- Tony Turnbull -

Tony had an unusual start to RAF life although perhaps it was due to the Service being in a state of flux at the end of the war. He joined up in September 1945 and started at Padgate, but after two weeks was sent to Melksham for square bashing. However before long he was moved to Yatesbury to complete it. He arrived at Ventnor as a cook but immediately remustered to MT driver. He was sent to Detling for a driving test but as he had been a driver before call up that didn't take long! His driving duties at Ventnor included collecting rations thrice weekly from Ryde and delivering food for the guards at the Blackgang site.

Later he did first an MT mechanic's course and then an MT fitters course. Then in charge of the MT section he had two Jamacian mechanics working under him. Tony tells us that Jamacians also worked at the top site, ten in fact.

Tony recalls that football was played regularly every weekend. At that time (1946) the CO was a Pilot Officer and he played at centre forward. On one occasion Tony was doing a Clothing Run to Detling in Kent which at that time was Ventnor's parent station. He was requested - no, commanded to make a diversion to the CO's mother in Surrey who handed over a food parcel to be taken to her son. Remember, these were the days of strict food rationing. A new CO arrived in September 1946 and he lived with his wife and children in a rented semi-detached quarter in Ryde.

Tony was a bit of a lady's man and he remembers in particular a girl who worked in Timothy Whites chemist shop. She rather wanted to return with Tony to his home town of Newcastle, but he persuaded her that Ventnor was much the better place for her! Tony decided that in the summer it was better to go out with holiday maker girls. This was partly because they didn't mind "going dutch", a great advantage as the National Service RAF boys had very little money to spare. He met the girls in the Winter Gardens which he was able to get in free as he knew the doorkeeper.

Tony was demobbed in September 1948.

When he visited the Island in 2008 and found the top site gone with only R Block remaining and that derelict too, he was greatly saddened.

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Text © 2006 Tony Turnbull