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My father joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in 1947 and spent 3 years as a BRAT at Halton. After completing his training he moved to 32 MU at RAF St Athan in South Wales. During the year he spent at St Athan, he worked on the final assembly of Merlin Engines. It was during this period that he volunteered for Air Crew and was accepted. However, while waiting for his flight training he moved to RAF Marham for 5 months working on B29 Washingtons of 207 Squadron. His initial 3 months of training for Air Crew was at Jurby, Isle of Man - apart from a trip in a Percival Prentice, this part of the training was classroom based. It was not until he arrived at the No.3 Flight Training School at RAF Feltwell that his flying started. He flew solo for the first time at RAF Feltwell in a Percival Prentice on the 17th July 1952.

As a member of the RAF he was then assigned to the United States Air Force for training in Class 53-F under the Mutual Defence Atlantic Pact (MDAP) scheme. He flew North American T6G's from Malden Air Force Base between September 1952 and March 1953 and flew solo in the US for the first time on 28th November 1952 in Aircraft No.261. He then moved to Greenville AFB, Mississippi in April 1953 where he flew the North American T28A. His next port of call was Foster AFB, Texas where he progressed to the Lockheed T-33A and remained at the base for three months. His final location in the US was Nellis AFB, Nevada where he flew the Lockheed F80C Shooting Star (1st flight : 16th October 1953) and then the superb North American F86F Sabre (1st flight : 16th November 1953).

He then returned back across the Atlantic in February 1954 to 67 Squadron at RAF Wildenrath, Germany as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force. During this period he flew the Canadair Sabre 4 and used Vampire T11's for instrument work. It was also during this period that he survived a serious crash during take-off in a Sabre. In August 1955 he moved to 234 Squadron at RAF Geilenkirchen, Germany and continued to fly the Sabre 4. In June 1956 the Hawker Hunter Mk4 arrived at Geilenkirchen (1st flight : 5th June 1956). He completed his tour and then went to No.242 OCU at RAF Dishforth where he undertook a number of flights in the Handley Page Hastings.

Following this he joined 30 Squadron at Dishforth and flew the Blackburn Beverley from May 1957 to September 1959 before leaving the RAF. He also frequently piloted De Havilland Chipmunks during this period.

 

Although he hasn't piloted any aircraft since his time in the RAF, my father has always retained his love of aircraft. Now retired, he is pictured below in front of the flight deck of a Blackburn Beverley at  Newark Air Museum in September 2002.

 

Phillip Rogers in front of the flight deck of a Blackburn Beverley at Newark Air Museum in September 2002.

 

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