- RAF West Drayton during the Second World War -
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RAF West Drayton
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Those known to have served at
RAF West Drayton
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Bunt Claude.
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Claude "Bunty" BuntThe following are extracts from recollections of my father, Claude Bunt of his time at RAF Netheravon, where he met his future wife Eveline Godfrey in 1939.
I had applied to join the Royal Air Force in 1938 and one day in December a letter from the R.A.F. came with instructions and a railway voucher to report to R.A.F. West Drayton, what an experience for a 17 yr; old. The first meal at West Drayton was a meat stew. I knew it was rabbit meat because some of the meat still had the hair on. After being kitted out with all the R.A.F's clothes and further medical checks I was posted to R.A.F. South Cerny Glos; for R.A.F. military training. After six weeks I was posted to R.A.F. Hednesford for training as a flight mechanic. Hednesford was a new unit just opened and I was no; 3 entry.
After six months of training as a flight mechanic, war rumours came about and training was speeded up and I passed out as a fully qualified mechanic and posted to no; 1 R.A.F. Flying training school Netheravon, Salisbury plain, Wiltshire. I was posted to A flight, daily servicing air testing and weather reports.
On September 3rd 1939 war was declared. All A B & C flights to be dispersed from the aircraft hangers to the edge of the airfield. Hell of a way to walk to work and very cold working on aircraft outside. After which I had shower in the billet and off to the N.A.F.F.I. for a wad and a cup of tea.
Then one evening a smashing girl was serving behind the counter and I said to my pals Johny Lear and Charles Jolly I would like to be introduced to that girl. So Johny who was friendly with Kathleen, another N.A.F.F.I. girl, called this smasher over and said, Claude, this is Eveline, Eveline, this is Claude, and that is how I met my future wife. [bless her ]. We were married on June 30th 1941 at St Clement's Church, Higher Openshaw, Manchester. A few day's honeymoon then back to Netheravon.
Eveline stopped in Manchester and then in September 1941 joined the W.A.A.F'S. After training she was posted to R.A.F. Andover as account's clerk, whilst at Andover the station was badly bombed and she was posted to Cranwell to train as a teleprinter operator eventually posted to R.A.F. Madley Hereford.
At times at Netheravon our flight was sent to Shrewton a relief landing ground a few miles away where we trained fleet air arm pilots to land on dummy decks marked out on the airfield at night time. During the day we air tested 12 Harvard aircraft and made them serviceable for the evening and night time. Then one day, after we had tested four aircraft, we were just about to take off for the fifth time when one of the office staff came running out waving his arms and indicated that I was wanted on the phone. So I got out of the aircraft and the pilot said put some ballast weights in for Bunty, the aircraft took off without me. When it was about 2000 ft the tail of the aircraft broke off and it came spinning down and crashed on the main road of Shrewton village, the pilot had no chance. It was Eveline that saved me that day because it was her on the phone to tell me that she was being posted to Cranwell and could I arrange a time and day to see her before she went.Philip Bunt
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