in Belfast. It is interesting to note that although he enlisted in Belfast he was sent miles away to RAF Cardington for his “Square Bashing.”
Paddy arrived at Cardington in February 1938 and at this point would have been one of the earliest intakes to the camp which had only just begun operating as No 2 School of Recruits. It is known that in the early stages of 1938 RAF Cardington was not fully equipped to deal with the sudden influx of men and indeed Paddy recalls having to wait for a week or so for a uniform to be issued. Paddy also remembers that the camp seemed more like a Flying Club to him than a recruitment centre. Initially the training in the first year took three months and Paddy was paid the princely sum of 14 shillings a week with two shillings a week deducted for “billet damage”. This practice was a bone of contention for the thousands of recruits who were to pass through the billets throughout the years as of course the billets were kept in pristine condition at all times.
He has good memories of his time spent on the camp - he recalls a church on site, a NAAFI shop, and playing cricket on Wednesday afternoons and going to the cinema in Bedford on Saturdays. He also remembers being woken at 6.30am each day which he didn’t enjoy!