RAF Shinfield Park

Headquarters Flying Training Command 

(27th May 1940 - 1st June 1968)

Greg North

Greg has sent some information about his time at Shinfield and later in an email dated 19 April 2021

  • I arrived at RAF Shinfield Park in September 1966 on my beloved Lambretta GT200 ("Bournemouth Greg") and reported to the General Office.
  • They told me to follow the road round to the right and that I would be met by a green tank.
  • Having driven around the CinC’s garden roundabout several times he came out and suggested that I might be lost. He dryly mentioned that the RAF didn't actually have any tanks but that if I followed his directions then I would find a green oil tank towards the rear of the building. He wished me a happy stay.
  • I quickly saw Dave Walton and Des Orpin waiting for me, clearly bemused as to why I had ignored their waves earlier on.
  • I was assigned to HQFEAF P2 Records, responsible for Officer and Airmen Aircrew records for RAF Biggin Hill, RAF Bracknell and RAF Cranwell, replacing the late Kevin Webster who moved on to HQMEC at RAF Steamer Point in Aden. My Flight Commander was Flight Lieutenant Dan Drew, my Sergeant was Jim Barron, later Norman Hurst-Cohen (not a fan of station football!) and my Corporal was Noel Hayes. I also worked with SACW Barbara Reed and two civil servants, Betty and Linda.
  • After about a year I transferred to Education and Continuation Training working with my lifelong friend, Lee Tyson. I had replaced the late Paddy Riall. Lee moved onto RAF Bahrain and was replaced by Bill Forster if I recall. The department was run by Squadron Leader White and Flight Lieutenant Lewis aided by Warrant Officer George Barratt BEM and Sergeant John Comley. Warrant Officer Barratt BEM retired from the RAF at the age of 58 when HQFTC and HQTTC amalgamated and reformed as HQTC at RAF Brampton on first of June1968.
  • I represented the unit at football and ten pin bowling. At weekends I played football for Carberry FC in the Hampshire League.
  • The summer of 1967 would become known as the Summer of Love famed for very hot weather and a boom in pop music and culture. It was the defining year of an extraordinary decade and there was nowhere sunnier than Shinfield Park and its beautiful surroundings.
  • The mess provided amazing food and from Monday to Thursday I had the same dinner each night; soup, followed by a steak and kidney pie, two beefburgers, chips and bake beans. A huge portion of jam and treacle pudding with cheese and biscuits to round off the meal. The mess was a credit to the catering staff.
  • I recall the Monday evening NAAFI cinema. On Tuesdays I went to Folk Club in Reading, Wednesday was football day and Thursday was payday. Friday I generally went home to Hampshire to play football. A bit like a school timetable really!
  • Elements of the NAAFI, especially the "Blue Room" survive to this day albeit in a slightly different aspect.
  • I walked back into the office after lunch late in May and was told to find my way to RAF Brampton. I didn't even "clear" from the General Office. No opportunity for goodbyes to those not going to Brampton which is sad.
  • I left as I arrived, on a Lambretta, riding Dave and Pat Hanley's scooter to Brampton. As Max Hastings might have said many years later, "I counted one in and I counted one out"!
  • I lived and worked in and around Reading for many years and it's been interesting to see how one side of Shinfield village has remained untouched whilst the other side has been built up out of proportion over the past few years. I am still a frequent visitor to Reading and Shinfield.
  • I would like to pay tribute to Doreen Cousins, a local resident, who was instrumental in encouraging the council to provide a memorial to HQFTC and to ensuring that the site is well maintained.

Greg sent these pictures from his time at the camp.

Officer’s Mess

AOC’s 1967

Black Boy, Oct 2007

5-a-side football team