Tuesday, 11 January 2011

National Service 1950s

My Dad did his National Service in the RAF and chose to spend 9 months of his training in what was then Southern Rhodesia, at RAF Heany near Bulawayo.

He had an amazing time, he truly loved to fly, and was clever enough to make a wonderful photo album full of his time there (including plenty of photos during his time-off touring parts of Africa) and all have little comments by them, it is so cool and I still love to look through it.

Some of these lads (Dad included) were very naughty though - they used to fly so low that the locals would jump off their bicycles and throw themselves onto the floor; they also had a game to try to pull out the tent pegs with the plane (see below) – NOT clever, but typical 18-19 year old boys I guess!  They often used to fly low over the chickens so they’d all fly up into the air (poor chickens).

Some of the lads had some lucky escapes whilst flying, including one who bailed out when a fellow pilot crashed into him; sadly others were not so lucky and Dad did lose friends whilst in the RAF.

He has some fascinating stories to tell and I keep trying to get him to write them all down for me for the future.  I only recently found out he had his own ‘bat-man’ whilst there!  I'm currently collating all his ephemera from this time for him (& for me). x


  1. Cool pictures! My grandfather was in the Air Force during WWII and has really awesome pictures from Italy and North Africa.

  2. Sounds cool too Em - it's wonderful to have photos to go with all the stories (good or bad) isn't it xx

  3. great pictures and boys will be boys i guess but so scary! i would have hated to be on my bike and had to drop to the ground! that picture of the plane above the tents is pretty crazy! so great that your dad took so many pictures and made an album!


  4. very scary - I'm amazed more people weren't killed, but they all thought it was great fun & that photo really captures it!

    I LOVE his album, it's so full of photos, ALL with comments - I'm so pleased he made it xoxo


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