Rod and I were friends for 55 years. We first met and became friends in April 1965 when we were on the same course A the Initial Training School at RAF South Cernery, ‘ Learning ‘ to be Officers and Pilots. We then went on to be on to be on the same courses through Primary Flying Training , Basic Flying Training, Advanced Flying Training and The Canberra OCU and both went off to RAF Germany, different Squadrons on different Stations.
During our Basic Flying Training at No.3 FTS, RAF Leeming we spent a lot of time in each others company. Rod was instrumental in me meeting my future wife, Jennifer. On the very first night at Leeming, 12th. September 1965, just to make a change….HA !! We went out for a drink . Rod knew the local area quite well as, his is Father was the Station Warrant Officer at nearby RAF Topcliffe. We walked into the chosen ‘ Pub ‘ and their, standing on a stool, changing the tape on the in-house music system was a lovel Young Lady. I said to myself….” I’m going to marry her “…..we, Jenny and I, notch up 54 years of marriage on the 29th January 2021. Many thanks Rod, for finding that watering hole for us.
We kept in touch but, didn’t see much of each other over the following years. Our lives and careers had gone indifferent directions. We mamaged to visit Rod and Margaret at their home near Blackpool when, I went for job interview with BAE at Warton, just down the road from them. It was as though we hadn’t seen each other since the day before, he was such an easy chap to get on with. Our next meeting, some years later, was at our youngest Daughter’s wedding. He had taken the trouble to drive across the country from the North West to our home in Norfolk.
Our next memorable meeting was at Jenny’s 70th Birthday Party when, I tried to replicate Jenny’s 21st Birthday Party. On that occasion, several of mine and Rod’s fellow students from our Basic Flying Training Course and our Flying Instructors came to the party. Sadly for Jenny’s 70th, I could only find Rod and a mutual friend, from our course, Nigel Jones. Once again, Rod made the effort and it was a super eveing.
Our last meeting with Rod and Margaret was in the summer of 2018 when they took their Time Share allocation in Cromer, Norfolk. Being close tto home, Jenny and I drove up to Cromer we had a lovely afternoon with them and once again, it was though I hadn’t seen Rod since ‘ Yesterday ‘. We did lot’s of catching up again and went our separate ways.
Rod, Jenny and I consider it a great privilege to have had you as a friend. We toasted your memory at our ‘ Home Alone ‘ Christmas Lunch and are sad that we can’t come and see you off in person. Lastly, I don’t mind admitting that I shed a tear or two when Sarah told me of your passing.
Good bye Old Friend.