We had duties, fire picket, and guarding the armoury comes to mind. The camp was domintaed by the huge hangars of the R101 and R100 which after the tragedy over Beauvais in France the concept was abandoned. Many of the graves in Cardington are testament to the disaster. We had the Balloon Unit who were involved with barrage balloons strange for the V Bomber age. Due to this we were classified as an operational airfield and had a state of the art fire tender. This had to be driven a few miles every day to keep it operational. So the picket was fun.
Armouy duty was quite serious, the IRA were a threat then in 1958. We were woken at about 5am in the morning by the previous guard. We collected our rations for 24 hours from the cookhouse and had to announce a password to gain entrance to the armoury. We cooked our rations at the appropriate meal times and the officer gained entry by using another password.
I obtained permission to study for my final City & Guilds at the Borough Polytechnic, London SE1. I used to make up my sandwiches in the cookhouse for my evening trip from Bedford to London. Our canteen rations were not very good, watered down golden syrup on a white sliced loaf with watered down margarine. In the cookhouse they had butter, cheese and ham. We received about 25 shillings per week as NS. We couldn't afford to use the NAAFI more than about once a week.
RAF National Service 1957-1959
Thanks must go to Peter Frost for sharing his story with us.