This is a photo of the Air Training Corp in which I was a member and you may recognize some teachers from KGS who acted as officers and instructors. In case you are not familiar with the ATC, it was to prepare teenagers who volunteered and wanted to join the RAF as their service of choice when called up during the Second World War. They taught us morse code, navigation, meteorology, drill etc. Those in the photo wearing white flashes in their caps had been to and passed an Aircrew Selection board and were awaiting call up for flying duties. A number of those did not survive the war. I had been to an Aircrew Selection Board in Torquay near the end of the war, whilst still at school, but was rejected on medical grounds with a perforated eardrum. As I was rejected I stayed a second year in the sixth form as I was then too young for call up.
On many weekends we cycled to the 8th US Air Force air base at Grafton Underwood and were able to cadge flights in the B17 Flying Fortresses being taken on test flights after being damaged on raids. On one such flight I was allowed to sit in the command pilots seat and take the controls, otherwise you sat in one of the gun turrets. In the long school holiday we went on camps to RAF bases and were given flights in Lancasters. On one such flight over the Wash the pilot signed my flight record, ‘H2S Bombing’, that was testing the new highly secret bombing through cloud that I knew nothing about.
Later I had an operation to repair my eardrum as I was very interested in aeroplanes, and thereafter obtained a Private Pilot’s Licence flying from Sywell.