Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The RAF Corporal

I'm not sure of the exact span of his service, but from about 1949 to 1954, my Dad was in the Royal Air Force. Here he is in 1957, posing in his uniform after he left the RAF. He had attained the rank of corporal.

He didn't tell me a lot about his time in the RAF (which was post WWII), but he did have a few stories about his tour in Egypt in 1949. For a while he had me believing a birthmark on his back was a bullet wound scar, and that he'd killed the guy who shot him, but before I became I teenager, I'd figured that one out! My Dad was a great storyteller and sometimes you had to delve a little to separate fact from fiction.

Here's Dad in Egypt, age 18 or 19, serving up drinks in the what looks like the NCO's mess. My Dad is the guy on the right, behind the bar with the bottle in his hand. I guess they tended bar out of uniform! I'm wondering what brand of drink was in the bottle; I'm guessing it's beer but the only clue to brand is the star on the label.

Dad was also on a water polo team there. He's in the front on the far left, lucky #7. To the best of my knowledge, his water polo career ended after he left Egypt!

And here's Dad posing in front of a quonset hut in his spiffy white shorts and shirt. Actually, the quonset huts look like barracks to me.

Uh, the guy in the middle with his shirt open and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth? That's my Dad. Life of the party! But he was a teenager at the time.

On the back of this, my Dad wrote "Me in a canoe." An Egyptian canoe, perhaps... with a kayak paddle.

I love these old photo gems.


  1. Wow. I am officially Impressed, all the way from my perch on the 40th floor of some hotel in Osaka, Japan.

    Please do me a favor and go to to see what MY dad did . . . but YOUR dad did amazing things.

    I went, by myself, just because I wanted to, to a reunion of the people my father flew with, back in 2001. It was incredible . . .

    If your dad is still with us, congratulate him every day. If he isn't, congratulate him anyway.

  2. What a nice post. Made me think of my Dad (now deceased) who served in the RAF during the second world war, he was a flight navigator. Left the service after the war and re-enlisted in 1953 into the Logistics trade (Supply Technician). He retired in 1973. I'm still amazed at how he and my Mom managed to raise seven children on an enlisted man's salary!

  3. Nice post. Love the old photos.

  4. Nick, the page on your Dad is REALLY amazing!! My Dad did NOT serve during wartime and he wasn't shot at! Your photos are fantastic and your Dad was very handsome to boot. Thanks for sharing that link. It's fascinating. Your Dad was pretty darn awesome.

    I wish I could have met the people my Dad served with. You were so lucky (and smart) to attend that reunion.

  5. Paula, thanks for sharing about your Dad, too. Gordon and I are just young enough that our fathers were both in the RAF yet a hair too young to serve during WWII. My Dad lived in London during the Blitz, as did my mother, and I think that traumatized them both as children.

    Imagine, seven kids on an enlisted man's salary. That is pretty impressive! Do you have photos of your Dad in uniform?

  6. Ronna, I am so glad I have so many old family photos! They are treasures.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!