In this Scrap Book picture my dad is third from left in the middle row.
His first real job after leaving school was as a Film Librarian working at Jessops in Leicester and then in June 1950 when he was eighteen years old he started his National Service in the Royal Air Force at the Air Ministry in London.
This sounds awfully exciting but I suspect that it probably wasn’t. From 1949, every healthy man between the ages of 18 and 26 was expected to serve in the armed forces for a minimum period of eighteen months. Men were exempt from National Service if they worked in three ‘essential services’, which were coal mining, farming and the merchant navy, so not film librarians then!
I’d like to tell you that he was a fighter pilot or a commando or something thrilling but the plain fact is that he worked at the Air Ministry in London in the office as a clerk/typist whose job was ‘the compilation and maintenance of officers’ and airmens’ records and documents’.
I can only imagine that this was exceedingly dull!
He must have enjoyed it however because he completed over two years and his discharge paper of 13th July 1952 says that his conduct was exceptional and his ability was very good, he was described as ‘smart’ on a scale of ‘very smart’, ‘smart’ or ‘untidy’ and he was summed up as ‘a very reliable and efficient clerk who has done good work and helped in the tuition of others’.
Even though it was probably dull and rather a chore I imagine that it would have been good fun to spend a couple of years in the service of the State in the company of good chums from around the country from places he had never heard of or visited. This is the reverse of the top photograph and I often wonder if he ever kept in touch with that group of friends?
My dad did his National Service in the RAF too, he volunteered to work on the radar masts because it got him out of standing guard duty!
Sounds like a good choice!