George Edwards BEM – RAF firefighter 1968 – 70
George Edwards BEM – RAF firefighter 1968 – 70

George Edwards BEM – RAF firefighter 1968 – 70

Memoirs of RAF Church Fenton 

I arrived at Church Fenton in the summer of 1968. I had just completed a very enjoyable 12-month tour at RAF Masirah (a lonely desert outpost off the coast of Oman) and was delighted to find that Church Fenton was another friendly RAF camp. I was accommodated in Block 5 I think it was. There were about thirty of us in one big dormitory. There was a collection of different station tradesmen; admin, suppliers, cooks, air traffic and a few Firemen like myself in our dorm. There used a to be a corporal fairy (air traffic controller) in charge of the block who had his own room and his only function in the block was to remind us of the monthly bull night and CO’s inspection which we all avoided like the plague. Most of us drank in the NAAFI and the manageress was a lovely relatively elderly lady Miss Tuson. None of us knew her first name and when we went to the counter or the bar it was always a cup of tea or a pint of bitter please Miss Tuson. Most of my mates myself included drank in the Junction Pub and we had some great times there. Fred and Barbara were the publicans and what lovely people they were. There used to be a corporal fireman Tom Sawyer who was captain of the station football team and the local village team Ulleskelf. When I told Tom I had played football for Masirah I went straight in to both teams and later captained them both when Tom was posted. Life on the fire section was fairly routine most of the time we watched the chipmunk aircraft bounce up and down the runway as the trainee pilots struggled with the rudiments of flying. We would also spend time at Rufforth airfield, which was then a relief landing ground for Fenton. We used to get quite excited driving past Thorp Arch prison which was then home to Christine Keiller.
There were some wonderful station characters. There was a RAF policeman who had lost an eye and had a glass eye fitted. His party piece was to sit next to a FNG (Fenton New Guy) at the bar and then take his glass eye out place it in his pint and tell the eye to keep an eye on his pint while he went to the toilet. Scary when you first see it done. I had a great collection of mates Chuck McGinley although a air traffic controller he had all the qualities of a RAF fireman he could certainly go ten pints without a pee. Another mate was Clem Gettings an admin clerk. A southern Irish lad who had taken the pledge as a youth and alcohol never passed his lips I decided after watching Clem cop off with the best looking nurses who were bussed in from a Leeds hospital not to drink on dance nights. Another station character was Eddie Kopka also admin clerk. Eddie had only been in the RAF about four years but had four campaign medals. Medals were very rare in those days but Eddie we used to say received his medals for being first in the NAFFI queue on the four short detachments he had completed.
I served in the RAF for 22 years and had 10 postings. I had a wonderful three years at Fenton, which was without doubt my favourite posting. I came to Fenton from the Middle East and went back there after completion of my Fenton tour only this time to RAF Sharjah.
Well done to Ian Herbert for producing such a great web site and lets hear some more Fenton memories. 
PS When I left Fenton I sold my car a bright green Austin A35 to a civilian MT driver. I forget his name but as well as being a MT driver he had a small pig farm at Fenton village. He told me he intended to cut off the roof of the A35 and use it to transport pigs to and from market, which is something similar to what I had been doing.

George Edwards BEM