Witnessing the End of an Era

You know something........you're a fuc@#g Jinx.
I didn't even mention that I was stationed in the old St Omer, that got bulldozed or the Nato base in Naples that closed down about a year after I left.
 
I've seen some my places erased or transformed.
All traces of the coal and iron industries in my valley and others have been landscaped away.
This is not in itself a bad thing; the Garw Valley, for example, was beautifully done. But traces down to harmless retaining walls have been pulled down, as though the driving force behind modernisation of my country - and England - had never existed.
My wife and I went to Merthyr Tydfil with an archaeologist friend to see the end of the canal there, having explored lengths of the well looked after canal through Cwmbran.
Standing in the road, my friend took bearings and looked down.
"Er... We're standing on it!" Said he, with a little surprise and much disappointment.

Away from coal, I worked the last night shift at the old Llanelli General Hospital. At breaktime, a friend took me to the already deserted Paediatric Ward. It's walls were lined with large illustrations of characters from nursery rhymes, all made up from tiles by Royal Doulton. I had no camera.
I hope they were preserved.

Leaving Bridgend Railway Station on a Swansea train (from Cardiff) I was poised at the window ready to show my daughter Bridgend General Hospital, where I had trained and, opposite, the Nurses Accommodation where I had lived.
The hospital is gone, our Accommodation now offices. I was too astonished to feel anything at the time.
 
The old Terminal One Heathrow. I was doing night shifts there in its last week when it was open. Virtually all of it had been boarded up and it was only handling four flights a day. For nights we used to all meet at T3 and then a couple of us would walk out past Building 820, along past the Euro Pier and into the back of T1 via the Customs accommodation. End of an era really.


I used to like the old Terminal 2 and the Queen's Building. They oozed 1950s, even after various refurbishments. A big treat as a kid was the public viewing area on top of the Queen's Building, which was closed down, I think, when the boyos started buggering around. All flattened (along with the old control tower building) a few years ago.

The old Templehof Airport in Berlin is an impressive building. Closed down as an airport some years ago and I don't think the Stadt really knows what to do with it. The airfield is a public open space and I think the building area found use as a refugee centre, which seems an awful waste and probably means that it will be burnt down at some stage.
 
A big treat as a kid was the public viewing area on top of the Queen's Building, which was closed down, I think, when the boyos started buggering around. All flattened (along with the old control tower building) a few years ag
I used to take par avion junior there when he was a kid for a day out to look at the aeroplanes. I used to love looking at the groups of plane spotters with their big lunch boxes, CB radios so that they could listen in to the conversation between ATC and the pilots. All clutching their copy of 'Aircraft registration numbers of the world.' They all seemed to know each other and a good social scene between them. They probably had their christmas party up there as well. The Visitors centre was good as well. All gone now.
 

Polyester

War Hero
No, I heard that it was going to be contractorised at the Cranfield campus, which is not that far from Henlow.
It would make sense.

It'll be interesting to see how they shift all the equipment if they decide to reuse it. Big task.

Edited for gash spelling
 
I used to love looking at the groups of plane spotters with their big lunch boxes, CB airband radios so that they could listen in to the conversation between ATC and the pilots. All clutching their copy of 'Aircraft registration numbers of the world Ian Allen Civillian Aircraft Registrations.
You’ve just described my early teen years. I grew up 11 miles from Heathrow and during the school holidays I’d spend most of my time on that roof.

Now where did I leave my Anorak...


Mind you if I’d not had that distraction and hung around on the shitty sink estate I lived on I’d probably still be in Dartmoor...
 

Hexi Bloke

War Hero
Very little work goes on there now.

The Technical Training Schools and Deep Maintenance for Aircraft that used to go on there has long gone.

Last l heard the Accommodation Blocks have been demolished.

The company l work for now stores materials there.
1 PARA are there as part of the SFSG and the MQ's are still used.
 
I used to clamber to the top of Lion Peak. Just as the sun was starting to go down. Boeing 747's flying over in the circuit to Kai Tak with the sunset in the background. A fantastic site, never to be forgotten. The same with having breakfast and dinner in the junior ranks mess at HMS Tamar looking down at the junks and ships in the harbour. The skoff was first class as well. I wondered how much a civy was paying for the same view in a top restaurant in a five star hotel like the Peninsula.

There was a real 'end of empire' feeling about HK then with 1997 a decade away. I remember having to go to a Gurkha barracks in the NT for a briefing before going on exercise with them in Malaysia. The camp was in the foothills. It was like going back in time to British India in the thirties. Especially as the military culture of the Gurkhas was still rooted in that time.

