First a view of the domestic site taken from the down just above
Roy's Watch List as he remembered it a couple of years after demob with his own Email address added.
One of the names over there on the left in the second column from the right is J. Ronane. who in later life became an actor and appeared many times in UK television dramas. He now lives in the United States and besides teaching drama in Illinois, has turned to play & book writing. His "Hank goes Dancing" ISBN 0-595-18207-0 published in 2001 tells of the attempted amorous and usually frustrated adventures of radar operator Hank who is stationed at Ventnor. Marriage, for him a word synonymous with "sex", is forever uppermost in Hank's mind, but his belief that he is God's gift to women is misguided, and thus his own gauche ineptness in the art of wooing, not aided by a millstone in the form of the unfortunate Farmer, prevents that happy outcome. Eschewing the virginal Fay who is usually guarded by her mother, he meets a variety of other girls at the Pavillion (the Winter Gardens) one of whom is "posh totty" who leads him on and then discards him for her own amusement. The tale ends with situation normal i.e.Hank thwarted yet again.
One wonders if this comic tarradiddle could be autobiographical in part or even whole, as it will almost certainly strike chords from those distant days in many of us ex RAF lads? Pretty light weight stuff I suppose, but well worth a read because of just that, besides its Ventnor connection.
I am hoping that one day John will send a few words to provide a non fictional account of his Ventnor service.
Here is the ticket for an inaugural dance celebrating the opening of the site,being about a week after we moved in.
Females were brought in by the truckload, including some nurses from the TB Hospital and from wherever, who knows from where they might have been conscripted? A number of us who moved in to the new domestic site had previously been billeted out due to a shortage of bed spaces on the old Down Lane site. I was sent to "The Moorabinda Hotel" and others were at "The Terminus Pub" next to the station. When I visited "The Ventnor Heritage Centre" some 5 or 6 years ago, I noticed they had on display the old "Moorabinda Hotel" sign, so I spoke to the lady in there about my time at Ventnor. She informed me that Mrs Maynard our landlady when I was there in Nov 1952 was still alive and living in a home just across the road aged about 101 or 102 and that her son or son in law ran the antique shop across the road and so I took this opportunity to have a word with him. Alas, Fay Brown informed me a couple of years ago that she had passed away.
I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this, but in addition to the Wintergardens being a Saturday day night jaunt for the RAF personnel, regular dances were also held at "The Lake" situated somewhere between Shanklin and Sandown. Tickets and coach journey were booked from "Randal's Coaches" their office being next to The Rose & Crown in Ventnor, with pick up and return from their office. Occasionally a dance was held at the old TB hospital which of course turned into the present Botanic Gardens