Brian Balshaw managed to set fire to his boots & get away with it:
"Like Douglas Adams, I was at RAF Wilmslow for my National Service basic training, better known as 'square bashing', in Nov./Dec. 1957 and I also remember how cold it was and how glad we were for the thick uniform and heavy greatcoat. I think we were actually rather pleased that it was not the middle of summer when the exertion of drilling in hot weather might have been an equally nasty experience. I wish there were photos of the camp but all I can remember is that the old wooden billet had holes at the bottom of the walls where the wind howled in! We did have the benefit of the pot-bellied coke stove in the middle of the room and we made sure it was well stoked, so much so that it could be made to glow red. Not wise to get too close, but I can remember being very scared when I put my new boots adjacent to the stove to get them dry and found the next morning they were 'burned to a crisp'.
I expected to be shot at dawn but I was just sent to the clothing store for a new pair and somehow survived the experience! I was glad to get home to the Wirral for that Christmas and subsequently went to RAF Locking for trade training. The only photo I have is of the Flight, D1, hut 253, No2 Squadron taken in Nov. 1957.
Names, from top left to bottom right are: Mick Bradshaw, Malcolm Andrews, Dave Aldridge, me, Graham Burgess, Alan Butters, Warren Bruce, Graham Attwood, John Bronnert, Colin Ambrose, Kevin Berry, David Tutt, Derek Blackstone, Neville Ashley, Sgt. Saint, Cpl. Lindenburn, Vic Bunn, Jim Bell, Denis Bradley."
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