I have been back to HK a few times in the last few years. Seeing the PLA in Osborn barracks. You no that feeling you get when you go and have a look at a house you once lived in and feeling a bit indignant at the new occupants in there. It was exactly that feeling.
I know that feeling, having been born in Cyprus, lived out there during the Coup and then went back on holiday a few years ago I was indignant as to what they had done to the place!
Karaoke bars and more Russians that we faced with 3 Shock Army.
Hong Kong.jpg
 
I've seen some my places erased or transformed.
All traces of the coal and iron industries in my valley and others have been landscaped away.
This is not in itself a bad thing; the Garw Valley, for example, was beautifully done. But traces down to harmless retaining walls have been pulled down, as though the driving force behind modernisation of my country - and England - had never existed.
My wife and I went to Merthyr Tydfil with an archaeologist friend to see the end of the canal there, having explored lengths of the well looked after canal through Cwmbran.
Standing in the road, my friend took bearings and looked down.
"Er... We're standing on it!" Said he, with a little surprise and much disappointment.

Away from coal, I worked the last night shift at the old Llanelli General Hospital. At breaktime, a friend took me to the already deserted Paediatric Ward. It's walls were lined with large illustrations of characters from nursery rhymes, all made up from tiles by Royal Doulton. I had no camera.
I hope they were preserved.

Leaving Bridgend Railway Station on a Swansea train (from Cardiff) I was poised at the window ready to show my daughter Bridgend General Hospital, where I had trained and, opposite, the Nurses Accommodation where I had lived.
The hospital is gone, our Accommodation now offices. I was too astonished to feel anything at the time.
One of our less exotic postings was to Gateshead in 1970, straight after Singapore - now that was a culture shock! Our Army quarter was in East Boldon right next to the Cleadon Pit. Loved the North East, great people but brutally cold.
 
One of our less exotic postings was to Gateshead in 1970, straight after Singapore - now that was a culture shock! Our Army quarter was in East Boldon right next to the Cleadon Pit. Loved the North East, great people but brutally cold.

We went from Singapore to Devizes, 10 Ord Sp Bn., that place no longer exists now either. Moving from an International School in Singapore to a school in a west country market town was a shock. Where was the fcuking sunshine, although I did end up on the town swimming team and the youngest player on the water polo team. The Kennett & Avon canal was a poor substitute for the beaches up on the Malaysian coast.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
One of our less exotic postings was to Gateshead in 1970, straight after Singapore - now that was a culture shock! Our Army quarter was in East Boldon right next to the Cleadon Pit. Loved the North East, great people but brutally cold.
Did you ever drink in the Britannia Inn? Not the nearest pub to me, but my preferred local in the 70s, a couple of miles walk.
 
Away from coal, I worked the last night shift at the old Llanelli General Hospital. At breaktime, a friend took me to the already deserted Paediatric Ward. It's walls were lined with large illustrations of characters from nursery rhymes, all made up from tiles by Royal Doulton. I had no camera.
I hope they were preserved.
A freind of mine bought the bosses house when they shut down the old Brockhall Mental Hostpital in the Ribble Valley when Maggie decided that 'care in the community' was the way ahead. A group of us visited and as the complex had only been shut down 6 months before decided to take a look around the buildings. It was quite harrowing. All the wards had been stripped of furniture, however noticeboards and other items were still in place. Lots of photos of patients on the wall above what would have been their bedspace and even their toothbrushes in their holders in the washrooms.
Many of the patients had only ever known the hostpital and all their freinds were there. By all accounts they were simply told they were leaving with very little notice and their world was torn apart.
Even as a 21 year old I felt my heartstrings pulled more than just a tiny bit at this.
 
We went from Singapore to Devizes, 10 Ord Sp Bn., that place no longer exists now either. Moving from an International School in Singapore to a school in a west country market town was a shock. Where was the fcuking sunshine, although I did end up on the town swimming team and the youngest player on the water polo team. The Kennett & Avon canal was a poor substitute for the beaches up on the Malaysian coast.
Funny that, after bagging the Bronze, Silver and Gold in one holiday as a Dover Dolphin at Tanglin I made the school team back in blighty the following term. We all swan like fishes.
Sadly missed out on the holidays on the Malaysian coast, the rest of the family had some great times up at Jason's Bay.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Sadly not, I was a mere 12 at the time. By heck you Geordies started early though!
On my birthday (midweek) I walked into another preferred drinking place in the basement of the Roker Hotel, again a couple of miles away, and no distance from Roker Park football ground. (I'd severed a flexor tendon in my left palm whilst working at Town End Farm Working Men's Club.)

I waved the cast at the barman, asked for a pint of Strongarm and laughed. He expressed surprise at seeing me in here midweek (I should have been surprised, it occurs to me, that he recognised me at all, because I'd been working weekends for months).

He asked me which birthday it was. "Eighteenth." He coughed and nearly dropped the beer.
 

Andy Bear

Clanker
88/89 and 29 Sqn were giving up their Phantoms as the old girl was going out of service. One week the aircraft were effective fighting machines and the next they were left out in the rain to fade away, A bit like many of us, I suppose.
 
Dalton Barracks, early 2000's.

I was in charge of a 4* visit and just as the inspecting General was walking down a particular corridor this bloody great notice board came crashing off the wall and the glass on it smashed into a million pieces. General very unhappy bloke.

It later transpired that some tosser had removed a screw and just stuffed an old Crunchie wrapper in its place.

Well, that was the end of my promotion chances/era.

If I ever find out who did that......
It didn’t have any glass
 

Latest Threads

Top