I came across your site on the subject of RAF Ventnor a few days ago while looking for holiday accommodation . Congratulations on the site, firstly for doing it and secondly doing it so well. Reading it brought back many memories and some things I had not thought of for years.
My name is John Brown (former SAC 5036230) and as you can tell by my number I was a National Serviceman. I served at Ventnor from January to November 1958 (demob). My trade on demob. was Air Defence Operator.
I was posted in from Kelvendon Hatch (North Weald) with two or three others - Chris Pitham – Don Harrison and possibly Bob Symes. Chris and Don were my two particular cronies. We shared a room in a hut with an LAC named Roy Kennedy who was a regular (a West Indian). I can remember few other names.
We were fairly typical NS types. We were reluctant servicemen to say the least and very happy to be at Ventnor which we found to be very pleasant. We had good food and accommodation and an easy life despite working shifts. The station was very low on manpower and as long as each shift was fully manned nobody seemed to worry about anything. I don’t remember any type of Parade except for pay . We spent a lot of time on the beach in the daytime and around and about in the evenings. Our favoured pub was opposite Burts Brewery it had a bar at the rear called the Manhattan. We went to the official opening of the bar in March of that year. Most of my time, thought and energy were taken up with a Swedish girl who was living in the town for most of the time I was there.
As I recall, the working site and the domestic site were much as you describe them except that it was sparsely populated most of the time. In my mind, however, I recall the entrance corridor to the top site being lined with various types of small arms. I can’t remember the equipment failing at any time and we only ever ‘stood down’ for maintenance.
Since those times I have returned to the island for holidays first with Chris Pitham and in later years with my children and recently my grandchildren.
My working life after the RAF was spent as a policeman and I have lived near Weston super Mare (in sight of RAF Locking that was) for the last 35 years.
On my last visit to Ventnor was in 2004. I thought the town rather run down and not the place it was. This may have been my fancy as it was raining at the time and Ventnor was never much of a place in the rain.
Keep up the good work,