Mike Betts arrived at Ventnor immediately prior to the change over period, so spent his first three months operating the CH gear, which it seems must have been resurrected after it's period of being on Care & Maintenance with Harold Lewis. However he gained some experience of operating the Type 80 consoles although he was never employed on shift doing that. Not many operators got to be familiar with both.
Mike knew Daryl Marks and the two of them were members of a small jazz band performing in The Prince of Wales pub and at other hotels and pubs. Daryl was believed to be a member of the Marks ( & Spencer) family and he certainly seemed wealthier than the average national service man. He was the only airman on the camp owning a car and a rather exotic (for the times) one at that : a rather beautiful blue Sunbeam Talbot Rapier. Mike confirms the story of Daryl's ill fated yachting expedition. He hired the boat at Cowes, sailed it round to Ventnor in stormy conditions and moored it to the pier. Overnight he wind blew up and as the boat was not moored at the stern too, it battered itself to pieces against the pier overnight, leaving only floating pieces.
Mike has one outstanding menory concerning a NATO exercise when they were on high security alert. A group of female horse riders happened to ride past the tech site and just outside the gates one fell off her horse. The guards rushed out to help and one of the girls asked to phone for an ambulance which was readily agreed. When the ambulance arrived, the gates were opened to allow it to enter, whereupon the back doors promptly opened and half a dozen uniformed men jumped out armed with rifles and took the startled airmen captive!
Text © 2006 Mike Betts