S type in nostalgic ecstasy will remain a secret. For a bit, anyway.
*shagged out, actually.