RAF St Athan Glamorgan South Wales in the '50s
Pay structure in 1961.



Dartmoor Summer Camp 1962

Summer Camp 1962 was attended by, I believe, 3 entries, and involved the other boy entrant bases.
Our arrival base was RAF Collaton Cross. We journeyed there by train which took over seven hours for some and it must have been a mammoth undertaking for all concerned. Most of the initial part of the journey passed us by with some amount of boredom in cramped conditions but when we were rounding the coast approaching Plymouth we all were blessed by wonderful views out to sea and of the pretty coastline. By this time we were moving quite slowly which enhanced the spectacle but in our heart of hearts we knew things were bound to dramatically change on Dartmoor.
If it is recalled correctly, most were transported to RAF Collaton Cross in a variety of 10 ton trucks and buses gathered from RAF stations all over the region. By this time we were all pretty fatigued and in need of a decent meal, a good leg-stretch and a wash and brush up.
Arrival at Collaton Cross was apparently a bit of a let-down. One or two hangars, a profusion of wooden huts and then LOTS of tents. In keeping with the common practise of the day the tents were apparently located as far from the ablutions as was physically possible.
I say “apparently” as I am solely relying on others’ recollections as I and a few others were later whisked off to man one of the base camps on the moor. Mick Joyce, a fellow armourer, and I were Silver Duke of Edinburgh award holders and were deemed to have done our bit on the rough terrain presented by Dartmoor but in the Breacon Beacons. A pity though as we both would have loved the challenges of the moors and particularly the commando assault course but base camp it was working with “staff” and looking after the stragglers and flagging fellow boys as they crossed the moors giving bottles of water where needed to sustain them onwards.
From Collaton Cross most carried out many activities including the trek across Dartmoor which, for some of our lot, was a trial for the Ten Tors Expedition. This culminated in further nights spent under canvas in strange and remote places trying to sleep on camp beds and not on the ground!
It was recalled that all straggled into the first main base camp some 17 miles away at Avon Dam (near Smallbrook Plains) at various times between 16:00 and 18:00 hours absolutely worn out and utterly ravenous. Over an open fire was a huge cauldron into which had been tipped "everything" from our "K" rations, including steam puddings, custard, jam, biscuits - the lot. It tasted fantastic, manna from heaven. Bellies full now the adolescent minds turned to "entertainment" only there wasn't any other than watching our companions trying to master the dubious delights of the camp bed. Great to watch though.

Our next jaunts, a mere 32 miles over 2 days (!), was covered from Avon Dam near Smallbrook Plains south of Grippers Hill to Cross Furzes. Onward then to Powder Mills through to Cator Court near Widecombe-on-the-Moor. Those further two nights were spent at Cross Furzes and Powder Mills base camps.

I wonder if any of the ex-boys from any of the entries (42nd, 43rd, 44th) or RAF camps who were there in ’62 can elaborate and fill in the other days and nights.
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