Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Gerry Linstead


I started my RAF career in 1965 as a Craft Apprentice at Cosford doing a one year course as a photographer.

After leaving Cosford for some reason or other the RAF decided I must have needed a holiday and sent me to Chivenor in North Devon where life was very pleasant indeed. At 18 years of age I couldn't believe my luck. Great memories of Woolacombe bay and The Narracott Hotel, The Three Tun's in Barnstable and Radio Chivenor.

Eighteen months later the holiday finished and I found myself in Germany at RAF Gutersloh for the next two and a half years. Here I was reunited with Chas Jacobs, Archie Luck, Paul Lancaster, Prof. Williams, Dave Males and Bill Gallagher, all from apprentice days at Cosford. This more or less led to a 30-month hangover! Spent most of the time between the Naafi, Malcom Club and Radio G'. Worked on 2 MFPU which was a Mobile Field Photo Unit which only ever got mobile on the odd day trip down the autobahn to turn the wheels around! Bit of a laugh though, had some great times there.

On leaving Germany in 1970 I found myself at Cottesmore for a few months and then back to Cosford for a fitters course. This turned me into an Air Camera Fitter as opposed to photographer after a re-structure of trade group 14.

I returned to Cottesmore where I went up a rung to Corporal. During this time I married Isobel who was in the WRAF and had met while in Germany. We were then posted to Malta in October 1971 for a three-year tour.

After a couple of months the then Maltese Prime Minister Dom Mintoff decided he didn't like us and asked all British troops to leave. I was on 13 Sqdn at the time, which was Middle East based so we found ourselves moving to Cyprus. Very nice! Spent a lot of time on detachments to such exotic places as Masirah and Kuwait. I stayed at Akrotiri until 1974 and came back to the UK after the Turkish invasion of the island, which made the last few months a little exciting to say the least.

I then found myself at Kinloss until 1975 when I moved to Wyton as a last tour of duty. While there I went to Singapore for a month, Norway goodness knows how many times and did a four month tour in N. Ireland.

I then decided that enough was enough and left the RAF in 1978 after completing my 12 years service.

After leaving the RAF I applied to go on a Training Opportunities scheme in the hope of furthering the small amount of electronic skills I had picked up into some sort of worthwhile career. After finding out that I wouldn't get a course for the best part of a year I took up employment with the local branch of Unigate and spent the next eight months dropping pints of milk around the Huntingdon area.

I then spent a year in full time education delving around in the back of TV's, videos etc which led me to spending the next 4/5 years in the electronic business. During this time Isobel and I went our separate ways, we have two lovely daughters Hannah and Rachel.

I then had a fancy for working for myself and as I wasn't getting much of a kick out of the electronic side of life I eventually packed it in and became a driving instructor with BSM. After a year or so I started up my own business which I successfully ran for the next 10 years. During this time I also had a part time job with Cambridge University as a college porter. This became a full time position and as it involved working shifts it fitted in very well with the driving tuition.

I married again in 88 to Teresa with whom I have two great sons, Thomas and James. Family life eventually made me decide that two jobs wasn't really the right way to be going so I packed up the driving and stuck with the portering. Having two young boys at my time of life was like another job anyway. I eventually got promoted to the grand position of Dep Head Porter, which put me back onto working days and back into a normal working week, which was very welcome after all the shift work.

After 25 years I moved to another college where I took the position of Head Porter and enjoyed my work there for a further eight years before retiring in 2013.

So that's about all there is really, I'm very happily married with a great family, this year I was 22 for the third time but haven't quite settled into the armchair with pipe and slippers yet, I have now retired and Teresa has semi-retired so we now enjoy spending time with our family experiencing the joys of being grandparents and touring as much as possible in our motorhome.
The Black Pig