No. 200

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  January 2022


William R. Hind (G 59-64) remembers Gus Walker, the CCF and beyond:

“I was interested to read the notes by Gordon Peel and John West in the July 2021 Bulletin. It seems that Air Chief Marshall Sir Augustus Walker was the inspecting officer both in 1957 and 1964. I recall seeing his helicopter land on Roadside playing field in 1964. After the inspection parade the RAF glider was launched using the bungee cord with Sir Gus as pilot and he flew a considerable distance at least 10 feet off the ground. This was far better than any of the many previous attempts I had seen by others, most of whom never left the ground.

I was also very interested to see the many varied photos of school life in bygone days on the OSB website. Those taken by Paul Rew are shown here. Most of these are in colour and I was able to see, but not recognise, myself at the head of the Inspection Day parade in 1964. You will also see the excellent CCF band. Whilst at St Bees I served in the army section of the CCF and applied for a flying scholarship, but after attending the selection procedure at RAF Biggin Hill was turned down as I failed the audiology test. I had been told to press a button at each bleep but I heard nothing until an airman opened the door and told me the test was complete. In retrospect, my ears had been damaged by firing .303 rifles at the school range up Main Street, which was located in an old sandstone quarry. There was no Health and Safety or ear protectors in those days and our ears used to ring for a couple of days after each session. However, I was fortunate later to be taught to fly in an RAF Chipmunk as a member of the Cambridge University Air Squadron, whose selection tests were less rigorous. This was a great experience and I did over 100 hours of flying of which half were solo. I did not fly again as a pilot for many decades until my 70th birthday when I treated myself to a flight in a dual controlled Spitfire, again at Biggin Hill. I was allowed to take control and it all came back to me as the Spitfire is really a Chipmunk on steroids with a very similar configuration and controls but much more powerful and complex. The Chipmunk was a basic trainer for the RAF after World War Two.

On a closing note, I would mention that Walter Fletcher who, like myself, was on Grindal married Sir Gus Walker's daughter.”



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