My better half is Ann and our daughter, Jackie, has an 18 year old son and 16 year old daughter.
Date of discharge from the RAF: 16th May 1967
Rank on discharge: Sergeant, qualified for Chief Tech on the 17th May 1967.
At Halton in the Snow 1956.
Off to Singapore.
First posting was to Tengah in Singapore on Venoms and Vampire T.11s, alongside the Kiwis in the Engine Bay . A great posting for a young single man.
In 1959 back to the UK and Signals Command at Tangmere looking after Varsities and Canberras in ASF. Very nice camp, area and locals, so it couldn't last long. The civvies took Tangmere over and in January 1960 I went to the Radio Engineering Unit at Henlow (culture shock!) doing general engineering on mobile radio/radar units (dreadful period). Then to ASF at Watton, and Canberras, Lincolns and Comets in mid-1961. Enjoyed everything except the winter.
Married in March 1962.
I got married in March 1962 and this clearly jogged the movements people because by May I was on 26 Sqn at Odiham on Belvederes. I became a Crewman and we flew two Belvederes out to Aden during February 1963, set up squadron office/shop/crewroom in two Twin Pioneer packing cases, and supported the army/marines up-country and in the Radfan. It was interesting, exciting and sometimes dangerous; the Belvedere was not the safest of aircraft.
A New Daughter and a Nice Holiday.
Ann joined me with our new daughter in February 1964 and five days later I was off to Kenya to embark on HMS Albion for an emergency that never happened. We did have a nice holiday in Mombasa , Kenya , later that year. In May 1964 I was moved to 131 MU at Khormaksar as a sergeant, mainly taking care of Hunter engines.
A Circumnavigation of the Globe and Demob.
Back to the UK and Scampton in February 1965 onto Vulcans flight line; QRA's, shift work and aircraft Dispersals to Boscombe Down. We did take two Vulcans to Adelaide in Australia for an air show, and then completed a circumnavigation of the globe. That was a great trip but not good enough to keep me in the RAF.
On to South Africa - Hard Work but Fun!
We moved to Atlas Aircraft Corp, in South Africa May 1967. Involved with assembly, maintenance and overhaul of military helicopters and engines; at various times I was foreman, superintendant and Chief Inspector. I moved onto the attack helicopter (Rooivalk) design team in November 1985, involved with logistic support analysis and maintainability and had a marvellous time, it was hard work but fun! The marketing campaign took us to Malaysia , South Korea , Australia and the UK (May 1994).
Airship that Never Happened.
During quieter times I was involved in various proposals, many successful and some that died. One very interesting proposal, in response to a private customer requirement, was for a large airship! By mid-1998 everything was quiet so I applied for, and got, early retirement.
Retirement Benefits of Family and Lots of Holidays.
We have enjoyed retirement, with more time for the family, plenty of holidays both local (game parks and nature reserves generally) and overseas ( UK , Australia , Egypt and New Zealand ). Also hosting the UK branch of the family (sister and brother).
Lots of Pastimes.
Pastimes include dabbling at anything interesting (and probably useless), aviation history, wildlife, family and wildlife video filming/editing (very amateur), and educating the grandchildren on how life used to be.
588619 John Cowley (74th Entry - Engines).