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"Sparks At Sea"

Life after the Cold War

"He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets"
Luke 5:2 (New International Version)

I received a mixed reaction from my Royal Air Force colleagues when I announced that I was buying myself out. Some saw it as foolhardy to leave the forces in the middle of a recession, others asked why I could not hang on another five years to complete my twelve year engagement and a few told me that they were thinking of doing the same.

I was interviewed by my flight and squadron commanders; I tried to explain that I felt that my career was going nowhere, that I wanted to do better for my family, however I didn't appear to get my thoughts across too well and I think that they were merely going through the motions.

My father in law, Gordon Tester, had mentioned that I was coming out of the air force to Dave Turner, a fa mily friend who worked for a marine electronics manufacturer in Aberdeen.   He in turn told George Lieper, his manager, who invited me to attend an interview. I was familiar with the firm; Krupp Atlas-Elektronik supp lied and maintained radar, radio, echo sounders and so on to fishing and merchant vessels. I had been down to the harbour with Dave on a few occasions and had a good idea of what the job was about. The interview went well and I was offered a job; all I had to do now was get out of the air force.

The air force decided, not unreasonably in hindsight, that £250 was too small a price to purchase my discharge; they wanted to get their monies worth after spending all that money on my training. I was told that they would "have to amortize my training" or, to put it another way, they weren't letting me go just yet. I was finally discharged from the R.A.F in October 1979.

One of the conditions of my new job was that I would need a driving licence, something I didn't have, so I took driving lessons in Alnwick.

(To be continued)


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Updated 09/08/2009

Constructed by Dick Barrett
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