Bale sent in the 51 MT Newsletter (October 2016)
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
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
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.
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.
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''.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.''
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
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.
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.
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.