At the age of 17. I forged my mother signature on a draft to enroll in the armed forces. I received the Queens shilling and pursued a career in the RAF. Possibly the first Cossack to enter British Military Service! My Mother always wondered how I got into the service at a young age.
After basic training at RAF Swinderby.The first thing I achieved was the Crossed Rifles Badge for Marksmanship. That was my 1st award the only thing I would wear on my sleeve for the next 6 months.After basic training at 'Boot Camp' I was posted to JARIC RAF Brampton, Cambridgshire.
At first it was difficult1 I had all my worldly possessions in a large rucksack that I could hardly carry. The people I met in the beginning didn't want to know a 17 year old. However, my love of football, rugby and beer helped. I was welcomed into the fold!
I remember on one occasion going down to the pub with some friends, all older than me. I had a few drinks and caught the attention of the Station Warrant Officer. I turned away In case he had seen me after all I was only 17. He had seen me! Next morning I was told to go to the guard room and see the SWO. He said to me "how old do you after be to drink alcohol in a pub?" I answered "18 Sir". He replied " So why where you drinking beer at 17". I replied "I thought that if I was going to die for her Majesty I could have a pint in one of her pubs, Sir". He gave me a right rollicking and told me not to go drinking in the local pubs! I let it rest for a while and carried on with the pub visit! Unfortunately, one evening I had just gone to the bar to order a pint and made eye contact with the SWO! I thought that’s it boy! However, he paid the bar man for my pint. I must have hit a soft spot. Ten years down the line our paths would cross again. On return to RAF Brampton. I went to the Sgt's Mess, ordered a beer and was told by the steward it was paid for. I looked across the bar and there was the SWO now retired! He came up to me and said "I know you would do well young man".
More to Come