My father, Mr R G Weaver, served in the RAF from 1943 - 1946. He was a Senior Aircraftman, who taught the Air Cadets Aircraft Recognition. At the end of his Service Career, he was based on Sylt, part of the German Fresian Islands, before returning to the UK. While out on Sylt, one of his hobbies was writing - he edited the Station Newsletter - and later, when he was demobbed, he went into Journalism for the next 40 years and retired in 1992.
He was briefly based at RAF Ringway (now Manchester Airport) before being posted to RAF Odiham, working on the De Havilland Vampire Jets, then leaving the RAF. What is even more interesting is that he started off in the Royal Navy on the Y Scheme, designed for young men joining the Royal Navy - his father was a Naval Schoolmaster - and served in the Fleet Air Arm. At some point during this, he was awarded a Medal, although it is not known what for, but it didn't come through straightaway. The Government pulled the funding for the Y Scheme and recipients were given the choice of staying on in the Royal Navy or going into the RAF. My father chose the RAF. When he was in the RAF, the medal finally reached him and he was allowed to wear it on his RAF uniform.
My father and I were very close, and it was he who got me interested in aviation and helping me to translate his knowledge into stories especially Biggles orientated stories among others. In later years, he began to suffer Dementia and finally end up in a Care Home. His short-term memory was failing, but the long-term one was still intact and he started remembering his time in the RAF and communicating these memories to us. For the most part, he wouldn't talk about it, but he confided in me and my mother a good deal. In August 2019, he passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with the Dementia. He was 92.
His death came two weeks before what would have been my parents 57th Wedding Anniversary. They met through the journalism and married in 1962 - the same year the Vickers VC10 was flown on her maiden flight. I wish that he could have made it to that 'landmark', but he was very frail and ill and his memory lives on.
I am in the process of finishing all the stories we started writing together, in his memory. That's what he would have wanted. He was a very special man - a real gentleman - although sometimes his 'military' bearing came through, notably the discipline drummed into him when he was in the RAF. Two years on, I still miss him very much, but my Mum misses him even more. I decided to share this story because he had such an varied and interesting life. I hope those who read it will be moved by it as I have been moved to tears writing it!